As it stands right now the Yankees likely opening day rotation is CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre. It is pretty safe to say that is not what they imagined it would be when the 2010 season ended.
They’re probably still hoping that Andy Pettitte decides not to retire or that a trade will present itself before the season starts, but the Yankees could be disappointed yet again on both of those fronts. So it is likely that the 2011 Yankees will have to turn to their farm system to help them out this year. Luckily for them they have a good amount of starters that they’ll be able to call on if either or both Nova or Mitre fail.
Here is a list of the six starters that are likely to be called upon in 2011:
- Hector Noesi, RHP, 24 – Noesi would probably be the first starter called up because he’s on the 40-man roster and has some Triple-A experience already. He’s got a fastball that sits in the 91-94 mph range that occasionally hits as high as 96. He also throws a curveball and changeup.
- Andrew Brackman, RHP, 25 – Brackman is also on the 40-man roster, but is second on this list because he hasn’t pitched at Triple-A yet. He could leapfrog Noesi if he has a stronger showing at the beginning of the 2011 season though. He throws a fastball that ranges from 91-95 mph and mixes it with a knuckle curve and a changeup.
- David Phelps, RHP, 24 – Phelps probably had a better 2010 than either Noesi or Brackman, but because he isn’t on the 40-man roster yet and has less impressive stuff he’s slightly behind them on the depth chart. That said, he has already tossed 70.1 innings in Triple-A with a 3.07 ERA. He has an outside chance of being the first one called-up. Phelps throws a fastball that sits at 89-92 mph and occasionally hits 95. He also throws a curveball, slider, and changeup. He primarily relies on stellar command.
- Adam Warren, RHP, 23 – Warren is the youngest name on this list so far and only has 54.1 innings of experience in Double-A which is why he’s so far down this list. He does have an impressive mix of strikeout ability with control that means he could move up the ladder faster than expected. Armed with a fastball that sits at 92-94 mph, he also uses a two-seamer, a curveball, a slider, and a changeup.
- D.J. Mitchell, RHP, 23 – Mitchell had a mixed season in 2010. He had a 4.06 ERA in 133 innings at Double-A and a 3.57 ERA in three starts at Triple-A. Overall in the minors his K/9 is 7.3 and his B/9 is 3.3. None of that is bad, but compared to the other pitchers on this list it is slightly disappointing. Still he is an impressive pitcher who primarily relies on a sinker that comes in at 90-93 mph mixing in a curveball and changeup as well.
- Dellin Betances, RHP, 22 – Betances is on the 40-man roster, but despite that he’s last on this list because he is the youngest and has only made three starts at the Double-A level where he is expected to begin the 2011 season. Despite that, he is probably the most talented out of anyone named on this list so the Yankees will have to resist the urge to call him up before he is ready. Realistically he’s more of a 2012 option. Betances throws a fastball in the 94-97 mph range and backs it up with a plus curveball and changeup. In 2010 he showed the best command of his career, if he can continue that positive trend he’ll be one heck of a pitcher.
These pitchers are probably a big reason why Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has resisted making a trade for a starter this offseason. Teams know that the Yankees are desperate so the asking price has been high. Meanwhile, he has these six nearly ready for the big leagues and more behind them (Manuel Banuelos, Graham Stoneburner, and Brett Marshall). Even if 2011 is bleak, 2012 and beyond will be bright.