Yankees: One pitcher who could rise to stardom during 2022 season

luis gil, yankees

The New York Yankees are expected to have one of the most dangerous bullpens in the game next season, but their starting pitching rotation could use a bit of support as well. General manager Brian Cashman doesn’t have all the money in the world to upgrade every spot, so he will have to pick carefully which positions are worth investing in.

Finding a number two starter alongside Garrett Cole seems to be a priority, but the Bombers may have one young piece who could fill a backend rotation slot in 2022.

Luis Gil, who made his first MLB appearance with the Yankees last season, is ready to take his game to the next level. Coming from the Minnesota Twins in 2018, Gil had worked with the Yankees’ farm system, developing and growing until he received his first opportunity last year. Over 29.1 innings, Gil recorded a 3.07 ERA, including 11.66 strikeouts per nine and an 84.3% left on-base percentage.

In fact, Gil went three consecutive games without giving up an earned run until September 8 against the Toronto Blue Jays, when he allowed three and walked seven batters.

Gil’s season was quite polarizing over such a small sample size, but he showed elite potential with a rising fastball that sniffed triple digits.

MLB.com gushed over Luis Gil’s velocity but hinted at the need for more control:

Gil has higher-octane stuff than most starters, beginning with a fastball that operates at 95-98 mph for several innings at a time and regularly reaches triple digits with significant riding life up in the strike zone. He made progress last year with his power breaking ball that features slider velocity in the mid-80s and sometimes has more of a curveball shape. He also has a hard changeup that parks around 90 mph with fade and sink, though it lacks consistency.

Gil generates premium velocity with relatively little effort but has difficulty harnessing his stuff. He reduced his walk rate to a career-best 4.2 per nine innings in low Class A in 2019 but will have to throw more strikes and continue to refine his secondary pitches in order to make it as a starter. His live arm potentially could make him a closer if he winds up in the bullpen.

The consensus is that Gil has the stuff to be a quality starter, but he simply needs more time and experience at the top level. Gil can sometimes lose control of his pitches, but if he can improve his location and command, he could easily fill a mid-rotation slot for the Yankees. Given he was averaging 96.1 mph with his fastball and 92.3 mph with his change-up, there is no question that Gil has unreal arm potential.

Nonetheless, the fact he only used his change-up on 7.3% of his pitches in the big leagues last year is problematic. He needs to gain more control over his breaking ball, featuring his fastball on 53.4% and slider 39.3%.

Unless Luis can develop a legitimate third pitch and breaking ball, he might be tasked with a bullpen role moving forward. With that being said, Gil is just 23 years old, meaning he has plenty of time to iron out his weaknesses.

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