2016 Statistics: 16 G, 1.52 ERA, 2.17 FIP, 9.51 K/9, 2.00 BB/9, 94.2 IP (AAA)
12 G, 4.73 ERA, 5.34 FIP, 10.25 K/9, 2.96 BB/9, 45.2 IP (MLB)
2017 Roster Status: Pre-arbitration eligible
Over the offseason, the Yankees made a somewhat surprising move when they agreed to trade Justin Wilson to the Tigers in exchange for pitching prospects Chad Green and Luis Cessa. Green was drafted by the Tigers out of the University of Louisville in the 11th round of the 2013 MLB Draft. From 2013 to 2015 he worked his way through their farm system primarily as a starting pitcher. He spent the 2015 season with the Tigers’ Double-A team and ended the season with a 3.93 ERA through 148.2 innings pitched.
Green started his 2016 season with the Yankees’ Triple-A team in Scranton, and he was incredibly successful right off the bat. Not only did he cut his ERA in half compared to the previous season, but he also increased his strikeouts from 8.3 K/9 to 9.5 K/9 and held opponents to a .198 batting average. Green posted a 0.94 WHIP which is the lowest of his career.
On May 16, Green made his Yankees debut after being called up so that everyone in the rotation could get an extra day of rest. Green started a game against the Diamondbacks, and his performance was not what the Yankees were hoping for. Through four innings, he gave up four earned runs on eight hits, including two home runs, and struck out five batters. After that outing, Green bounced between Triple-A and the majors for a few months, making spot starts here and there (including a horrendous start against Cleveland where he gave up FOUR home runs and seven earned runs).
He finally joined the team for good towards the end of July, and worked as the longman out of the bullpen for a span of three games. During that time, Green pitched 8.1 scoreless innings and struck out seven batters. The Yankees moved Green to the rotation at the start of August, and he had mixed results. To his credit, he tossed a fantastic game against the Blue Jays when he struck out 11 batters and gave up just two hits through six innings. He followed that up by surrendering just one run to the Angels.
Green’s strikeout numbers actually improved between the minors and the majors, but his HR/9 jumped up to a whopping 2.36. During his final two outings, he gave up eight runs and four home runs during back-to-back starts against Baltimore. After giving up four runs through one and two-thirds innings, Green was removed from a game against the Orioles with a sprained elbow ligament. The injury required Green to be shut down for the remainder of the season, and it is possible that the elbow injury was somewhat to blame for his poor performances towards the end of the season.
Luckily, Green did not need to have surgery, and he should be healed and ready to go by the time spring training rolls around. As things currently stand, the Yankees have two rotation spots to fill. Hopefully they do something to improve the rotation, but for now it appears that Luis Severino, Cessa, Green, and Bryan Mitchell all could end up battling for a spot in a classic spring training competition.