Through ups and downs, and it’s been mostly ups, the New York Yankees starting rotation has remained remarkably healthy through a third of the season. Similar to last season, this rotation was full of question marks, particularly regarding the health of Masahiro Tanaka (elbow), CC Sabathia (knees), and Michael Pineda (shoulder). Thus far, along with Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery, those three have avoided injury. Sure there’s a chance Tanaka’s troubles are due to an injury he refuses to make public, but trainers and coaches are sure he’s healthy.
Here’s an impressive note: the Yankees are one of only three teams in the MLB to have used ONLY their original five starters. The other two, if you’re curious, are Atlanta and St. Louis (rosterresource.com). By this time last year the Yankees had used 7 starters. In fact 37 games last season were started by pitchers that weren’t major league starters on Opening Day. Ivan Nova, Luis Cessa, Chad Green, and Bryan Mitchell all made starts last season. For further perspective, the Seattle Mariners have already used 12 starters this year.
Are the Yankees going to have an injury eventually? It’s pretty likely. But these starters have remained healthy so far and kept this team afloat amidst offensive slumps. Length is another big part of it. Starters have averaged 5.8IP/game, good for 2nd in the American League behind only the rival Boston Red Sox. Their quality start % is also second at 53.7%.
What it all means is that the original Yankees starting rotation is showing up and providing length. That goes a long way, especially for a team that didn’t have any exciting starting pitching depth. The better news now? The emergence of Chance Adams provides insurance to an already strong rotation. If and when an injury occurs, another exciting rookie could be on his way to the Bronx.