Since the Yankees starting rotation has a number of big question marks, let’s take a look at how it has changed from the beginning of the season to now.
The Yankees are known nowadays, to have a “lackluster” pitching staff. However, if you dig deeper in the numbers, the Yankees have one of the most underrated pitching staffs in all of Major League Baseball. They have two Ace-worthy pitchers (Luis Severino and James Paxton), two solid back end starters (Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ), and CC Sabathia, who is a veteran whose career is coming to a close at the end of this season. They also have someone that almost everyone has forgotten about, Jordan Montgomery.
Montgomery had burst onto the scene in 2017 but had his season cut short to just six games last year because of required Tommy John surgery. Montgomery in 2017 went 9-7 with a 3.88 ERA and FIP of 4.07. Something that he needs to improve on is keeping the ball down in the zone. He gave up 21 home runs in 155.1 innings. However, with his nasty curveball and a mid 90s fastball, Montgomery has the potential to be another 3-or-4 starter within the Yankees organization.
Next, J.A. Happ is an underrated starting pitcher. He produces a lot of soft contact which is beneficial for playing in the confines at Yankee Stadium, with the short porch out in right field. In 2018, Happ went 17-6 with a 3.65 ERA and a 1.131 whip. Both of those hover around league average, however, you would like to see the ERA down a bit. Happ was named an all-star with the Toronto Blue Jays last season. For Happ so far, age has just been a number, putting solid numbers at age 35. However, age may play a factor in Happ’s decline as he enters his age 36 season.
Towards the end of March, the Yankees picked up Gio Gonzalez to a minor league deal. Gonzalez pitched once in spring training, and pitched relatively poorly, leading to many people believing that he may not crack the starting rotation. His contract, however, allows him to become a free agent again by April 28th in the event he is not called up to the big league club. Gonzalez, however, can be some nice depth to the Yankees ball club overall as a fail-safe, in the event another starter goes down with an injury. One of the perks of having a guy like Gonzalez is him having the ability to eat innings. The Yankees may need some help with that over course the season, and Gio Gonzalez could really help with that.
As for the Yankees rotation compared to the entire league, I think they had a top 15 rotation. They have pitchers with experience, and some sort of depth in pitchers like Domingo German, and Jonathan Loaisiga (although I believe all Yankees fan agree we do not want to see German on the bump unless no one else is available. With pitchers like Dallas Keuchel still out in free agency, the Yankees can continue to bolster the staff.
As we can see now, the Yankees have struck out of Dallas Keuchel, released Gonzalez, and have relied on Domingo German and Masahiro Tanaka to carry the rotation. Now, pitchers like Marcus Stroman and Madison Bumgarner have been linked to the Yankees since May. If the Yankees want to be a true title contender and not a Wild Card team, they must acquire a starting pitcher before or around the trade deadline.