4 questions the Yankees need to answer about the 2024 starting rotation

World Baseball Classic Semifinals: Mexico v Japan
World Baseball Classic Semifinals: Mexico v Japan / Eric Espada/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 4
Next

What can they expect out of the young guys?

Perhaps more than any other team in baseball, the Yankees' upper minor leagues are loaded with guys who project to be solid big-league arms. Some of them have had brief stints with the major league club, but most haven't, and all of them are still question marks to some degree.

Starting with guys who have big league experience, it seems like Randy Vásquez is primed for a bigger role in the rotation in 2024. He's currently the sixth man on the depth chart, but with the low number of innings pitched out of the rotation by Rodón, Nestor Cortes, and Michael King last season, Vásquez could be called upon often when you bake in the inevitable injuries/rest periods.

Vásquez pitched to a stellar 2.89 ERA over 37.2 innings in 2023, but his 10.8% walk rate and 4.98 FIP suggests he still has work to do. He'll need to learn how to pitch on the edge of the zone before he can gain the full trust of the Yankees.

Two other familiar young arms who could make starts in 2024 are Jhony Brito and Luis Gil. Brito made the Opening Day roster in 2023 and struggled early on, pitching to a 6.32 ERA in 52.2 innings of work as a starter. He ended up looking a lot better in the bullpen, where his fastball-changeup mix played better, and put up a 1.43 ERA in 37.2 innings there. Gil spent most of 2023 rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, and made two rehab appearances in Single-A where he struck out six batters in four innings.

Aside from this crew, the Yankees have a few promising young arms waiting in the wings at Triple-A, who should get starts as the front office looks to limit innings of oft-injured veterans. The most notable arms of this group are Will Warren, Richard Fitts and Clayton Beeter the Yankees' Nos. 10, 16, and 12 prospects.

Warren spent most of last season in Triple-A, pitching to a 3.61 ERA in 99.2 innings. He'll need to work on his command and limit his walks and homers, but his stuff should play at the big league level. Beeter, too, has incredible stuff, but got bit by the homer bug in 71 innings at Triple-A and will likely need to figure things out before getting the call. Fitts received his promotion after a strong season in Somerset, but also will need to figure out hitters at Scranton before being trusted in the big leagues.

Ultimately, the Yankees have a lot of options waiting in the minors if one of their top five guys goes down, but nobody who can be relied on for a full season's workload, even as a number five starter. It's good to know that help is there when the major league team will inevitably need it, but it shouldn't stop the Yankees from exploring more proven options.