Mood Music - Black Dog by Led Zeppelin
With Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia less than locked into the Yankees long term plans in the starting rotation and the ever-present possibility of injury, the starters at AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre are always one phone call away from the action. Hector Noesi, who has been strong in long relief, is the most likely candidate for spot starts, but it wouldn't surprise me if some, or even most, of the following pitchers are called upon in 2011. Let's look at their most recent starts:
Adam Warren - Last start 5/24/2011 vs. Indianapolis Indians (Pirates) - 8 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 4 K. Warren threw eight dominant innings, allowing only three singles and a walk. It was a great bounce back game for Warren, who was very wild in his last start (6 BB in 4 IP). The narrative on Warren remains the same: While he does not have as high of a ceiling as some of the other young farmhands, he seems on track to be a solid major league contributor sooner rather than later. Warren will start tonight.
Carlos Silva - Last start 5/26/2011 vs. Louisville Bats (Reds) - 7 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 3 K. Silva, who relies heavily on a power sinker, was in command and doing what he does best, inducing ground balls. He recorded 10 groundball outs, and similarly to Warren, did not allow a single extra base hit. With an opt-out date looming, it seems likely that the organization will want to call up Silva and at the very least stick him in the bullpen (sorry, Lance Pendleton). Like all sinkerballers, when the sinker has strong downward action, Silva can have dominant outings, but when it's not sinking sharply, it's just a bad fastball. Take this gem of a start with a grain of salt.
D.J. Mitchell - Last start 5/27/2011 vs. Louisville Bats (Reds) - 6 IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 3 K. Mitchell was solid but unspectacular. Although he pitched himself into trouble a few times, Mitchell was able to avoid giving up the big hit by inducing two double plays and wriggling out of some jams. After an excellent 2009 in the low minors and something of a step backwards in 2010 when Mitchell split time between AA and AAA, he seems to again be progressing.
Andrew Brackman - Last start 5/28/2011 vs. Louisville Bats (Reds) - 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 1 H, 6 BB, 8 K. Yuck. If Brackman ever learned to repeat his delivery and keep the ball over the plate, he could really be scary to face. Your guess is as good as mine as to if he can ever put it all together, but regardless of the dominant pitches and the strikeouts, he simply can't hand out that many walks. I don't think the "too many walks" narrative is a secret, it has likely been said to him his whole career. Here's hoping for a breakthrough.
David Phelps - Last start 5/29/2011 vs. Louisville Bats (Reds) - 8 IP, 4 ER, 10 H, 0 BB, 5K. Another solid outing from Phelps, who, outside of a three run home run in the 5th, was largely in control. Coming on the heels of a 7.1 IP 1 ER performance and increasing an already impressive 3.07 K/BB, I think Phelps is still first in line to see the majors.