The Yankees are depending on young pitchers this season to give them big-time innings. It all starts with 28-year old righty Chien-Ming Wang. Wang started 30 games for the Yankees last season and he was 19-7 with a 3.70 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. Wang is not a strikeout pitcher so he needs to keep the ball down to be effective. Look for him to have another really solid season for the Yankees in 2008.
36-year old lefty Andy Pettitte will be under the microscope this season due to his admitting use of HGH in the past. His elbow is barking right now so the Yanks should be a tad worried about him. Pettitte pitched in 36 games (34 starts) for the Yankees last season and he was 15-9 with a 4.05 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP. Unless he gets a ton of run support this season I don’t see him winning 15 games again as he is not the pitcher he used to be.
22-year old righty Phil Hughes is the big hope for the starting rotation this season. He started 13 games for the Yankees last season and he was 5-3 with a 4.46 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP. He has the potential and stuff to be the leading winner on the Yankees this season as long as he maintains his focus on the mound. He started 8 games in A+AA+AAA last season and he was 4-1 with a 1.91 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP. He whiffed 42 batters in 37.2 innings there.
23-year old righty Ian Kennedy doesn’t quite have the stuff that Hughes has but he has been the better pitcher so far. He started 3 games for the Yankees last season and he was 1-0 with a 1.89 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. He was also dominant in the minors last season. He pitched in 26 games (25 starts) in A+AA+AAA ball last season and he was 12-3 with a 1.91 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. He also whiffed 163 batters in 146.1 innings last year. Look for him to be a solid starter for the Yankees this season.
39-year old righty Mike Mussina will be the #5 starter when the season begins but the Yanks will likely have him on a short leash. Mussina pitched in 28 games (27 starts) for the Yankees last season and he was 11-10 with a 5.15 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. He has appeared to lose too much off his fastball to remain effective. Look for him to be yanked from the rotation around June with Joba Chamberlain taking his place.
22-year old righty Joba Chamberlain will open the season as the set-up man for the Yankees and he will end it in the starting rotation. Chamberlain pitched in 19 games (0 starts) for the Yankees last season and he was 2-0 with 1 save, a 0.38 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP. That alone shows what kind of lights out stuff that he has. He pitched in 18 games (15 starts) last season in A+AA+AAA ball and he was 9-2 with a 2.45 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP. He also whiffed 135 batters in only 88.1 innings in the minors.
28-year old lefty Kei Igawa was a complete bust for the Yankees last season but he will likely get another chance to redeem himself at some point in 2008. He pitched in 14 games (12 starts) for the Yankees last season and he was 2-3 with a 6.25 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP. He also started 13 games in A+AAA ball last season and he was 6=5 with a 3.49 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. Whoever scouts the Far East for the Yankees should be fired after signing Igawa.
27-year old Darrell Rasner pitched decent for the Yankees when they needed him as he was 1-3 with a 4.01 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. He will also likely get another chance with the Yanks in 2008 at some point.
25-year old righty Jeff Karstens pitched horrible for the Yankees last season and it’s up in the air as to whether they would give him another chance this season. He pitched in 7 games (3 starts) for the Yankees last season and he was 1-4 with a 11.05 ERA and a 2.45 WHIP.
25-year old lefty Chase Wright also proved that he wasn’t quite ready for prime time last season. He pitched in 3 games (2 starts) for the Yankees last season and he was 2-0 despite having a 7.20 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP. He also allowed a whopping 8 homers in only 10 innings in the majors. He pitched in 25 games (24 starts) in the minors for the Yanks last season and he was 13-5 with a 3.85 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP.
32-year old Carl Pavano only started 2 games for the Yankees last season and he was 1-0 with a 4.76 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. He likely will return late in the season as he is recovering from Tommy John surgery.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE 2008 SEASON: B