With a recent article by Joel Sherman suggesting that the Yanks may not be active in the free agent market for a while due to the new CBA agreement and a more conservative Steinbrenner trying to rein in the budget, it looks like the Yanks are, more and more, looking to their own system for pitching help.
Oh, they will bring someone in, but as we’ve seen, it’s been more the Freddy Garcia, reasonably priced types (Colon last year too) and it doesn’t appear to look like the C.J. Wilson/Mark Buehrle/Edwin Jackson/Hiroki Kuroda types—not unless their prices drop considerably. Of course the A.J. Burnett contract continues to hurt.
An aside: Mike Vaccaro of the Post listed the NY Giants Brandon Jacobs as moving up on the list of NY players who frustrate you the most on a consistent basis. He called it (touche) the “A.J. award.” Brilliant. (I wish there was a way to put that accent over the e in touche).
In 2011, we saw the emergence of Ivan Nova, who went 16-4, 3.70, ERA+ 119. Hopefully he doesn’t take a step back in 2012. No, I don’t expect 16-4 again, but as long as he goes 14-8 or so…and not take the step backwards that…
Phil Hughes did. In 2010, it was Hughes who stepped up, going 18-8, 4.19, ERA+ 103. Of course, Hughes was impressive in 2009 in relief, with a record of 8-3, 3.03, ERA+ 152.
Now the thing is this: Both, on opening day 2012, will be 25 years old.
It seems the Yanks are breaking in a pitcher or two a year, and that is good. Nova broke in in 2010, exploded in 2011. Hughes broke in in 2007, exploded in 2009-2010 but regressed last year. Hopefully he comes into 2012 with a chip on his shoulder over how 2011 panned out.
But both are still young, and they aren’t the only ones.
David Robertson will be 27 shortly after opening day 2012. He broke in in 2008, was a key member of the 2009 WS Champs, and absolutely was devastating last season, going 4-0, 1.08, ERA+ 410(!).
Lest we forget, Joba Chamberlain was having a good season in 2011 before needing T.J. surgery (2-0, 2.83, ERA+ 158). Joba should be back sometime before the All-Star break. Joba broke in in 2007, and it could be debated that he hasn’t exploded since that 2007 debut. Of course the “Joba rules”, and the starter/reliever back-and-forth may have restricted him. But it is possible that his explosion year is yet to come.
Now, the argument remains that some are relievers. Robertson, Joba, and maybe Hughes is better suited for relief than starting. But at least the Yanks are breaking in a young pitcher each year, and a young pitcher who somewhere over the next couple of years after their debut, has made an impact.
Who’ll be next?
Brian Cashman is touting Hector Noesi as possibly 2012’s Ivan Nova. No one expects 16-4 out of Noesi, but he made his MLB debut in 2011 (2-2, 4.47, ERA+ 99) and 2012 could be a breakout year for him. Noesi will be 25 on Opening Day 2012. Since Noesi had 56 1/3 IP in the majors last year, he’s pitching in the Dominican League to build up more innings, and so far he is pitching well.
Behind Noesi, who? (ages as of Opening Day 2012).
Adam Warren, 24. 6-8, 3.60 at AAA in 2011, 152 1/3 IP.
David Phelps, 25. 6-6, 3.19 at AAA in 2011, 7-7, 2.99 overall. He missed a little time in 2011, getting just 114 1/3 innings.
D.J. Mitchell, 24. He had the best record of those who may see their MLB debut in 2012, going 13-9, 3.18 at AAA in 161 1/3 innings.
Dellin Betances, 24. He got into two games with the Yanks late in the season, going 0-0, 6.75 in 2 2/3 IP. Between AA/AAA, he was 4-9, 3.70, with 142 K in 126 1/3 IP. He probably needs more AAA time but could come back to NY for good in mid to late 2012.
Manny Banuelos, 21. No need to rush him, he’s still very young. The lefty went 6-7, 3.75 combined AA/AAA in 2011, with 125 K in 129 2/3 IP. He also probably needs considerable AAA time, and maybe 2013 is a more realistic timeframe for his MLB debut.
Shaeffer Hall. 24. Overlooked amongst the others, but a lefty who was 11-8, 4.07 between AA and AAA this past season.
So the question for 2012 is, after seeing recent breakthroughs by Hughes, Joba, Robertson and Nova, who’ll breakthrough in 2012? Noesi? One of the others? Who’ll make his MLB debut? Who may have that breakout year that Joba had when he broke in in 2007, Hughes had 2009/2010 or Nova had this past season?
It seems that the Rays are breaking in a young pitcher every so often. Price. Hellickson. Now Matt Moore (who can forget that great playoff start he had?).
If the Yanks can match the Rays in this regard, it’d be great. Perhaps necessary.
With the restrictions on the Yanks’ maneuverability due to payroll, necessary could be the word.