Saturday, September 17, 2016

Yankees Starting Pitching Options for 2017

I have to say and admit on this Saturday morning that I am a tad bit depressed and down-and-out today for obvious reasons. The Yankees losing that series to the Dodgers in the Bronx hurt, especially after sticking around late in the third game only to throw the game, literally, but not as much as that loss in Boston hurt on Thursday night. I’m far from giving up hope but I have to admit I have been looking ahead a little more, at least in my writing, to the 2017 season than I should including this post which will hopefully showcase the Yankees starting pitching options for next season.

The rotation locks seem to be ace Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia the final year of his contract and Michael Pineda unless he’s traded this offseason leaving New York with two gaping holes or two opportunities for the youth movement to continue and spread, whichever way you want to look at it. Who can fill those slots?

I think Luis Cessa has done enough to convince the Yankees to try him out in the rotation, hasn’t he? I mean as a starter the guy has been great. Sure, Cessa has been a bit too prone to the home run but he has kept the Yankees in every game he has started and only has one loss to his credit coming into the weekend series with Boston. I think Cessa has done enough to warrant at least an extended look in the rotation next season even as a fifth starter leaving a whole lot of options and potentially just one roster spot for all of them to fight over.

Who would fight for that last spot? Chad Green should be healthy and ready to go in spring training while Luis Severino and Bryan Mitchell should also go down to the final weekend of spring training fighting for either a bullpen spot or a starting rotation spot but there are a few names that may sneak up on you between now and March. Names like Chance Adams who will finish the season in Double-A with the Trenton Thunder, James Kaprielian who finished the season on the Triple-A disabled list, Jordan Montgomery who we showcased this morning in the weekly prospects check in, and Dietrich Enns who needs to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft anyway this offseason.

I went out on a limb and predicted that Adams would be the first draft pick from the 2015 MLB First Year Players Draft to hit the Major Leagues last year but that was when he was a relief pitcher. Adams has since been converted to a starting pitcher and has done exceptionally well this season with the Tampa Yankees and Trenton Thunder. At just 22-years old Adams may not start the year in the Yankees rotation, he’ll likely start back in Double-A or get the bump to Triple-A, but by about June or July he could be ready to make an impact in a big way for the Yankees.

We touched on Montgomery earlier in our weekly showcase post but I couldn’t make a post about the potential 2017 arms for New York without mentioning him. Montgomery began the season in Double-A with the Trenton Thunder and has ended his season in Triple-A with the RailRiders and combined to pitch to a 2.13 ERA with an 8.7 K/9 ratio in 139.1 innings. Montgomery will likely be back in Triple-A to begin the 2017 season but with injuries and the unknown I won’t be the one to count him out of the running for the last rotation spot next season. He’s that good.

The Yankees have a slew of arms that need to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft in 2017 and atop the list may be Dietrich Enns. Enns broke out in a big way last year and while he has continued to pitch exceptionally well in 2017 many scouts believe he is destined to be a spot starter or long reliever in the Major Leagues. The problem is I read those exact same things about Luis Cessa and Chad Green when Brian Cashman traded for them last winter so again, I’m not going to be the one to count him out.

The final arm we can discuss is a name we discussed in full detail at the beginning of the 2016 season, James Kaprielian. Kaprielian was expected to make his MLB debut in 2016 but an elbow injury ended his season prematurely. It is thought that the Yankees will send him to the Arizona Fall League to get some innings in hopes of having him ready for the 2017 season. For that reason alone it seems unlikely that Kaprielian will break camp with the club but if he can make his return in the AFL and pitch lights out in Spring Training he may be driving the Scranton Shuttle in 2017. Just a thought.

So there you have it, spring training 2017 should be fun shouldn’t it? So many serviceable and talented arms and simply not enough rotation spots to fill them all. That’s the best problem to have. I’m not looking ahead though, I still have my eyes on the prize in 2016 but it’s still fun to take a peak around the curtain labeled 2017 every once in a while anyway. 


  1. Aye depression. What stings most is we were crushing a week ago, and lost 3 games over nonsense.

    The injuries to our pitchers this season concerns me for next year. I have faith in the field. Fingers crossed that some of these guys that light up AAA with a 1.5 era can grow a pair and do something meaningful in new York.

    I'm going into hard baseball hibernation soon, this has been a taxing season and I need a break! Casual Fandom has it easy!

    1. I think we'll all be in hibernation by October 5th to be honest.

  2. Hey, guys,
    I think we have the answer for our BP in 2917+ many more years!
    Domingo Acevedo and Cale Coshow in the bullpen is a wonder to behold.
    Both have gotten starting gigs this year but we have a few guys that can do the starting job. Most of our pitchers last anywhere from 4 to 6 innings (as pointed out by many) of course with Green and Kaprielian plus others to fill those spots. Maybe with more Big League work for a year or two one of them will make the change to a starter but I think they could make a case for themselves in 2017 for the BP. "Ace" could end up as a starter as well as Cale but either one could be a closer...maybe, in 2017 or 2018 letting Dellin go back to the 7th or 8th inning.
    I finally had a chance to see both of them this year, I liked what I saw but, it was only one game each.


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)