There are many who question whether the Yankees‘ starting rotation is good enough to win a championship. The fine folks at Fangraphs are not among them, ranking the staff as baseball’s best prior to Opening Day.
Ace Gerrit Cole is a big reason why. But the potential of a healthy Luis Severino behind him is another one.
Last year, the Yankees rotation felt top-heavy and injury prone, and it was: only three of the team’s starters made even 20 starts. They still finished sixth in WAR from starting pitchers. It’s good to have Gerrit Cole, it turns out. This year should be more of the same. (Jordan) Montgomery and (Jameson) Taillon were both effective last year, and adding Severino to the mix boosts the ceiling meaningfully. Prior to missing most of the last three years with injury, he was an ace in his own right, and while projections are understandably conservative about his recovery, it’s easy to imagine articles with “Which New York Team Has the Better Top Two?” headlines if he returns to his previous level.
Severino had a strong outing to close spring training, but he was inconsistent before then and raised concerns with some arm soreness. The two-time All-Star has barely pitched since he signed a four-year, $40 deal before the 2019 season. He didn’t make a start until September in 2029 and ’21, and he missed all of the 2020 season due to Tommy John surgery.
If Severino can approach where he once was, then sure, there could be a debate about whether you would take him and Cole over the Mets’ Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer once deGrom is also back on the mound. But that feels like a big leap at this juncture, no?
The Mets are ranked fourth by Fangraphs. The Brewers and Phillies are second and third, respectively, with the Padres rounding out the top-5.