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Grading the Yankees: Pitchers

New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45)

New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) throws against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning at Yankee Stadium in New York on Tuesday, September 7, 2021. Credit: Noah K. Murray

RHP Gerrit Cole A-

It was an odd season from the team’s ace, who finished an impressive 16-8 with a 3.23 ERA, which likely will place him second in the AL Cy Young Award voting. But he experienced some of the same ups and downs the Yankees did, and his mini-slump in September, which carried over into the wild-card game, was especially costly.

RHP Jameson Taillon B

The righthander entered the season with a slew of question marks, given his injury history, but answered most of them in the affirmative. Finished 8-6 with a 4.30 ERA in 29 starts, his most since starting 32 games in 2018.

LHP Jordan Montgomery B+

He was the Yankees’ most consistent starter from start to finish. Went 6-7 but with a 3.83 ERA. His unimpressive victory total was a product of getting the worst run support of any Yankees starter.

RHP Domingo German C-

The righthander, who returned to the club in spring training after serving an 81-game suspension for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy, went 4-5 with a 4.58 ERA in 22 games (18 starts). A shoulder injury cost him much of the second half.

RHP Corey Kluber B-

Came in with questions about his health, and all seemed well after his no-hitter May 19 at Texas improved him to 4-2 with a 2.86 ERA. But he left his next start with a strain in his right shoulder, and though he returned Aug. 30, he was not the same.

LHP Nestor Cortes Jr. B+

The clubhouse and fan favorite enjoyed what he, and the Yankees, hope was a breakthrough season. Few opponents figured out how to make solid contact against the quirky lefthander, who put up a 2.90 ERA in 22 games (14 starts).

RHP Michael King B-

King had an erratic start to the season but was solid in September — a 3.00 ERA in eight games — after returning from a fluke injury to the middle finger on his right hand that occurred in the weight room in early July, keeping him in the mix for a role of some kind next season.

RHP Chad Green B

The reliable righty again was just that with a 3.12 ERA in a team-high 67 appearances. But there were some high-profile hiccups, which included trouble with the homer. He allowed 14 total, eight in the second half.

LHP Aroldis Chapman B

For all of the talk about his inconsistencies — and there certainly were some, the reason he was temporarily demoted from the closer role just before the All-Star break — Chapman went 30-for-34 in saves with a 3.36 ERA. He struck out 97 in 56 1⁄3 innings.

RHP Albert Abreu C-

Abreu no longer is considered the elite prospect he once was. He alternated between being effective and ineffective during a season in which he posted a 5.15 ERA in 25 games, constantly shuttling between the minors and the majors.

LHP Wandy Peralta A-

An early-season acquisition that was mostly ignored but turned out to be one of the club’s most significant moves. The reliever was terrific, regardless of role, with a 2.95 ERA in 46 games.

RHP Jonathan Loaisiga A

Hands-down the Yankees’ best reliever, one who excelled in whatever situation they put him in. Period.

LHP Andrew Heaney D-

Other than an Aug. 8 victory over the Red Sox in which he allowed one run in seven innings, Heaney was a train wreck in New York, putting up a 7.32 ERA in 12 games (five starts). A fly ball pitcher who allowed a lot of homers in Anaheim remained a fly ball pitcher who allowed a lot of home runs with the Yankees (13 in 35 2⁄3 innings).

LHP Lucas Luetge A-

The Yankees’ analytics department had their share of hits in the relief pitching department in 2021, with Luetge high on that list. After not having appeared in a big-league game since 2015, he produced a 2.74 ERA in 57 games, tied for third most on the club.

RHP Clay Holmes A

Despite receiving little attention at the time, this arguably was general manager Brian Cashman’s best trade deadline acquisition. He was borderline unhittable, posting a 1.61 ERA and .079 WHIP in 25 appearances.

LHP Joely Rodriguez A-

Lefty specialist who was exactly that after the Yankees made him an under-the-radar acquisition at the trade deadline.

LHP Zack Britton D

The veteran lefthander’s 2021 could not have gone much worse. Britton battled physical issues pretty much from the time he reported to spring training in early February. He posted a 5.89 ERA in 22 games before undergoing Tommy John surgery in September that likely will cost him most if not all of 2022, the last season he’s under contract with the Yankees.

RHP Luis Gil INCOMPLETE

The Yankees, out of necessity more than anything else, promoted the 23-year-old before they wanted to, but the righty, one of the team’s top pitching prospects, was electric at times, posting a 3.07 ERA in six starts. Gil struck out 38 but walked 19 in 29 1⁄3 innings.

RHP Darren O’Day

INCOMPLETE

Veteran reliever posted a 3.38 ERA in 12 games but was never healthy, undergoing season-ending surgery on his hamstring in July.

RHP Luis Severino

INCOMPLETE

The former ace eventually made it back in September from February 2020 Tommy John surgery, taking a bullpen role and excelling, small sample size as it may have been. Regardless, the expectation is he’ll be back in the rotation next season.

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