David Phelps' career as a Yankee was one of the great trade-off in prospect assessment: polish vs. potential. Taken in the 14th round of the 2008 draft out of Notre Dame, Phelps was never really regarded as a top prospect, even within the organization. Baseball America ranked him #25 in 2009, #16 in 2010 and #21 in 2011, even as he posted the best ERA in the Yankees' minor league system and knocked on the door to the big leagues.
In the majors, the Yankees never knew quite what to do with him, but Phelps didn't really help to distinguish himself either. Guys with seemingly limitless upside like Phil Hughes got longer leashes, and veterans like Andy Pettitte and Freddy Garcia weren't asked to earn their manager's trust in the same way. In the rotation, Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda surged past on the depth chart. In the bullpen, Dellin Betances and Adam Warren found their velocity played up better. And all of the sudden, the 25-year-old fast riser out of college became a 28-year-old with 300 major league innings under his belt and 1.35 WHIP. That is to say, a prime trade candidate.
David Phelps' best day as a Yankee was probably from his 2012 rookie season. Facing the Blue Jays in the second game of a September 19th double header, with the Yanks neck-in-neck with the Orioles in the division crown, the Yankees needed every win they can squeeze out of their lineup, and they gave the ball to Phelps. It was his tenth start of the season, though he'd appeared in another twenty games as a reliever. In his previous starts, Joe G. had kept Phelps on a pretty short leash, but that day, he worked his way through the Blue Jays' lineup easily. He got into a little trouble in the second inning, allowing a single run, but he settled down after that.
Phelps pitched into the seventh, having only allowed that single run, and at one point retiring 12 Blue Jays in a row. The Yankees evened up the score in the bottom of the second on a Cervelli double, and finally an eighth inning RBI from Ichiro handed the Yankees the doubleheader sweep. Hitless relief from Boone Logan, Cody Eppley and Rafael Soriano sealed the win.
Martin Prado's Yankee career lasted all of 133 at bats. His versatility helped keep the Yankees' lineup limping forward into the final month of 2014. In only 37 games, he appeared at second base, third base, left field and right field.
Prado's best game was August 22nd at home against the White Sox, with the Yankees four games out of the playoffs and only 38 games left to play, every game had become a must-win. Prado slugged a two-run homer off John Danks to cut the White Sox lead to 3-2. A Jacoby Ellsbury double in the fifth would bring home Derek Jeter to tie the score, and the Yanks and Sox would stay locked at three until the bottom of the ninth.
With two outs and the bases loaded, the Yankees were on the verge of wasting Ichiro's leadoff single. Prado faced Daniel Webb and drove a single into center field for the walk-off win.
Thanks for the memories, gentlemen. Best of luck in Miami.