Already, I’ve changed my rotation projection since I spoke on Yankee Roll Call on Saturday. The front three have been set in stone for a while now with CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Phil Hughes (yes, in that order).
But deciding the last two is why we have spring training. The four main candidates are:
- Ivan Nova
- Sergio Mitre
- Freddy Garcia
- Bartolo Colon
All spring I’ve thought Nova should be the fourth starter. (Really, ever since Andy Pettitte decided to *retire* I’ve thought that.) And I’m sticking with that projection, especially after his six no-hit inning performance. So there were really three guys fighting for one spot. Let’s review.
Hampered by an oblique injury, Mitre has struggled in his last two outings (March 18 and 22). He got off to a good start, but I think his injury will keep him from making the rotation.
He was my favorite to win the fifth spot. But as he is known for, Garcia got lit up this spring. He allowed nine earned runs in 13-2/3 innings. However, he posted an impressive 6.00 K/BB ratio. If you’re the Yankees, it’s tough to give him the job based on his performance.
I saved the biggest surprise of the spring for last. Colon has been sensational in 15 innings this spring. No walks. Seventeen strikeouts. He’s done just about everything he could do in order to win a spot on the team. Since Garcia didn’t step up to the challenge, I’ve decided to change my vote. Bring on Bartolo! Three hundred pounds or not, he’s still my guy.
One thing I said on Yankee Roll Call that I still stand by is this: the fifth starter doesn’t matter a whole lot in April. Due to conveniently placed off days, the fifth starter may only get a couple starts. Whether that’s Colon or Garcia or Mitre making those starts, the fifth starter won’t make a huge impact.