Yankees Suddenly Are Looking Armed and Dangerous

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports /
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Yankees Chad Green: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

21-year old Justus Sheffield is also at Trenton and just threw his second game. In those combined 11.2 IP, he has a 0.77 ERA with five hits and 11 strikeouts. If he has two or three more like that, he will soon find himself pitching in Pennsylvania.

The Yankees system, however, is so full of pitching that even cracking the RailRiders rotation might prove difficult for Adams and Sheffield.

Luis Cessa is already there and doing quite well. In his 12.2 IP, Cessa has struck out 11 but walked only 5, has given up nine hits, and carries an ERA of 1.42 and WHIP of 1.11. But his teammate Dietrich Enns is pitching even better. He has 11 innings on his 2017 resume and has only given up four hits in those innings. Enns had struck out eight but walked only 3. And while his ERA is a little higher than Cessa’s at 1.64, his WHIP is considerably lower: 0.64.

And then there is Chad Green. He came within a left arm of winning the fifth starters job. His two starts this year at Scranton have been pretty good: 12 IP, 15 SO, only three walks and a flat 3 ERA. He does have one more hit than innings pitched (13/12) but he keeps his walks down.

Perhaps not dominating but, with his big league experience, more than good enough to replace anyone who pitches to an ERA above 4.20 in New York.

If this were 2016, Chad could have replaced Pineda (4.82), Nathan Eovaldi (4.76), or Ivan Nova (4.90). But that was last year. Mr. Green will just have to wait his turn, as will Messrs. Adams, Enns and Sheffield.

And that’s because the pitching is a bit different this year, at least so far. CC Sabathia has turned back the clock and is once again the leader of the staff with his exemplary 1.47 ERA and WHIP of 1.04. Pineda has found his focus and has an ERA of 3.44 to show for it, while he has given up fewer hits than innings (16/18.1).

But the real story of his performance so far is in the details of his stat line. Pineda has struck out 23 batters in those 18 innings and walked only one. His WHIP is 0.93. Those are legitimate indicators of success.

But the player whose numbers do not come close to showing his real domination is Luis Severino. He struggled in his first start, and his bloated ERA (4.05) reflects that fact. However, in his 20 innings pitched, he has surrendered only 14 hits while striking out 27 and walking only 2. And his WHIP? 0.80.

Even Jordan Montgomery is only slightly below the cut line with his 4.22 ERA, but he is the fifth starter. The Yankees will be in the proverbial catbird seat if their fifth starter has an ERA below 4.50 for the season. Tanaka has by far the worst numbers (8.36 ERA), but he has more than a track record and has already begun to re-establish himself as the ace.