New York Yankees: A Look at the 2019 Starting Rotation
The New York Yankees are coming off a season in which many fans would consider a failure. After reaching the ALCS in 2017, a year in which they weren’t supposed to be competing, the expectations heading into 2018 were pretty much ALCS or bust. Although they won 100 games, they lost the division to the rival Boston Red Sox and ended up losing to the Sox in the divisional round. The Red Sox went on to win yet another World Series and the Yankees universe was left dumbstruck. Although the talk of the offseason had been where Manny Machado and Bryce Harper would go, the Yankees made some important moves to bolster their starting rotation. With a revamped pitching staff, New York is out to not only reclaim the division but also another championship. Related Article – New York Yankees: James Paxton is key to 2019 World Series Run
At his best, Luis Severino is easily a top 10 pitcher in the MLB. His stuff is filthy and he is practically unhittable. However, at his worst, the 25-year-old is like a batting practice pitch machine. The good thing about Severino is that he is at or close to his best more often than not. It’s for this reason that the Yankees and Severino agreed to a 4-year extension worth $42M with a 5th-year option. After a shaky 2016, Severino rebounded with a strong 2017 season. He went 19-8 with a 3.39 ERA and 220 strikeouts in 32 starts. The 2018 playoffs was a Jekyll & Hyde performance for Severino. In the wildcard game, Luis threw 4 scoreless innings and had 7 strikeouts. However, in the ALDS, Severino was tagged for 6 earned runs in 3 innings in a game where the Yankees went on to lose 16-1. The key for Severino this season is just consistency. When he’s on he’s on, and when he’s off, keep the bullpen phone ready. Coming off of another All-Star season the Yankees are looking to the young Dominican Republic native to lead the staff and the team to the promise land.
In his 5 years on the Yankees Tanaka has been just about the epitome of consistency. You know what you’re getting with Masahiro. He’s a guy that works smart and knows how to use all his pitches. He is susceptible to giving up multiple long balls during a game, however, but the bases tend to not be full when it happens. For his career, he tends to win around 12-14 games in a season. Last year in 27 starts he went 12-6 with a 3.59 ERA, 159 strikeouts and allowed 35 walks. Tanaka could have had about 4 or 5 more wins on the season however the team either offered little run support or his start resulted in a “No Decision”. Tanaka will be looked at to be the team’s 2nd or 3rd starter this season and will be expected to perform much like he did last season.
An almost under the radar signing due to the Machado and Harper buzz. James Paxton is a signing that will give another quality starter to the Yankees rotation. The Big Maple spent his last 6 seasons in Seattle playing for the Mariners. Although his stats and record aren’t eye-popping, a change of scenery and better run support will help the big lefty from Canada. Last season he went 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA. He had 208 strikeouts and allowed 42 walks in 160 IP. James only averages around 5-6 innings pitched per game which should be perfect considering he would be handing the ball over to presumably the best bullpen in baseball. The addition of Paxton also means that the Yankees will have 3 lefties and 2 righties on their starting staff.
Acquired from the Blue Jays in July by the Yankees, Happ proved to be a much-needed addition. J.A. played a pivotal role for the Yanks down the stretch of the season. In 10 starts for the Yankees, last season Happ was 6-0 with all the wins coming at Yankee Stadium. In total the team was 8-2 when Happ started for them. He was especially good in the month of September where he went 2-0 in 5 starts with a 1.86 ERA. His postseason performance wasn’t one for the books however as he gave up 5 runs in 2 innings to the red sox in the divisional round. Happ was arguably one of Toronto’s best pitchers last season so bringing him to New York was a big plus. As a whole, J.A. won 17 games with 193 strikeouts last season.
Since his arrival in New York, C.C. has been the team’s workhorse and leader in the locker room. Nothing demonstrates what type of team player C.C. is than what happened last season. In his final start of the season, he needed 7 innings to hit 155IP which would trigger a clause in his contract awarding him $500K. With only 6 outs remaining in a game he was dominating, he came to the defense of his teammate Austin Romine. Romine had had his head thrown at by a Rays reliever the previous inning. Sabathia then hit a Rays batter even after the umpire had warned both sides. C.C. was ejected falling just shy of hitting the innings mark. The Yankees would eventually honor the clause anyway. Even though his numbers have dipped as he’s gotten older, C.C. is still tried and true. He is the team’s “Stopper”, usually winning his start after a Yankees loss. Last season Sabathia went 9-7 in 29 starts with a 3.65 ERA. Sabathia has already stated that this is his final season and he, along with Yankees Universe wants nothing more than to send him off on top.
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