MLB, New York Yankees

Yankees: The 5 best pitching seasons of the 21st century in the Bronx

With the acquisition of Gerrit Cole, the Yankees starting rotation is once again a force to be reckoned with for the first time in a while. Let’s look back on the best seasons from pitchers in pinstripes since 2000.

Outside of Luis Severino’s 2017 season when he finished in third place for the American League Cy Young Award, the New York Yankees‘ pitching has been suspect as of late.

Gerrit Cole will look to change that in 2020 and beyond.

While we wait for the season to start, here are the five best single-season pitching performances, in terms of bWAR, by the Yankees in the 21st century — a list that Cole should join once baseball is back.

New York Yankees starting pitcher Mike Mussina throws to the plate in the first inning of Game 5 of the World Series in Yankee Stadium 01 November 2001 in New York. The Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Yankees are tied 2-2 in the best-of-seven series. AFP PHOTO/Timothy A. CLARY (Photo by Timothy A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

Mike Mussina, 2001, 7.1 WAR

A five-time All Star with the Baltimore Orioles, who finished in the top-six of the American League Cy Young Award winner voting seven times, Mussina signed a six-year, $88.5 million deal with the Yankees heading into 2001.

Up to big expectations, Moose did not disappoint.In fact, 2001 might have been his best season.

His 7.1 WAR was the most among pitchers in the American League. Moose also led the American League with a 2.92 FIP.

His 214 strikeouts were the second-most of his career, and the second-most in the American League. It also was the most strikeouts he had in a season as a Yankee.

His 3.15 ERA was also his lowest as a Yankee, and the second-best mark in the American League that season. His 1.07 WHIP was also the second-best mark in the American League, as was his 5.1 K/9.

On September 2, he had a perfect game through 8.2 innings, until Carl Everett blooped one into right field.

He also won his fifth Gold Glove Award.

Moose owned a 2.63 ERA during their World Series run that year. He did struggle in his first World Series, but nonetheless, the 2001 season met the contract’s expectations.

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