He rarely cracks 94 mph with his fastball, he is short, and stocky: in other words, he is not built like your prototypical ace.
However, he is very much one, and the numbers back him up.
Why did he become an ace?
Well, there are several reasons: the Yankees helped him improve his stuff by introducing a cutter and making his breaking ball more sweepy.
In addition to that, he uses a whole repertoire of weapons to his favor: he has a good changeup, he plays with the hitter’s plane, he toys with his delivery, he is unpredictable, and he does this:
"He just invented that right at the last minute."
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 15, 2022
Cortes Fooled Devers
Longer windups to fool hitters has already become one of Nestor’s calling cards.
In this occasion, he used a longer delivery and then surprised Rafael Devers, one of the best hitters in baseball, with a wicked cutter on a 3-2 count that ended the at-bat.
You can easily tell Devers was fooled and confused by his swing: it was entirely defensive, but there was no chance he touched that cutter.
“Nasty” Nestor, who recently came back from a groin injury, pitched five innings of one-run ball on Wednesday night at Fenway Park, and his ERA for the season is down to 2.70 in 140 innings.
That is magnificent production from a somewhat unexpected source.
Cortes has been one of the Yankees’ best pitchers and one of the American League’s revelations from the mound in 2022.
He is here to stay, and has a full closet full of tricks he isn’t afraid to use.