One of the New York Yankees‘ most valuable players in 2022 was Nestor Cortés, who earned an All-Star appearance for the first time in his career. At 28 years old, Cortés battled his way into the starting rotation, pitching 93 innings in 2021, hosting a 2.90 ERA and nearly 10 strikeouts per nine with an 85% left-on-base rate. He justified an opportunity to show what he could do over a larger sample size, and he did not disappoint.
Across 158.1 innings, Cortés posted a 2.44 ERA, 3.63 xFIP, 9.27 strikeouts per nine, 82.8% left-on-base rate, and a career-low 8.2% HR/FB ratio. Having earned about $750K last season, he was in line for a big pay increase, which the Yankees granted him to avoid arbitration. Specifically, he signed a one-year, $3.2 million deal for the 2023 season, and the Yankees still have him under control until 2026.
After Nestor cashed in big, he took to social media to showcase his grateful mentality and how meaningful this was to him and his family.
The Yankees have themselves a fan-favorite in Nestor Cortes:
It is nearly impossible to dislike Cortés and his style of play. Ranging from his electrifying moments and unique wind-up, not only is he fun to watch, but he’s good for the game of baseball. Bringing life to the mound and displaying his outgoing persona showcases the intangibles he brings to a Yankee team that often predicates itself on hyper-discipline.
Now serving as one of two lefty starters, the Yankees have a bit more diversity to work with in the rotation. However, it will be interesting to see how they mitigate fatigue down the stretch and manage workloads, given multiple pitchers are coming off injury or simply aren’t used to pitching 150+ innings on a yearly basis.