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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 6/30/22

Yanks look to manage pitcher workloads; Waldichuk as trade bait; Bronx Bombers set home run record; Everyone’s favourite commissioner provides insight into MLB’s future

Houston Astros v New York Yankees Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

New York Times | Gary Phillips: Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you likely know that the Yankees have one of the very best pitching staffs in the entire league. As of Wednesday evening, Yankees pitchers have the best collective ERA (2.93), FIP (3.36), and fWAR (11.9), and find themselves near the top of the league in a whole host of other categories. This success is due, in part, to the exceptional innings that Nestor Cortes, Luis Severino, and Jameson Taillon have thrown. Of course Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery have been excellent as well, but one thing connects the first three names I listed off: they’re all probably on a fairly strict innings limit. Severino and Taillon are both returning from injuries (especially Sevy), and Cortes has never thrown more than 93 innings in a single season.

This issue is front-of-mind for most Yankees fans out there, and it turns out that it is for the organization as well. In this piece, manager Aaron Boone talks about how the Yankees need to be smart when it comes to managing the workloads of their starting rotation down the stretch. According to Boone, New York will rely on a number of methods — including stats, metrics, the eye test, and counting on pitchers themselves to speak up when they need some rest — to determine the best path forward. With the way this team has played in the first half, hopefully working in some rest down the stretch for these guys will be an easier pill to swallow (and easier to do) than it has been in years past. | Bridget Hyland: Ken Waldichuk has been seriously impressive this season. After dominating Double-A to start the season, Waldichuk was promoted to Triple-A after just 28.2 innings and has continued his run of excellent pitching. In 30 Triple-A innings pitched so far, he’s posted a 2.70 ERA, 3.44 FIP, and 33.1 percent strikeout rate.

Despite all this success, the 24-year-old lefty might not be part of the Yankees’ future — not because he doesn’t have the stuff to cut it at the major league level, though, but rather because he might be a very big trade chip this July. Waldichuk was recently identified by The Athletic as the Yankees’ most intriguing player to watch at the deadline this year, as his fastball, combined with his ridiculous strikeout rate and run of exceptional performance dating back to last year, might make him a useful piece of the trade deadline puzzle.

Yahoo! Sports | Jake Baer: For all the talk of the Yankees’ offence being more dynamic and well-rounded this season, a big reason why they’ve been so good is that they’ve gotten back to hitting a ton of dingers. Well, they took their dinger mashing to a whole new level in June, as they set the all-time record for most home runs in the month of June on the back of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo’s Stanton’s bombs on Wednesday afternoon.

So far this June, the Yankees have hit 57 home runs (with the potential for more to come this evening in Houston). That surpasses the previous June record (56) that the Baltimore Orioles set in 2016 and the Atlanta Braves matched in 2019. Dead ball be damned.

ESPN | Don Van Natta Jr.: You’ve likely seen a really funny, kind-of-out-of-context quotation attributed to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred floating around Twitter some time in the last 24-or-so hours. The quotation reads, “The assertion that I hate the game — that one does rub me the wrong way, I have to tell you the truth.” So, good news, baseball fans: Manfred doesn’t hate baseball as much as he appears to! Maybe.

I know a profile of the league’s commissioner isn’t something that would typically appear in a Yankees news roundup, but (1) it was kind of a light day in Yankees land, and (2) this profile in particular features a lot of insights into what the future of the league might look like. When he’s not trying to convince us he actually likes baseball, Manfred discusses a number of topics that will affect the entire league, including MLB’s desire for expansion to 32 teams, the timing of the oft-controversial (even though it shouldn’t be controversial) pitch clock, the banning of the shift, and the bombshell that robo umps, in one form or another, may be a reality by 2024. There’s a lot in here, so I recommend you spend some time going through it.