New York Yankee Ps, Cs Scouting Reports Heading into Spring Training

Phil WatsonCorrespondent IJanuary 28, 2013

New York Yankee Ps, Cs Scouting Reports Heading into Spring Training

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    In a little more than two weeks, pitchers and catchers will report to the New York Yankees’ spring-training complex in Tampa, Fla., with the whole roster scheduled to report by Feb. 17.

    The Yankees head into 2013 with more questions than in past seasons, with spring battles expected for the fifth starter spot between David Phelps and Ivan Nova and a wide-open competition for the starting catcher spot among Francisco CervelliChris StewartAustin Romine and non-roster invitee Bobby Wilson.

    On the injury front, C.C. Sabathia resumed throwing a couple of weeks ago (per New York Post) and expects to be ready when spring training opens after having arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow last October.

    Closer Mariano Rivera is coming back from the right ACL he tore and had surgically repaired last May and told the New York Daily News last week that he felt “great.”

    The outlook isn’t so cheery for Michael Pineda, who is still recovering from a torn labrum. He’s been throwing since November, according to MLB.com, but isn’t expected to be back on a major league mound before midseason.

    Prospect Manny Banuelos, meanwhile, will miss the entire 2013 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in October (per the New York Daily News).

    With spring training rituals just around the corner, here is a look at the Yankees’ pitchers and catchers who will be heading to Tampa.

C.C. Sabathia

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    PROJECTED ROLE: No. 1 starter

    2012: 15-6, 3.38 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 28 GS, 200 IP, 44 BB, 197 K

    CC Sabathia is a hard-throwing, 32-year-old left-hander who has been the ace of the New York rotation since being signed as a free agent prior to the 2009 season.

    He is primarily a fastball pitcher who will mix in sliders and change ups, as well as an occasional curve.

    According to ESPN.com scouting, Sabathia throws his fastball roughly 60 percent of the time, including a 66 percent rate on the first pitch. The slider is his next most frequent pitch at 18 percent, but that usage increases to 34 percent with two strikes. Sabathia uses his change about 15 percent of the time, with a 7 percent usage rate for the curveball.

    Against left-handers, Sabathia likes to work down and away, with 32 percent of his pitches to lefties either down on the corner or off the corner. His other favorite location is middle away, at 13 percent.

    Against right-handed hitters, Sabathia pounds the outside part of the plate at a 53 percent rate.

Hiroki Kuroda

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    PROJECTED ROLE: No. 2 starter

    2012: 16-11, 3.32 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 33 GS, 219.2 IP, 51 BB, 167 K

    Hiroki Kuroda is a fastball-slider pitcher and is returning for his second season in pinstripes in 2013 after helping anchor the staff last season while C.C. Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Ivan Nova battled injuries at various times.

    Kuroda will turn 38 two days before the spring reporting date, but still touches the low 90s with his fastball, according to FanGraphs.com.

    In addition to his two primary pitches, Kuroda likes to go to his sinker, usually to finish at-bats. He throws the sinker 21 percent of the time with two strikes, according to ESPN.com’s scouting report.

    But it’s primarily the fastball (59 percent) and slider (25 percent) that is Kuroda’s bread-and-butter.

    Regardless of which side of the plate the hitter stands, Kuroda wants to work away; however, while he likes to work up against left-handers, he goes down to work against right-handers.

Andy Pettitte

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    PROJECTED ROLE: No. 3 starter

    2012: 5-4, 2.87 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 12 GS, 75.1 IP, 21 BB, 69 K

    Andy Pettitte, 40, spots his fastball, which has slowed to the mid-80s, according to FanGraphs.com, and mixes in both the slider and curve. This season will be the second since he came back from retirement after sitting out the 2011 season.

    Pettitte will use the fastball about 60 percent of the time and roughly half the time when he has two strikes, according to ESPN.com scouting. He works mostly away against left-handed hitters and right-handers, but is more prone to come inside to righties.

    If he doesn’t throw the fastball as his put-away pitch, the odds are good the slider is coming—he uses that 35 percent of the time with two strikes. Pettitte will also mix in an occasional change up (8 percent usage rate).

    Pettitte almost exclusively works down in the strike zone regardless of who he is facing, but is more prone to attempt to occasionally sneak a fastball in against lefty swingers.

Phil Hughes

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    PROJECTED ROLE: No. 4 starter

    2012: 16-13, 4.23 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 32 GS, 191.1 IP, 46 BB, 165 K

    Phil Hughes is a big right-hander (6-5, 240 pounds) and at 26 years old is the classic fastball-curveball pitcher.

