Yankees: This Nestor Cortes Jr. statistical deep dive will inspire you


Every curious Yankees fan has watched the second half with the same question on their lips: Is Nestor Cortes Jr. for real? If so … why is he this for real?

The funky lefty has been stunningly good, and a mid-career breakout for a southpaw at the age of 26 isn’t the most ridiculous thing in the world — especially when you stop to think about how he’s a complete change-of-pace for every single batter who faces him.

Luckily, Pitcher List — an essential read for all stat-obsessed fans — came to the rescue this week with a Nestor deep dive that tells you — yes, you! — that what you’re watching is no fluke.

Cortes Jr.’s fastball works as well as the nastiest stuff in the game, by every metric.

Every inch of Pitcher List’s statistical breakdown is worth devouring, but in summation, it tells the tale of a pitcher who limits contact like Jacob deGrom, and limits power like … Jacob deGrom, too.

When you see Cortes Jr. and his bizarre arsenal (bizarresenal?) show up on the first list, you make the knee-jerk assumption that all of the contact he does allow goes very, very far. Not so, folks. Not so.

Yankees ace Nestor Cortes Jr. might just be for real.

Just a taste? In terms of expected weighted on-base average on the four-seamer, Cortes Jr.’s primary offering, he sits behind only Chris Bassitt in all of Major League Baseball. When it comes to actual weighted on-base average against that pitch? He’s nestled behind only relief aces Josh Hader and Paul Sewald.

Josh Hader and Nestor Cortes Jr., brothers in arms. That’s what we’re witnessing this season.

Additionally, spoiler alert? Cortes Jr.’s numbers, based on what he’s piled up thus far, should actually be better — he’s gotten statistically unlucky with the amount of home runs he’s allowed.

We won’t reveal all the good bits from this dive, including the astounding examples of Cortes Jr.’s variance ruining the timing of Brandon Nimmo and others, but we’ll just whet your appetite for a piece that confirms your preexisting notion: yes, the funky lefty really has been that good, and there’s not going to be anything for MLB hitters to “adjust” to as long as he continues inventing wild gyrations on the fly.

Cortes Jr. looks like a modern-day Luis Tiant on the mound, and in recent weeks, his endurance has impressed even his most fervent believers. Who could’ve possibly predicted he’d sustain this stuff for seven full innings, as he did against the Twins last weekend?

Expect partial regression, sure. All good things can’t last forever. But the numbers show there’s a good deal of reality attached to Nasty Nestor’s madness.