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Yankees 2014 Roster Report Card: Shane Greene

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Has Shane Greene solidified a spot in the 2015 rotation?

Jim McIsaac

Grade: B

2014 MLB Statistics: 14 GS, 78.2 IP, 3.78 ERA, 3.73 FIP, 9.3 K/9, 3.3 BB/9

2014 AAA Statistics: 13 GS, 66.1 IP, 4.61 ERA, 3.40 FIP, 7.7 K/9, 3.5 BB/9

2015 Contract Status: Pre-Arbitration

Shane Greene was drafted as a 15th round pick in the 2009 draft, the type of gem that the Yankees have been successful at uncovering.  He came into the season ranked #28 on Pinstripe Alley’s Top 30 Yankees Prospects list and at 25 years old, he was barely hanging on to prospect status.  Greene was invited to spring training and worked out of the bullpen, where he caught the eyes of the team staff, staying until final roster cuts.  Injuries ravaged the big league rotation, affecting four out of five starting pitchers. With the pitching staff in peril, Greene was promoted to the majors to fill in.  Not only did he fill in, but he broke out and became a legitimate major league starter.

The right-hander began the year assigned to Triple-A Scranton, though he did make a couple appearances on the big league roster without getting into a game.  That changed on April 24th, when he was recalled for the third time already and made his major league debut at Fenway Park against the Red Sox. It was a struggle. In just a third of an inning, he walked three and struck out just one batter.  Two days later, he was sent back to the minors for the final time this season.

After pitching a total of 6.1 innings during the first month of the season, he struggled to regain his form.  Greene spent most of the next two months getting stretched back out as a starting pitcher in Scranton. In 66.1 innings, he was unimpressive with a 4.61 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, and a .295 opponent batting average. Nonetheless, he got his chance to make his mark on the big league level when on July 7th, he was recalled to start against the Cleveland Indians.  It was a strong outing for him, as he threw six innings of two-run ball.

From that point on, Greene remained a mainstay in the Yankees rotation.  Making a total of 14 starts, he struck out an impressive 81 batters in 78.2 innings pitched while playing well against tough competition, especially in his best start of the season: eight innings of shutout ball against the always-dangerous Tigers. The fact that his home park was Yankee Stadium made it important for him to keep the ball on the ground, which he did at a 50.2% rate.  He was also able to induce an above-average swinging strike rate of 9.9%, strikeout percentage of 23.5%, and an average walk percentage of 8.4%.

Shane Greene proved that he's a quality major league starting pitcher this season, and he has earned a rotation spot for next season. He went from middling prospect to major league starter, a true Yankee success story. It appears that the Yankees have quite the commodity on their hands.  As a rotation building block or as a big piece in the trade market, either way he is a major victory for the organization.