New York Yankees pitching prospect Conor Mullee made his major league debut against the Arizona Diamondbacks yesterday, giving up one run in an inning of relief on a hit and three walks, while fanning one. Promoted to the major leagues this past weekend, Mullee received little notice as a prospect. We cover every rookie here at Minor League Ball, so here's a quick summary of his career and possible future.
Mullee was born in Ashburn, Virginia, but attended college at St. Peter's University in New Jersey. Originally a shortstop, he barely pitched in college, just six innings in 10 in which he walked 11 men, but attracted scouts with his arm strength and athleticism. Drafted in the 24h round, he began a very slow trek through the Yankees farm system. He was usually effective when healthy but had trouble staying on the mound, undergoing Tommy John surgery twice.
Mullee pitched 58.2 innings in 2015, posting a combined 2.91 ERA with a 56/16 K/BB between High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A. He's remained impressive in 2016 with a 1.42 ERA in 19 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, with a sharp 25/5 K/BB.
Listed at 6-4, 195, the 28-year-old Mullee offers a typical middle relief arsenal with a fastball in the 90-93 range along with sliders and change-ups in the 80s. Considered very raw when drafted, he's learned to throw strikes and the ability to locate his pitches was one of this best attributes in the minors, born out by a career 142/41 K/BB in 142 minor league innings. That wasn't so apparent in his big league debut with three walks in an inning, but sometimes a guy needs time to settle in.
Overall, Mullee projects as a 11th man on a modern major league staff, equipped for short or middle relief outings.
This MLB.com clip from spring training shows Mullee locking up Junior Lake with a breaking ball.