This season, the Yankees pitching core has been excellent. The rotation has given the Yankees relief when they don’t score enough and provides the offense with a form of a buffer. However, most teams have a number one “ace” on their roster, but the Yankees have three pitchers who have shown they could be an ace.
The obvious choice for the number one starter role is Luis Severino. Last season, Severino proved that he is the best pitcher on the Yankees roster, even if he struggled in the second half of the season. There are some obvious concerns for Severino; nobody knows how he will return from his injury. Severino is currently down with a Grade 2 lat strain and inflammation in his right rotator cuff. There is also the possibility that Severino returns to his post-All-Star break form, where he pitched under the level he was expected to. He has been the best starter for the Yankees for the past two years. If Severino returns to his pre-All-Star break self, he can become a Cy Young award candidate. When Luis Severino performs at the highest level, which Yankee fans have grown to love the past couple of season, it’s evident that he is the best pitcher on the roster.
Another option for this role in James Paxton; Paxton was traded in the offseason from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Erik Swanson, Dom Thompson-Williams, and Justus Sheffield. Sheffield was the centerpiece that was shipped to Seattle. He was the number one prospect in the Yankees system, but he was not the right fit for the current roster. The Yankees needed a pitcher that can help them win now, with Sheffield, it appeared he would not be ready to pitch in the Bronx for a couple of seasons. James Paxton has been injury prone throughout his career and has had trouble staying on the field as a result, but when Paxton has been healthy, he pitches to a mid-3.00 ERA. While Paxton is an outstanding pitcher and he will compete to be the number one starter, his injury history and average numbers (for an ace) will most likely keep him from gaining that role.
An intriguing candidate to be the dominant figure in the Yankees rotation is Domingo Germán. Germán has been fantastic to start the year and has already won nine games for the Yankees, the most in the American League. Last year, Germán struggled when allowed to start, but did show flashes of excellence. Germán is now proving everyone wrong and has been one of the best starters in the MLB. The main concern is that Germán might be on an insanely hot streak and could regress to his old ways. If he can continue to perform at the same clip, the Yankees will consider him as their ace.
I believe that Germán deserves the chance to be the Yankees ace. He has proven himself to be the best pitcher on the roster with Severino out long-term. The easy answer would be to give Luis Severino the top slot, but no one knows how he will pitch coming off of a significant injury. Germán is first on the Yankees in wins and second in strikeouts, surprising most fans with how well the 26-year old righty has played thus far. Many pitchers can make an argument for the Yankees ace role, but Germán has proven that he gives the Bombers the best chance to win.