The Yankees also feel good that they have so many starting pitching prospects near the majors. The Yankees believe that all five starters they are projecting to begin at Triple-A: Andrew Brackman, D.J. Mitchell, Hector Noesi, David Phelps and Adam Warren are legitimate prospects and that they will have two of the best pitching prospects in the minors at Double-A in lefty Manuel Banuelos and righty Dellin Betances plus two other starters the Yankees view as prospects, lefty Shaeffer Hall and righty Graham Stoneburner. The Yankees think with that many quality arms that one or two from the group – at the least – should help in 2011 either by pitching in the majors or by being used in a trade for a starter.
But there is a potentially more interesting scenario with those prospects. As I wrote in the column, there are Yankees officials who would not be afraid to line up those prospects and let there be a spring-training free-for-all with the best one winning a rotation spot, especially if Pettitte is not present.
This isn’t necessarily the best idea as you just have to look back to 2008 to realize that rushing rookies into the rotation doesn’t always work out the way it was planned. However, the Yankees really have nothing to lose.
As it stands right now the Yankees will have a three way battle for two rotation spots between Sergio Mitre, Ivan Nova, and Bartolo Colon. With no other clear options available at this point the Yankees might as well toss some rookies into the mix. It couldn’t really hurt and with so much pitching depth they can send them down and swap them out with another pitcher should they fail.
One thing for sure, this should be an exciting spring training if all of these prospect are going to be competing for a rotation spot.