2016 New York Yankees Preview: Starting Pitching
The Super Bowl is over, and a new baseball season is upon us and every few days I will be rolling out my opinions on the New York Yankees 2016 season. With pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training in only a week, it is time once again to get excited for baseball.
The first position to discuss is starting pitching. The Yankees did a lot this offseason, keeping the team intact while getting younger. They acquired Starlin Castro, Aaron Hicks and most notably added Aroldis Chapman to their already seller bullpen. The major question mark coming into the 2016-17 season is starting pitching.
The Yankees starting pitching has to stay healthy. Mashiro Tanaka will remain atop the rotation. Tanaka has pitched with a partial tear in his throwing elbow, and has had stints on the DL in each of his first two seasons in Major League Baseball. The Yankees will need Tanaka to get back to the way he was before suffering the elbow injury. Tanaka has been good, but the Yankees will need him in top form atop the rotation in 2016.
Along side Tanaka will be rookie sensation Luis Severino. In 11 starts in 2015 Severino was 5-3 with a 2.89 earned run average. The most impressive part of Severino’s game is his ability to stay calm in tough spots. The soon-to-be 22-year old has electric stuff and will be a huge part of the Yankees rotation in 2016.
Next up is Yankees flame thrower Nathan Eovoldi. Eovoldi was 14-3 with a 4.20 ERA in 2015. He was everything the Yankees could have asked for and more. Eovoldi’s strong velocity helped his strikeout totals rise, but elbow inflammation forced the Yankees to shut him down in early September. Eovaldi will be ready for spring training and the Yankees will need him to be back to form in 2016.
Now the rotation gets questionable. The Yankees have CC Sabathia, who checked himself into alcohol rehabilitation before the 2015 Wild Card Game. Sabathia was 6-10 with a 4.73 ERA in 2015. He has also had a nagging knee injury that has caused him to miss time. Following rehab and some time off, the Yankees are hoping Sabathia can come back healthy in 2016. If they want to be contenders, the Yankees need everything they can get from the 35-year old lefty.
They also have Michael Pineda, who has been on a never ending roller coaster ride since he arrived in New York. Pineda at times looks like the best pitcher in New York, and at times looks lost on the mound. The right hander started 27 games in the 2015 season, going 12-10 with an ERA north of 4.30. The Yankees need Pineda to stay consistent and healthy as he is yet to pitch a full season in New York.
The last starter on the Yankees roster is right-hander Ivan Nova. Nova, coming off of Tommy John Surgery in 2015 started 17 games. He went 6-11 with a 5.07 ERA. Nova will most likely be the Yankees sixth starter in 2016, but may also be used as a middle reliever in the bullpen.
All in all, I see the Yankees rotation looking like this:
- Masahiro Tanaka
- Luis Severino
- Michael Pineda
- Nathan Eovoldi
- CC Sabathia
- Ivan Nova
On paper the rotation looks like a pretty good one, especially when it is thrown in with the best bullpen in baseball.
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