nestor cortes
Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Nestor Cortes is the little engine that could in this New York Yankees rotation. He’s picking up in 2022 where he left off in 2021. We can add an immaculate inning to his resumé after his nine-pitch, three-strikeout fourth inning.

Cortes didn’t even hit 92 mph on the gun on any of his nine pitches. He’s a throwback in the sense that he mixes and matches location, movement, and speed to throw hitters off. It feels like every other MLB pitcher is a 100 mph fireballer nowadays.

For Cortes, it’s a potpourri of cutters, sinkers, fastballs, sliders, and changeups. Not to mention, the former 36th-round pick will vary his arm slot, windup, leg kick, and everything in between. Seeing a pitcher have success with guts and creativity instead of sheer power is refreshing.

During the changeover between innings, catcher Kyle Higashioka threw the ball into the crowd. The rest of the Yankees couldn’t believe it, but Higgy gets a pass because Gerrit Cole is a loyal teammate. Cole signed a ball in exchange for the immaculate inning ball. All is well for Cortes and Higgy.

All in all, Cortes went 5+ innings with 12 strikeouts. At what point do we acknowledge that Cortes is more than a flash in the pan? He’s flat-out good. Cortes isn’t just that guy who toyed with his leg kick against Shohei Ohtani. Cortes is a legitimate weapon in the rotation for Boone and he is technically New York’s fifth starter.

Now, if only the Yankees could figure out a way to score runs…

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.