New York Yankees: Grading The 2019 Starting Rotation

Now that the 2019 season is well behind us, it’s time to give out some report card grades to some of the New York Yankees starting rotation from this year. 

2019 was a crazy up and down year for the Yankees rotation. At times they showed signs of being a top pitching staff and other times they showed signs of being the worst. In the end, it wasn’t the pitching that failed the team, it was the hitting. But let’s go ahead and grade the New York Yankees top four starters.

Yankees James Paxton
Source: Getty Images

James Paxton: A-/ B+

James Paxton had a very successful first year in pinstripes. Paxton had a 15-6 record, posted a 3.82 ERA, and had 186 strikeouts in 150 innings. Paxton did go through a rough patch when he returned from the IL and once he used his curve more, his season took off. Paxton had a stretch of 10 straight wins and was almost untouchable. In the Postseason he pitched well, owning a 3.46 ERA overall(13IP/5ER). Overall, when Paxton was on he was the guy the Yankees traded for.

Tanaka Yankees
(Sept. 19, 2018 – Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America)

Masahiro Tanaka: B/B+

Tanaka was one of the pitchers most impacted by the new ball, as because the seams were more down it affected the way his splitter worked. He needed to find a new way to throw it and when he did he pitched well. In the regular season, Tanaka pitched to an 11-9 record with a 4.45 ERA and struck out 149 batters in 182 innings. But when the lights were at their brightest, Tanaka once again showed up. In the postseason, he pitched to a 2.25 ERA and continued to show the baseball world why he is one of the best postseason pitchers ever.

Yankees Domingo German
Source: Getty Images

Domingo German: B-/B

I am only looking at what Domingo did on the mound this year. In his first real shot with the New York Yankees, Domingo showed signs of a great up and coming pitcher. But like every young pitcher, he began to slow down a bit as the season went on. Overall, he pitched to an 18-4 record with a 4.03 ERA and struck out 153 batters in 143 innings. We don’t know what is going to happen to him next year, but when he was on the mound and wasn’t injured he was one of the Yankees’ best starters.

Source: Getty Images

J.A. Happ C-

When the Yankees signed Happ in the offseason, everyone was excited as he pitched so well for the Yankees when they traded for him in 2018. Excitement soon turned into disappointment as Happ was a completely different pitcher than the one we had in 2018. This season, Happ pitched to a 12-8 record with a 4.91 ERA. Happ struggled again with the long ball, giving up a career-high 34 homers. Hopefully, 2020 is a lot better for Happ as we could use an innings eater like him.

Source: Getty Images

CC Sabathia: A

Now you may be asking yourself why I gave CC an A. I know that in the regular season he owned a 5-8 record with a 4.95 ERA. I know he only struck out 107 hitters in 107 innings. But CC blew out everything in his shoulder in ALCS Game 4 and still tried to finish the inning with it. Therefore, for everything he has done for us, he gets an A.

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