Luis Gil: From Being Optioned to Now Leading Rookie of the Year Poll

Gil returned from Tommy John Surgery after being optioned during spring training. Gil finds his way to the starting rotation because of injury. Now, he is leading polls as a potential rookie of the year winner.
New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays
New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

On March 3, 2024, the New York Yankees made the tough decision of sending Luis Gil to Triple-A Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre. It made a lot of sense since the Dominican Republic native was returning from Tommy John surgery.

There wasn't a spot open in the starting rotation, since manager Aaron Boone was going with Gerrit Cole, Carlos Rodon, Marcus Stroman, Nestor Cortes, and Clarke Schmidt. Starting in the minors may help Gil with reps and preparation due to missing the rest of the 2022 season, and the whole 2023 season due to surgery. 

On March 28, 2024, the Yankees recalled Gil due to losing Cole to the injured list. With Cole out of the rotation, the Bronx Bombers scrambled to figure out a game plan just until the UCLA product returned.

So they had a competition between Gil, Clayton Beeter, and Will Warren for the fifth spot. While none of the options were superstar-worthy, the Yankees chose to go within their organization instead of trading for a pitcher.  That may have been a blessing in disguise. 

With rumors of trading for a pitcher, teams were asking for Yankees’ number two prospect Spencer Jones, which Brian Cashman declined. This means that the Yankees would lose out on Corbin Burnes and Dylan Cease. 

With Gil’s performance during the spring training of maintaining an ERA of 2.87 and striking out 23 batters, he earned the fifth spot in the rotation giving hope to Boone.

With a star pitcher like Cole out, there was no telling how the rotation would be able to contend. Cortes was coming off a down year and Rodon's first year as a Yankee didn't go as planned.

Schmidt was coming off his first full season as a starter, so consistency would be key. Then Gil who was coming off major surgery, could he replicate his spring training stats?

However, no one expected the start the Bronx Bombers would have, especially without their Cy Young winner. The Yankees entered June with 40 wins and 19 losses. That is thanks to Juan Soto and Aaron Judge having an MVP season so far, but also how impressive the starters have been.

The starters combined would have 29 wins and 12 losses and a combined ERA of 2.72. What makes it impressive, is the star in the making. That is coming from Luis Gil.

The former Twins prospect currently sits as the Yankees' best pitcher with eight wins and one loss, with an ERA of 1.82. He currently leads the team with 85 strikeouts. His impressive performances are attributed to being named AL Pitcher of the Month and AL Rookie of the Month for how he pitched in May. 

Along with his performance, he's currently ranked first in ERA and Batting Average with 1.82 and .129 respectively. Regarding wins and WHIP, Gil is ranked second with 8 and .92 respectively. Although Gil ranks fifth in strikeouts (85), the former prospect has stayed within the top ten. 

What makes Gil’s accomplishments special, is the first season back from a massive surgery. Also, Gil’s production gives Cashman a sigh of relief for not trading for a top pitcher.

According to experts, Gil received 26 first-place votes in their latest Rookie of the Year poll. Although there are still a lot of games left, the impact of Gil’s achievements so far has been felt thus far.

The way Gil has pitched so far is a testament to his rehab and training coming back from an injury that usually has pitchers change their mechanics. After being demoted and then promoted, Gil is determined to be an ace that the Yankees would need to back up Cole. If that can happen, winning AL Rookie of the Year is a no-brainer. 

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