The Yankees Ever-Improving Pitching Staff | The Golden Sombrero Baseball Blog | MLB, Fantasy, College & High School Baseball News

The Yankees Ever-Improving Pitching Staff

March 29 , 2010

hughes

It was announced a couple of days ago that Phil Hughes had won the battle with Joba Chamberlain for the fifth rotation spot in the Bronx.  It would have been tough to imagine this competition four years ago when Phil Hughes and Matt Garza were fighting for Minor League Pitcher of the Year awards and Joba was a fresh face in professional baseball after a good – not great – collegiate career at Nebraska.  Nevertheless, Joba quickly ascended through the Yanks farm system occasionally touching triple digits with his fastball while using multiple 70-grade breaker variations.  While he was a tad high effort, most scouts within the organization seemed to think he could retain those numbers through 100 pitches.  Unless Joba was hiding an injury last summer, I think it’s time those thoughts were laid to rest.  His fastball very rarely reached the mid-90’s on any consistent level and his breaking stuff was flat and easily detectable.  Nothing changed this spring, and now he finds himself back in the bullpen looking at 60 innings this season.  Hughes was absolutely electric during the second half of 2009 and was impressive enough this spring to secure a place in one of the top 3 rotations in baseball.  I expect New York to be fairly conservative with his usage this season, especially through the break, primarily because Hughes has never even approached 200 IP’s in a season.  No big deal with the Yanks pen.  With the addition of Chamberlain, the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings should be real yawners for the Yankee defense.  Chamberlain, David Robertson, and Mariano Rivera all have huge strikeout stuff that should lock down many tight W’s for the defending champs.  Honestly, and I hate saying this sort of thing in March – especially given that the Sox and Rays are the 2nd and 3rd best teams in the league – but the Yanks should run away with it all this season in even more casual fashion than in 2009.  They may be old, but they did get younger in the offseason, and I tend to think that exceptional athletes in the Jeter, Rodriguez, and Rivera mold age very gracefully.  Girardi must realize that these players will need days off more frequently than their younger teammates, but he knows that.  I like Brian Cashman, but he is making that division more predictable than any fan outside NYC wants.

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