Yankees’ young pitcher is turning into a superstar before our eyes

MLB: Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees couldn’t have asked for more regarding young pitcher Luis Gil and his dominance to open the 2024 season. At his current pace, he is not only in line to make the All-Star game, but he may also end up competing for the Cy Young award at just 26 years old, coming off Tommy John rehabilitation.

Luis Gil’s Remarkable Start to the 2024 Season

The last time Gil made an appearance in the MLB was back in 2022, tossing just four innings after dealing with another injury. He threw 29.1 innings in 2021, showcasing solid upside with a 3.07 ERA, but what he’s doing this year is simply unheard of.

Over 69.1 innings, Gil hosts a 1.82 ERA, 2.95 FIP, 11.03 strikeouts per nine, and an 84.2% left-on-base rate and 38.9% ground ball rate. Despite walking 4.41 batters per nine, he’s recorded a 6% HR/FB ratio, suggesting he’s not allowing flyballs to travel very far when they do get lofted.

May 18, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Gil (81) reacts after the final out in the top of the sixth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Gil’s Pitching Arsenal and Impact on the Yankees

Gil ranks in the 100th percentile in pitching run value, 98th percentile in xERA, and 98th percentile in xBA. He’s allowing one of the lowest hard-hit percentages in the league, featuring a fastball, change-up, and slider combination. Opposing hitters are batting .133 against his four-seamer, .136 against his changeup, and .109 against his slider, with his expected stats all below .200. His fastball is notably impressive, averaging 96.5 mph and generating 2465 RPMs of spin.

As long as he gets his fastball across the strike zone, opposing batters are simply unable to touch it. His four-seamer produces 11% more vertical movement than the average pitcher, allowing it to dance around the strike zone and keep hitters honest. His change-up, which still averages 91.3 mph, moves with significant horizontal movement. While his four-seamer only has 5.3 inches of horizontal break, his changeup has 15.4, coming in looking like a fastball and dancing from left to right instead of vertically.

The best part about Gil’s progression is that the Yankees haven’t had Gerrit Cole this entire time. Cole just recently finished his first rehab game, dominating with Double-A Somerset.

Once Cole returns to the rotation, the Yankees will have two bona fide aces, not to mention successful starts to the season from Carlos Rodon, Nestor Cortes, and Marcus Stroman. Clarke Schmidt was putting together a tremendous second year as a starter but succumbed to a right lat strain that will keep him out for the next few weeks, potentially with a return date close to the summer trade deadline.

Gil showcased his dominance once again on Tuesday against the Minnesota Twins, tossing 6.0 scoreless innings, giving up just one hit and six strikeouts. Some believe that the Yankees should be careful with his innings, but they’re letting him operate without any constraints, and they need to continue building his confidence and compounding his growth.

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