Monday, December 20, 2010

Brian Cashman: Gun Shy? Maybe Not

     Brian Cashman has been preaching patience since losing out on prized free agent, Cliff Lee.  He has said that if an opportunity comes up for a major trade, he will do what is best for the team.  However, if the details are not right, he has enough faith in the team we  have that he will not rush any major decisions.

    Since stating this, the Yankees have missed out on another major acquisition.  The Royals looked to deal Zack Greinke for Jesus Montero and Eduardo Nunez.  KC was possibly looking for a third prospect as well. In years passed, that is a deal the Yankees make in a heartbeat.  The organization has gone from looking at prospects as nothing but trading chips to possibly overvaluing the worth of such prospects.  Essentially, one extreme to the next.  The team firmly states that they do not believe Greinke is right for New York and feel as though they are avoiding another Carl Pavano situation.  The team has also inquired about Seattle ace Felix Hernandez but in a phone interview today, Cashman stated "that aint happening."

     Cashman also said that  there is a good possibility they do not look to acquire any more pitchers.  He says that he will look to fill the rotation from with in the organization.  If Pettitte comes back he makes the rotation look a lot better but Cashman has stated that he will proceed as Pettitte wishes, as if he is retired.  Pettitte has told the Yankees not to rely on him and to act as if he is not coming back.

     So with all that said and the first 3 starters already selected.  Lets look at our pitching options from within.

     The guy who is leading the wave of young pitchers is Ivan Nova.  Nova is 22 years old and has been showing a lot of potential.  He's not yet quite the strikeout pitcher that he can be, however, he does have a reliable fastball that can reach 94MPH with good movement that he uses to induce a lot of ground ball outs.  His changeup is already above average and is said to have even more potential.  His curve ball also hints at dominance, although it too could use some maturing.  His arsenal of pitches is certainly impressive enough to be at least a 3 man in the rotation.  However, he would need to up his strike outs and not allow so many base runners to be considered a front line starter.  Luckily, Nova would be ask to be a 4 man in the rotation and with the help of new pitching coach Larry Rothschild, he can possibly mature into the reliable starter the Yankees need.  It's going to be enjoyable to see what this kid can do when given the opportunity of a lifetime.

    Next we have David Phelps.  Here is a kid that can keep a team off balance.  Said to be a finesse pitcher, Phelps has a mid-90's sinking 2-seam fastball with late movement that often gets him ahead in the count.  He has a solid feel for his changeup and is said to understand it and know exactly when to use it.  His put away pitch has been his tailing slider.  Since putting more faith into his slider and becoming more aggressive, he has upped his strikeouts per 9 innings to 7.51.  A career high for this 24 year old.  In the 2010 season, Phelps went 10-2, with a 2.50 ERA.  He had 141 strikeouts in 158.2 innings pitched.  He is said to have more strikeout potential but tends to pitch to contact to limit his pitch counts.  Phelps is not afraid to attack a hitter and will use any of his pitches early in the count to get him ahead.  He is very good at keeping a line-up guessing partly because of his deceptive delivery that is said to make his fastball look like it's jumping on a hitter.  Phelps is another name to watch once camp begins because it is not out of the realm of possibilities that we see this kid on the mound in the Bronx come April.

     Last, but certainly not least, is Manuel Banuelos.  This kid is very exciting due to the fact that he is just 19 years old.   Banuelos is all potential.  He had a down season last season due to an appendectomy. However he has turned many heads in the Arizona Fall League this year.  His fastball sits in the low 90's but he has the ability to get it up to 96.  Some scouts feel that his average speed will increase in some time.  His command is nothing short of spectacular.  He likes to throw inside and he does it well.  With the ability to hit his spots with all three of his above average pitches, he is definitely considered a control artist.  His changeup is said to average in the mid 70's and is matured beyond his years.  His curveball also averages in the mid 70's and has a tremendous break to it.  It's also said that he can consistently throw his curve at 2 or 3 different speeds to keep hitters off balance.  This kid is someone to get excited about.  He may not be major league ready quite yet, but spring can bring anew, and Banuelos can bring his A game.

Camp is just around the corner, and a lot of youngsters have a lot to prove.  Don't count the Yankees out just yet.

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