While the New York Yankees rotation is undeniably a major question mark going into next year, they do have several strong options in the upper-minors to consider for jobs rather than looking for outside help this winter.
Starting pitching is probably the New York Yankees biggest area of uncertainty heading into 2017. The club only has three players under contract for next season who have made 30 big league starts in their career, and all three have serious injury or performance concerns.
Luis Severino, Luis Cessa, Chad Green, and Bryan Mitchell have all gotten a look in the rotation this season with extremely mixed results. Cessa has been the best of the bunch with a 4.30 ERA, but he also has a pretty scary 5.98 FIP, indicating he’s probably had some good luck. Between his insane home run rate (2.3 HR/9) and lack of strikeouts (5.8 K/9), there are some serious red flags.
Those four may be the front-runners to fill the two uncertain spots in next year’s rotation, but the Yankees may have a few better options already in house. Some of the most impressive pitching performances in the minor leagues came from Baby Bombers this year, and several of them look like they are big league ready. Here’s a look at a few options:
Dietrich Enns– The scouting report isn’t all that impressive, but the 25-year-old lefty has a 1.39 ERA across four levels in the last two years. He finished the season with Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre, working to a 1.52 ERA in 65 International League innings.
He’s not going to overwhelm anyone with his stuff, but he has four OK pitches that he mixes well and good command. The Yankees can’t ignore his insane success forever.
Jordan Montgomery– The Yankees 2015 fourth rounder had the 11th best ERA among all qualified minor league pitchers this year at 2.13 in 139.1 IP split between Double-A and Triple-A. He ranked second in New York’s system in both innings with 139.1 IP and strikeouts with 134. For a minor leaguer, he was an absolute horse. He’s more of a back-end innings eater than an ace, but a 3.80 ERA over 180 IP for New York next year seems very doable if he’s given the chance.
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Chance Adams– This is where things get interesting. Adams has a strong case for being considered a Top-100 type prospect after the incredible season he had. In his first season as a starter, Adams held opponents to a .169 batting average, the best mark of any qualified minor leaguer.
He had 17 starts this season where he allowed one run or fewer, finishing with a 2.33 ERA and 2.96 FIP in 127.1 IP. With a heater that touches the upper-90’s, a plus slider, and a solid average changeup, Adams looks ready to be a true front of the rotation option as soon as next year.
It is difficult to project how soon James Kaprielian and Domingo Acevedo will be big league ready because of their injury issues this year. Both had seemed like good bets to debut in 2017, but may have had their timelines pushed back. Justus Sheffield is another big name, but he’ll probably need another year of seasoning before he’s ready.