This is my first try ever at something like this. 3:30 AM probably ain't the best time for it, but here goes.
I will go out on a limb here and not follow the common belief that starting pitching is the weakest link on our team. In order to do this exercise properly, we have to go through the entire rotation and other factors. Consider:
1. Luis Severino - Have we seen peak Severino? (Obviously last week's performance in Houston isn't the mean. However, if that command can be replicated more often, we will see more results like that.) At this point, you are almost disappointed when he doesn't go 7 innings with 2 or fewer runs allowed. That's how good he is now, and expecting more is just unfair.
2. Masahiro Tanaka - Tanaka continues to have good but not great games. His showing tonight against Boston again displayed his vulnerability to the big fly, though he really hung in against a tough lineup. That line is acceptable most nights. Could we get a better #2? Maybe. Probably. But there are times when Tanaka is near unhittable (see 2017 postseason). We haven't seen that Tanaka yet but the upside is most certainly there.
3. CC Sabathia - Dare I say this could be the new-look CC? Obviously I don't expect a 1.39 ERA consistently going forward, but with the mix of the cutter and beautiful slider, that exit velocity he induces is justifiably sustainable. Here's to hoping he stays healthy (and also to sending him off this year with a parade), because production like this has really (underratedly) saved our pen big time.
4. Sonny Gray - The last 2 starts have been encouraging. It seems as long as the Yankees allow him to stick to his fastballs (and not try to get cute with him in regards to the whole breaking ball revolution) he will be fine. Plus, the real potential of Sonny Gray we have yet to see since early September last year. A potential key cog moving forward.
5. Jordan Montgomery - Injured right now but previous to that he continued his progress from 2017. Effectively throwing his changeup has gotten us thinking he has a shot at being a mainstay. Would like to watch him work quicker and not turn into Phil Hughes 2.0 in regards to pitch count, 5 innings, etc., but definitely encouraging in the early going.
Domingo German's success against Houston and Cleveland has shown us he has 3 pitches that can be plus in the majors. Command has been an issue throughout his career. Walks are where you'd expect them to be. I expect him to continue to grow (and to be stretched out in AAA when Monty comes back).
After all that, I really wonder how desperately the Yankees view the need for an ace. First off, is there an ace to be had at the deadline that's worth it? Archer and Fulmer really seem like their price tags won't be worth it. Bumgarner might not be available with the Giants contending early. Too soon to tell. Duffy and Hamels are pretenders. Second, do we not have an ace with 2 other guys who have immediate potential to be ace-like (Tanaka and Gray), a clutch pitcher (CC), and a guy with tons of potential (German)? Don't get me wrong, an actual top of the rotation ace puts this team into a different stratosphere. However, is such a needle-moving ace available this year? I don't think so. Maybe in free agency. Maybe things will change entirely by late July, but as things stand now it doesn't look like it.
That being said, I believe the weakest point on this team (and when this is your weakest link, G-d has granted you a heck of a team) is CF depth. Not just this year. Moving forward as well. Gardner is most likely gone after this season. Ellsbury....ya.... Hicks is (I think) the only viable CF moving forward. Viable is a stretch because of health concerns. I can handle his total offensive output for a few reasons: 1. He walks a ton. 2. Our offense is damn good without him. 3. His defense is really good. After the Fowler trade (and the Cave trade, lol) however, CF is very thin. Hcks isn't the model of health himself and Florial is a ways away. This is more of a post-Gardner era problem and you could argue 1b has its concerns but with Bird and Austin, you have a player who the Yankees have plans to keep around for a while and a decent backup option.
Overall, this is a glass half full perspective. Expecting the rotation to continue like this is a pipe dream (I think?), but they are set there for this year and next (still want Corbin though). Each guy is easily expected for solid to good numbers these next two seasons. CF is where we need gritty production on both sides of the ball, as well as depth.
Hope I didn't bore you. Thanks for going through my first FanPost. Was a lot of fun this late at night/early in the morning.