The Yankees entered the 2017 season with question marks up and down the rotation. Some of the issues came to fruition, however there were exciting developments and the group gelled down the stretch.
Let's review the performance of the Yankees' 2017 starters with innings pitched used to sort through the players.
Severino may have been the biggest question mark of the season after a disappointing 2016 season, but before long, he rose to the top of the rotation. In 193 1/3 innings (31 starts), Severino went 14-6 with a 2.98 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 230 strikeouts.
Unfortunately, his youthful inexperience (he's 23) came front and center in the postseason lasting one out in the American League Wild Card Game, and then just nine combined innings in two American League Championship Series starts. Severino did perform well in his American League Division Series game with seven innings of three-run ball.
Tanaka was expected to be the ace of the staff after three seasons of exceptional pitching. He was far from ace-like for the first half of the season, pitching to a 5.47 ERA, while allowing 23 home runs in 102 innings. Tanaka began to turn things around after the All-Star break, recording a 3.77 ERA during the final 12 starts of the season. His turnaround continued in the playoffs where he was virtually untouchable - two runs in 20 innings.
Tanaka can opt out of his deal and his uneven performance makes his decision unpredictable.
Montgomery wasn't a consideration for a rotation spot mid-way through spring training. However, as the "favorites" for the fifth starter role faltered, Montgomery shined. Early on, Montgomery paid massive dividends and then eased into a competent back-end of the rotation arm. Montgomery went 9-7 with a 3.88 ERA, 1.23 WHIP in 155 1/3 innings. He struck out 144 batters and led MLB rookie pitchers in fWAR (2.7).
Sabathia began to fully reinvent himself in 2016, but he completed the task this season. Pitching with a knee brace that made him comfortable with his motion, he once again became the anchor of the pitching staff. Sabathia was not as flashy as in his most formidable seasons, but he was entirely effective. He turned in his finest all-around season since 2012 with a 14-5 record, 3.69 ERA (122 ERA+) and a 1.27 WHIP. Sabathia threw 19 innings in the postseason, registering a 2.37 ERA and allowing a measly .574 OPS to opposing batters.
Pineda set out to have a big season as his first free agent contract was in the offing. Unfortunately for Pineda, he suffered a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament, forcing Tommy John surgery. He finished the season 8-4 with a 4.39 ERA in 17 starts (96 1/3 innings).
Gray came to the Yankees in a trade deadline deal and performed admirably in the regular season until the last few starts. He failed to receive much run support to benefit his 3.72 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in the 11 starts he made for the Yanks.
He lost the faith of Joe Girardi during the postseason after a rough ALDS Game 1 start, and subsequently, threw just one more game in which he threw five innings and allowed one run in Game 4 of the ALCS.
There were just 16 starts made by others - Jaime Garcia (8), Luis Cessa (4), Caleb Smith (2), Bryan Mitchell (1) and Chad Green (1) - which speaks to the overall good health of the rotation.