Yankees rookie pitchers: Successes and failures

Jason Miller

On the heels of Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno getting their first big league wins this season, let's take a look at how often that happens with the Yankees.

In game two of Monday's double header, Vidal Nuno got his first major league victory. This came four days after Adam Warren picked up his first win against Colorado. Since the Yankees have traditionally been a veteran team, especially on the mound, how often have multiple Yankee rookies picked up their first win in one season? How about we go back to the last night of the Yankee dynasty?

2012: David Phelps

2011: Hector Noesi - Noesi was considered to be just as good as, or even better, prospect than Warren or Phelps as he moved through the Yankees' system. After going 2-2 with a 4.47 ERA (96 ERA+) in 56.1 innings with the Yankees in 2011, he was the "other" pitcher in the Jesus Montero - Michael Pineda - Jose Campos trade. Like every other aspect of this trade, it hasn't gone well. He put up a 5.82 ERA in 106.2 innings with the Mariners last year and a 5.74 ERA in 64.1 innings at Tacoma. Yeah, the Pacific Coast League is a great hitter's league, but still.

2010: Ivan Nova

2009: none

2008: Phil Coke, David Robertson, Alfredo Aceves, Ross Ohlendorf, Dan Giese - Since you're reading this, I probably don't need to explain who David Robertson is. Alfredo Aceves followed up 126 IP of 3.21 ERA baseball (142 ERA+) for the Yankees with 116 IP (and counting) of 4.17 ERA baseball (103 ERA+) for Boston, plus multiple, um, disciplinary-type issues. Phil Coke has been almost exactly league-average since going to Detroit as part of the Curtis Granderson trade. Ohlendorf has one decent season since going to the Pirates as part of the Damaso Marte / Xavier Nady trade, while Giese's first major league win was also his last.

2007: Edwar Ramirez, Ian Kennedy, Kei Igawa, Phil Hughes, Matt DeSalvo, Chase Wright, Sean Henn, Joba Chamberlain, Tyler Clippard - NINE? Yup, nine. A one-trick pony who was pretty good in 2008 before essentially disappearing; a pretty good major league starter for three years running (albeit for Arizona after his inclusion in the Curtis Grandrson trade); an international disaster (6.66 ERA in 71.2 major league innings; the devil's ERA!); a solid but disappointing starter in New York (considering the hype); a career that included only seven more big league games without another win; a player who's name I'd rather never hear of again after the second of his three appearances (four consecutive home runs to the Red Sox on Sunday night baseball); a big lefty who's career 7.56 career ERA in 81 IP was remarkably consistent across his seven seasons; a riddle wrapped in an enigma crumpled up inside a puzzle; and an excellent middle reliever who posted a 2.80 ERA (143 ERA+) with 10.6 k/9 over the last four seasons (but not with the Yankees).

2006: Jeff Karstens, Darrell Rasner, T.J. Beam - Beam spent most of the next four years at AAA for Pittsburgh, getting worse each season; Karstens has had two decent and three poor years as a back-of-the-rotation guy with Pittsburgh (after being dubbed "scary flyball guy" by Steven Goldman), while Rasner left for Japan after the 2008 season.

2005: Chien-Ming Wang - 54-20 with a 3.79 ERA (117 ERA+) in 628.2 IP prior to hurting his foot running the bases in Houston, cascading injuries ending in serious shoulder surgery and a 7-12 record wth a 6.39 ERA (64 ERA+) in 136.2 innings pitched since. He's exhibit A for the prosecution in "Baseball fans versus interleague play," and arguably the best starting pitcher the Yankees have developed since Andy Pettitte. He's looked good in five starts for Scranton this year, so good luck!

2004: Scott Proctor, Brad Halsey - Proctor had solid seasons in 2006-07 before his arm almost fell off after appearing in 83 games each year; shoulder surgery and ineffectiveness followed. Halsey was a touch below league-average for the Diamondbacks in 2005 and the Athletics in 2006 (4.64 ERA and 95 ERA+ in 254 total IP) before injuries. He pitched 17 Triple-A innings for Oakland in 2007, sat out 2008, and pitched in the Independent Leagues in 2008 and 2009 before the Yankees gave him 23 relief appearances at AA in 2011.

2003: Jason Anderson, Brandon Claussen, Jose Contreras - It was Claussen's only appearance for the Yankees, 6.1 innings of 2-run ball against the Mets in the second game of a split-stadium double header. Four seasons of injuries and various degrees of effectiveness followed. Anderson went to the Mets and Indians before coming back to the Bronx for his other big league win in 2005. Contreras was a huge part of the White Sox 2005 World Series win, and won 78 games in 10 seasons. I was about to write "in the rest of his career" before I noticed that he's made four relief appearances for Pittsburgh this year. That's three pitchers on this list to Pittsburgh.

2002: none

The Yankees gave a pretty good number of guys (23, to be exact, over six seasons) enough of a chance to earn their first major league win in the mid-aughts. I'd dare to say that most of these were more of a necessity rather than a genuine desire to break them into the big leagues. Of the 26 pitchers who've gotten their first major league win for the Yankees since 2002, I feel comfortable identifying six as having some track record of sustained success (Robertson, Hughes, Chamberlain, Wang, Kennedy, Aceves). Is it possible that the cumulative performances of these players have made the Yankees a bit gun shy when it comes to giving their own prospects a chance? I don't think so; I think most of them happened to be at Scranton or on the waiver wire when the Yankees needed someone to soak up some innings or make a couple spot starts. Hopefully the next wave is more successful.

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