Been a little MIA for some bachelor party shenanigans and a work conference but hopefully have some run way to write a bit now.
The Yankees spring has been a rousing success, but there are still a lot of question marks. The big takeaway right now is that the offense is going to be fine, Tanaka is healthy and should make 30 starts with a low 3 ERA, Pineda has all the talent to be an ACE but his mind will most likely (definitely) get in the way, and that CC should put up a 4.00-4.50 ERA while eating (no pun intended) 180 innings.
Now here are the Question marks:
Who are the 4th and 5th starters?
Bryan Mitchell is the leader in the clubhouse right now. Cashman was a guest on the Michael Kay show last night and did not mention Mitchell as a possible 5th starter or reliever. He did mention Severino, Montgomery, Warren, and Cessa. (Chad Green hasn’t performed that well this spring so expect him to start in AA or AAA to work out his mechanics)
Let’s say that Cashman didn’t mention Mitchell because he has the 4th spot locked up.
Warren we can cross off because he’s in the pen. We’ve known that all spring.
Cessa was recently optioned to the Minor league side of camp so he will most likely be starting in AAA this April.
The Final two candidates:
Montgomery is a surprise candidate and I really like his stuff. He is a big lefty with a good downward plane that should work well in Yankee Stadium. He has pitched well against major league hitters striking out Evan Longoria twice and Jose Bautista once, so his stuff is there. He has a straightforward delivery so the lefty/righty splits should not be extreme, great for a starting pitcher. If a lefty’s arm angle is two low then usually a right handed batter will get a better and earlier look at the ball, since Montgomery comes more over the top than most that won’t be an advantage.
The elusive Severino is being worked out as a starter and won’t go to the pen according to Joe Girardi. He will either start the year in AAA or as the 5th starter. My issue with Severino is not the “stuff” but the consistency and location of his pitches. He hasn’t been able to locate his pitches especially well this spring so I personally would vote for Montgomery.
The Yankees have time to make this decision though, the first time their 5th starter is expected to pitch is April 10th vs. the Rays. A negative right now is that Montgomery is not on the 40-man roster, so they would have to drop someone to make room, and with Didi being injured I’m not sure they want to drop Kozma at this time. (This is a story for a different day)
Overall: I think Mitchell is the clear #4 starter and that Montgomery should be the #5 with Severino developing in AAA. I think Joe ends up picking Severino as the 5th starter because of the 40-man roster issue, but regardless of what happens early in April I expect Montgomery to force his way into the rotation sooner rather than later.