While the Hot Stove Season does a slow bubble and questions continue to surround the Yankees and their plans, assuming there are any more, to address the 2012 rotation, one man continues to fly under the radar as a possible rotation option.
That man is Hector Noesi, who after a few rough outings has really started to light it up in the Dominican Winter League, a league known for hitting. Noesi recently won Player of the Month for November in the Liga de Beisbol Dominicano after going 3-1 with a 2.22 ERA and 17 K to just 6 BB over 28.1 IP. For the season he has a 2.38 ERA and 2.70 FIP in 34.0 IP in the league with a 1.26 WHIP, just 7 total BB, and 0 HR allowed. He's been on strict pitch counts as part of the effort to get him back up to a regular starter's workload, but he's shown improvement each time out.
Perhaps the biggest bit of news to come out his Winter League performance, however, is the report that Noesi has been sitting mid-90s on his fastball, sometimes touching 97-98. Obviously this has to be taken with a small grain of salt, as there's no way to know how accurate the guns down there are. But if this is even remotely true, and Noesi has upped his velocity without sacrificing his calling card command (evidenced by the 7 BB), then the Yankees could be looking at Ivan Nova 2.0 in 2012 as I suggested in October. One things for certain, as my colleague Eric Schultz at TYA put it, A.J. and Phil better watch their necks.