Boone impressed by Gil: 'The stuff is real'

After stellar debut, right-hander will start for Yankees again Sunday

August 5th, 2021

The day after Luis Gil’s stellar MLB debut against the Orioles, Yankees manager Aaron Boone marveled at the rookie’s ability to pound the strike zone.

“That’s what it's all about for him,” Boone told reporters Wednesday. “The stuff is real. The fastball has a chance to be special, but his ability to land his secondary pitches routinely throughout the outing allowed him to be pitch efficient.”

Gil spun six scoreless innings in Tuesday's 13-1 win over the Orioles, striking out six and walking one. With the elite stuff that Gil totes, his command will continue to be his key to success as he attempts to carve a niche for himself with the big league club. The 23-year-old is the No. 6 prospect in the Yankees' system per MLB Pipeline and was called on to make his debut on short notice when Gerrit Cole tested positive for COVID-19 after Monday night’s game.

“To come in and fill in for our ace and go out and spin that, that was pretty cool,” Boone said.

Though Gil was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilke-Barre after Tuesday's game, he is slated to be recalled to start Sunday at Yankee Stadium against the Mariners, who are battling with the Yanks in the American League Wild Card race.

Gil was dominant from the start against Baltimore, retiring 11 of the first 12 batters he faced while relying heavily upon his high-octane fastball. However, solid control for his secondary pitches allowed him to keep the Orioles off-balance all night.

Gil’s fastball topped out at 98.5 mph, and he complemented it with a power changeup that averaged 92.3 mph and a slider that averaged 85.1 mph. He ended his night by working out of a jam in the sixth, fanning Austin Hays while displaying great command of his sweeping slider. He became only the eighth Yankees pitcher to toss at least six scoreless innings in his Major League debut.

Prior to his Major League debut, Gil’s raw-yet-electric pitching repertoire had been on full display in the Minors, where he struck out 88 over 61 innings between Triple-A and Double-A Somerset. However, at times in his Minor League career, Gil has struggled to throw strikes with his secondary pitches, walking 5.3 batters per nine innings this year, leading to a 4.13 ERA in 15 starts. In fact, this lack of command has led scouts to question whether he would be better suited as a future closer.

Signed by the Twins in 2015, out of the Dominican Republic, Gil was acquired by the Yankees in a trade for outfielder Jake Cave during Spring Training in '18.