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The New York Yankees’ Pitching rotation, A Complete Breakdown

The New York Yankees are a team that have grabbed fans’ attention since the franchise began in 1901. With the second highest payroll in Major League Baseball, the Yankees have always been able to attract top talent

The New York Yankees are a team that have grabbed fans’ attention since the franchise began in 1901. With the second highest payroll in Major League Baseball, they have always been able to attract top talent. This is one of the many reasons why the Yankees find themselves leading the big leagues in World Series titles, with a whopping 27 championships!

Despite this amazing feat, The Bronx Bombers have not managed to win The World Series since 2009. Pitching has been a problematic theme for them. But, there is hope for this upcoming season. This season, the Yankees have a terrific starting pitching rotation. If their bullpen stays strong and their offense produces, there is no telling what this team is capable of. Today, Back Sports Page is going to break down the New York Yankees’ pitching rotation.

1. Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole is the Yankees’ current ace, hands down. He has a career ERA of 3.19, with 101 wins and 55 Losses. Cole has achieved this with his lethal fastball slider combination. Gerrit Cole’s fastball is arguably his best pitch, averaging around 97.1 miles per hour. In 2019 he racked up 178 strikeouts with this pitch alone, and his velocity is in the top-five among the leagues starting pitchers.

Cole also has an elite slider, which he mixes in with his fastball to keep hitters off balance. Unfortunately for him, it was that same slider the Teoscar Hernadez homered off. This lead to the Blue Jays tying the Yankees, and eventually winning the game.

Even though Gerrit Cole allowed a two-run homer in his last appearance, he still had a solid outing overall. He pitched 5.1 innings, allowing five hits and two runs. These runs were scored during the previously mentioned home run. Cole will continue mowing batters down regardless, and Yankee fans can expect great things from this ace.

2. Corey Kluber

Corey Kluber is another talented athlete the Yankees acquired during the offseason. Kluber has a career ERA of 3.16, and has won two Cy Young awards in his career. He has a solid fastball in the low 90’s, and arguably one of the better breaking balls in the game.

Many Yankee fans were concerned when Corey was first picked up. This is because he missed the previous season due to an injury. After pitching a single inning, Kluber was pulled out of the game. Once examined he was diagnosed with a torn teres major muscle. This is located below the lat muscle, and caused him to miss the entire season.

Despite this injury, Kluber has made a full recovery and will be a key piece in this five man rotation. Kluber proved he was the real deal during his official Yankee debut. He pitched four total innings, allowing only one earned run and striking out five. Kluber has potential to be great for the Yanks, as long as he manages to stay healthy.

3. Domingo Germán

Domingo Germán wasn’t even sure if he was going to play this season. Germán had just finished serving out an 81 game suspension for domestic violence abuse. His suspension had started in September of 2019, and this spring he took the mound for the first time since then. Germán was unsure of his future, and went into spring battling Devi Garci for the fifth spot in the pitching rotation.

Germán did more than just battle, and had an impressive spring. Domingo did not allow a single run in nine innings, before giving up his first walk off in spring training. Those nine innings were spread out between three outings with 13 strikeouts mixed in. On top of that, Germán had proven himself worthy prior to his suspension. He was 18-4 leading the league in wins, and had 153 strikeouts.

Due to his superior performance and experience, Germán beat out Devi and made the starting five. He will be pitching game three as of now, but is not guaranteed the third spot in the rotation. As he continues to earn back fans’ trust, Germán will be a valuable pitcher for the Yanks.

4. Jordan Montgomery

Jordan Montgomery has tremendous potential, despite the fact he struggled in the previous season. In 2020, Montgomery was only 2-3 with an ERA sitting at 5.11. This lack of success can be linked with his season ending injury in 2018, when Montgomery received Tommy John surgery. Getting Tommy John then having a terrible comeback season raised many questions for the Yankees. Was Jordan Montgomery even worth it?

Montgomery put his money where his mouth was, having a phenomenal spring to silence everyone’s doubts. In 10 innings pitched he had seven strikeouts, with an ERA of 0.90. Jordan relies on a nasty cutter, and a solid curveball to carve hitters up. He also has been improving his cutter with advice from former Yankee pitchers C.C Sabathia, and Andy Pettite. 

If Montgomery pitches the way he did this spring, it will make all the difference in the world for The Bronx Bombers. With tips from former greats and a hunger to prove his doubters wrong, Montgomery has a chance to really establish himself as a solid pitcher this season.

5. James Taillon

Last but not least in the rotation is James Taillon… kind of. Aaron Boone has unique plans for the rotation, due to the fact Taillon is coming off an injury. They plan to use Gerrit Cole as the fifth man, then Taillon will pitch after Cole. So the rotation will look like: Cole, Kluber, Germán, Montgomery, Cole again, Taillon, then repeat with Kluber following the cycle.

This sounds complicated, but the purpose is to give James a little bit more rest. He didn’t pitch a single inning last season, because he was recovering from Tommy John surgery. Allowing him that extra rest is crucial for his health. The last thing the Yankees need is one of their starting pitchers getting injured.

Taillon is a very talented pitcher when not injured. He has a career ERA of 3.67, with 419 strikeouts. James has good velocity sitting consistently in the mid 90’s with his fastball, and has a solid hammer curveball. The best part about him is his ground ball induction rate, which is at 50 percent. Half the contact made against him stays on the ground. That’s all you can ask for from a pitcher.

It’s concerning that he has twice undergone Tommy John surgery, but Boone is taking the precautions necessary to keep Taillon healthy. That will be the biggest focus for him, because then James can really do some damage for the Yankees.

Being injured seems to be the recurring theme in this rotation. The Yankees have two starting pitchers who didn’t even play last season because of injuries. But, if Taillon and Kluber manage to stay healthy, they are game changers. That will be the make or break for this Yankee team. If all five of these men stay healthy, fans may get to witness history being made.

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