Jameson Tellon isn’t paying anything this season. The Yankees right-hander has battled cancer, two Tommy John surgeries and last season’s unusual (for baseball) ankle injury. After an October 2021 surgery to repair that ankle, the Yankees didn’t know what to expect when he returned this season.
The 30-year-old is simply a more complete pitcher, having added a cutter that is now a weapon to his repertoire, and who has dramatically cut back on giving away free bases. Talon has a career-low 1.9 walk percentage this season, the lowest since his 2016 rookie season when he ran the batsmen at 4.9%. 1.9% is the fourth best among the majors.
“The cutter is good. He doesn’t have a tremendous amount of stuff, so the cutter really works with fastballs and sliders,” said one American League scout. “He uses the right from the outside to get it out of the fastball. He can jam the left with it.
It was a good pitch for them, it helped them attack and stay in the (strike) zone.
This helps him to make weak or soft contact and stay away from walks.
Talon flashed the cutter towards the end of last season, mostly against left-handers, but this year it has been a growing presence in his pitch mix. In his last start, a win against the same Blue Jays he is due to face at the stadium on Wednesday, Talon made it a career-high 20 times in six innings, making one run for five hits and scoring four. He didn’t play a batsman.
Talon is now throwing his cutters 12% of the time, reducing some of his reliance on fastballs 33% (down 9.5% from 2021) and sliders 16.5% (2.9%).
“There are too many weapons now,” Talon said after defeating the Blue Jays in Toronto on May 3. “Last year, I guess, it was fastball sliders and a lot of fastballs. For the left I was like fastball, curveball, changeup. Now we’re throwing curveballs to the right, to the left with the cutter, and to the right, so I That’s definitely expanded the package. I found myself back in a hole last year showing the ability to pitch that I had.”
The results have been effective. He is 2-1 with 2.84 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 21 strikes in 25.1 innings over five starts. He has been able to walk with just two batsmen in that time.
Coming into this season, the Yankees didn’t really know what they were returning to their rotation. Gerritt Cole struggled towards the end of the year, although he thought and hoped it was due to a hamstring injury. Luis Severino finally recovered after missing most of the past three years, but he did not know how he would return. Nestor Cortes has begun to show how he can be effective without overpowering anything.
And Talon had to repair a ligament in his right ankle, something that was unusual for a baseball player. Initially, the Yankees didn’t expect him to return until this month, but even though he was on his own during most of the rehab due to the MLB lockdown, Talone was ready ahead of schedule.
Now, he is part of a rotation and pitching corps that has been a part of the base of this team. Yankees starters have combined for the best ERA in the American league and third best in the big leagues (2.50), behind only the Dodgers and Diamondbacks. Their combined K/BB rate (4.11) is the best among the major leagues, partly due to Talon’s ability to cut short runs.
“I mean, our job is to keep the offense in the game and just give them a chance to win,” said Talone. “So, I still want to go deeper, but, we are keeping the team in the game and then the bullpen that we have, if we can convert it to the bullpen with a lead or a close game, I like our Chance. If it’s any other team, especially when it comes down to the bullpen it’s been a consistent effort. The starting staff is extremely prepared. Our catchers are extremely prepared. And it allows us to keep our team in the game. is. “