Thursday, December 06, 2007

Yankee Bullpen

I'm not a big fan of what's available as far as relievers go. And considering the price and years they are going for, I think the Yankees should figure out their bullpen from within. That being said, I also think the Yankees should go with an 8-man bullpen. If Hughes and Chamberlain start in the Yankee rotation, and Kennedy joins them if Mussina fails, I think the three of them could be very successful, but not eat up enough innings. Young pitchers can get their pitch counts run up quickly, and are on a more strict pitch count, which means a bunch of starts that could be successful, 1 or 2 runs, but the starter is still out after just 5 innings.

That leaves a 3-player bench, which would be Jose Molina, Shelly Duncan, and Wilson Betemit with Hideki Matsui as the primary DH.

Right now, of the 8 relievers, only 3 are pretty much set;
Mariano Rivera
Kyle Farnsworth (I'm not happy about that, but hopefully Girardi, who caught him, can fix him).
Jonathan Albaladejo (not a firm spot)

That leaves 5 spots left. The Yankees have a lot of young and live arms, and we've seen last season how quickly some of them can move up through the system. Many are starters, but I have a feeling you'll see in the ML bullpen shortly. Here are the 20 internal arms for the Yankees to consider, in order that I would like them to consider them for the final 5 spots:

1. Kei Igawa - He's a lefty, and needing fewer pitches could significantly help him. If he has a good start he could also become very tradable to a team in need of a starting pitcher.

2. Darrell Rasner - I've always like Rasner's stuff and makeup a lot. He made 6 starts with the Yankees last season and had a 4.01 ERA. He had a freak injury like many other Yankee pitchers last season.

3. Ross Ohlendorf - Ohlendorf couldn't put it together as a starter in AAA, got hurt, came back as a reliever, and even ended up on the Yankee postseason roster. He threw only 6.1 ML innings, but looked very good striking out 9.

4. Edwar Ramirez - We know minor leaguers can't touch him. Major Leaguers on the other hand... Ramirez had some flashes of absolute brilliance, and some disasters. I'm hoping the Yankees give him a chance to put it together, and I would love him to be Joba Chamberlain's personal reliever, as his Bugs Bunny Changeup would look that much more off after teams see Chamberlain.

5. Scott Patterson - Patterson was recently added to the Yankees 40-man roster. At 28 he's no youngster. The 6'6" righty pitched at AA last season throwing 77 innings while striking out 92, giving up only 15 walks and 45 hits, to a 1.05 ERA.

6. Humberto Sanchez - Sanchez would have easily been in the top 5 (ML Roster) had it not been for the fact that he probably won't be ready until May. He was a top pitching prospect before surgery. Coming back as a reliever could mean a faster recovery as he doesn't need all his pitches. I see him as a possible 8th inning guy come mid-season.

7. David Robertson - I'm really high on Robertson, and I'm hoping to see him this season. He's not yet on the 40-man roster. The 22-year old was taken later in the draft of Kennedy and Chamberlain. The Yankees weren't going to sign the 2nd half of the draft pick until he lit up the Cape Cod League. He started a level lower than Chamberlain and Kennedy and only moved up twice instead of three times. In 85 innings (all relief) he struck out 113 and had a 0.96 ERA. He has yet to pitch a AAA inning.

8. Alan Horne - A lot of people are very high on Alan Horne. He made 27 AA starts last season, striking out 165 in 153 innings. It must have been a dissapointing season for the 25-year old as he went 12-4 and still watched the much younger Kennedy and Chamberlain shoot from A-ball right past him to the Majors.

9. Chris Britton - The soon-to-be 25-year old had a 3.55 ERA in 9 relief appearances for the Yankees last season, and has a career 3.39 ERA in 66 innings. His problem is he doesn't strike people out like some of the other guys, but still a potential solid reliever, just not as much potential upside.

10. Matt DeSalvo - He was the only pitcher to throw 100 innings at Scranton last season, who due to many injuries to both their team and the Yankee team went through 35 pitchers. DeSalvo had a couple of very good starts with the Yankees, then some not so good ones. DeSalvo had a 2.70 ERA in AAA.

11. Kevin Whelan - I really like Wheelan. Great strikeout rate, great ERA, still somewhat new to pitching. Should be making his AAA debut soon.

12. Jeffrey Marquez - Marquez got wrecked the final month of the AA season after a strong first half. The 23-year old went way above his previous high in innings. May be a good fit to move over the the fewer-inning job of relieving.

13. Brian Bruney - Great movement, great strikeouts, sick of his walks.

14. Jose Veras - Great movement. Walks way too many.

15. Sean Henn - Pitched well at AAA after a strong start and horrible finish in the Majors.

16. Chase Wright - Throws hard, could have very good bullpen career. Just keep him out of Fenway.

17. Jeff Karstens - Looked good but not after he recovered from his freak injury. Has higher upside than many above him, not sure how his stuff will translate in relief.

18. Steven White - After strong year in AAA, got shelled in AFL.

19. Eric Wordekemper - 24-year old had a great year in FSL, 0.56 ERA in 48 innings.

20. Roger Clemens - I would love for him to become Rivera's setup man after pitching in the Olympic Games. He'll already be pitching, Petttitte's there. Why not throw a month out of the bullpen to try to get another ring. Just thinking out loud here.

1 comment:

Sully said...

"3. Ross Ohlendorf"

Let's be honest, you just want a guy named Ross on the Yankees...

And I'm surprised you don't have Britton higher up. He should have gotten more of a chance last year. I guess Torre didn't like him.