Pitcher David Phelps was scheduled to make what was going to probably be his last start of Spring Training tonight. It was his final opportunity to show the New York Yankees that he was the man who should be rounding out the rotation. Unfortunately for Phelps, that chance never came as it was announced earlier today that Michael Pineda had won the final spot in the Yankees’ pitching rotation.
Phelps definitely had a solid preseason as he owns a 2.75 ERA, is 1-0 with 10 strikeouts over 17.2 innings while allowed only 21 base runners over that stretch. However, Pineda was simply the better pitcher this Spring Training, and manager Joe Girardi said all along that the Bronx Bombers were going to go with the better arm.
Pineda, who has not made a start in MLB since his All-Star rookie season in 2011, was phenomenal during the preseason as he had a minuscule ERA of 1.20 and had an even WHIP of 1.00 . Not only was his ERA better than Phelps’, but he also recorded a lot more strikeouts as he averaged more than one strikeout an inning (16 punchouts in 15 innings of work).
Pineda was always the more attractive candidate for the fifth spot in New York’s rotation. He was acquired in a trade for Jesus Montero in which both the Yankees and Seattle Mariners were giving up top-tier young talent. The 6-foot-7 pitcher battled injuries his first two seasons with the organization, but the Yanks always kept in the back of their minds that he has proven All-Star talent.
It seems like their patience has paid off as they now have a pitcher who has unlimited potential for them in the back end of their rotation.
It is probably tough for Phelps to not have gotten one last chance to show New York that he is capable of being a starter for them, but he is a lock to be part of their bullpen in the regular season, and the Yankees should feel comfortable knowing that if any of their starters should falter, they have a very capable pitcher in Phelps waiting to get another chance.