New York Yankees Fifth Starter Options

New York Yankees

The Yankees Fifth Starter Race

With the recent news that James Paxton will miss a portion of the upcoming season due to back surgery, the New York Yankees will be left without one of their strongest starters to begin the season. The competition for the fifth spot in the rotation is now wide open.

Here are several potential options moving forward for the Yankees for their fifth starter spot:

J.A. Happ

J.A. Happ was acquired by the Yankees in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays on July 26th, 2018. He pitched masterfully for the Yankees starting 11 games and going 7-0. His excellent numbers, including a 2.69 ERA, prompted the Yankees to sign him to a two-year contract with a vesting option for a third year.

Sadly, his 2019 campaign wasn’t glowing. He surrendered 34 home runs in 161 innings pitched finishing with a 12-8 record and near five ERA.

Slated for long relief at the beginning of the 2020 season, Happ now has a chance to pitch himself back into the rotation if he has a solid spring. The veteran lefty could be a solid fifth option. His 2019 month of September was solid as he started five games pitching 27 innings, allowing only five earned runs.

Jordan Montgomery

Jordan Montgomery burst on to the scene for the New York Yankees in 2017. A non-roster invitee, Montgomery started the year in AAA before the call up on April 12th, 2017. In two stints with the big club, Montgomery went 9-7 with a 3.88 ERA.

The hopes were high for ”Gumby” as he solidified his spot in the starting rotation for the 2018 season. After going 2-0 with a 3.62 ERA, he was put on the IL on May 1st, 2018. He would miss the remainder of the season and all of 2019 as well after undergoing Tommy John surgery for a torn left UCL.

Montgomery has a golden opportunity to earn back his spot in the rotation and give the Yankees a lefty option on the back end. His crafty pitching style fits in well with the Yankees’ pitching philosophy.

Deivi Garcia

Deivi Garcia is the glittering jewel of the Yankees minor league pitchers. Despite being untested at the MLB level, Garcia’s ability to strike out hitters at a high clip makes him a super intriguing option.

Although only 20, he has rocketed through the Yankee farm system. There was talk of him possibly getting a call as early as last season. But, due to his age, The Yankees can take a very patient approach with Garcia. So, perhaps a more likely scenario is that Garcia becomes an option out of the bullpen this season in order to gauge his readiness at the MLB level.

Given his meteoric rise through the system so far, the Yankees have no choice but to add him to the 26-man opening day roster.

Clarke Schmidt

Perhaps the biggest wildcard on this list, Clarke Schmidt could turn his non-roster invitation into a MLB roster spot.

Schmidt was selected by the Yankees in the first round of the 2017 MLB draft despite undergoing Tommy John surgery. After making his debut in June of 2018, Schmidt has been arguably the most sold pitching prospect in the Yankees’ system. He has four above-average pitches that he throws for strikes including a mid-90s four-seam fastball.

In two postseason appearances for Trenton last year, Schmidt allowed just one earned run while striking out 13. Durability will be the biggest question for Schmidt. He missed five weeks last year due to elbow inflammation. If he can stay healthy, Schmidt could be very solid end of the rotation option.

Conclusion

There are four solid options for the New York Yankees. It is possible, however, that the Yankees could make a trade for another starter. The recent signing of former Colorado Rockies pitcher Chad Bettis shows that the team is keeping all of its options open when it comes to their starting rotation. Regardless of who ends up winning the job, the Yankees seem poised to possess one of the most potent starting rotations in all of baseball.