The Yankees' starting pitching should be a huge strength in 2018

As the Yankees made it one game short of the World Series, the main key of getting them there was their impressive starting pitching. With the rotation adding a key piece in Sonny Gray for the last stretch of 2017 along with the other four arms they already possessed, expect the rotation to be the strength of this stacked team in 2018.

Photo Credit: Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports

It’s not too crazy to say this was the best part of the team in 2017. The bullpen certainly had many blown saves and games they gave up, while the offense proved to be very streaky and inconsistent especially come playoff time. Headlined by Luis Severino who turned into the ace everyone was hoping he’d become, the rotation dominated the postseason. CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka were absolutely incredible in their starts, keeping the Yanks in games despite the disappearance of the offense. Sonny Gray also got involved with an incredible start in the ALCS and wasn’t too bad for a fourth starter. Luis Severino wasn’t even a top two pitcher for the Yanks, as he wasn’t as dominant as he was in the regular season, but he was still solid enough to keep the team in the game.
In 2018 though, expect this rotation to take another step forward. Severino will be fully expected to follow up his 2017 with a similar 2018 performance, while Sonny Gray should be better than he was the last month or so of the season. Tanaka should also be much better than he was last season, which he was abysmal for much of. The second half version of himself was much closer to the Tanaka we are normally used to seeing. An encouraging sign for this rotation was their ability to stay healthy. An integral part of the rotation was Sabathia who has revitalized his career and resigning him this offseason should be at the top of the Yankees’ list of priorities.

Photo Credit: Thomas A. Ferrara/Newsday
Many are disappointed by the Yankees’ failure to land Japanese superstar, two-way player Shohei Ohtani, but as long as CC returns, this rotation should be just fine without Ohtani. Even Alex Cobb, who’s been linked to the Yankees, is not particularly needed on this team especially if he demands a large contract. If the Yanks can get him at a decent price, then yes he would be a tremendous fifth starter for an already loaded roster that’s ready to take the next step. This would move Jordan Montgomery out of the rotation, who pitched courageously well in his rookie season.

If CC does not return and Cobb or any other free agent is not signed, the Yankees would likely look to Chad Green to be the fifth starter. One of the most dominant relievers last season, the Yankees front office stated that Green would be carried into Spring Training as a starter, which is a bit of surprise after his 2017 season. If not Green, another internal option would be Chance Adams. Despite the Yankees amusing refusal to call him up yet, stating he’s not “big league ready”, one would have to think he’ll get a shot in the majors this season as a starter, whether it be due to an injury or a need for a fifth starter.

Photo Credit: Howard Simmons/New York Daily News

Once a part of the team that you could not trust, the starting rotation is now arguably the strength of the New York Yankees. They were one of the best in 2017 and should only be better in 2018 with a full season of Sonny Gray and hopefully a bounceback season from Masahiro Tanaka. The starting rotation will play a crucial role in taking the Yankees to the next step and creating the dynasty that so many Yankee fans are hoping for.

Article by: Spencer Schultz


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