Fifth Starter Should Be Decided Before Spring Training

I think it’s pretty clear the No. 5 starter will either be Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes. Having both set up for Mariano Rivera sounds nice, but it would be a lot nicer if one of those pitchers panned out to be a top starter in the league. Neither will get a chance to reach their potential if both are stuck in the bullpen.

It looks as though the fifth starter for the Yankees will be decided based on how the candidates perform in spring training. If this holds true, I won’t be a happy camper.

I’ve always been skeptical of spring training statistics. I’m not going to even bother bringing up all the cases of the players who struggle in spring training and then start the regular season hot, and vice versa. So I ask, why base such an important decision for this year and the future on somewhat faulty stats?

The pitchers’ mechanics/stuff and their catchers’ remarks will also factor into the decision, but I still think it shouldn’t have an impact on such an important call.

I’m no pro, but I remember I’d always have a tough time getting my stuff back to midseason form when I first got back to the mound. The point is, a pitcher’s performance in spring training isn’t a great projection of performance in the games that count.

The decision should be based on how both Hughes and Chamberlain have performed as starters and relievers in the games that have counted.

I know there’s a good chance both will start at some point no matter who wins the job due to injuries. But it’s the principal of the thing. The guy who the Yankees organization think has the better future as a starter should get the nod. Past experiences should certainly factor into the equation, and have far more importance than spring training in 2010.

This article is also featured on lenNY’s Yankees.

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