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Breaking Down the Battle for Fifth Man in the Yankees Rotation

The New York Yankees have multiple starting pitchers competing to be the fifth man in their rotation, such as Luke Weaver, Luis Gil, Clayton Beeter, and Will Warren. They have all had a strong spring and are pitching at a high level, but only one of them can take the fifth spot, at least for now. Of those four names, one of them stands out among the rest, having already succeeded at the MLB level. Still, it is anyone’s game going into the final week of spring training.

Deciding the Fifth Man in the Yankees Rotation

Analyzing Each Candidate

Clayton Beeter and Will Warren are among the Yankees’ top pitching prospects and are the closest to the MLB level. They both have shown great upside this spring and have pitched at a high level, though they lack experience in the upper echelons of Minor League Baseball. Beeter struggled in Triple-A last season despite pitching well in Double-A. He will likely need some more seasoning, as his command is still not fully polished.

Warren did pitch well in Triple-A, but just like Beeter, he has a problem with the walks. Giving up too many free passes at the MLB level tends to get punished severely unless you’re Blake Snell, though Snell is unique as his stuff is also exceptional. They both could make the jump onto the Yankees now, but would have to limit the walks to be successful.

Luke Weaver does have MLB experience, albeit having struggled for the majority of his career. Once he became a Yankee, though, his ERA dropped from 6.40 to 3.38, showing signs of significant improvement. If he can continue what he did last season, then there is a strong chance Weaver could be the Yankees’ fifth starter. However, he is not the favorite. That would be Luis Gil, the former number-one pitching prospect for the Yankees.

Gil is having an exceptional spring and looks poised to be the fifth Yankee starter. He broke out onto the scene back in 2021 as a rookie helping the Yankees in a playoff push where he pitched to a 3.07 ERA with 38 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings of work. Gil looked like a future ace in that short period, but in 2022 he would undergo Tommy John surgery, missing the remainder of the season and a large chunk of 2023.

Luis Gil Right Now

This spring, Gil has returned to his previous form and also improved. He has taken a step forward, being able to throw his fastball 100 mph, as well as his slider and change up for strikes. He still has the makings of an elite starting pitcher and could be a key contributor while Gerrit Cole recovers.

Final Assessment

Luke Weaver would be great for the Yankees in long relief, as they will need someone to stabilize the gaping hole left by Michael King. Will Warren and Clayton Beeter need a little more seasoning before they can become key contributors at the MLB level, though the potential is high for both of them. Luis Gil has had the best MLB track record in the group and has arguably the highest upside as well. Despite Gil being the favorite for the fifth spot, it would not be shocking if you see all four of these pitchers throw large numbers of innings for the Yankees down the road.


Photo Credit: © Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports


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