Is the Yankees Starting Pitching Actually… Good?

The Yankees, in what has been an odd season to this point, continue to impress with their starting pitching.

We’ve heard it for years: the Yankees need more starting pitching. Alternatively, we’ve heard that they need better, more consistent starting pitching that can throw up zeros on the big stage of October. But as we creep towards mid-May, the current regime has held down the fort pretty well as late, begging the question, is the Yankees starting pitching actually good?

The Constant

Whenever you talk about the Yankees and starting pitching, the name Gerrit Cole must come up. Gerrit Cole is undoubtedly the ace of the Yankees’ staff and a top-3, maybe even better, starting pitcher in all of baseball. Cole had his first season in pinstripes last year and did not disappoint. This year, he’s been even better. So far, the righty has an ERA of just 1.61, with a FIP of 1.29 and an xFIP of 2.12. These numbers, especially the FIP and xFIP, are completely outperforming their marks from last season where those numbers were 3.89 and 3.38, respectively.

The point is, Cole’s been insanely good this season, and after a very strong season in 2020, he’s been otherworldly this season. The rotation starts and ends with him, and with Cole performing as he has so far, he’s given the Bombers a tremendous boost.

The X-Factors

We knew going into this season that the Yankees were going to have to rely on a lot of X-factors and wildcards in the rotation. These names all include Jameson Taillon, Corey Kluber, Domingo German, and even some others. Well, all three names have been solid, if not better. Each player has a 5.02 ERA, 3.06 ERA, and a 4.02 ERA, respectively, I understand that Taillon’s ERA isn’t particularly pretty. but it’s worth noting that his xFIP is 3.87 and his xERA is 3.15, which argues that he’s getting unlucky. Ideally, the ERA begins to reflect the peripheral numbers sometime soon.

As for the other two, you can just tell by the ERA that he’s been very solid, and the old eye test would tell you he’s been a lot better as of late. Unlike Taillon, Kluber’s peripherals say he actually maybe getting lucky instead of unlucky, as his xERA and FIP sit at 3.92 and 3.93, respectively. Finally, German has put up solid numbers so far this year and he’s shown capabilities of being a solid mid-rotation starter.

Yankees Have Help on the Way

Eventually this season, the Yankees plan on adding yet another X-factor to the rotation when Luis Severino returns from Tommy John Surgery. Just like Taillon, Kluber, and German, Severino has pitched very limitedly since 2019, so you can’t expect him to come back and be what he was back in 2018 and 2017. However, if he can find his footing quickly, he should fit in nicely with the current rotation, and dare I say, be a crucial piece to the Yankees finding their 28th World Series Title.

I do want to be clear and say that there is absolutely no guarantee that these numbers for the rotation hold up. However, the past few starts for Kluber, Taillon, and German (although one series was against the Tigers) have been encouraging, to say the least. If you’re the Yankees, you just have to hope that Cole continues to be himself while the X-factors and wild cards keep finding their footing.

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