    Hughes is usually in the low 90s with his fastball, although he will occasionally touch 93-94 mph, according to FanGraphs.com.

    The fastball is the go-to pitch for Hughes, according to ESPN.com scouting. He uses the fastball almost a quarter of the time—even more often when starting a hitter. The curveball is used about 18 percent of the time and he will rarely use his change up and slider.

    Hughes suffers from a problem often associated with the fastball-curveball pitcher—if the curveball hangs, it gets hit a long way. Hughes surrendered 35 home runs in 2012, which tied for second in the American League behind only Ervin Santana of the Los Angeles Angels.

    Like most big league pitchers today, Hughes pounds the outside part of the plate, regardless of the hitter. Against lefties, Hughes throws away 51 percent of the time; against right-handers, that rate is 52 percent.

Ivan Nova

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    PROJECTED ROLE: No. 5 starter/long relief

    2012: 12-8, 5.02 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 28 GS, 170.1 IP, 56 BB, 153 BB

    Ivan Nova works in both a curveball and a slider with a fastball that is in the low to mid-90s, according to FanGraphs.com.

    The 26-year-old right-hander was an All-Star as a rookie in 2011, but regressed in 2012 while also suffering from shoulder tightness that earned him a trip to the disabled list in August.

    According to ESPN.com scouting, Nova uses his fastball 61 percent of the time, usually early in the count. With two strikes, he is just as likely to offer a curve or slider (32 percent and 21 percent, respectively, with two strikes). The curve is his second pitch at 22 percent overall, with the slider at 10 percent. He will also throw an occasional change up.

    Nova works away, but will try to get hitters to chase, up-and-in and down-and-away to right-handers and up-and-away, down-and-in to lefties.

    Nova goes to spring training having to compete for his rotation spot with David Phelps.

David Phelps

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    PROJECTED ROLE: No. 5 starter/long relief

    2012: 4-4, 3.34 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 33 G, 11 GS, 99.2 IP, 38 BB, 96 K

    David Phelps, 26, features a fastball, curveball and slider and will also sneak in a two-seamer and a straight change, according to FanGraphs.com.

    Phelps throws the fastball about 57 percent of the time, an average, low-90s pitch. He goes to the curve 19 percent of the time and the slider at a 17 percent rate. The change up is more rarely used.

    His out pitch against right-handers is a slider low and inside, looking for the swing and miss. The problem in 2012 was that when he missed his location, he was prone to the gopher ball—Phelps allowed 14 homers in less than 100 innings.

    Phelps will battle Ivan Nova for the final spot in the rotation.

Mariano Rivera

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    PROJECTED ROLE: Closer

    2012: 1-1, 5 SV, 1 BS, 2.16 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 9 G, 8.1 IP, 2 BB, 8 K

    The ageless wonder, Mariano Rivera, returns at age 43 from a torn ACL that cost him all but a month of the 2012 season.

    His pitching repertoire is one of the simplest around. Rivera throws three pitches—the cut fastball, the cut fastball and he also mixes in the cutter. Yeah, it’s just that simple, or so says ESPN.com scouting.

    Rivera will cut the fastball in on left-handed hitters and away from right-handers. He’s been doing it that way since becoming a full-time member of the Yankee bullpen in 1996, and he’s done it well enough to become the game’s all-time leader in saves with 608.

    Given the loss of power in the lineup, Rivera may be counted on in close games more often in 2013 as the Yankees will be much less prone to putting up crooked numbers on the scoreboard.

David Robertson

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    PROJECTED ROLE: Eighth inning

    2012: 2-7, 2 SV, 3 BS, 30 HLD, 2.67 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 65 G, 60.2 IP, 19 BB, 81 K

    David Robertson, 27, struggled when given the opportunity to close last season after Mariano Rivera’s injury and instead settled into his familiar setup role, only for the now departed Rafael Soriano instead of Rivera.

    Robertson mixes in a low- to mid-90s fastball with a sharp breaking curveball, according to FanGraphs.com. ESPN.com scouting tracks his usage of the fastball at 76 percent, with the curveball at 22 percent. He will throw a change up just to show he can from time to time.

    Robertson works away, away and away, and usually down. Against right-handers, he will try to get them to chase the curveball; against left-handed hitters, he almost always goes with the fastball for the put-away pitch.

