Alfredo Aceves has always been a good pitcher. Though for the Yankees he has come out of the bullpen in long relief situations for the majority of his career, the 27 year old righty is making a push for the 5th spot in the rotation. An article on MLB.com notes how he has, to this point, outperformed the competition.
Scattering three hits with no walks and one strikeout, Aceves exited with a 0.90 ERA through his 10 spring innings.
The Yankees headed to camp with Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes thought to be leading a pack that also includes Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre for the final spot in the rotation, but on a day when Gaudin allowed three runs in three innings in a 6-2 loss to the Tigers, it seemed to be Aceves who has stated his case most convincingly.
“It’s impressive, because of the different things he’s been able to do with the baseball,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He changes speeds, [has] late movement, pitches up and down. He changes eye level, in and out. He can do all of those things.
“What I’m most happy about is he’s ahead in the count most of the time. He’s putting hitters in a lot of 1-2 counts, 0-1 counts. That’s what you love to see. Guys love to play behind those types of guys, too.”
My question is, should Aceves, who clearly is outperforming the likes of Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes during Spring Training, be given a chance to get the starting job? After all, he was barely mentioned as a contender for the job when pitchers and catchers were reporting.
Aceves quietly had a very good year for the Yankees. He finished with a 3.54 ERA in 84 innings and lead the league in wins by a reliever with 10. Whenever he steps onto the mound you can be pretty sure what you are going to get out of him. Aceves is a consistent pitcher with good movement and as Girardi said, he is someone the team likes to play behind. While I know that long-term Chamberlain and Hughes are supposed to be the core of the Yankees rotation, why not give Aceves a shot to prove himself? Aceves is a humble, hard-working, talented pitcher. It could not hurt the Yankees to afford Aceves the same opportunity that they did do Joba, Hughes, and even Ian Kennedy.