Grading the 2023 Yankees’ first-half starting pitching

Gerrit Cole pitches as other Yankees starters look at him.

Table of Contents

Along with the bullpen, the Yankees starting pitching has been strong, even with the injuries suffered by Carlos Rodon and Nestor Cortes. We’ve graded each individual starter based on a minimum of 3 games, given the amount of Yankees pitchers that have had to come in and out due to injury and have made significant contributions during their appearances.

45 Gerrit Cole, Grade A

Gerrit Cole - ESPN

Throughout the season, the Yankees have faced many challenges, but Gerrit Cole has consistently performed well. Despite the difficulties, the 32-year-old has been a reliable player for the team. On Sunday, he received the news that he had been chosen to represent the American League in the All-Star team. This is his sixth time being selected for this honor.

Before the All-Star break, Cole has one more start remaining. So far, he has a record of 9 wins and 2 losses, with an earned run average (ERA) of 2.85. In his 19 starts, he has pitched for 117 innings and allowed 37 earned runs. He has also recorded 123 strikeouts.

Cole’s performance at the beginning of the season may not have placed him in the top three, but his consistent dominance over 19 starts has made him the clear ace of the team. As time goes on and fans distance themselves from his previous association with the Astros in 2018 and 2019, they are more accepting of him as a valuable player after the Yankees signed him as a free agent for $324 million. Despite his success, Cole is still seeking that defining moment, whether it’s a remarkable game, winning a Cy Young Award, or improving his performance in the postseason, which has been inconsistent with a record of 4 wins and 2 losses and an earned run average (ERA) of 3.49.

0 Domingo German, Grade A

Domingo Germán - ESPN

Recently, Domingo German accomplished something remarkable by pitching a perfect game, becoming only the 24th player in MLB history to achieve this feat. However, as a starting pitcher for the Yankees, German’s performance could have been better. His win-loss record stands at 5 wins and 5 losses, and statistical measurements such as ERA- and FIP- suggest that he has been an average pitcher both in the current season and throughout his career.

In his recent return to the Bronx on July 3, Yankees’ German had a tough outing, giving up nine hits in just 4 1/3 innings. However, in his last start before the All-Star break, he bounced back and delivered a strong performance, allowing only one hit and pitching into the sixth inning for the second time in his last five appearances. This positive showing has put German in a good position going into the break, as he now has a 1.40 ERA and a 23:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his last three games, covering a total of 19.1 innings. It’s important to note, though, that before these recent starts, the Yankees starter had a higher 5.10 ERA and a 69:25 strikeout-to-walk ratio on the year, indicating that his performance has been inconsistent and subject to change.

40 Luis Severino, Grade F

Luis Severino - ESPN

In his recent stretch of seven starts, Severino has given up a concerning total of 37 runs, leading to justified boos from the Yankees fans. The pitcher himself admitted that these struggles have been affecting his confidence. In his most recent outing, he had a particularly tough time, lasting only 2.2 innings and allowing ten hits, seven earned runs, and a walk. One of the main issues was his command, as he left too many pitches in hittable areas for the opposing batters.

For four starts from June 2 to June 18, Luis Severino had a tough time on the mound. He gave up a total of 21 runs, with 19 of them being earned runs, and allowed 29 hits, including seven home runs. Although he did manage to strike out 18 batters, he also issued nine walks. The recent performance on Saturday adds to the evidence that his exceptional outing against the Rangers was more of a rare occurrence rather than a consistent reflection of his current form.

Apart from one impressive performance against the strong Rangers team on June 24, the Yankees starter’s earned run average (ERA) has been quite high, standing at 11.72 in a total of seven games.

36 Clarke Schmidt, Grade B

Clarke Schmidt - ESPN

After a sluggish beginning, Schmidt has shown remarkable improvement recently, recording an impressive earned run average (ERA) of 2.76 in his past eight appearances for the Yankees.

During his most recent game, Clarke Schmidt once again showcased his skills on the mound. He pitched for 2.0 innings and gave up two earned runs, while impressively striking out seven batters. This victory marked his first consecutive win of the season. In a span of five-plus innings, Schmidt only allowed three runs and five hits, displaying his accuracy with seven strikeouts and zero walks.

Over his past nine starts, spanning 47.1 innings, the 27-year-old Clarke Schmidt has maintained an impressive 2.85 ERA. When considering his overall performance this season, the Yankees starter currently holds a 4.43 ERA, along with a 1.40 WHIP and an impressive 86 strikeouts to 26 walks ratio in 18 starts, covering a total of 87.1 innings.

76 Jhony Brito, Grade B

Jhony Brito - ESPN

He had a strong start in his Major League Baseball debut, keeping the Giants from scoring any runs. However, his performance in his second game was not as memorable. Since then, he has shown signs of improvement but has also had some uncertain moments on the mound. In the major leagues this year, he has accumulated a 4.70 ERA, a 1.34 WHIP, and a 35:21 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 51.2 innings pitched in 12 appearances, 11 of which were starts. The rookie Yankees starter is playing in Triple-A, where he has displayed quality performances, although there have been some less stable starts. It seems likely that he will return to the Yankees and have more successful outings during the summer season.

65 Nestor Cortes Jr., Grade D


With his iconic mustache and inspiring journey as a journeyman player, Nestor Cortes became a beloved figure among fans when he was selected as an All-Star for the first time last year. The Yankees even planned to distribute “Nasty Nestor” T-shirts as a tribute to his success. However, this season has seen a decline in his performance, as reflected by his 5.11 ERA in 11 starts. As a result, his popularity has somewhat diminished among fans.

98 Randy Vasquez, Grade A

Randy Vásquez - ESPN

Since being assigned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Vasquez has showcased his skills with an impressive 1.17 ERA across 15.1 innings pitched. In his recent game against the Orioles, the 24-year-old right-handed pitcher delivered a solid performance, throwing five scoreless innings. Although he only recorded one strikeout, Vasquez limited the Orioles to three hits and three walks. Before that, in his two previous appearances for the Yankees, Vasquez demonstrated great form with a 1.74 ERA and a notable 9:4 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 10.1 innings.

He secured a victory by limiting the White Sox to just two hits and a walk during his 5.2 innings on the mound. However, in his 13 starts with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the right-handed pitcher has a somewhat higher ERA of 5.11. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that he has displayed a strong strikeout ability, averaging more than one strikeout per inning pitched in those games.

Yankees’ mid-term pitching record 

Team Totals3.809191892226812.071538034399298178350102434371114.221.2487.
Rank in 15 AL teams526554756119

Yankees fans can also go through our starting pitchers’ grading and bullpen pitchers’ grading.

What do you think about the grades? Leave your opinion in the comments below.

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