The Yankees pitching staff has been a major strength for the team so far this season. The starting rotation has been solid as a whole and the bullpen is still one of the best in all of baseball. They are a team normally known for their offense, and in particular, slugging home runs, but through the first month-plus of this year, they have ultimately been winning games on the mound instead of at the plate.
Dominant Yankees Pitching
While the offense has struggled through the early part of this season, the pitching has mostly carried them and is the main reason why they are still an above .500 team at this point. In all of MLB, the Yankees pitching currently ranks second in team ERA, first in team WHIP, and second in team OBA. They have also issued the second-fewest walks and have recorded the third-most strikeouts. In all five of these statistical categories, they are ranked in first place in the American League.
The Yankees pitching staff was a group that came into this season with many question marks. They made several personnel changes to both their rotation and their bullpen this past offseason. So far in this very young season, those questions have been answered in a positive manner. The Yankees pitching staff has been a dominant unit, and these three scorching hot arms are a big reason why.
The only member of the Yankees pitching rotation that came into this season without any question marks was their ace, Gerrit Cole. He is one of the best pitchers in all of baseball and this year he is once again playing like it. He has been absolutely spectacular so far and his numbers prove it. Through six starts he has not allowed more than two earned runs in any one start and has struck out at least eight in each appearance.
Cole has only allowed one home run all season and that all the way back in his very first start on Opening Day. He currently has a stellar 1.43 ERA and 0.72 WHIP. Probably most impressive is his strikeout rate, with a massive 62 of them over just 37.2 innings pitched for a 14.8 strikeouts per 9 inning average. To put the cherry on top, he has only issued three walks all season, including zero over his last three starts.
The way that Cole has been dominating makes him the clear early favorite to win the AL Cy Young this year. His next scheduled start is one that may be a little more amped for than usual. He will get the opportunity to take on his former team, the Houston Astros, in an afternoon game in the Bronx.
Unlike Cole, Corey Kluber did come into this season as a bit of a wild card. When he is on top of his game he is one of the best pitchers in baseball, as demonstrated by winning two AL Cy Young awards. Unfortunately for him, he has been plagued by injuries in recent years and did not pitch much at all in 2019 or 2020. Confident in his ability to bounce back and return to form, GM Brian Cashman signed Kluber to the Yankees pitching rotation with high expectations.
The first four starts for Kluber in the Yankees pitching rotation were not exactly what the organization was hoping for. He failed to complete five innings in any of those starts and allowed a total of nine runs. Across his first 15 innings pitched, he allowed 18 hits and issued a very disappointing 11 walks to go with only 14 strikeouts. The efficiency that he was so well known for in the past just simply wasn’t there.
It appears as though that can just be chalked up to rust, hopefully, because he turned things around after that and has looked like much more of himself, and like the version of Kluber the Yankees pitching rotation needs. Across his last two starts, he has pitched a total of 14.2 innings and has allowed only one run. Even more impressive is that he only issued three walks and allowed just eight hits. He will look to keep things rolling in his next scheduled start when he gets the opportunity to duel a future Hall of Famer in Max Scherzer.
The best relief pitcher in all of baseball this season has been Aroldis Chapman. It’s not a huge surprise because he is always dominant, but this year he has been even more special than usual. The Yankees pitching has been defined by the great bullpen production over the last several seasons, and this one is no different. Anchored by their closer, the bullpen has once again been a reliable weapon for the team.
To say that Chapman has been lights out is an understatement. He has been next to untouchable through this early part of the season. In ten innings pitched, including six saves, he has allowed just two hits and issued only three walks. He has not yet allowed any runs and has a ridiculous 24 strikeouts. This averages out to an almost unbelievable 21.6 strikeouts per 9 innings. His stuff has been absolutely electric, mixing in breaking pitches to go with his well over 100 MPH fastball. Chapman is pitching better than ever right now, which is saying a lot for a guy with a career as good as his.
Follow me on Twitter at @AdamHulseSports for more of my content! Don’t forget to join our OT Heroics MLB Facebook group, and feel free to join our new Instagram – @overtimeheroics_MLB, and listen to our baseball podcast, Cheap Seat Chatter! We’ll see ya there!
Come join the discussion made by the fans at the Overtime Heroics forums! A place for all sports!
Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images