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  • Cary Greene

Predicting the 2024 Starting Rotation

Predict the Won-Loss Records of the Yankees Starters. Include Blake Snell

by Cary Greene

January 26, 2024

*** 

Note - I like to say that in order to get these numbers, I used PECOTA and mixed in a little Chinese astrology. All predictions I listed are PECOTA.

***

It's the year of the Dragon folks, the Wood Dragon to be more precise. Every zodiac sign is affected by the Wood Dragon's influence in 2024. Below I’ll lay out my projections, not just for wins and losses, but as an exclusive to SSTN readers, I’ll go a little deeper and since we’re talking about projections here, I’ll have some fun with each of my takes, relying on the Chinese zodiac to aid me.

 

It looks like once again, Brain Cashman's plan is to ride his lone ace, Gerrit Cole, who has been the horse of the Yankees rotation ever since he was signed in 2019. Cole has thrown over 200 innings in four of the last five full seasons.

 

I'm going to come in pretty bearish on Cole to lead things off because I'm not convinced he can continue to power away and remain injury free. Cole, who also happens to be a Horse in Chinese astrology, will have some challenges in 2024. He will have various obstacles arise in different areas of his life and he’ll likely have a number of minor mishaps and if the issues aren’t handled properly, they could escalate into more troublesome consequences for the Yankees number one starter.

 

Since I don’t have oodles of confidence in the way the Yankees handle their personnel from an injury avoidance perspective, I think this year could wind up being a down one for Cole, but I do expect him to power through several nagging injuries that are likely to arise. Hopefully, one of them doesn’t turn into a larger problem.

 

MY 2024 PREDICTION - Gerrit Cole

Cole 15-8, 3.30 ERA, 39 GS, 194 IP, 213 K/51 BB, 9.86 K9/2.35 BB9, .278 BABIP 

 

Next up is Carlos Rodon, who will be looking to overcome what can only be characterized as a disastrous 2023 campaign as he did nothing but monkey around as a member of the Yankees rotation, battled arm and even hamstring injuries as he missed a whopping 116 games last season. He also missed 531 days in his career, so we are talking about a pitcher with very significant injury concerns here.

 

Rodon’s Chinese zodiac sign happens to be that of a Monkey, and 2024 actually bodes well for Monkeys, providing anyone born of this sign prioritizes two things above all other things: Relationships and Overall Well Being!

 

Rodon’s success absolutely hinges on not only whether or not he can stay healthy, but also, he must forge a better relationship with Yankees fans by proving he can not only pitch in New York, but also, he needs to show he can remain positive in the face of adversity as he showed signs of mentally cracking last season at various points, when he was most frustrated.

 

The Chinese zodiac stars are lined with a positive connection with Tai Sui up to bring ample support and blessings to those with the sign of the Monkey. 2024 promises to be very prosperous and considering Rodon’s nice, fat contract - we can assume he’ll do very will financially this coming season, so that box is checked. Not surprisingly, if Rodon can stay healthy and settle into the role that Brian Cashman signed him to nail down (being a bonafide number two starter behind Cole in the Yankees rotation) and if he can stay healthy, the Chinese zodiac predicts that the Year of the Wood Dragon will bring favorable outcomes for him.

 

Call me again bearish, but I think chances are high that Rodon can’t stay healthy and I also don’t think he’s cut out to pitch in New York, so while I do see a bit of a bounceback for Rodon, I think he resoundingly fails at becoming the kind of starter that Cashman hoped he would be.

 

MY 2024 PREDICTION - Carlos Rodon

Rodon 9-6, 3.91 ERA, 23 GS, 125 IP, 135 K/44 BB, 9.75 K9/3.17 BB9, .277 BABIP

 

Now for Marcus Stroman, who Cashman signed to be the reliable, innings eating goat of the Yankees staff, slotting into the middle of the rotation as Mike King’s replacement. Not only does Stroman happen to be a Goat sign in the Chinese zodiac, but he also has a lot of characteristics to like, not the least of which is his desire to pitch on the big stage.

 

Stroman is the type of pitcher who thrives in pressure situations and despite his varied and constant injury issues - which have caused him to miss 326 days during his seven-year Big League career to date, he seems like a good addition to the Yankees pitching staff as he’s average a 57.1% ground ball rate over the span of his career.

 

Considering it’s the Year of the Dragon, anyone born with the sign of the Goat will likely encounter a mix of favorable and unfavorable circumstances. While the bright lights of New York may aid the charismatic Stroman, he’ll need to focus on nurturing and strengthening his connections with his teammates and with the New York media. What he says matters and how he interacts with his teammates matters even more.

