The lack of aggressiveness by the Yankee brass this offseason speaks to a displeasure with external options, but also signals that they like what they have internally enough where they don’t feel desperate to overpay in terms of dollars or talent for a FA or trade. It’s a strange position for Yankee fans to be in, but when you have a top 5 farm system you operate differently than you did during the Stienbrenner years. All indications are that the Yanks didn’t go crazy with their Yu Darvish bid, which indicates doubts they have about his ability to live up to the estimated 100M+price tag. Combine that with a lackluster FA market and on the heels of the sky-high price the Padres received in the Mat Latos deal, it would seem we as Yankee fans should start looking internally for rotation answers. With that in mind, let’s take a look at who we may see with the big club at some point next year:
Manny Banuelos: The consensus star of the Yankee system, with poise and polish well beyond his 21 years. But will need to get his walks down before getting the call. Still a baby, no need to rush. The depth they have at AAA allows them to let his development dictate his promotion rather than the needs of the MLB club.
Dellin Betances: Had a very rough MLB debut, but that shouldn’t change opinions on his future. He has the best package of raw stuff in the system, its all about staying healthy and keeping his mechanics in check. Having watched him pitch live last year thanks to Trenton Thunder webcasts, a familiar pattern would emerge. He’d be blowing hitters away for a few innings, have the wheels come off where he walks 3 and gets hit hard, then go back to dominating batters the following inning. To his credit he would often find a way to get back on track and finish the inning.
Hector Noesi: Odd as it may sound, Hector Noesi’s extended MLB look in 2011 may be a big reason the Yanks have shown so much patience this off season. He performed well working out of the bullpen last year, he’s reportedly throwing the ball great in winter ball, and will almost certainly be the first option should a spot in the rotation open up. Great fastball command with lesser secondary offerings.
Adam Warren: Projects as a mid to back of the rotation starter, but has probably proved everything he needs to at AAA at this point. Had a dominating stretch last summer, but his 4.05 FIP tells me Phelps (3.69) and Mitchell (3.96) may be more ready.
David Phelps: Hurt his shoulder last July, though came back in August and pitched well. Was sent to the Arizona Fall League to get some more innings, where he started out slow (0-2 7.43 ERA) but finished strong. Like Warren, needs to mix up his pitches well in order to succeed.
DJ Mitchell: Sinkerballer whose future role is still uncertain, could be a solid innings eater or a Ramiro Mendoza-type out of the bullpen.
Every MLB club would love to be 6 deep in the rotation coming out of Spring Training, but few can boast another 6 options that could help the MLB club at some point later the same year. It may feel more like the Twins or Rays way of operating than what we’re accustomed to with the Yanks, but unless the asking prices come way down we will likely be looking at internal options in the rotation at some point next year.
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