The starting rotation of the New York Yankees has recently faced difficulties, with injuries persistently hampering the team. Excluding Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortés, the Bombers are missing Luis Severino, Carlos Rodon, and Frankie Montas.
After securing Rodon with a $162M contract spread over six seasons, he has already been diagnosed with a chronic back injury that will limit his performance for the remainder of the 2023 season.
Indeed, Rodon received a cortisone injection last Tuesday and hasn’t pitched in over a week. It is hoped that the injection will alleviate some of the discomfort and stiffness that’s impeding his recovery. The high-profile free agent had already suffered a left forearm injury during spring training, and this new back problem could significantly disrupt his stint with the Yankees.
The Yankees have been supplementing the rotation heavily:
To compensate for the losses in the starting rotation, the Yankees have been heavily reliant on Jhony Brito, Clarke Schmidt, and Domingo German. Brito, who arguably needed more development time at the Triple-A level, has a 5.81 ERA and 5.62 xFIP. Not recognized as a strikeout pitcher, he’s only managed 6.39 K/9 and is issuing 4.06 walks per nine innings with a 70.7% left-on-base rate.
Conversely, Schmidt has performed even worse, with a 5.35 ERA and a 69% left-on-base rate over 35.1 innings. Schmidt does have superior strikeout numbers, but he’s giving up two home runs per nine innings and has struggled with accuracy at times.
Out of the three reserve starters, German has been the most impressive. He currently holds a 4.00 ERA with 9.40 strikeouts per nine innings and a 65.3% left-on-base rate over 45 innings. German, the most experienced of the trio by a considerable margin, has had several solid outings this year. Indeed, he’s only allowed four earned runs over his last three appearances, indicating he’s finding his form.
Regardless, the Yankees are patiently awaiting reinforcements, but options like Rodon and Montas need significantly more recovery time. Severino, on the other hand, has already started a rehab assignment and is making swift progress.
The Yankees need Luis Severino back in the rotation:
Severino completed his first rehab assignment last week and is set to make another appearance with either Double-A Somerset or Triple-A Scranton next Tuesday. In his initial outing, Severino threw 49 pitches, yielding just one run and a walk.
Overall, it was a successful assignment, with his fastball reaching a top speed of 98 mph. Severino should provide the team substantial support, likely resulting in Brito’s reassignment to Triple-A to further refine his pitching.
Nestor’s struggles are compounding:
The Bombers haven’t received productive contributions from Nestor Cortés, who has a 5.53 ERA and a mere 8.93 strikeouts per nine innings. After a 2022 season in which he had a 2.44 ERA, it is apparent that his confidence is waning, and his body language suggests he needs encouragement. He has allowed 15 runs in his last three appearances, including four home runs.
Clearly, Cortes is experiencing difficulties, as evidenced by his substantial increase in walk rate. He’s walked eight batters over the last three games, failing to pitch beyond the 5th inning. If the Yankees aim to remain competitive, they need their starters to improve their performance, as their bullpen can’t continually salvage games, and the offense has seen wide swings in efficiency this year.
Hopefully, Severino will recover fully and contribute positively to the team. Having another robust starter in the rotation would help address some significant shortcomings and perhaps alleviate some