So far this season Freddy Garcia looks too old to get the job done anymore and Phil Hughes looks like he may never be able to do the job. It had Yankees fans waiting for Andy Pettitte and Michael Pineda‘s return, but with the injury to Pineda the Yankees will have to turn somewhere else if they are going to be able to replace both struggling starters.
David Phelps looks capable of filling a back-end of the rotation role, but the starting pitching depth that looked so impressive at the start of the season isn’t so impressive after Phelps.
The two remaining Killer B’s, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances, have been the most disappointing so far simply because as they are now at Triple-A, the doorstep to the majors, they are worse now than they have ever been in their professional careers.
Especially Betances, who has a 8.83 ERA and a 8.8 BB/9 through his first 17.1 innings. If he does not turn things around quickly, he could become just another version of Andrew Brackman – filled with potential, but unable to harness it due to sub-par mechanics and a delivery he cannot repeat.
Banuelos hasn’t been much better. Before he went on the DL with a back problem, he had a 10.12 ERA with a 11.8 BB/9 in his first two appearances. Hopefully that is a product of the back injury, but the young prospect who used to have impeccable control had a 4.9 BB/9 in Double-A and a 5.9 BB/9 in 39.2 Triple-A innings. It’s possible that the injury had nothing to do with how wild he was.
Behind them there is Adam Warren and D.J. Mitchell. Mitchell has actually put up better numbers so far this season than he has in any of his minor league seasons. His K/9 of 8.2 and BB/9 of 2.7 are his best since a short stint back in Low-A in 2009.
However, Warren has taken a big step back. His K/9 of 5.7 is by far the lowest of his career and his BB/9 of 3.9 is the worst. His 6.10 ERA also indicates that he is not quite ready for the majors. The fact that he has allowed four homers already this season is also very troubling.
The struggles of some of the Yankees top pitching prospects is certainly part of the reason why they are trying to keep the faith in Hughes and why they probably won’t trade Garcia after Pettitte returns. Their plentiful list of potential starters this season that they had back in spring training just doesn’t stack up anymore.
Luckily it is still early. Banuelos will be back eventually and hopefully he will show that what he did in his first two starts was just a fluke. Hopefully with time Betances figures out his command issues and Warren may just be off to a slow start. However, if things continue down the path they are on now, the Yankees may have to look outside the organization if they need a starter down to road. At least they have Phelps and Mitchell until then.