Boone Logan

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    PROJECTED ROLE: Lefty specialist

    2012: 7-2, 1 SV, 3 BS, 23 HLD, 3.74 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 80 G, 55.1 IP, 28 BB, 68 K

    Boone Logan, 28, is the primary left-handed specialist for the Yankees. Last season, 121 of the 205 hitters he faced were lefties and he held them to a .231/.293/.372 line. Logan is a fastball-slider pitcher, with the slider being his weapon of choice to put away hitters, at 51 percent usage with two strikes.

    According to FanGraphs.com, Logan is armed with a mid-90s fastball. He is susceptible, however, to the long ball—he surrendered six homers in 2012—and his fastball got hit at a .311 clip, according to ESPN.com scouting.

    To left-handers, Logan works away. When he faces a right-hander, he will try to put them away with a slider dipping down and in.

Clay Rapada

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    PROJECTED ROLE: Lefty specialist/middle relief

    2012: 3-0, 6 HLD, 2.82 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 70 G, 36.1 IP, 17 BB, 38 K

    Clay Rapada, a 31-year-old left-hander, is the alternative to Boone Logan as the lefty specialist.

    He faced 102 lefties and just 33 right-handed hitters last year. Left-handers mustered just a .186/.263/.255 line against him in 2012. Righties, however, hit him at a .303/.425/.424 clip, so he’s on a short leash.

    Like Boone Logan, Rapada is a fastball-slider pitcher. But he comes from submarine angle, trying to hide the ball behind his body. According to ESPN.com scouting, Rapada goes to the slider with two strikes 62 percent of the time, while throwing the fastball 56 percent overall.

    Rapada, because of his delivery, works low in the zone, away to lefties and to either side of the plate against the rare right-handed hitters he faces.

    He won’t overwhelm anyone with velocity—Rapada only throws the fastball in the mid-80s, according to FanGraphs.com.

David Aardsma

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    PROJECTED ROLE: Middle relief

    2012: 9.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 1 G, 1 IP, 1 BB, 1 K

    David Aardsma, the 31-year-old former closer, is coming back from two lost seasons after Tommy John surgery, but appears to be healthy for the first time since 2010.

    Before his injury, Aardsma was a fastball pitcher who threw it in the mid-90s before the injury. However, he was only throwing about 92 mph in his cameo late last season, according to FanGraphs.com.

    Aardsma works almost exclusively away, throwing the fastball 76 percent of the time, according to ESPN.com scouting. He throws a slider and change up as secondary pitches and will rarely deal a curveball.

Joba Chamberlain

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    PROJECTED ROLE: Middle relief

    2012: 1-0, 4 HLD, 4.35 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 22 G, 20.2 IP, 6 BB, 22 K

    Joba Chamberlain returned in August after missing the first two-thirds of the season recovering from a freak ankle injury.

    The one-time phenom is now 27 and seemed to find his groove after struggling initially last season. Chamberlain posted an 8.59 ERA in 7.1 innings in August, but just a 2.03 mark in 13.1 innings in September and October.

    Chamberlain throws fastballs and sliders with an occasional curve, according to ESPN.com scouting.

    Once featuring a fastball that could touch 99 mph, Chamberlain is now a mid-90s hurler, according to FanGraphs.com. After bouncing around between the bullpen and the rotation early in his career, it appears Chamberlain is now set as a reliever.

    He works primarily away, but will challenge lefties down and in.

Cody Eppley

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    PROJECTED ROLE: Middle relief

    2012: 1-2, 9 HLD, 3.33 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 59 G, 46 IP, 17 BB, 32 K

    Cody Eppley, 27, looks like he would be the 12th pitcher should the Yankees opt to carry 12 out of spring training.

    Eppley, according to ESPN.com scouting, features a sinker/fastball (59 percent usage rate) and a slider (33 percent). With two strikes, the side-armer is likely to deal either one (48 percent for the fastball and 45 percent for the slider, respectively).

    Eppley lacks elite velocity. His sinking fastball is clocked in the mid- to upper-80s, and he pitches to contact, according to FanGraphs.com.

Adam Warren

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    PROJECTED ROLE: Long relief/middle relief/Triple-A

    2012: 23.14 ERA, 4.29 WHIP, 1 GS, 2.1 IP, 2 BB, 1 K

    Triple-A: 7-8, 3.71 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 26 GS, 152.2 IP, 46 BB, 107 K

    Adam Warren, 25, got hit hard in his major league debut last June and didn’t have overwhelming numbers at Triple-A, either.

    He throws a four-seam fastball and a cutter, along with a curve and slider, according to FanGraphs.com. The low-90s fastball was hit hard, and he got no one out with the cutter. But, as always, beware of small sample sizes.

