One of the biggest pleasant surprises so far in this young 2012 season has to be the emergence of David Phelps.
It’s still early, but the 25-year-old righty has thrown 8.1 innings in three appearances and has only allowed one run while maintaining a 9.7 K/9 and a 2.2 BB/9. None of his four pitches have been overwhelming, but he has done a phenomenal job throwing strikes and attacking the strike zone.
What Yankees manager likes about Phelps best though is that he’s been able to not let making his big league debut affect him.
“That he’d be able to relax in the situation and make his pitches,” Girardi told Vincent Mercogliano of the Journal News. “When we talked about the three guys – (Adam Warren), Phelps and (D.J. Mitchell) – we talked about them being really close, and we went with Phelpsie. But the real test is going to be when they get into a game, are they going to be able to make the pitches that they’re capable of making? It’s not easy being a rookie in the American League East. You’re going to come in for some tough situations, and he so far has passed with flying colors.”
Phelps’ repetoire has consisted mainly of fastballs, throwing it 62.9 percent of the time despite the fact that it averages just 90.8 mph. He occasionally sneaks two-seamers in there to batters, but his primary offspeed pitches have been a slider and a curve. He also mixes in an occasional changeup.
If he continues this trend of exceptional pitching it will put the Yankees in an interesting situation. They are waiting patiently for Andy Pettitte and Michael Pineda to return, but if Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia continue to struggle, Phelps gives them the option to remove them early. It certainly hasn’t gotten to that point yet, but another week or two of what we just saw and things could change quickly.
First, Phelps has to keep passing these mini tests.