Yankees’ young pitcher returning from injury could have a massive impact in 2024

MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees
Mar 16, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Luis Gil (81) throws a pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

With spring training winding down, the Yankees are getting a few last looks at some of their rebounding pitchers coming off injury. Carlos Rodon should get another start before opening day, and 25-year-old Luis Gil is expected to get the start on Friday against the New York Mets.

Gil has the upside to be an impact player for the Yankees in 2024, but the last few seasons have been marred by injury. He threw just 25 innings in 2022 and four innings in 2023. His MLB debut came back in 2021 with a 3.07 ERA over 29.1 innings. The team saw plenty of upside to consider Gil an exciting young prospect, but they’ve had to wait two more years to finally see him reach peak health.

The Yankees Are Seeing the Best of Luis Gil This Spring

Fortunately, Gil is showcasing his vintage velocity and has been dominant this spring over 11.2 innings. He has a 2.1 ERA, 13.89 strikeouts per nine, and an impressive 96.8% left-on-base rate and 31.8% ground ball rate.

He’s thrown three different pitches: a four-seam fastball, change-up, and slider. Notably, his fastball is averaging out at 96.8 mph, so that should reach its normal levels during the regular season. It’s also producing 17.9 inches of vertical movement, which is extremely impressive. His slider has a gyro action with 7.6 inches of vertical movement at 87.5 mph, so whereas the Yankees have been focusing on sweeping sliders, he’s doing the exact opposite.

Impressively, Gil is generating a .050 batting average against his four-seam fastball, which would be one of the best in spring ball; he’s also generating a 45.5% whiff rate on his fastball and 47.4% with his change-up. It is evident that Gil is utilizing a high level of deviation to confuse opposing batters and catch them off guard.

There’s a reason Gil is getting another start on Friday afternoon: the Yankees are trying to determine who will be the final starter in the rotation. It is possible they go with a platoon, which would include the 25-year-old and Warren, who has also made a positive impact this spring.

Losing Gerrit Cole for a few months is certainly not what the Yankees hoped going into the season, but they are confident in their young arms to step up and fill the void for the time being. Fortunately, Cole will return at some point this upcoming year, and that is phenomenal news for the Yankees, who maintain their World Series aspirations.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Gil was utilized in a similar way to Jhony Brito, operating as a relief pitcher but also as a spot starter when need be. Of course, they will ramp up his innings over the next few weeks since he hasn’t pitched much over the last two years. The Yankees have plenty of time to get Gil where he needs to be, and he’s already trending in that direction in late March.

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