Now that we’re done with the position players, let’s get to the pitchers’ report cards – today we’ll look at the starters. Before we begin, it may be significant to note…
I’m only including pitchers who threw at least 100 innings (so no Domingo German) and pitchers who finished the season with the Yanks (so no Jordan Montgomery). Also, the more I learn about baseball, the more I realize that team defense plays a far (and I mean FAR) bigger role in a pitcher’s numbers than most folks realize so I don’t completely disregard ERA, but I don’t give it much credence. To that end, I stick mostly with measurements that greatly reduce or completely eliminate team defense, and go with numbers that tell me what the pitcher did or did not do.
Enough of the preamble. In no particular order…
I know I just said “in no particular order” but I’m starting with Taillon for a reason. Taillon was clearly the Yankees’ fourth-best starter this season (fifth if you count Jordan Montgomery), and he was a pretty good pitcher in 2022 – that’s my shout-out to Matt Blake, the coaching staff, and the pitching staff in general.
Among 140 pitchers in MLB who threw a minimum of 100 innings, Taillon finished in the top half of the league in cFIP, xFIP, SIERA, and K-BB%. He was a strike-throwing machine over 32 starts and 177.1 innings, which is to say, that many innings with a better-than-league average performance is a damn valuable player over 162 games.
I was going to give you a quiz, but I just gave you the answer, so play along…
What if I told you that there was a pitcher that was in the top five in MLB in innings pitched, and was above the 95th percentile in K-BB%, xFIP, and SIERA while being above the 90th percentile in cFIP? Oh, he also led all MLB pitchers in sending batters directly back to the dugout.
You would say that pitcher is absolutely one of the best ten pitchers in baseball. If you don’t think so I urge you to ask someone who loves you to bring you to the ER for a tox screen and psych eval.
That’s what Gerrit Cole did this year in a supposed “off” year for him – a year in which many Yankee fans somewhat comically feel he isn’t the best pitcher on his own team. And if you aren’t aware, both xFIP and cFIP factor home runs allowed into their equations, so don’t come at me with “but, but, the big home run!” because I will yawn and laugh – not sure which order.
Sevy reminded us this season that he is in fact, a bad man. Among MLB pitchers who threw at least 100 innings in ’22 he finished in the top third in K-BB%, SIERA, xFIP, and cFIP – and the cFIP and xFIP were second-best on the team behind Cole.
Only Severino’s health, which limited him to 19 starts and 102 innings on the season, knock down his grade a little as he was fantastic for the Yanks.
There’s not much to say about Cortes that hasn’t already been said. He’s gone from a nice Cinderella story to legitimately one of the better pitchers in baseball. He simply does everything a pitcher can do well, and this season he did it over 28 starts and 158.1 innings.
Check back tomorrow when we deliver the relievers’ report cards!
Buy me a coffee?
If you like the blog and would like to see more of it, feel free to buy me a coffee – Starbucks, tall, dark, no room. It may not seem like much, but every little bit goes a long way toward keeping the blog rolling. Thanks in advance!