There is no doubt that the 2021 Yankees starters have been very good. They recently had a streak of 35 consecutive scoreless innings have had guys who weren’t here last year play a key role. Those names include Corey Kluber, Domingo German, and Jameson Taillon. Yes, even while Taillon numbers on the surface do not look very good, his peripherals are actually pretty decent.
And while Kluber is now down for at least the next two months, the Yankees have Deivi Garcia ready to take his spot. Additionally, Luis Severino should be returning in the next month or so. Thus while the team should still be looking for an impact starter at the trade deadline, they have the arms right now to deal with Kluber’s injury.
Here are the stats for the starters and relievers through 48 games last season versus this season:
Starters (with rank in MLB):
While WAR is an imperfect stat for pitchers, it is still telling that the Yankees starters in 2021 have been a lot better than they were in 2020. Granted, none of Taillon, Kluber, or German were there in 2020, but the group as a whole has definitely improved across the board. One key stat: they have pitched 27.2 more collective innings. Sure, some of that is Cole, but we recently saw a stretch with almost every starter going seven-plus innings.
The relief corp has been touted a strength of the team for the past few seasons. And just like the starters, the relievers have been better across the board. Aroldis Chapman finding a couple extra miles per hour on his fastball and developing his nasty splitter sure helps, but this is also without their setup man Zack Britton. Jonathan Loaisiga stepping up helps tremendously. What’s a little surprising is the ERA from last season — although the 5-15 stretch probably didn’t help.
All in all, the pitching has been a lot better than expected. Sure, it’s been less than one-third of the season, but not many people thought the starting pitching would be this good. Whether or not it will hold up is a different question, but for now the arms have been a pleasant surprise.