The All-Star Game is a few weeks away and voters are scrambling to get to the polls (which are on MLB.Com) to make their picks. The New York Yankees will have their fair share of players playing in the game in Seattle. It’s an annual right that baseball’s most historic franchise gets at least one player in. From the everyday players, there are at least two players who are locks.
What about the pitchers? Well, that is a bit more straightforward with a few names being clear favorites to make the All-Star team. That said, let’s take a look at which pitchers might make the cut.
Under the same theme as the everyday players, each pitcher will be put into a box. There are the locks, the squints (hey, it could happen but likely won’t), and the no-chance players. So, here we go!!
Which Yankees Can Make the All-Star Team? Pitchers Edition
Gerrit Cole – Starting Pitcher
Lock – The question isn’t if Gerrit Cole will make the All-Star game but rather if he’ll win the Cy Young Award at season’s end. He’s allowed only 27 runs on 79.2 innings pitched while tossing 84 strikeouts. The unquestioned ace of the staff is also allowing a .234 expected opponent batting average, a .393 expected opponent slugging percentage, and a 3.85 expected ERA indicating he is allowing minimal contact and opponents are rarely crushing the ball off of Cole this year.
How is Cole getting it done? Well, he’s gone heavy on the fastball this season. He throws the pitch 55% of the time, which is the most of his career and the high heat particularly allows him to earn strikeouts. Cole has had a few rough outings, notably in recent games. However, his spot in the All-Star game seems all but locked up.
Clarke Schmidt – Starting Pitcher
No Chance – Clarke Schmidt being the number two starter in the rotation speaks volumes to the drop in the rotation. Schmidt is having a brutal season on the mound, allowing 39 runs in 61.2 innings pitched. He has time to turn this season around but is far from All-Star consideration.
Domingo German – Starting Pitcher
No Chance – The sticky situation, which resulted in a 10-game suspension, is one strike against Domingo German. Then there are the results the Yankees have received from him. While German has put together a strong season, allowing only 27 runs in 61 innings pitched with 59 strikeouts, it’s far from All-Star level. He can still put together a strong season and make himself a “squint All-Star” but it would be a surprise if he gets any votes.
Nestor Cortes – Starting Pitcher
No Chance – Aside from the disappointing season, Nestor Cortes is injured and might not pitch again until the break. He’s an All-Star-level pitcher but is having a rough season on the mound. The rule changes (which prevent him from dancing and all that fancy movement on the mound) have played a role in the struggles but he’s also become too reliant on the fastball. Cortes throws heat 52.9% of the time while he’s not turning to his sweeper, slider, cutter, and change-up as often making him more predictable.
Wandy Peralta – Reliever
Squint All-Star – Here’s where we get into the nitty-gritty. Anyone who has watched the Yankees know the value Wandy Peralta brings to the bullpen, helping it look like one of the best in baseball. He’s only pitched 25.2 innings this season but allowed only 10 runs. His .350 expected opponent slugging percentage and 33.3 hard hit rate are among the best. So, what’s preventing Peralta from getting the All-Star nod? Well, there are a lot of qualified relievers and Peralta is the third-best on his roster. It’s hard to quantify a bulk inning reliever but an All-Star nod would validate his place on the Yankees.
Michael King – Reliever
Lock – Michael King has been one of the best relievers in the American League this season. In 34.2 innings pitched, he’s allowed only eight runs while tossing 40 strikeouts. His 1.4 WAR is third-most on the Yankees and third-most among American League relievers. The All-Star game tends to reward starters and closers but as one of the game’s best set-up relievers, King will be in Seattle.
Clay Holmes – Closer
Squint All-Star – Clay Holmes is having an exceptional season, allowing eight runs in 26.1 innings pitched while striking out 32 batters while earning seven saves (for those still keeping track of that stat). The obstacle Holmes faces is the closer supply and demand for the All-Star game. There are only a few spots available and a surplus of elite arms.
Yennier Cano is a lock while Baltimore Oriole teammate Felix Bautista will receive strong consideration. Pete Fairbanks of the Tampa Bay Rays is having an exceptional year but he’s currently injured. Holmes has put himself into All-Star consideration but he not only must continue to pitch well but hope other relievers drop off a bit in the coming weeks.
Final Thoughts on the Yankees Pitchers
It’s a bit surprising to see the number of Yankee pitchers that could make the All-Star game. There are two locks and four players if all goes right. Considering how the Yankees have pitched this year, that number seems high.
However, breaking down where the votes might come from, that number not only makes sense but summarizes the Yankees’ pitching season. The rotation has struggled outside of Cole, who is having an exceptional season. The bullpen has been a team strength with multiple good arms and a few elite ones. It shows where the weakness on the roster is and how the Yankees need to improve as the season heads toward the halfway point.
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