With Ivan Nova and CC Sabathia injured,Michael Pineda injured, and relying on foreign substances for effectiveness, and Hiroki Kuroda pitching like that roller coaster ride at the amusement park that’s rusting and needs to be either knocked down, or get new parts, one person who has stepped up in the rotation is David Phelps. As he takes the mound tonight where he grew up, Phelps needs to remain in the rotation, not only when the injured guys come back, but for seasons to come.
Looking at Phelps’ splits as a starter and as a reliever, he’s put up better numbers as a reliever. He has a lower ERA, higher K per nine, and a lower WHIP. So why should he stay as a starter? Because this may be the year he puts it together in the same role.
Phelps as a starter: 1-1, 2.89 ERA, 22.1 innings, 22 hits, 17 strikeouts
Phelps as a reliever: 0-0, 3.86 ERA, 11.2 innings, 10 hits, 16 strikeouts
Phelps has identified himself as a starter throughout his career. He’s looked more comfortable in that role. Just look at his last start Thursday night. He went toe-to-toe with Chris Sale, and even though the Yankees lost, you couldn’t pin it on Phelps.
Phelps, Chase Whitley and Vidal Nuno have stepped up. To me, when the injured guys come back, Whitley should go back to Triple-A simply to gain more experience and get stretched out as a starter. Nuno is kind of a swing guy, who might do pretty well in the National League.
Phelps is the guy who needs to stay. If Pineda comes back and pitches well, and Sabathia comes back in July and is healthy, then with Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees will have the rotation to get it done.
Phelps may not throw the hardest, but he pitches with guts and can get the job done. He needs to stay in one role and one role only; starting pitcher.