Yankees’ top starting pitcher has been Gerrit Cole’s replacement

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Having won their first four consecutive series to open the 2024 season, the Yankees sit 10–3. They are looking to pick up more wins against the Cleveland Guardians on Saturday in a doubleheader. Friday night’s game was postponed due to rain, but the Yankees will look to make their mark with Clarke Schmidt and Cody Poteet on the mound to open the series.

This past week, Nestor Cortes and Carlos Rodon both put together strong performances, trending in the right direction with their velocity and accuracy. However, their best starter up to this point has been Gerrit Cole’s replacement, Luis Gil.

The Yankees Are Getting More Than They Expected From Luis Gil

The 25-year-old pitcher was fantastic during spring training, showcasing elite stuff and convincing the Yankee brass to unleash him without any innings limits.

To open the season, Gil has made two starts totaling nine innings, hosting a 3.00 ERA, 2.81 FIP, 14 strikeouts per nine, a 72.7% left-on-base rate, and a 37.5% ground ball rate. He hasn’t given up a home run over that sample but has walked seven batters per nine; he will be looking to reduce that number over the next few weeks.

However, Gil ranks in the top percentile in most important pitching metrics, including the 93rd percentile in fastball velocity and the 93rd percentile in strikeout rate. He’s also ranking in the 96th percentile in hard hit percentage, suggesting he’s not allowing damage contact to opposing batters. His pitch sequence of a four-seam fastball, change change-up, and slider has been electric.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

In fact, his fastball is producing a .063 batting average against with a 31.8% whiff rate, including 10 strikeouts. His change-up generates a .111 batting average with a 26.7% rate and 18.2% put-away rate. While his slider is only used at 16.2%, he has enough deviation in his pitches to get the job done and keep batters guessing. With his fastball velocity touching 97 mph on average and even reaching triple digits at times, Gil has a lethal weapon to utilize.

There’s no other way to say it but that Gil has nasty stuff on the mound, and the Yankees are ecstatic about his recovery from Tommy Jon surgery in 2022. He only pitched four innings for the Yankees in their minor-league system last season as he worked his way back. Still, hard work over the winter set him up perfectly to secure a starting job to supplement injury, and the Yankees are always dealing with a number of issues in the rotation.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: