2. Chris Bassitt, RHP
Tired: Yankees No. 2 starter Kyle Hendricks as a change-of-pace
Wired: Yankees No. 2 starter Chris Bassitt as a change-of-pace
Though odds are you’re more familiar with Hendricks because of his big-game exposure on the national stage, the 32-year-old Bassitt (also one year away from free agency) is certainly the better pitcher at this juncture. It’s unlikely you know much about Bassitt, unless you are intimately familiar with the particulars of his gruesome facial injuries last season after he was struck by a line drive.
Now recovered, the Yanks might have the chance to pry another co-ace from a team that doesn’t want him, even though Bassitt’s heartfelt sentiments following Melvin’s departure will make you feel extremely bad that this is the hand he’s been dealt. The righty has kept hitters off balance consistently since 2018, posting his best full season in the bigs this past year after finishing eighth in the Cy Young race during the shortened 2020 campaign. A master at limiting hard contact and keeping batters off base (1.06 WHIP in 2021), Bassitt’s xERA lines up well with what he was actually able to produce this past year (3.49 vs. 3.15).
The ceiling on Bassitt certainly doesn’t involve breathing fire or pumping 97 atop the zone, but he’s the type of guy who relies on an effective six-pitch mix to keep hitters off balance — sinker, four-seamer, cutter, change, slider, curve, if you’re wondering. He’s sinker-forward, though, tossing the bowling ball 35% of the time.
If you’re an advocate for switching up the lineup and adding more contact bats, but you can’t see the value in placing Bassitt between Gerrit Cole and Luis Severino, we can’t help you. Just look at Nasty Nestor’s 2021 body of work for inspiration. If we’re power ranking potential additions, Bassitt probably ranks above Manaea due to lack of variance.