The New York Yankees rotation will be receiving a massive boost this week.
With starting pitcher Carlos Rodón set to make his debut in pinstripes against the Chicago Cubs on July 7, it’s an appropriate time to highlight just why fans should be excited about his arrival.
The southpaw inked a six-year, $162 million deal to join the Bombers this past December, buthas not yet pitched this season due to elbow and back injuries. While there are always reasons to be skeptical when a player returns from injury, the potential addition of a prime Rodón alongside ace Gerrit Cole is perhaps a reason to be blinded by potential future issues. This could be the best 1-2 in the sport if all goes according to plan.
By the numbers, Carlos Rodón was one of the game’s best starters last season. He led baseball in FIP and SO9. Additionally, he ranked in the 90th percentile for expected batting average and the 86th percentile for whiff percentage. All of this was part of an All-Star campaign that saw him post a 2.88 ERA and 237 strikeouts in 178 total innings.
Rodón utilizes a fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup. His fastball and slider accounted for over 90% of his pitch usage in 2022 -- a combo the Yankees staff thrives in maximizing.
Given his injury history, it will be fascinating to see if the 30-year old changes his approach in an effort to stay healthy. Rodón’s average fastball clocks in around 96 MPH, and while it's not an overpowering mark by today’s standards, it's something he may have to monitor as his Yankee tenure progresses.
The Miami native has never been the kind power pitcher with the sole focus of blowing hitters away. Instead he aims to mix speeds and consistently change a hitter’s eye level. Such a trait could serve him well as he progresses into his 30s.
In this way, Rodón complements Cole's skillset nicely. The Yankees' marquee starter is a more traditional power pitcher. Opposing teams will surely not want to have to face two pitchers with different strengths in the same series, or even back-to-back games.
Despite injuries and other shortcomings, the Yankees are well over the .500 mark and in the hunt for one of the American League's three Wild Card Spots.
Rodón’s return could mark a pivotal point in this season’s story, and if his previous numbers are any indication of what’s to come, New York may end the campaign with one of baseball’s most dynamic 1-2 punches atop their rotation.