Yankees: What we learned from the postseason and what’s next
The postseason brought to light certain weaknesses that must be ameliorated before the start of the 2021 regular season if the team hopes to make it all the way to the World Series next year.
In terms of starting pitching, the addition of Severino and German, assuming they will perform to their full potential, will make the club a lot stronger, though Sevy won’t be back until June or July.
The Bombers should boast a stronger starting pitching staff next season. Following Cole, Severino, and German in the first three positions in the rotation, the Yanks will be able to plug Deivi Garcia and Jordan Montgomery into the fourth and fifth slots. Both are still maturing and developing, and they showed great promise during the shortened 2020 season. We can reasonably expect them to perform even better in 2021. This is all assuming that Masahiro Tanaka or James Paxton do not return.
I remain impressed with Jonathan Loaisiga, who is only 25 and continues to develop. Perhaps he will move from the bullpen to a starting role? He’s been bouncing back and forth between multi-inning and single-inning outings, and it’s clear he can’t handle high-leverage relief appearances. Maybe a spot in the rotation will do him well.
Having starting pitchers who can consistently go deep into games will also help increase the effectiveness of the bullpen. The stronger the starting rotation, the more rested the bullpen arms will be.
While the relief pitching corps is solid, the club will miss Kahnle, who will be out for the entire 2021 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in early August. The Yanks therefore should pick up an effective relief pitcher in free agency during the offseason, perhaps someone like Liam Hendriks (or Blake Treinen). If Adam Ottavino can regain his form after a disappointing 2020, he will bolster the bullpen, too.
Young Nick Nelson is a dark horse to join the bullpen next year if he can develop consistent command of his pitches. He was lights out when he was able to find the strike zone, even when pitching to elite hitters.
Those are all feasible possibilities for the pitching staff, especially given the expected turnover.