Right now the Yankees have a rotation of Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, and CC Sabathia. While the 1-2 combo is there, New York still lacks anything that could be conceived as a backend for the rotation after having traded away Shane Greene. Brian Cashman has commented about how David Phelps and Adam Warren will go into spring training as starters, and if they really don't go after Max Scherzer–or really anyone–they're going to need the farm system to produce. The problem is that, aside from Manny Banuelos and Bryan Mitchell, 2015 doesn't look to offer much. That's why it's such a shame they didn't give Mitchell a shot when they had the chance.
Over the last few seasons Bryan Mitchell has been a prospect beyond his on-field results. Scouts love his stuff, but he hasn't exactly translated that into tangible success. He eventually crept into the major league conversation this past year and when he finally got to the big leagues the Yankees could have given him a chance to shine, and like they did with Shane Greene, have a better idea of what they had with him. The Yankees being the Yankees, decided to keep him on the bench without ever giving him much of a shot.
He was called up on August 8 and through the 11th pitched only two innings. He was then sent back down to the minors until he was brought up again on September 2. Instead of giving him a chance, even as a reliever, Mitchell didn't actually get into a game until the 12th, and then only ended up making one start and pitching a total of 11 innings for the year. What made his usage even worse was the fact that the Yankees allowed Chris Capuano to start five games in the month of September, pitching to a 4.70 ERA and 5.05 FIP with some pretty ugly peripherals (5.48 K/9, 4.30 BB/9) in 23 innings. From the time Mitchell was originally sent down in August, Capuano held a 4.82 ERA through nine starts to the end of the season while the right-handed prospect maintained a 3.90 ERA in Triple-A over that time.
Minor league numbers usually don't mean much, but when the man you would be replacing can't pitch to a league-average line, small sample or not, it makes this all look like a big missed opportunity. Mitchell is certainly no sure thing, but considering the state of the team at that point in the season and the fact that the Yankees had no interest in bringing back Capuano, it would have been nice to see if Mitchell could have established himself as something more than nothing. The opportunity alone would have been worth it because then they'd have at least a slightly better understanding of who they had before they dealt Greene. Now it'll be 2015 soon and Mitchell is still a question mark. The Yankees have passed on just about everyone so far and we still don't know who can do what from the farm.