Yankees select Luis Gil as 5th rotation starter, per MLB insider

MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees
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The hard-fought battle for the final spot in the Yankees‘ rotation has concluded, as Luis Gil will be their fifth starter following the injury to Gerrit Cole. It’s not going to be a short stint either, as Cole is expected to miss about two months of action with his elbow injury, and that could give the young right-hander plenty of time to establish himself in their rotation. He’s one of the most electric young arms in the organization, and after an excellent Spring Training, he’s stormed all the back from Tommy John Surgery to win the job, beating out Will Warren for the role.

Both pitchers flashed signs of brilliance, but according to Yancen Pujols, it’ll be Luis Gil who breaks camp with the team as their fifth starter.

Luis Gil Wins the Yankees’ Rotation Competition

MLB: Spring Training-New York Mets at New York Yankees
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It’s not hard to see why the Yankees, who held an open competition in camp for the fifth starter job, chose Luis Gil and his power fastball. The right-hander has been blowing away hitters, dialing it up to 100 MPH, and flashing great vertical movement on it as well. What’s helped him win the fifth starter job has been the development of his changeup, a pitch that has good dropping action with over 14 inches of arm-side run, generating a high Whiff Rate (41.7%) and zero barrels against. His ability to command it against righties and lefties has made it a monster of a weapon, and he has certainly impressed people at Spring Training.

The Yankees are hoping that the near-40% strikeout rate can translate to MLB results, as they have plenty of question marks in their rotation regarding the likes of Carlos Rodon and Nestor Cortes, who are both coming off of down seasons. As for Will Warren, who was the runner-up for the job, the Yankees are likely to start him in Triple-A to open the season, giving him a chance to continue to build up and get his arsenal sharpened for what’s to come. Injuries are a constant, and the Yankees need to be prepared to lose a starter at any moment’s notice.

MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees
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What we know about Luis Gil is that command and health are the two biggest question marks, but both have been silenced thus far. He’s thrown over 50% of his pitches in-zone, and in terms of health, his velocity and movement look better than ever after the UCL surgery that knocked him out for over 12 months. How the Yankees choose to manage his innings remains to be seen, but their bullpen depth can certainly help them on that front. Luke Weaver is a long relief option who can pitch 4-5 innings in a pinch, and their bullpen is loaded with hard-throwing arms as well.

The Yankees have always been fascinated by the upside that Luis Gil has had, and injuries have delayed this day for far too long. In what was an incredible showing in Tampa, including 23 strikeouts in 15.2 innings pitched, the right-hander did more than enough to prove his worth. Now, he’ll get a chance to secure a rotation spot for the future, and this could be a massive deal for the Yankees if he were to develop into an overpowering starter.

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