The Battle for the 5th Spot Lives On

**UPDATED 3/21/10**

The Spring Training Statistics of the 5 guys battling for the 5th spot in the rotation (in order of least to most likely to win the job):

Chad Gaudin

0-3 (W-L) 8.68 ERA 4 GP 2 GS 9.1 IP 16 Hits 10 R 9 ER 2 HR  5 BB 5 K

Career as Starter: 21-28 (W-L) 4.72 ERA

Looks like Gaudin may have played himself right off the Yankees roster.

Sergio Mitre

0-0 (W-L) 3.21 ERA 4 GP 2 GS 14.0 IP 9 Hits 5 R 5 ER 1 HR 3 BB 14 K

Career as Starter: 13-23 (W-L) 5.47 ERA

Expectations are either Mitre or Gaudin will be traded. It is possible Gaudin played himself right off the team, but also possible Mitre has hurt his chances of staying with the Yanks by having a strong spring.

Alfredo Aceves

1-1 (W-L) 3.77 ERA 4 GP 2 GS 14.1 IP 5 Hits 6 R 6 ER 1 HR 1 BB 2 K

Career as Starter: 1-0 (W-L) 3.42 ERA (5 Starts)

Aceves is probably undoubtedly the most deserving to win the 5th starter job based on his spring performances, but lets be real it’s just not going to happen. Although this should help his case to get some important innings during the season. **Well so much for his almost perfect spring, after having a strong 1st 3 innings yesterday Alfredo was rocked for 5 ER against the Astros.**

Phil Hughes

0-1 (W-L) 2.08 ERA 3 GP 1 GS 8.2 IP 7 Hits 2 R 2 ER 2 HR 2 BB 4 K

Career as Starter: 8-9 (W-L) 5.22 ERA

Hughes has impressed in the Spring working on his pitches, and he put it all together with a phenomenal 4 IP performance closing the game against Houston on 3/16.

Joba Chamberlain

0-0 (W-L) 16.20 ERA 3 GP 1 GS 6.2 IP 10 Hits 12 R 12 ER 1 HR 7 BB 5 K

Career as Starter: 12-7 (W-L) 4.18 ERA

If you’re a fan who only looks at the stats and doesn’t follow exactly what is happening I know your probably saying “ouch”, but lets not throw Chamberlain in single A just yet. His velocity looks good considering it is so early and not perfect conditions for a power arm (Sabathia has an ERA over 8.00) plus it is still only spring. The concern is he is fighting for a spot in the rotation and his numbers don’t reflect a guy who has been given a huge opportunity.

My overall outlook is this is still a two man race between Hughes and Chamberlain, and has been the whole time, but don’t let the numbers fool you. I still get the gut feeling the Yankees will start the season with Joba in the starting rotation and then they will take it from there. They have put a lot of time into making Joba a starter, and putting him in the bullpen now would just be a huge setback. I am not against having one of them in the starting rotation then putting one in AAA since I see them both as starters in the long run, but I’d rather them both see major league batters. The sooner a decision the better so neither guy gets led on, and that way you fans will not have to read us bloggers discuss this issue ever again!

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6 Responses to The Battle for the 5th Spot Lives On

  1. Mike S. says:

    I wouldn' t be as presumptuous on Aceves. Granted that the preference in the organization may be for Joba or Hughes, but there are voices in the organization that feel that the Yanks may be best off with Joba and Hughes both in the bullpen, setting up (along with Robertson and Marte), Mo—with Mitre (it appears) and Park as the long men.

    Just wanted to say that until someone is eliminated by the words coming out of Girardi's or Cashman's mouths, I'll still believe someone has a chance—especially Aceves, who has been flat out fabulous this spring…. and as I write this, Aceves has gone six up, six down vs. the Astros today.

    • Mike S. says:

      Should also mention…some back trouble by Aceves leads some in the organization to believe that such trouble could best be monitored on a regular basis (starting) than on an irregular basis (relieving). Just saying.

  2. Mike S. says:

    Great first three innings for Aceves today, then fell apart in the 4th and 5th.

  3. The more innings you throw, the more everything equals out. I actually really like Aceves, but I don't think it would be right for him to get the job over Hughes or Joba unless the Yankees are giving up on both of them as starters.

  4. Mike S. says:

    The question to be resolved is who has the repertoire to get through a lineup the second or third time through, as opposed to someone who can give one time through (three innings) but not a second time through.

    • Peter Menking says:

      Mike, this is definitely true and I wrote a little while back about how Aceves' performances at least justify considering him for the spot. It is true that Joba and Hughes are apparently being groomed to be starters and obviously starters are way more important than bullpen guys. But my whole argument was that the Yankees have never had any qualms with a rotating 5th spot in the rotation. They did it all of last season and won the World Series. So why not give Aceves a chance early on in the season. I don't quite understand why everything absolutely NEEDS to be figured out by the time the opener roles around. In fact, I am just going to write an article about this so just read it when I post it haha I realized this comment was getting a little too long.

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