2015 Statistics: 9.2 IP, 6.52 ERA, 6.55 FIP,10.24 K/9, 0.93 BB/9, 3.72 HR/9
2015 Level/Roster Status: Double-A/Triple-A/40-man roster
Caleb Cotham was drafted by the Yankees in 2009 and his first few years in the farm system got off to a bumpy start. He had surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus prior to the draft, and re-aggravated the injury in September of that year. Cotham was shutdown before the minor league season ended and his knee healed, but then he missed 2010 after having shoulder surgery. When he finally got back on the mound in 2011, he worked mostly in relief and posted a 1.71 ERA through 21 innings with the Staten Island Yankees. From 2012 to 2014, Cotham switched back and forth between working as a starter and working as a reliever, as he slowly made his way up to Triple-A. He spent most of the 2014 season rehabbing yet another injury, but participating in the Arizona Fall League where he struck out 14 batters in 13 and one-third innings as a reliever.
When the 2015 season started, the Yankees decided to keep Cotham working as a reliever, and it turned out to be his best season ever in the minor leagues. He started the year in Double-A Trenton where he pitched to a 2.77 ERA and 2.42 FIP through 26 innings before being promoted to Scranton. Cotham was able to improve upon those numbers in Triple-A, as his ERA and FIP dropped to 1.74 and 2.32, respectively. At the end of July, Cotham became one of the many minor leaguers who got the call up to help the Yankees' bullpen. He was added to the Yankees' 40-man roster the day after the Yankees beat the Rangers 21-5. The Yankees needed a fresh arm, so they DFA'd Chris Capuano to make room for Cotham. He only made two appearances with the Yankees before rosters expanded in September. Unfortunately, he had a couple of bad outings in the few chances the Yankees gave him to pitch. His strikeout and walk rates were great, but he gave up a ton of home runs which inflated his HR/FB ratio to a whopping 36.4%. Interestingly, Cotham hasn't been very home run prone throughout his career. He gave up four home runs in less than 10 innings with the Yankees, yet only gave up two home runs total in 57 innings in the minors this season. His ERA and FIP may have been ugly, but his xFIP was 2.85. It's difficult to judge a pitcher based on ten innings of work, but he certainly struggled in the majors.
Cotham turned out to be one of many of the Yankees' Triple-A relievers who were a disappointment at the big league level this year. He is on the 40-man roster now, but it's more likely that he would start the season in Triple-A, unless the Yankees don't improve the bullpen over the offseason. Cotham's strikeout and walk rates show that he could have the potential to be a decent reliever if he can find a way to keep the ball in the park moving forward.