 

Look for Stroman to potentially climb a bit higher than I’m projecting below and know that my take is due to the rugged landscape in what is known as the American League’s Eastern Division. While Stroman viewed himself as one of the best pitchers in the game in first part of last season, he was afterall pitching in possibly the least difficult to pitch in Division in baseball. Therefore, I’ll be bearish in my prediction below, though I’ll hope he can do about 25 percent better than what I project.

 

MY 2024 PREDICTION - Marcus Stoman

Stroman 9-8, 3.94 ERA, 26 GS, 144 IP, 116 K/48 BB, 7.2 K9/3.01 BB9, .293 BABIP

 

This brings me to my favorite Yankee, the pitcher every Yankees fan loves to root for - Nestor Cortes JR! Despite Brain Cashman’s best efforts to let another team have Nestor Cotres, by some miracle, Cortes was required not one, not two, but three times by Cashman before Cortes came into his own after discovering his cutter.

 

After nursing onto the scene as a starter in the latter half of the 2021 season, Cortes has both dazzled and disappointed due wear and tear. When healthy, Cortes is however an absolute dog and he happens to be a Dog in Chinese astrology! Unfortunately, Dogs don’t usually do very well in the Year of the Dragon. Cortes will need to put in additional hard work to keep himself in tip-top shape during the long season ahead, if he doesn’t, he could be in for very bad overall luck in terms of negative regression.

 

Rather than continuing to pitch in such a flashy, free wheeling fashion, Cortes would do well to heed the warnings of the Chinese zodiac. In addition to putting in extra effort, he needs to avoid unnecessary extravagance and get back to being a fast working pitcher who is always in attack mode. He needs to reverse the trend of missing more than 50 days a season, which has happened in both of this two most recent campaigns.

 

I’m going to again project bearishly with regards to Cortes, even though I will be rooting very hard for Nasty Nestor this coming season. I think the League is adjusting to his pitch mix and I think he needs to work harder.

 

MY 2024 PREDICTION - Nestor Cotres

Cortes 9-6, 3.81 ERA, 26 GS, 137 IP, 136 K/42 BB, 8.92 K9/2.75 BB9, .275 BABIP

 

Now for the current Yankee who is projected to fill in the 2024 Yankees starting rotation, Clarke Schmidt. Though Schmidt is the rat of the staff, he did pitch more innings last season than he’s ever done in his professional career. Since Schmidt is a Rat in Chinese astrology, a projection that favors a possible step forward is in the stars.

 

Adversity will await Schmidt as he tries to pitch deeper into games and build on his 2023 performance. There is a good chance that Schmidt will navigate the Year of the Dragon successfully and a key to doing that may be due to him seizing the opportunity of a lifetime. Not many borderline replacement level starters are given a chance to slot in as the Yankees fifth starter, yet here Schmidt is.

 

Brian Cashman surprisingly to some (not me) hasn’t been able to upgrade from Schmidt this offseason and force him into a swing man role. If Schmidt continues to be diligent and prepare for the lineups he will be facing, he may settle right into the role of being a Big League stater and a fairly good one at that!

 

I don't think Snell will sign with the Yankees by the way and I don't think the Yankees have the pitching to close the gap on the Orioles, Blue Jays or Rays. I think the Yankees as constructed are a 90-72 team (.526) that lacks enough pitching to get them where Yankees fans would like to see them go. I also predict Soto signs a record deal elsewhere next offseason and that the Yankees will have to focus on rebuilding entirely as Cashman will further scuttle the Yankees farm system, having to vastly overpay for rental pitching in a last ditch attempt to add pitching at the Deadline.

 

MY 2024 PREDICTION - Clarke Schmidt

Schmidt 8-7,4.65 ERA, 24 GS, 121 IP, 101 K/42 BB, 7.47 K9/3.15 BB9, .290 BABIP

 

Lastly, we’ve been instructed by our fearless leader to monkey around and also include a Blake Snell projection, perhaps in case the Yankees wind up signing him, though I don’t foresee it happening at this point. Since Snell is a Monkey sign in the Chinese zodiac, the obvious conclusion is that he needs to be more consistent and to do that, he needs to be right physically and he needs to either maintain last season’s other worldly 86.7 LOB percentage or he needs to decrease his 13.3 BB percentage.

 

A big reason for Snell winning the National League Cy Young award last season and one that’s flown under the radar quite a bit in the media, is that he more than tripled his usage of his devastating change up while sitting at his usual average of 95.5 mph on his well above average four seam fastball, which he locates to almost all quadrants of the zone.