    Warren might stick as a middle reliever if he is able to outperform Cody Eppley, but is likely ticketed for a return to Scranton-Wilkes/Barre.

Cesar Cabral

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    PROJECTED ROLE: Lefty specialist/middle relief

    2012: Missed entire season with stress fracture

    Cesar Cabral will be 24 when camp opens and missed all of 2012 after being selected from the Boston Red Sox in the Rule 5 draft in December 2011.

    He turned some heads in camp before suffering the elbow injury. Manager Joe Girardi told the New York Daily News last April that the injury was “frustrating, because he had a really good camp for us.”

    He was battling Clay Rapada for the second left-handed reliever role and will likely resume that competition this spring.

    Because he spent all year on the disabled list, he will come into 2013 under roughly the same Rule 5 limitations as last season, according to the LoHud Yankees blog. The difference this year would be that Cabral would have to break camp with the big club and would have to stay on the roster 90 days before being optioned, or he would have to be offered back to the Red Sox.

Francisco Cervelli

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    PROJECTED ROLE: Competing for No. 1 catcher

    2012: .000/.500/.000, 3 G, 2 PA, 1 R

    AAA: .246/.341/.316, 99 G, 417 PA, 43 R, 2 HR, 43 RBI, 6 SB

    Francisco Cervelli became the forgotten man in 2012, shipped to the minors when the Yankees acquired Chris Stewart late in spring training.

    But now Cervelli has a chance to earn the starting job after Russell Martin left via free agency.

    For his career, Cervelli is .271/.339/.353 hitter in 562 career plate appearances. But he brings little power.

    Defensively, Cervelli is somewhere between average and awful. According to FanGraphs.com, he has a Stolen Base Runs Saved (rSB) rating of minus-5 and a Passed Pitch Runs (RPP) of 0.1 in 1300.1 innings at the major league level. For his career, he has thrown out 23 of 116 base stealers, cutting down just 19.8 percent.

Chris Stewart

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    PROJECTED ROLE: Competing for No. 1 catcher

    2012: .241/.292/.319, 55 G, 157 PA, 15 R, 1 HR, 13 RBI, 2 SB

    Chris Stewart is an offensive liability, hitting just .217/.281/.302 for his career in 394 plate appearances since 2006. He provides little pop, little discipline and strikes out at a 12.2 percent clip.

    However, defensively he is superior to any of the backstops the Yankees will have in camp. His rSB rate of 7 is excellent and his 2.5 RPP is solidly above average, according to FanGraphs.com.

    In an ordinary season for the Yankees, the club might opt to roll the dice with a defense-first catcher. However, with the amount of offense that left the club via free agency, it could be a bad time to come to camp as a potential black hole in the batting order.

    Stewart has thrown out 33.6 percent of would-be base stealers for his career (36-for-107).

Austin Romine

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    PROJECTED ROLE: Competing for No. 1 catcher/Triple-A

    2012 (AAA): .213/.296/.393, 17 G, 71 PA, 6 R, 3 HR, 9 RBI

    A back injury limited Austin Romine to just 49 minor league games last season, including 17 at Triple-A, after he had a cup of coffee with the big club in 2011.

    General manager Brian Cashman told the New York Daily News earlier this month that Romine was almost certainly ticketed to start the season in Triple-A.

    “But he has a chance to alter that,” Cashman said.

    Romine didn’t tear it up in the Arizona Fall League last year, hitting .222 with a .628 OPS.

    So while Romine has a chance to earn the job with a strong camp, he’s facing an uphill climb.

Bobby Wilson

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    PROJECTED ROLE: Competing for roster spot/Triple-A

    2012: .211/.277/.292, 75 G, 201 PA, 19 R, 3 HR, 13 RBI for Los Angeles Angels

    Bobby Wilson signed with the Yankees in December and was extended an invitation to spring training. While that .211 average might seem bad, it is the same average Russell Martin posted in his final season as a Yankee in 2012.

    The difference is power—Wilson provides little. For his career (447 plate appearances), Wilson has posted a line of .208/.272/.321 with eight home runs.

    Defensively, he is average defending the stolen base (rSB of 1) and great at handling pitchers (4.7 RPP), according to FanGraphs.com.

    That would put him in the same category as Chris Stewart, only a notch below the incumbent backup defensively.

    Wilson falls between Stewart and Francisco Cervelli at throwing out runners. He’s gunned down 27.1 percent for his career (36-for-133).