So, the question is who should be the Yankees fifth starter out of the above three?
Ok…. before you all unleash on me, please note that I based purely on who out of the three would be the most effectively to start the 2012 season in the rotation.
So, I decided to use a process of elimination to see who looks best on paper. It was the only legit option for now, as no one knows who shows up in what shape yet etc.
First, I looked at Burnett, Garcia and Hughes basic stats for the first-half of 2011.
Clearly Hughes is out based on stats from last season, but I believe that having Hughes make a few starts in Scranton/Wilkes Barre is a good idea even if he has a good spring.
After his mess of multiple injuries in 2011 it would be irresponsible to base getting this coveted rotation spot on one good first-half of the 2010 season. The reality here is Hughes is less trustworthy than Burnett, and that is for a fact.
Also, Hughes lack of preparation doesn’t help his case either. Don’t kid yourself about this off-season, as it was Cashman that forced Hughes into a special training program, and at 26-years-old motivation should be a given.
Another factor to note is that Sabathia is conventionally slow out of the gate; so designating four or five starts to allow the Yankees ace to get warm, meaning don’t count on him, is a good idea.
Burnett or Garcia?
Now most people would choose Garcia because of the prejudice Yankee fans have against Burnett, but in this case they might want to think for a second about this one.
Yes, Burnett can be terribly erratic and very frustrating to watch because he is so talented. When Burnett is on, he is unhittable but when he is off it is bad. Over his last two seasons the scale has tipped the wrong way for Burnett more than anyone would like.
As for Garcia, he also typically takes a few starts to get into a groove and he is no youngster either. In April, May and June of last season, Garcia gave up nine home-runs compared to Burnett’s 14. But over those three months, Garcia pitched 84.3 innings and had 56 strikeouts, while Burnett pitched 106.2 innings and fanned 85 batters.
If the Yankees are going to get anything at of Burnett the best time is at the start of the season, as he usually dips off after the All-Star Break.
Also, the idea of letting Burnett pitch his way out of the rotation might be the way to go. He did come through big time in Game 4 of the 2011 ALDS and the pressure seemed to work then, so in my opinion it is worth giving it a shot again. Burnett’s ego might get too bruised if he immediately goes to the bullpen than Garcia’s initially would, which is something to consider.
Overall, this is kind-of a crapshoot until we get to see all the pitchers in Spring Training because as of now there are too many “What If’s?”
Still, I stand firm and do believe the fifth spot rightfully belongs to Burnett and if he can get his home-run numbers down without walking anymore batters he could have a solid 2012 season.
Guess we will know soon, as pitcher and catchers report on February 19th,which is creeping upon us slowly.
And just like a kid on Christmas Eve, I can’t wait.
- New York Yankees Trade Rumors: Rangers Got Yu But Could Use Hughes Too (ladylovespinstripes.com)
- New York Yankees Trade Rumors: Apologize To AJ Burnett (ladylovespinstripes.com)
- Posada wants to be involved, puts family first (mlb.mlb.com)
- State of the Yankees Rotation (yankeesfansunite.wordpress.com)
- Brian Cashman unveils rotation plan (yankeesfansunite.wordpress.com)
- Girardi: CC to get nod Opening Day vs. Rays (mlb.mlb.com)
- New York Yankees: Statistical Projections for the Pitching Staff in 2012 (bleacherreport.com)
- You: Yankees Pitching Roulette: What Will Become of New York’s Seven “Starters” (bleacherreport.com)