With Chris Capuano out for the foreseeable future with a quad strain, and Ivan Nova still making his way back from Tommy John surgery, the Yankees, as you've probably heard, will have to find someone else to fill in at the back of their rotation. While names like Esmil Rogers and Bryan Mitchell have been bandied about as possible fill-ins, Adam Warren is making it hard to ignore his potential as a possible starter for the Yankees this season.
Warren has made four starts so far this spring training, giving up just four runs in 13 innings. While he hasn't been completely dominant, he's certainly been solid, and his last start was also his best - five innings of four-hit, one-run ball against the Tigers in which he walked none and struck out three. While Rogers has been comparable (3 earned runs in 9.1 innings) and Chase Whitley has performed surprisingly well this spring (10 innings pitched, during which he's surrendered just seven hits and no runs), Warren is starting to look like the front runner for the fifth spot in the rotation, especially after that stellar five inning outing on Friday.
Warren's also got his success in 2014 to boost his case, although it's yet to be seen if that will actually strengthen his argument. Certainly, 2014 was a good season for Warren - he posted a 2.97 ERA and a 2.89 FIP, accruing 1.4 fWAR as an important piece out of the Yankee pen. Still, will the Yankees see that success as evidence he can be a dependable starter, or as reason to keep him in the bullpen? Hopefully, they'll see it as evidence of his considerable skill, and also see his potential out of the bullpen as expendable. The pen will be a strength for New York either way this year, what with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances leading the way. The Yankees have bullpen arms - what they're missing is starters. Losing Warren wouldn't cripple the pen by any means, so if he's the best option to start, he should be starting.
And so far, it looks like he is. While Whitley, Mitchell, and Rogers have been pretty good this spring, none of their track records inspires much confidence. Whitley did okay last year for about a month, then major league hitters adjusted. Mitchell has long had potential but never been able to put it all together. Rogers was awful last season, posting a 5.72 ERA and a 4.73 FIP in 45.2 innings between New York and Toronto. With Warren still young, still improving, and still looking for his potential, it makes sense to give Warren a shot to see if he can be a legitimate starter for this Yankee team going forward. So far this spring, Warren's done everything to show that he deserves that shot.