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Five things we learned about the Yankees pitchers from the 2016 Baseball Prospectus PECOTA projections

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Yesterday, I looked at the PECOTA projections for the Yankees offense. I picked out five interesting projections that I thought were important to highlight. Today we examine the pitching staff to see what kind of season they might have.

1. Michael Pineda will lead the pitching staff

Somehow, even after the disaster that was the second half of the 2015 season, PECOTA projects Pineda to be the best pitcher in the Yankees rotation this season. At 3.60 ERA and 2.9 VORP in 186 innings, Pineda leads the team in all categories. The only pitcher that comes close is Tanaka, who will be at 3.75 ERA and 2.5 WARP in 183 innings, which isn't a huge difference for a projection, but it's still important to note that the big right-hander will be the leader in 2016. Unfortunately, Pineda has yet to reach that innings total in his major league career, so hopefully he finally makes good on his promise of 200 innings, but don't hold your breath.

2. Luis Severino won't break out over a full season

If you're hoping that Severino turns into an ace in 2016, you better stop hoping. Despite the potential he possess, PECOTA doesn't think he will be a breakout star in his age-22 season. Across a full year, he's projected to be 4.14-ERA pitcher with a 1.5 WARP in 164 innings. He will certainly have his bumps and bruises in his sophomore season, but it sucks to see that he won't amount to much more than a backend starter, if these numbers are to be believed. It's difficult to see him dominating in 2016, especially since his 2.89 ERA disguised a 4.37 FIP last year, but it would be nice to see him perform better than he's currently projected to be.

3. Dellin Betances will be human

In 2016, Dellin Betances will still be the best reliever the Yankees have, but he's projected to be a little more human than he's been over the last two seasons. After a 3.6 WARP in 2014 and a 2.6 WARP in 2015, he's projected to have a 1.6 WARP with a 2.37 ERA in 63.3 innings. Ever since he's cemented himself in the bullpen, Dellin has put up inhuman numbers, which PECOTA is putting to an end this year. This is one projection that need to be very, very wrong. Of course, he might lose some innings to the acquisition of Aroldis Chapman, which can't be a bad thing for his arm, but hopefully he'll continue to be just as good, even if it is over a smaller sample size.

4. The starting rotation will have a home run problem

According to these PECOTA projections, the Yankees rotation will have an incredibly bad home run problem. CC Sabathia allowing a team-leading 27 would mean he's one off from his 2015 total, but 25 off Masahiro Tanaka, 23 off Pineda, and 21 off Severino would put them around the top 30 for the season. Of course, they can still be productive with the amount of home runs they are expected to give up, but many of the pitchers with the same problem reached 200 innings. The only one not projected to have a dinger problem is Nathan Eovladi, but let's hope it's far less than just one of them.

5. Nick Rumbelow will separate from the pack

Out of all the many relievers the Yankees will have in Triple-A this year, it seems that PECOTA likes Rumbelow the best. It has the right-hander pitching to a 3.96 ERA in 44.0 innings for 2016, which is a level far better than any reliever who is expected to pitch anywhere near as frequently. Bryan Mitchell and Branden Pinder (for some reason) are expected to be longmen out of the bullpen and will have higher ERAs. Chasen Shreve will follow up his strong 2015 campaign with a dud of 4.34 ERA in 54 innings, the most of any non-Big Three pitchers. It seems that Rumbelow, for whatever reason, will be the difference-maker while others will struggle this year.

That's all for now, folks. You can browse the numbers for yourself and see what you come up with. As easy as it is to paint a picture of the season ahead with these numbers, just remember there are many ways that things can turn out differently for the Yankees. How do you feel about these projections?