2. Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton can go all out
Tanaka may only be 31-years-old, but it’s clear that he struggles to make it through a 162-game regular season at this stage of his career. For reference, he hit the All-Star Break in 2019 with an ERA of 3.86 but limped to a finishing mark of 4.45 in 31 starts.
More from New York Yankees
- Yankees fans fear Drake Curse after Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton concert appearance
- MLB standings ordered by hard hit rate: Struggling Cardinals still cracking bats
- Yankees add member of legendary Core Four as advisor
- MLB Rumors: Cardinals surprise trade, Braves-Ohtani package, Yankees-Royals trade
- 3 catchers the Yankees need to trade for to replace Jose Trevino
It’s easy to see why the Yankees can expect Tanaka’s stuff to play up if he’s just asked to make 10 or so starts. They’d be thrilled if he could pitch to a sub-4 ERA in that kind of limited sample. History tells the organization that it is a very realistic expectation.
Paxton is another starting pitcher who should benefit from less work. Fewer starts for the tall southpaw simply gives him fewer opportunities to injure himself. The chances of him making it through a 162-game season without hitting the Injured List are pretty remote. The chances of him doing so in a truncated season increase dramatically.
Starting pitching will be crucial for any team with hopes of dominating in 2020. The Yankees have to get big campaigns out of Tanaka and Paxton. Asking them to pitch less will help each veteran maximize their effort in each start. That’s great news for Boone and his coaching staff.