We take a look at the New York Yankees pitching staff today. Although they haven't made any moves regarding starters, you never know with this franchise as they possess deep pockets and have been known to surprise people with impulsive decisions in the past. Let's take a look.
Tanaka is the clear ace on this staff and lets remember, this was a guy that won 26 consecutive games in Japan one time. Tanaka is coming off of a season in which he was injured at times and pitched a total of 154 innings. Some say he should've had Tommy John Surgery, but Tanaka and his people opted not to and he finished up the season with 12-7 record and a 3.51 ERA. Tanaka pitched the AL Wild Card Game against the Houston Astros at home and the Astros defeated the Yankees, beating the MLB odds.
Tanaka is what I like to call a weak ace or a strong number 2 pitcher. If healthy he should see more innings and an improvement where production is concerned. This is not a guy that gets phased. He's known to get hit hard in the 1st inning and then calms down for the remainder of the game.
I always refer to Michael Pineda in this matter as he got caught with pine tar behind the neck. Nonetheless, this is a guy that can pitch with the best of them when he's in the zone. He's a real competitor and 2016 is a big year for him as the Yankees management didn't go out and get a big named starter in the off-season. This means they're content with Pineda as the #2 guy and the 12-10 record with a 4.37 ERA that he had last season.
I think this guy is a lot better than his record indicates. Manager, Joe Girardi, has shown that he has the “quick hook” and this takes possible wins away from the pitchers if the bullpen doesn't hold up. Pineda's job will be to cut down on the hits allowed and he will have a much better season..278 to opposing hitters just won't cut it.
A Lucky Man
I'm not sure that Nathan Eovaldi's position in the #3 spot is secure as he received a ton of run support last season. He was an amazing 14-3 and pitched over a 4.00 ERA. With statistics like that, a pitcher needs luck and I don't expect the same from Eovaldi this season.
We go back to opposing hitters getting hits off of the starters and see that Eovaldi had more luck as he allowed them to hit .285 off of him. He'll either be slated in the #3 or #4 spot in the rotation as 2nd year pitcher, Lou Severino, had moments where he looked good on the mound. Eovaldi is somewhat of a wild card. If the Yankees want to win, they must hope that he pitches respectably or they can be in a bit of trouble.
As I mentioned, Lou Severino (5-3, 2.89) is slated as the #5 starter, but that won't stick. C.C. Sabathia is fighting alcoholism and his best days are behind him. It will be interesting to see the way that the Yanks play this as Severino can move up quickly where the pitching rotation is concerned. From what I've seen, he can move as high as the #2 pitcher if Pineda pitches poorly.
Severino held opposing batters to a .229 batting average in 11 starts and had a fine rookie campaign. I look for this youngster to improve in 2016 and really solidify an important spot in this rotation.
Due to the lack of moves for which the Yankees are known for, they will just have to hold their breath and see if luck goes their way as there's definitely a possibility that it might, but let's look out for possible trades before placing MLB picks on them to win the World Series.