As many New York Yankees fans know, pitching is one of, if not the most important aspect of a baseball team. Without pitching your team will get no where and will not win ball games. Starting from the All-Star break last season, the Yankees had many arrivals and departures to their ball club. General manager Brian Cashman made some blockbuster moves, trading away some of the team’s best players in return for high quality prospects. The clear reasoning behind all these moves is that the Yankees want to prepare for the future. Building a powerful farm system seems like a priority to the front office of this organization.
Some of the Yankees best players were traded away last season, including Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller. (Although, the Yankees brought back Chapman during free agency). The Yanks also lost Mark Teixeira to retirement. But the loss of these veteran players did not come at a small price. In return, the Yankees stacked up their farm system with the leagues top prospects, many of them being pitchers.
The following is a list of the age and names of the pitching prospects the Yankees received from recent trades:
Chapman Trade: Brought back Adam Warren (29).
Beltran Trade: Dillon Tate (22), Nick Green (21), Erik Swanson (23).
Miller Trade: Ben Heller (25), JP Feyereisen (24), Justus Sheffield (20).
McCann Trade: Albert Abreu (21), Jorge Guzman (21).
The following is a list of the pitching prospects that are already currently in the Yankees organization:
In-House: Luis Cessa (24), Bryan Mitchell (25), Chad Green (25), Luis Severino (23), Chance Adams (22), James Kaprielian (23).
After adding all of these young arms, the Yankees have prepared themselves for the future. But the big question for this season is what the Yankees are going to do with the final 2 spots in the rotation. The first 3 spots are locked up by Masahiro Tanaka, Michal Pineda and CC Sabathia. Tanaka is the only reliable one out of the 3, as he had a stellar season last year. The exceptional season earned him a 3rd consecutive Opening Day start.
Pineda on the other hand has been extremely inconsistent. You never know what you’re going to get out him him every single star. Hopefully this offseason he worked hard on controlling his pitches and even his emotions. Sabathia for the most part did pitch well last season but is not the same person he once was. His fastball is lucky to see the low 90’s at times. He has been working a lot more on his off-speed pitches as well, making them weapons for him. If the Yankees bats wake up when CC’s on the mound, he’ll have a better record than last year.
Now that leaves 2 positions open in the starting rotation. Spring training is about a month underway and it looks like there is a 5 person battle for those spots. Those players fighting for a starting role include Luis Severino, Chad Green, Luis Cessa, Bryan Mitchell and Adam Warren. At this point in time its unclear who the front runners are to get the spots. If i had to put my own thoughts in, I could choose a couple guys who might get the nod.
Luis Severino is someone that has been in the Yankees system for a few years now and was at one point their top prospect. He had an amazing rookie season and really looked like the future ace for this ball club. His sophomore year was quite different and didn’t go as planned. Severino struggled a lot, especially with the long ball. His fastball wasn’t as dominant as many had hoped and he ended up getting demoted to the minors. After spending a little time there working on his mechanics, he returned to the Yankees but in a different role. Severino came out of the bullpen for much of the season and was very solid in his outings. Severino did eventually get another chance at starting, but the struggles returned.
Green, Cessa and Mitchell all saw time in the rotation last year, not really going as planned though. All of them seemed to have similar outings, some positive and some negative. Then again, they’re developing prospects and pitching in the majors takes time to adjust.
Another favorite for the job is Adam Warren. Warren has been part of the Yankees for quite some time now, ignoring a short departure to the Cubs. Reliability is one of the key attributes he has, making him a useful asset to this organization. The Yankees can use him in any situation; starting, long-term relief, or even to close out the game. Warren is extremely versatile, and thats why I believe the Yankees will keep him in the bullpen for this upcoming season.
Adding a veteran pitcher over the offseason to compete would have been a smart idea on Cashman’s part. Pitching is one of the things that needed to be addressed and strengthen, but Cashman and different plans for this team. Free agency lacked pitching talent. The in-house options seem to be more appealing to the front office. Hopefully the plan they have will work out for this team and once again make them winners.
The competition for the final 2 spots in this rotation is really starting to heat up and the Yankees coaches have big upcoming decisions to make. While all the young pitching prospects develop either in the minors or the bullpen, the time is now for the select few to make a difference on this team. Without pitching, no team will win any games and the Yankees are every aware of that.