New York Yankees: David Phelps Has a Chance to Earn His Stripes in 2012
With all the pitching the New York Yankees had signed this season, it didn't seem likely we'd see much of David Phelps, but the rookie has certainly gotten an opportunity to prove he belongs in the MLB.
Phelps has done much of his work out of the bullpen in 2012, but he's made some spot starts during this season and has clearly been getting better as the year progresses.
Not all of his starts have been quality by definition, but Phelps has never failed to keep his team in a game.
In his first start against the Kansas City Royals, Phelps went four frames and allowed only two runs on six hits. The next start saw Phelps go 4.2 innings without allowing a run while only surrendering three hits to the Tampa Bay Rays.
In his next and second consecutive start against the Rays, Phelps only allowed one run on two hits over 4.1 innings.
While those three starts don't show great length, the young Phelps never lets a game get away from him. It's his last two starts in the month of August that have shown some progression from the 25-year-old.
Against the Texas Rangers, Phelps went five innings, allowing two runs on six hits against one of the best offensive teams in baseball. He followed that up by giving up three runs on seven hits over 6.2 innings against another good offensive team, the Boston Red Sox.
Not bad for one of the lesser-known young pitchers from the Yankees' system.
Who would you want taking the ball in a playoff game at this moment?
An inconsistent Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova have made each of Phelps' starts down the stretch that much more important.
Now that Nova is injured (per Marc Carig of The Star-Ledger)—adding to CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte—Phelps is becoming a dependable option for manager Joe Girardi to turn to time and time again.
Phelps will certainly make a contribution during a potential October run, but the question will be in what capacity? Could Phelps crack the starting four in a playoff round should Hughes and Nova continue to falter and pitch worse than their rookie teammate?
It's no doubt a feasible notion at this point in what has been an unpredictable, injury-plagued season for New York.
No matter where he ends up in 2012—be it in the starting rotation or bullpen—Phelps is building the case that he deserves a realistic shot at making the Yanks' starting five in 2013.
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