Position Preview: Starting Rotation

Coming into this offseason, the starting rotation was at the top of Yankees fans’ minds along with a new contract for DJ LeMahieu.  After allowing JA Happ to leave in free agency and Masahiro Tanaka returning to Japan, and still awaiting the return of Luis Severino after Tommy John surgery prior to Spring Training last season, the Yankees have some new faces in the rotation, as well as a few familiar ones returning.  Welcome to the 2021 BBB Preview of the Yankees Starting Rotation.

                               

Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

1.    Gerrit Cole

 

He’s the Yankees’ $324 Million Man, and he played like one last year.  Outside of a rough three outing stretch in the middle of the season where he gave up 5, 4, and 5 runs to the Braves, Rays, and Orioles (of which only 1 out of their 5 runs was earned); Cole pitched like the ace that he is to the tune of a 2.84 ERA in 73 Innings, leading Yankees’ starters in both categories.  Currently the odds-on favorite to win the 2021 AL Cy Young Award, Cole looks to continue his trend of dominance this season in his quest to win his first Cy Young.  He looked very solid in his five spring training starts, surrendering only 5 runs in 18.1 innings and striking out 24 along the way.  Cole will look to finally greet the Yankees faithful on Thursday, as he will toe the rubber on Opening Day when fans can finally make their long awaited return to Yankees Stadium.

 

2.   Corey Kluber

 

Last season, Kluber only pitched one inning before tearing a muscle in his throwing shoulder.  Now, the soon-to-be 35-year-old is looking to prove that he can still be a solid pitcher at the major league level.  This is a great situation for him to do so, playing for a team with championship aspirations and teaming up with Pitching Coach Matt Blake, who worked with him when he was winning Cy Young Awards in Cleveland.  Obviously you want to take Spring Training numbers with a grain of salt, but Kluber looked really good in his four Spring starts, giving up 5 runs (4 earned) in 13 innings with 14 strikeouts.  Hopefully he can continue this into the season and stay healthy along the way *fingers crossed*.

 

3.    Domingo German

 

After missing all of last season due to a Domestic Violence suspension, German is looking to earn back the trust and respect of those in the locker room and in the stands.  There has never been questions about German’s talent, he’s always had great stuff on the mound, but his problem has been reliability, as he could not remain consistent on or off the field, and last season adds to that as well.  I’m hoping in his off time that he got the help that he needed to rehabilitate his relationships with both his family and his teammates.  If he can remain stable both on and off the mound, it could be a very good season for German, who looked very, very good in his four spring starts, allowing just 2 runs (both in his final start) in 13 innings and striking out 17 with just one single walk.

 

4.   Jordan Montgomery

 

After returning from Tommy John Surgery last season, Montgomery looks to improve off of his worst statistical year of his still brief career, where he had a 5.11 ERA in 10 starts and pitched 44 innings.  The lone southpaw on the Yankees rotation, Gumby also had himself a very nice Spring, in which he pitched 10 innings in his three starts and allowed just 1 run.  If he can even just return to his rookie form, where he earned himself a 3.88 ERA in 29 starts, pitching 155.1 innings and striking out 144, his season would be an extreme success.

 

5.    Jameson Taillon

 

The Yankees’ biggest trade acquisition of the offseason, Taillon is a talented pitcher with tremendous upside coming off of his second Tommy John surgery.  A former teammate of Gerrit Cole with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Taillon has been riddled with injuries throughout his career, but, when healthy, has been a very good pitcher with a career ERA of 3.67 through 466 innings in his 4 seasons in Pittsburgh.  This season, the 29-year-old looks to show not only that he can still be a very good starting pitcher following his surgery, but also that he can remain healthy for the full campaign.  If he can do so, the Yankees will have a very good chance at fulfilling their lofty goals this season. 


By Nick Simonelli

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