Wednesday, March 26, 2014

AB4AR 2014 Season Preview: The Rotation

(Don't call it a comeback... Courtesy of the AP)

When Joe announced that Michael Pineda would be the 5th starter to open the season, he answered the final question about how the starting rotation would look in 2014.  CC, Hirok, Nova, and Tanaka had already been lined up to start the first 4 games of the regular season.  Now we know who comes after that.

What we don't know is how this rotation is going to perform, but there is plenty of reason to be optimistic and even excited about the possibilities.  The potential is there for the Yanks to have 5 legitimate top tier starters in their rotation, 5 pitchers who can come out on any given day and completely shut the opposing team down.  It's been a long time since we've been able to say that about a Yankee rotation and even though a lot needs to go right for that possibility to be realized, that still puts the team in a much more advantageous position than it's been in years.  After the jump, the player-by-player breakdown of this year's starting 5.

A Quick Word On The Shift

(Just one more thing for Johnson to learn at third.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

Yesterday, Pete Caldera wrote an interesting little article about the Yankees' plans to employ infield shifts more this year as part of their in-game defensive strategy.  They're one of the teams that hasn't been as quick to jump on the shift bandwagon as a team like the Rays, and with a very old and very range-limited starting infield this season it makes sense to try to cover some of those infield range holes with a shift in situations that call for it.

On Michael Pineda's Workload Limit

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

That Michael Pineda was formally announced as the winner of the ST 5th starter competition yesterday was hardly a surprise.  He was clearly the best man for the job based on what he showed in his first 4 ST appearances (2 ER, 16 K/1 BB in 15.0 IP).  What was a little bit of a surprise was Joe's declaration that Pineda would not have an innings limit this season.  The Yankees have been so, so careful bringing Pineda back from his shoulder injury.  As a young pitcher with only 1 full season of innings under his belt, it stood to reason that they would continue that strategy and put some kind of cap on his workload this year.

Spring Training News And Notes: 3/25/14

With the rest of the spring rotation set, the Yanks used 9 non-rotation guys to work 9 innings against the Phillies last night.  They combined to allow 6 runs in a 6-0 loss.

- The big news of the day was Joe officially announcing Michael Pineda as the 5th starter.  Hard to say Pineda didn't earn the job.  Noteworthy was Joe's statement that Pineda would not have an innings limit.  Doubt that's 100% true.

- Jacoby Ellsbury returned to the field as the DH in a MiL game and did so without any problems.  He went 1-6 with 2 BB and is scheduled to play another MiL game today.

- Tyler Austin also played in a game yesterday, his first of the spring.  Looks like he'll get a few in before the start of the season and he could be ready for the start of the Double-A season.

- John Ryan Murphy was reassigned to MiL camp, so expect the Cervelli backup announcement soon.

- When asked about Brendan Ryan's status, Joe said he'd be "really surprised" if Ryan was on the Opening Day roster.

- The day's bullpens: Carsten, Hirok, Ma-kun, and Cesar Cabral.