Hooray! Spring Training has sprung and there is actually baseball to talk about! Of course, any baseball fan knows the outcome of the game does not really matter much. For example, in 2015, the Texas Rangers finished with the worst Spring Training record, but won the the AL West during the regular season.
If the Yankees do poorly in the win column this spring, it does not matter much at all.
However, even though the Win-Loss column does not hold much significance, the performance of individual players does matter and is worth paying attention to.
That brings us to the title of this blog post: “What to Watch For.” Here in the beginning of Spring Training, the Yankees Nation bloggers will be teaming up to summarize the most important aspects of the spring for the Yankees, focusing on different topics each post. So without further ado, here is What to Watch For: Starting Pitching!
MLB implemented a 20 second pitch clock to Spring Training games designed to speed up pitchers (and hitters) between pitches. It will not be enforced at first, but as the spring progresses, umpires will begin to issue warnings, then give strike/ball penalties to the guilty hitter or pitcher.
The younger pitchers will not have any problem with this because there is a 15 second pitch clock already in place in the minors. It could have an effect on some of the veteran arms on the team. Watch to see how the Yankee pitchers adjust to the pitch clock.
Sevy is entering the spring with the ink on his new contract barely dry. According to USA Today, Severino signed a 4 year, $40 million contract that takes up his first year of free agency eligibility.
He will be the ace of this pitching staff that I have nicknamed the Harlem River Hurlers. We will see how manager Aaron Boone handles Sevy. Yankees fans should look to see if that fastball has the same life and see what workload he picks up.
Sevy started the 2018 season as a CY Young favorite, but fizzled out in the second half.
Watch for Severino to get off to another hot start, but work to keep his stamina up for the entirety of the season.
Yankees fans will get a first look at new starting pitcher, James Paxton, who came over in a trade with Seattle. Paxton threw a new hitter last season, so he has the ability to go the distance, which is uncommon in today’s game.
Watch for Paxton’s debut in pinstripes and get a first look at his stuff as Yankee. Also, it will be important to watch him gain chemistry with the catching staff.
After announcing his retirement, watch for Carsten Charles to get a well-deserved retirement tour, beginning in Florida.
After helping the Yankees to their 27th World Series in 2009, C.C. will be eager to end his career as a champion. We will watch to see if his body can take the beating from a 19th season. Also, we will see how C.C. continues to alter his pitching style. The once powerball pitcher will have to continue to adjust by pitching smart instead of trying to overpower hitters.
The 24-year-old right hander went 2-0 in his first taste of the big leagues last season with a 5.11 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 53 IP.
Loaisiga survived the off season without being traded. This means the Yankees like what they have with Loaisiga. On Feb 24, he pitched 2 shutout innings without a hit and struck out two. Watch for Jonathan to improve his stuff and gain confidence. He most likely will not break camp with the Yankees, but with inevitable injury to the pitching staff, Loaisiga could come up in relief throughout the season and make some valuable starts throughout the season.
On the Whole
JA Happ and Tanaka will look to continue their successful careers. Veterans like Tanaka and Happ do not have much to prove in Spring Training; it is just a time to work on stuff, experiment a bit, and get the arm ready for a full season of starts.
That being said, do not worry if any of the Yankee pitchers struggles a bit during the spring. Pitchers usually get experimental and try pitch sequences and pitches that they may not usually use. And sometimes it will not work out. That is okay, because they are just preparing for the real deal in late March.
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