Whelan is one of the pitchers who came to the Yanks from the Tigers for Gary Sheffield. A converted catcher, he's got a load of potential (11.54 K/9 in A and AA), but Bruney-esque control issues (5.1 BB/9). He's only pitched 160 innings in his entire career; he's young enough (24 this season) that he's still learning how to pitch- both mechanically and intellectually. Via Chad Jennings:
Kevin Whelan is not going to be ready to start the season in Double-A. Whelan left the Arizona Fall League with a sore arm -- Newman said it was an elbow issue -- but now has a sore shoulder. When he pitches, Whelan will be pitching out of the bullpen. No more rotation to get him stretched out.
Whelan will move through the system as quickly as his progress allows (though I'm not betting on him this year). I'll be keeping a close eye on him this season, and will pass on further updates as I spot them.