Since the Yankees were not able to obtain some starting pitching during this past winter meeting, it seems that most likely they will instead use the pitchers we have in the organization. The season will not begin any time soon so they still have plenty of time to make things happen whether it is through free agency or the trade market. But here is a list of 7 good in-house options that will be competing for a starting spot in the rotation in case they don’t make any moves this offseason:
1. Luis Severino
I think this one comes at no surprise as Severino was part of the rotation at the beginning of last season until a tricep injury sidelined him and then was demoted to the minors because of a lack of production (just a nice way to say he was horrible) in May. Now I know he had a bad sophomore season but he has too much potential to be a reliever even though I know his number are better as a reliever (ERA of 0.39 as a reliever compared to an ERA of 5.32 as a starter). Also he is still very young (22 years-old) and still has plenty of time to improve. He just needs to get back to the way he was in his rookie season when he posted a 2.89 ERA in 11 starts. What he needs to work on this offseason is developing the change-up which would work beautifully with the other pitches in his arsenal. I mean he did improve in the minors having an of 3.36 ERA in 80.1 innings pitched which is better than his 5.83 ERA he had in 71 innings in the majors. I know its not the same competition but its still worth something at least. Also, he did have a pretty strong ending to the season when he was promoted back up to the majors in July. Between the months of September and October he had an ERA of 2.29 in 19.2 innings pitched. Even though he did walk 11 batters, which is high considering the amount of innings pitched, he only allowed 5 runs in those innings. I think he should be able to capitalize on that ending and begin next season the same way.
2. Adam Warren
Adam Warren was having a hard season for the Chicago Cubs when they decided to send him back to the Yankees. He posted a 5.91 ERA in 30 games for them and was part of the package of players that were sent to the Yankees for Aroldis Chapman in return. Warren had always been a great pitcher for the Yankees regardless of where they put him and for some reason he seems to succeed here in NY more than in Chicago evidenced by his ERA of 3.26 in 29 games for the team. Getting him back from the Cubs was one of the best decisions the they could’ve done. I definitely see them asking Warren to pitch every fifth day for them as his numbers are great as a starter (3.88 ERA in 111.1 innings pitched throughout his career). So that is definitely an option for the Yankees.
3. Luis Cessa
Luis Cessa started in the bullpen at the beginning of the season and did an ok job for them posting an 5.30 in 18.2 innings. However, if you take out his last stint as a reliever on August 14th in which he gave up 5 runs in 3 innings, his ERA drops to 3.45. That means he wasn’t as bad as his numbers suggest. Because of this he was assigned to the starting rotation on August 20th and in 9 starts posted a 4.01 ERA. He wasn’t terrible but I think he did enough to be able to earn a spot on the rotation. He did, however give up too many HRs (11 HRs in 51.2 innings) which he will need to work on if he wants to succeed in the majors.
4. Chad Green
Chad Green definitely earned his promotion to the majors last year as he had an ERA of 1.52 in 94.2 innings while striking out 100 batters and only allowing 3 HRs in AAA. However, when he came up, the results were a bit different which resulted in an ERA of 4.73 in 45.3 innings. He gave up too many HRs (12) but was also a strikeout machine with 52 in those innings. I think he definitely deserves at least a shot if the Yankees do not fill out the rotation but he could also be an asset to the bullpen as long relief as well.
5. Bryan Mitchell
Now the next three players most likely aren’t going to be the choices the Yankees will go with if they do stay in-house but I think they do deserve at least a mention. Mitchell was part of the players that came up as part of the September call-ups and started 5 games for the Yankees during the last month of the season. His numbers were pretty good with an ERA of 3.24 however, it wasn’t really a big enough sample to know really if he deserves to be a starter. His first start against the Red Sox was very impressive and showed that he has the stuff to be a starter in the majors.
6. James Kaprielian
James Kaprielian was one of the top prospects coming out of the 2015 MLB draft and was on a fast course to make it to the majors. Coming out of the draft in 2015, he pitched in 7 games at various early levels of the minor league system. Pitched well enough to receive a non-roster invitee to the 2016 spring training and was eventually sent to the class A advanced Tampa Yankees and was supposed to spend the season there but was sidelined after 3 games due to a bad elbow injury. He was out for about 5 months and returned in October for the AFL. His velocity was still there which is good considering the elbow injury, however the injury is still a concern because his elbow problems could eventually make him a Tommy John surgery candidate in the near future. But if he could stay healthy, he could be a dark horse for the starting rotation next season.
7. Chance Adams
Chance Adams is probably the most unlikely to be a starting pitcher NEXT season but he does have huge potential to be after that. Adams has been tearing through the minor league systems with a strikeout per nine innings (K/9) of about 11 with an ERA of 2.00. So I will not be surprised if he at least makes the roster next year after a stint in AAA.