Yankees pitching: Some thoughts before Spring Training begins

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 20: Luis Severino
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 20: Luis Severino /

Pitchers and catchers report to Yankees camp in Tampa on Tuesday and hurrah; the new season officially kicks off!

On the heels of a season in which the starting and relief pitching beat up on projections, 2018 expectations have skyrocketed. The Yankees went 91-71 with a team ERA of 3.72, which was fifth-best in Major League Baseball.

Their 3.25 K/BB ratio was fourth-best overall, and a .228 batting-average-against was tied for first in MLB with the Dodgers.

The starting rotation of Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray, CC Sabathia and Jordan Montgomery, returns from last season intact, some with new trophies on their shelves.

Severino had an outstanding campaign and finished third for the American League Cy Young Award, won by Corey Kluber.

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Montgomery was a surprise to win a rotation spot coming out of Spring Training and finished by placing sixth in Rookie of the Year voting.

The Yankees’ pitching talent is broad, and even Monty is expected once again to be fighting for a rotation spot — battling it out with the likes of Chad Green, David Hale and Chance Adams.

Larry Rothschild recently told Eric Boland of Newsday:

"If we stay healthy, I like what we have, but the odds aren’t with us.  If you go year to year and look at the staff staying healthy, you’re not going to use five starters in a year and you’re lucky if you get in under 10, really."

The Yankees organization is rich with hungry arms; Albert Abreu, Domingo Acevedo, Luis Cessa, Domingo German, Justus Sheffield and others will be in camp showcasing their talents and hoping to win the long man role in the rotation or a spot in the relief corps.

Fangraphs called the Yankees’ relief pitchers “possibly historic,” in 2018, just after one a season in which they were full of surprises until the trade deadline when Tyler Clippard was sent to the Houston Astros.

Chad Green emerged as an elite reliever, and once the Yankees acquired David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle from the White Sox, the bullpen became the asset it was projected to be.

With a full season of D-Rob and Kahnle and another calendar’s worth of use out of Green, the Yanks project a much more reliable performance in 2018.

Next: Yankees rumors: Jake Odorizzi

It is always exciting to watch prospects competing with the veterans for roster spots in Spring Training. However, will any pitcher emerge from this year’s camp as spectacularly as Jordan Montgomery did in 2017?