They said the Yankee farm system was barren. They said there was not a single major league ready prospect in entire minor league system. If the Bombers needed help in 2014, they would not get it from within they said. The Yankees don’t know how to develop prospects they said. Apparently, they overlooked Chase Whitley.
Chase Whitley, a former 15th round draft pick in 2010, progressed through the Yankee farm system as a reliever without much fanfare. He never cracked the Top 20 prospect lists nor had any eye popping attributes. He was passed over for promotion to bigs several times and was even left exposed by the Yankees in the Rule 5 Draft. There was no 100 MPH fastball or devastating curve. He had size, six foot three and 215 pounds and a repeatable delivery. He reached AAA in 2012 and figured to spend another year at that level as the Yankees transitioned him from reliever to starter. Fate had other plans.
Injuries to Ivan Nova, CC Sabathia, and Michael Pineda provided an opportunity for the Alabama native to prove his mettle. And prove it he has. Whitley earned his first win of his young career on Friday night, pitching seven strong innings to defeat the Royals.
He has now made five big league starts and given up only seven total runs, good for a 2.42 ERA. He also has 18 strikeouts and 1.12 WHIP. The major knock on him thus far has been his inability to go deep into games, a byproduct of his transition to a starter. There has been continual improvement on that though as well. He has increased his workload throughout the season culminating his his seven inning gem Friday night.
The Bombers have won four of Whitley’s five starts this season as Whitley makes his push to stay in the rotation permanently. At the moment there are no plans for his exit from the rotation. Pineda was moved to the 60 day DL this week and there is no timetable for his or Sabathia’s rehab yet.
Fellow rotation mates David Phelps and Vidal Nuno have been inconsistent. It is not inconceivable that if Phelps and Nuno’s inconsistency continues and Whitley continues to improve and get stretched out, that Whitley could stay in the rotation upon the return of Sabathia and Pineda.