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LOOKING AHEAD TO 2019 – My Predictions for the Yankees (Pitchers)

In my prediction column yesterday, I looked at the Yankees’ position players. Today I’ll look at the pitchers.

It’s an interesting contradiction – I am optimistic about the Yankees’ chances this year, but a little pessimistic about some of players. When I look at the forest, I see good things, but when I examine each tree, I see more flaws than I would have thought before doing this exercise.

Starting Pitchers:

Luis Severino – I’m going to play the optimistic card here and hope that Severino is healthy. If he is, I think he’ll have a very good year. In fact, he’s going to be second on the Yankees’ in wins going 16-6, 3.12.

James Paxton – Big Maple thrives with the Yankees and becomes their best starter from start to finish. Acquiring Paxton was a brilliant move, one that continues Brian Cashman’s legacy of finding and acquiring great talent. Paxton leads the American League in wins with 18 (against only 5 losses) and spins an ERA under 3.30.

Masahiro Tanaka – Would you believe this will be Tanaka’s sixth season in pinstripes? He will pitch to exactly his average Yankees record thus far going 13-7, 3.59. Overall, we’ll all wish he had a better year, but this is exactly who Tanaka is. The highlight of his season will come in June or July when he strikes of 16 batters over 7 innings. If the Yankees appear in the Wild Card game, Tanaka will pitch that game and provide the Yankees with six scoreless innings.

J.A. Happ – Happ will make fans happy on many days. He will win 15 games (and lose 10) and pitch to a 3.79 ERA.

C.C. Sabathia – I love the guy, but I predict that he makes fewer than 10 starts all season. His average innings pitched per start this year will be under five innings. Sabathia will have one big game in late May or early June which gets everyone hoping, but he won’t be able to sustain the progress. With a 2-5, 5.89 ERA, Sabathia is replaced in the rotation by mid-July. His final tour through the American league will be as a relief pitcher coming in as a mop-up guy, always to thunderous applause.

Gio Gonzalez – Gio will be Gio almost exactly, just a little better. Good, not great… Solid, not spectacular. He’ll do slightly better than his career norms because he’ll be a Yankee and in a pennant race. Look for a 13-8, 3.58 record.

Patrick Corbin – If the Yankees had signed him, he would have gone 26-2, 1.79 with 350 strikeouts. He would have also thrown three no-hitters.

Domingo German – German will make no fewer than 15 starts. He will win some and look promising and on other times he will look lost. His record will be a less than mediocre 5-7, 5.32.

Luis Cessa – See Domingo German

Chance Adams – If he pitches three games in the Bronx in 2019, that will be a lot. He will be traded in July.

Jonathan Loaisiga – Loaisiga’s stuff will make everyone excited and hopeful, but I fear that he won’t stay healthy. When he’s out there, he’ll pitch to a fantastic 7-2 record with an ERA of 3.75 that is actually inflated by two specific games, both when he returns from missing time where he isn’t quite as sharp.

Jordan Montgomery – When Montgomey comes back, he’ll be inserted into the starting rotation and will provide a solid performance. He’ll pitch to a 4.30 ERA and win as many games as he loses. All will hope for a big 2020 out of Monty.

The Bullpen

Aroldis Chapman – Solid, strong, lots of sliders, fewer fastballs and the lock-down best closer in the American League from late May on as he develops from an over-powering ace to one that gets by a bit more on cunning and smarts.

Dellin Betances – I am concerned about Betances’ arm. I think he’ll have a down year by his standards and will be more of a middle innings guy due to the strength of the Yankees’ bullpen.

Zack Britton – The K makes all the difference as Zack Britton pitches like Zach Britton had years before. He and Chapman are the biggest forces in a dominant bullpen.

Adam Ottavino – Ottavino becomes the Yankees’ #1 trusted right-hander out of the bullpen (replacing Betances). He is a monster this year as he strikes out more than 90 batters in fewer than 75 innings. Ottavino will surrender no homers in 2019.

Chad Green – Green is solid as always. His WHIP will tick up a little as his decline just starts to show itself, but for 90% of the time, he’ll be a solid and reliable fireman coming in and getting the Yankees out of difficult situations.

Jonathan Holder – This will be strictly a middling season for Holder who becomes the pitcher that Aaron Boone turns to in some big spots making the fans crazy. Holder will give up more than a few leads.

Tommy Kahnle – Kahnle pitches to his career ERA 3.89. He will pitch about 50 innings and strike out 47 batters.

Stephen Tarpley – When he is in the Major Leagues, the Yankees will see him as a left-handed relief pitcher for most of the season, but are forced to get him some starts late in August and he impresses there going 3-1, 3.95 and making the Yankees hope that he can be a starting piece in 2020.

The bullpen’s dominance is what helps the Yankees through the year. The bullpen is the difference maker that allows the Yankees to enjoy a successful year.


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