On January 23rd, Cashman confirmed that J.A. Happ will be the Yankees’ fifth starter to begin the 2020 season.

With this confirmation, the Yankees’ starting rotation is set for the time being:

  • Gerrit Cole

  • James Paxton

  • Luis Severino

  • Masahiro Tanaka

  • J.A. Happ

These five, barring any injuries to start the season, should be the rotation for the season, unless someone such as Jordan Montgomery takes the fifth spot over J.A. Happ. And of course, we can’t forget about the Yankees’ use of the occasional opener.

To start the 2019 season, the Yankees’ rotation was Domingo German, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, CC Sabathia, J.A. Happ, and an opener every now and then. Their ace, Luis Severino, was not available to pitch until September due to injury.

Now, however, again barring any injuries or anything else that happens, the fully-functional Yankees starting rotation is a huge upgrade from last season. This combination of starters is projected by Fangraphs to have the highest combined pitching WAR in the MLB.

One of the main reasons for this is the addition of the American League Cy Young runner up, Gerrit Cole. Cole was better than every single Yankees pitcher last season, and is now pitching for his childhood team.

Even if there are any injuries this season, the Yankees will be able to have pitchers they can plug in.

With Jordan Montgomery not in a set starting rotation spot, if anyone were to get injuries, it is very likely he would be the first starter to hold down the fort for someone else. After coming back from Tommy John surgery, it’s nice to see he is back after his solid rookie campaign. Also of course, roster mainstay Luis Cessa could always be called to action.

In addition to Montgomery and Cessa, the Yankees also have three solid prospects to call upon if ever needed.

Baseball America published their Top 100 MLB prospects, and three Yankees made it. Outfielder Jason Dominguez, and pitchers Clarke Schmidt and Deivi Garcia.

Schmidt was selected by the Yankees in the first round of the 2017 MLB Draft but did not play until 2018 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.  In 27 minor league games, he has posted an ERA of 3.39 and a WHIP of 1.13. Even if there are no injuries to the Yankees’ rotation, Schmidt could make his way into the bullpen this season.

Deivi Garcia’s name has been talked about a great deal since 2019, especially since many thought he could have been put on the Yankees’ postseason roster. Garcia was signed by the Yankees in 2015, and in 293.2 IP in the minors, Garcia has posted a 3.37 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. At 20 years old he is still pretty young, but like Schmidt, Garcia’s time in the majors may be coming soon.

The third pitching prospect the Yankees could use is Michael KingLast season, we caught a glimpse of Michael King. He hurled two innings in relief, giving up an unearned run, two hits, and struck out one batter. He looked sharp, and he may need more time, but if anything happens, he may be up with the Yankees.

Pitching depth is not something that the Yankees had a great deal of last season, but it is certainly something they have now.
Hopefully acquiring the best pitcher in the MLB and pitching depth were the final two pieces to a 28th World Series title.

Featured Image: Mike Stobe/Getty Images
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