The Yankees starting rotation for the season is set…for now. Let’s see how the pitching staff will look for the 2022 season.

ROTATION

Opening day will start with the ace, Gerrit Cole. Don’t let his first spring start fool you. He still has great stuff. Some fans are concerned that after the sticky stuff was removed, he can’t pitch the same anymore. He has proven he still has it and no doubt he will prove to continue to be the ace the Yankee signed him to be.

Luis Severino will make his first start in the regular season since October 2019. He is on his walk-year of the four-year contract he signed in February 2019. Aside from a short spring training, we shouldn’t expect Severino to come out like 2017 immediately. He already had to deal with soreness. It will be interesting to see how he does and what his free-agent market will be like.

Jordan Montgomery will take the number three spot in the rotation. Monty did improve last year but in my opinion, he still needs to be able to go deeper into games. The high pitch count early in the games needs to be worked on as well.

Jameson Taillon takes the fourth spot. When healthy, we have seen what Taillon can do. Like Cole, he is capable of going deep into games and can give the bullpen a day of rest at times.

LAST SPOT

Rounding out the rotation is Nestor Cortes Jr. He started games last year and showed he was capable of being an emergency starter. Many fans started to say Cortes Jr was the ace, which was said blindly. Towards the end of the season, it was clear that he was slowing down. 

The Yankees need a permanent fifth-day starter. There was interest in Sean Manaea and Frankie Montas but the A’s seem to be waiting to trade those two around the deadline. The Yankees will have to find another starter to acquire while having Cortes Jr holding the spot. I don’t think that Cortes is the permanent answer to the final spot in the rotation. Fans will see that quickly should the Yankees not be able to acquire another starter.

THE BULLPEN

The bullpen will, no doubt, be heavily relied on. In my opinion, that is what kills the Yankees in October. Yes, the strength now in teams is the bullpen but constantly relying on it when your rotation can’t go deep into games will hurt. Cole starting and days off between long stretches of series shouldn’t be the only way the bullpen gets to rest.

Michael King can be used as a middle relief guy, a long reliever, or an emergency starter. It’s reported that Aroldis Chapman can pitch in the eighth inning in some games. That can possibly have Jonathan Loaisiga be the closer at times. Joely Rodriguez, Wandy Peralta, Lucas Luetge, Clay Holmes, and Chad Green return to the ‘pen. Clarke Schmidt, Luis Gil, or newly acquired Shelby Miller can also join. 

MANNING THE PITCHING STAFF

The men on the receiving end of the pitches will be split between Kyle Higashioka and Ben Rortvedt. As of now, it is unknown if Rortvedt will start the season on the IL. Both catchers have good defensive numbers. Their bats aren’t what Gary Sanchez in 2017 was but could be enough to help the offense. We know that with a lot of catchers, defense is first and the Yankees feel they have the duo that keeps that. We can expect Higashioka to be the opening day catcher with Cole on the mound. 

OVERALL

Overall, the pitching staff looks good as long as everyone is healthy. I do wish the Yankees acquired another starter to complete the rotation. I trust Cortes Jr in the bullpen for the long-term rather than as a starter. We shall see. The Yankees might acquire a starter at the deadline as they did with Sonny Gray in 2017. It should be an exciting season.