For the fourth time in franchise history, the New York Yankees signed a starting pitcher to a deal worth more than $100 million. They signed Carlos Rodon to a six-year, $162 million deal earlier this month.
The Yankees didn’t head into the offseason in dire need of a $100 million-plus starter. Their starting rotation was the backbone of their successful 2022 season. From the emergence of Nestor Cortes Jr. to Gerrit his Cole helming the team’s most dominant season, many clubs have not provided their starters with answers all season.
The Yankees’ rotation placed them fourth in the team’s earned run average (3.51) and fifth in strikeouts (897) in the regular season play rankings.
With the addition of Rodon, the Yankees have the best rotation in the majors for two notable reasons.
Rodon’s fastball adds another dimension to Yankees’ starting rotation
Rodon’s All-Star rise can be attributed to his rejuvenated fastball. 250 against lefties in five of his first six years in the majors. In his last two seasons, few hitters have found success on the pitch.
Thanks to a slight increase in speed and a significant improvement in control, Rodon could rely on his four-seam fastball to overwhelm hitters. He produced his 225 combined strikeouts off the fastball in 2021 and his 2022 season. Additionally, he has recorded at least his 13.0% swing-strike percentage against the pitch over the past two years.
Rodon is set to join the Yankees’ rotation, featuring Cole and Cortez, two of the most efficient fastball pitchers in the American League today. Last year, both pitchers recorded 100 strikeouts with four-seam fastballs.
While there are many hard-throw starters in today’s sport, many others have made careers simply directing the strike zone. Rodon boasts the best of both worlds. Not only can his fastball easily score strikeouts, but his command of pitches in and out of his zone can leave hitters dazed and confused at bat.
Rodon’s strong success in the RISP situation
It became a regular occurrence to see the Yankees escape jams last season. ranked 3rd in the majors.
Fortunately for the reigning American League East champions, they added a left-handed pitcher who regularly frustrates opposing hitters in RISP situations.
In his only campaign with the San Francisco Giants, Rodon batted . 221 and had a total of 56 strikeouts in at-bats. Overall, opposing hitters posted a . 197 batting average that was low against his two-time All-Star on base.
Rodon will face many duels in his next debut campaign in the AL East, and he certainly needs to stay calm, calm and composed whenever he runs into trouble during the innings. Nonetheless, the left-hander has proven he can thrive in those conditions, and the AL he will have to reflect that next season alongside the East’s powerhouses.
Overall, the Yankees have put together one of the most balanced rotations in MLB today. This is what coach Aaron Boone hoped would come true in the offseason.
Boone said earlier this month, “You love the way it looks.” But I like where we’re starting, especially the game.”
For Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, competitiveness within the rotation is what will drive the unit next year.
“The best starting rotation is when you have a good staff and every day yesterday’s starter is handing the ball to his teammates, being competitive and saying, ‘This is it,'” Cashman said. said at an introductory press conference in Rodon. this month.
“If you can get a collection of talented pitchers with that kind of ability and composition, you have a chance of something magical happening.”
Every rotation has its own fair share of question marks. For the Yankees, there are health concerns with multiple starters, but overall their rotation has what it takes to emerge as the most efficient rotation in the majors in the 2023 campaign.