Yankees Fans: Are These Pitchers Best Suited for the Rotation or the Pen?
When given the chance to start consistently for the first time in his MLB career coming out of spring training in 2015, Adam Warren rewarded New York with a very solid 3.66 ERA over 96 IP (17 GS) but was frustratingly moved back into the bullpen when Ivan Nova returned from the disabled list following his TJ surgery rehab.
Warren came up through the minors as a starter, pitching to a 3.13 ERA in 92 MiLB starts over his five seasons on the farm. He was converted to the pen in the big leagues because the rotation was full and has established himself as a consistently above-average reliever who gives the Yankees some valuable flexibility because of his ability to soak up multiple innings at a time.
As good as he’s been as a reliever, it seems strange to me that a guy who has never really failed as a starter has been confined to the bullpen without much of a second thought. Every year, the team brings Warren to spring training stretched out as a starter, and every year they go with someone else in the fifth starter role.
In a just world, Warren would finally get the opportunity to show what he can do over a full season’s worth of starts in 2017. At the moment, he’s probably the best MLB starter among this group of five guys and therefore deserving of a rotation spot.
At the same time, he’s also the oldest of the five and has the least remaining team control, and that has to be a consideration for a rebuilding club. Because of this, and the team’s historic preference to use him as a reliever, it seems inevitable that Warren begins the year as one of Aroldis Chapman‘s setup men.