It’s no secret that most of the Yankees success this season has come from their pitching. Questioned whether or not, they have enough depth before the season started, has now seemed to be an after thought. What brighter spot in the Yankees rotation then Nestor Cortes? Back in 2013, the Yankees selected Cortes in the 36th round out of Hialeah HS. Cortes jumped from New York to Baltimore, then a short stint in Seattle, before making his way back to the Bronx.
In 2021, Cortes showed lots of promise. Everyone questioned if he was just getting lucky and had these jokes attached to him for how quick he pitches or his amazing mustache. Fast forwarding to the 2022 season, Nestor Cortes has solidified himself as a staple in the Yankees staff and was even called one of the leaders of the team by 1B Anthony Rizzo.
In 2022, Nestor Cortes has a 1.41 ERA in 32 IP this season. That’s the 2nd best in the AL this season and the lowest ERA by a Yankee through his first six starts of a season since David Cone (0.82 ERA) in 1999. He is also the first pitcher in Yankees history with at least 40 strikeouts and 5 earned runs allowed or fewer through his first six starts of a season. Nestor Cortes is also the only player in the American League who is in the top-5 in both ERA (1.41, 3rd) and strikeouts (42, 4th)
Cortes is a unusual pitcher as he doesn’t use a 99-100 mph fastball or a above 90 slider. Instead, he uses his quick pitches as well as spin movement to earn him the nickname “Nasty Nestor”. Nestor’s pace between pitches, entering yesterday was 20.4 seconds. That’s the 13th quickest pace amongst MLB starters with at least 20 innings this season, per FanGraphs.
As said by Andrew McCutchen of the Milwaukee Brewers “Nestor Cortes’ fastball plays up. Meaning his 91-94 actually feels like 97. Mix that with him messing with a hitters timing, throwing from diff arm angles, and locating well, he can be very difficult to hit. He showed that today.”
This goes to show that the stigma around Cortes as a funny guy who is taken as a joke, needs to end. He is the real deal and he has shown that time and time again since May of 2021.
When Nestor was drafted in 2013, he was not much more then just a selection. Nobody had high hopes on him and didn’t expect much. His inspirational story can touch many as he defied all odds and is living his dream. He had to play winter ball up until this year just to stay relevant and make money to live. Jokes can be made around this guy time and time again, but he will continue to prove people wrong continuously. Yankee fans should be excited for this guy.
His recent quote sparked life into everyone in the Bronx. “I don’t care about anything else other than a WS title and be a Yankee for life I hope to be just a little stepping stone to that”