While the Yankees struggled offensively this past postseason, there is clearly room for improvement with the pitching staff. The James Paxton trade was big last year, but we never got to see the pitching staff at full strength last year due to Luis Severino’s injury. Considering the question marks surrounding Domingo German, it’d be wise for the Yankees to make a move for a starting pitcher.
There are several big pitching names on the free agent market this offseason that the Yankees could take advantage of. Those names consist of Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Madison Bumgarner and Dallas Keuchel. Each of these pitchers brings something very different to the table, so let’s take a look at what each one does best.
Justin Verlander won the Cy Young in 2019, but a lot of people around baseball will tell you that Gerrit Cole was the best pitcher, having gone undefeated from May 22 until one game in the World Series. Cole was simply a strikeout machine, and he finished the season with 326. His best weapon? Easily his fastball. He struck out 178 with a fastball averaging 97.2 mph. That pitch, so delicately placed on the edges of the batters box, made him a ferocious opponent in 2019.
Gerrit Cole, 101mph on his 110th Pitch.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 7, 2019
Stephen Strasburg had a pretty great year in 2019, along with a couple of unbelievable playoff performances en route to a World Series championship. Strasburg has now been pitching for ten years and just finished his age-31 season. What Strasburg has always been known for is the drastic movement on his pitches with three out of the five in his arsenal exceeding 2,000 revolutions per minute. His curveball and changeup have made plenty of players look silly in the past as he struck out 173 batters with them in 2019.
Stephen Strasburg, Insane 90mph Changeup (with Tail).— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 2, 2019
And...Sword. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/3rzOWagWhV
Bumgarner has been pitching for only a year longer than Strasburg, but is easily the most esteemed and experienced veteran out of all the pitchers available. He is a three-time World Series champion and is also a World Series MVP. He is best known for his stamina and ability to pitch deep into games with extreme effectiveness. In the 2014 World Series, he pitched 21 innings in three games and only let up one run. As for his arsenal, his best attribute is his sweeping curveball that almost looks more like a slider. This has worked well as his wipe out and put-away pitch.
Hyun-Jin Ryu took MLB by surprise in 2019 having a ridiculously low earned run average of 1.26 through his first 14 starts. Through that point of the season he was the clear frontrunner for the Cy Young, but a rough month of August was the blemish that lowered him in the rankings. Ryu still finished with a very impressive 2.32 earned run average in 2019. Ryu didn’t have many strikeouts, and he doesn’t have many filthy put-away pitches either. What Ryu excelled at was pitching to contact, or in other words finesse pitching. Constantly changing pitches and speeds and utilizing his entire arsenal, Ryu sat in the 88th and 96th percentile in hard hit percentage and exit velocity respectively.
Dallas Keuchel is also well known for his finesse pitching ability. Instead of blowing you away with a 99 mph fastball, he will deceive you with location and pitch speed. After taking over baseball in 2014 and in 2015 when he won the Cy Young, Keuchel hasn’t really been the same since. He remained without a team for a large portion of 2019 as no team would bite on him given his age and his recent statistical drop off.