The Yankees were very fortunate to have strong outings from 23-year-old Luis Gil. He wasn’t necessarily ready for the big leagues, which is represented by his 4.55 SIERA and 4.40 FIP. That being said, he did hold it down run prevention wise (3.07 ERA) and was able to help the Yankees get through tough COVID stretches.
He showed flashes of brilliance, and while he’s still a work in progress, Gil isn’t too far from becoming a great pitcher. The fastball has strong qualities, his slider is already elite, and his changeup is a few tweaks away from being a good third pitch. While he is the farthest thing from a sure thing, he can be the next breakout star in baseball.
Luis Gil’s Stuff Vs Command Struggles
A metric I’ve used a lot for pitchers in xRV/100 (Expected Run Value per 100 Pitches) from Cameron Grove’s Pitching Bot. Gil’s xRV/100 on his FF was a sound -0.34. Graded as a 70 Stuff Grade FF, it’s an elite pitch in spin, velocity, and movement. The problem comes with its lackluster 45 command grade, and that issue is what defines Gil’s struggles.
His slider and changeup have 60 and 65 stuff grades but only have a 50 and 45 command grade each. It highlights the fact that the talent is there to be a three-pitch starter, but the consistency needs to develop. Unfortunately, the lockout may hamper the ability of the Yankees staff to address this.
When it comes to command, it seems like Gil can never figure it out. Maybe he’s just never going to become a great pitcher or even a good one. That being said, there’s a pitcher who profiles extremely similarly to Gil, someone who could be used as an example for Gil’s development.
Taking A Page From Freddy Peralta
Freddy Peralta put together an incredible season for the Brewers, being a slept on No. 3 starter behind the ferocious duo of Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff. With a 4.0 fWAR and 2.81 ERA, Peralta managed to rank top 20 in fWAR among starters with 140 or more IP. How do Gil and Peralta compare? Let’s look at their prospect grades.
Gil boasts the better fastball and slider while Peralta has the better changeup and command, but just like Gil, Peralta had walk issues in the minors and majors. He hasn’t had a below 9.6% BB% at the MLB level, yet is one of the 20-25 best pitchers in the sport.
Gil can build off of Peralta’s development, with both having 80-85% spin efficient 4-seam fastballs that have a rising and cutting effect. Their wipeout sliders are also similar, and it was Peralta’s ability to develop his other pitches that allowed him to excel as a starter. Peralta does have a curveball (something Gil does not have), but Gil’s changeup is pretty promising stuff wise.
Such a changeup comes in with such velocity that it’s lackluster movement doesn’t matter much. How does one exactly hit a 90 MPH changeup? Maybe he should dial it down a bit from 92-93 in order to have more velocity difference, but if he can ramp up the heater to 98-100 that 90 MPH changeup is disgusting.
The Case To Be Great
Gil has the stuff to be great; and ultimately that’s the biggest step towards greatness. Command is something organizations can figure out and can be developed. You can’t teach a guy to have an elite fastball and slider.
Gil’s changeup was considered a pitch without much future; yet it boasts a strong stuff grade. His slider proved to be a weapon with little big league development. Most importantly, he is a few tweaks away from having one of baseball’s best fastballs. Is it super spin-efficient? No, but with some cutting action perhaps that helps him versus left-handed hitting (Taillon’s fastball has similar cut and found great success vs LHH).
Ultimately, deviation from the norm is what pitchers want, and Gil is different. He throws freakishly hard, has a top 30 slider in the sport, and boasts an abnormally fast changeup. The kid’s got the potential to become one of the best in baseball.
Hopefully he has a strong spring training and he earns a shot to be in that rotation, because I think Luis Gil is going to be a top-of-the-line starter someday.