Mark Feinsand had an article last week about Ivan Nova and his confidence about making the Yankee rotation out of Spring Training. Nova was nothing if not confident in the piece:
“I’m going to win,” Nova said. “I don’t worry about if they’re pitching tomorrow or what’s going to happen with them. I worry about me.”
That’s awesome to read. It shows us that Nova is focused on himself and is greatly confident. Obviously, confidence doesn’t give you a better out pitch or make you get through a lineup more than twice, but it’s heartening. Despite this encouraging sentiment, I’m not changing my stance on the early season rotation and the idea of starting Nova in AAA.
Freddy Garcia pitched enough innings last year that he’s ready to take on innings in 2011. Bartolo Colon has been injured a lot, but he hasn’t embarrassed himself in Spring Training. That’s enough to take him north. Ivan Nova has more upside than the two of them combined and will likely end up with as many innings as both of them, but they should still start him in AAA Scranton.
I know what you’re saying: Yeah, you told us this already–depth and what not–but with the injury to Sergio Mitre, shouldn’t that improve Nova’s chances of making the team? It should, but in my eyes, it doesn’t. Even if Mitre is hurt badly enough to start the season on the DL, Nova should still start in the minors. What should they do instead?
Give Romulo Sanchez one last shot. He’s out of options and has been attracting attention so why not burn through him while keeping Nova as depth? Sanchez can at least throw hard and has shown the ability to go multiple innings, so he could easily fill the long man role while Mitre is (hypothetically) out. When Mitre returns, the Yankees can, again reevaluate the situation.
Perhaps Sanchez will be effective enough that they can cut bait with Mitre and send him to the waiver wire. If Sanchez pitches poorly, they can cut him and let some other team deal with him while slotting Mitre back into the long man’s spot. Meanwhile, Nova is still in Scranton building up innings for the eventual demise of either Garcia or Colon due to injury, ineffectiveness, or both.
Again, leaving Nova off of the team to begin the year may be disappointing to his supporters. I don’t have much faith in either Garcia or Colon, but I’d rather the Yankees stick with the depth plan until it completely runs its course. I know very well that the plan could derail within the first month of the season. If it does, so be it. That’s the point of having depth in the system. That’s why Ivan Nova should start the season in Scranton.
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