Rookies on the Playoff Teams: New York Yankees
Here is a look at rookies and prospects who played for the New York Yankees in 2012.
Cody Eppley, RHP: Age 26 (27 next week), minor league vet, grabbed bullpen spot and posted 3.38 ERA with 31/17 K/BB, 2.50 GO/AO in 45 major league innings. Ground ball specialist is tough on right-handers making him a useful ROOGY. Drafted originally in the 43rd round by the Texas Rangers in 2008 from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Melky Mesa, OF: Age 25, hit .264/.325/.480 with 23 homers, 22 steals, 36 walks, 118 strikeouts in 458 at-bats between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton. 1-for-2 in the majors. Mesa is about as tooled-up as it gets with impressive raw power and speed, but he's never lived up to expectations due to persistently poor plate discipline and problems with contact. At his age (26 in January) that is increasingly unlikely to change. Signed by the Yankees from the Dominican Republic back in 2003.
David Phelps, RHP: Age 25 (26 in a few days), underrated prospect who proved valuable as spot starter and long reliever in the majors, 3.34 ERA with 96/38 K/BB in 99.2 major league innings, 81 hits allowed, outpitching more-heralded prospects. I will write a longer article about him soon; I have liked him since he was in college. Drafted in the 14th round in 2008 out of University of Notre Dame.
Justin Thomas, LHP: Age 28, minor league vet, posted 3.45 ERA with 54/20 K/BB in 63 innings in Triple-A, 54 hits, promoted for September reinforcement. Has an 8.22 ERA with a 7/3 K/BB and 12 hits allowed in 7.2 innings. LOOGY option. Originally drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the fourth round in 2005 from Youngstown State University.
Adam Warren, RHP: Age 25, posted 3.71 ERA with 107/46 K/BB in 153 innings in Triple-A, 167 hits. Made one start for the Yankees and was hit hard (eight hits, six runs, 2.1 innings). Strike-thrower with some feel for his craft, average stuff but can eat innings, would be in back-of-the-rotation mix for some teams. Drafted in the fourth round in 2009 from the University of North Carolina.
Rookies Phelps and Eppley helped stabilize the pitching staff. Although WAR doesn't greatly value their contributions (0.8 and 0.4 respectively), both should be regarded as success stories, Phelps in particular. Rookie D.J. Mitchell was traded to the Mariners for Ichiro Suzuki. Overall, there were few opportunities for Yankees prospects this year.