 

Coupled with using his likewise elite curve, which the bottom falls out of around 3 percent more, while also cutting his reliance on his slider in half, Snell became as good of a three pitch pitcher as there was in the game. I suspect Snell will continue onwards with these pitch mix tweaks and doing so should continue to keep hitters very off balance. Snell’s raw stuff was unhittable last season, as he pitched to 14-9 record, with a 2.25 ERA while holding opposing batters to a .181 average.

 

While I don’t think Snell will wind up signing with the Yankees as I believe Hal Steinbrenner isn’t fond of having, if Snell were signed, what would go from the highest payroll in MLB to one that dwarfs all other teams, I do think Snell can significantly beat my yet again bearish projections.

 

MY 2024 PREDICTION - Blake Snell

Snell 10-8, 3.44 ERA, 29 GS, 154 IP, 211 K/73 BB, 12.32 K9/4.26 BB9, .293 BABIP

 

BONUS PREDICTIONS 2024

●      As I indicated above, Blake Snell signs elsewhere - with the Giants in fact. He gets 5 years and $220 million.

●      I don't think the Yankees have the pitching to close the gap on the Orioles, Blue Jays or Rays. I think the Yankees as constructed are a 90-72 team (.526) that lacks enough pitching to get them where Yankees fans would like to see them go.

●      I also predict Juan Soto signs a record deal elsewhere next offseason, likely with the Red Sox or Mets.

●      In 2025, the Yankees will have to focus on what will be characterized as a near unprecedented, near full rebuild. The reason for this occurring is that at this year’s Deadline, Cashman will further scuttle the Yankees farm system, having to vastly overpay for rental pitching in a last ditch attempt to add pitching.

 

 

 

19 Comments


Jeff Korell
Jeff Korell
Jan 26

First of all, we can NEVER make predictions in regard to a starting rotation. In a perfect world, all 5 of them will stay healthy over the course of the entire 162 game schedule. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world, and it is inevitable that one or more of the projected 5 starters are going to go down with some sort of injury. Hate to say it, but it is inevitable. With all 30 teams. That's why the #6, #7, and #8 starters, the ones who either did NOT make the starting rotation and had to start the season in the bullpen, or down in AAA, are the most important potential starting pitchers, on all 30 teams. Tho…


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jeff
Jan 28
Replying to

Yes, indeed. It is great to read the points as well as the counter points. I know a lot of people disagree with me about my optimism for Giancarlo Stanton in 2024, but that is okay. Their pessimism is warranted based on what they have seen with Stanton these past few years.

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Jonathan Silverberg
Jonathan Silverberg
Jan 26

With regard to Soto's other-than-Yanks destination next year: if you think the Red Sox owner is going to pay him (or anyone) $400 million plus, you haven't been paying attention to what's going on in Boston.

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Jeff Korell
Jeff Korell
Jan 26
Replying to

I agree, and not only that, there is NO WAY that Yankee ownership would EVER let Boston outbid them, especially for a player who is currently a Yankee. The Yankees have an excellent reputation of KEEPING players who become free agents who they absolutely want to keep. If the Yankees ever do lose a player of their own to free agency, it is that they don't want that player bad enough to overpay in years or dollars. That would not be the case with Soto. Especially if Boston is bidding for that player.

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jjw49
Jan 26

Many question marks for Yankee SP and if the holdup on Snell is length of contract, well I believe we will be waiting a long time. If reports are true Cashman is holding the line so either he takes a shorter contract or he signs elsewhere.... as noted Giants would be a good landing spot for him.

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Melfman1
Melfman1
Jan 26

You’ve got to be crazy to think ANY team is going to pay Blake Snell $44 million a year over 5 years. If that happens, I might have a heart attack. I don’t think he’s worth $30 million a year, let alone almost 1.5 times that amount.


So, Cole’s W/L and ERA dropped a bit, Schmidt stays basically the same and every other starter improves over last year’s rotation in your estimations. Two of the returning starters improve by 1 and 3 runs in ERA respectively over the prior season and the newcomer to the rotation has a better ERA than his predecessor. Yet, the team only improved by 8 wins. I don’t see it.


I think this team is…


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Melfman1
Melfman1
Jan 26
Replying to

I totally agree with those figures on Snell. Either a bit over $33-35m a year on a short deal or $30 per on a 5 year deal or longer.

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fuster
Jan 26

Boras might be willing to allow Snell to settle for a measly $220M over 5 years


but he would insist that the deal be favorably structured, with an opt-out after one season, and $70M paid in the form of a non-refundable signing bonus

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