In most cases, it is nearly impossible for many teams that are able to have all of their best pitchers healthy at one time in a 162-game season. Even if it is a pipe dream for some teams, what should the Yankees do if this happens?
Starting rotation: Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, Nathan Eovaldi, Ivan Nova
Now, considering all are completely healthy, the top four in the rotation are no-doubters. But the bottom spot is a little harder to figure out. Nova is coming off a major surgery, and while he is making progress in his rehab starts, he has yet to pitch in a major league game since late April of last season. Nova was placed on the 60-day-DL earlier this season to help make room for another pitcher to come out of the bullpen. Hopefully, by the time June rolls around, Nova will be ready to go, and show some glimpses that he had shown in the 2013 season.
Middle-relief: David Carpenter, Chris Martin, Chasen Shreve, Justin Wilson, Chris Capuano
So far this season, out of all of the guys in the bullpen, only two players have more game appearances than Justin Wilson. The interesting thing is, he is last on the team in innings pitched with 8.1, of those who have appeared in at least seven games. Carpenter is second to last in this category, with only 10.1. Even though both guys have had plenty of games played, they are more situational guys, who come in to get just a couple of outs. Wilson, I feel, would be a great arm to have in the bullpen, as he is left-handed, which is always helpful. Also, Wilson is only 27-years-old, which is pretty young for a bullpen guy. To go along with the lefty Wilson, the Yankees also have Chasen Shreve pitching in the middle-relief role. Shreve has pitched in 10 innings this season, giving up six hits and only three runs. Another upside, like with Wilson, Shreve is only 24-years-old; the youngest of any pitcher on the active roster. Shreve has a bright future ahead of him, and if he's used more by the team, he could turn into a solid guy in the bullpen.
While the Yankees wait for Capuano to return from injury, fans wonder where he fits on the team. Capuano is way up in age, at 36 years old. He's had great stuff in the past, but I don't think he compares to the guys in the rotation. While I could see him doing well in long-relief, I feel that the less he pitches, the healthier he can be, and he could also provide some quality innings out of the bullpen. Martin is the only other pitcher besides Betances and Miller to have a save so far this season, and he has looked great. Not to mention, he matches Betances in height at 6'8", but that's beside the point. Martin has had a strange path to the Yankees, but he's looked good so far, pitching 13 strikeouts. Even though his ERA is a bit high at 3.86, and he's given up 10 hits in just over 11 innings, I think he could be a pitcher who could strive as a setup for the setup man.
Now, Capuano and Carpenter are tough sells for me. Because this hypothetical would lead to too large of a bullpen, I think that it might be in the best interest of the team to just have those two on the 40-man, instead of the active roster, leaving some room for positional backups. Especially after Carpenter's appearance in last night's Blue Jays game, I'm concerned if we'll ever see him in action again.
Long-relief: Adam Warren, Chase Whitley, Esmil Rogers
Both Warren and Whitley have started for the Yankees this season, and each have at least one win. Whitley has started two games, and has an ERA of only 0.75, pitching 11 strikeouts and only 1 walk in his starts in place of Tanaka. Warren has an ERA of 3.22, with 14 strikeouts, 10 walks, and 25 hits in 26.1 innings pitched. Not stellar numbers, and this is why I take Warren out of the rotation, but I feel that he would be great in the case of a starter getting bumped earlier. Although many fans are haters of Esmil Rogers (and I was in spring training), he hasn't looked all that bad as the long relief man this season. In 17.1 innings, Rogers has an ERA of 2.60, 17 strikeouts, and 13 hits. Rogers has shown some glimpses of having some really nice pitches, and the mustache looks fantastic.
Setup man: Dellin Betances
I mean, come on. Betances has looked filthy after settling into his role after the beginning of the season. He still holds a 0.00 ERA, and he leads the team with 26 strikeouts, and he's even gotten a four-out save. Betances is one of the best setup men in the bigs, and he really helps to make things a bit easier for Andrew Miller.
Closer: Andrew Miller
Miller was easily the Yankees best pickup of the offseason, racking up 11 saves, and ranking second on the Yankees in strikeouts with 23. In 13.2 innings, Miller has given up three hits and seven walks, and those numbers were definitely inflated after his tough save versus the Red Sox. Miller is tied for first in the league in saves, and apparently, he looks 10 years younger without the facial hair. Miller has been everything the Yankees have hoped for this year, and hopefully he can keep it going.
The Yankees have one of the best bullpens in the bigs, so it's important to try and organize it to keep it this way. There are many of "if's," but if the Yankees pitchers are all healthy, they have the potential to be dominant. What's your best setup for the bullpen and rotation?