1. Chase Whitley and Dellin Betances vs Jacob deGrom
Where were you for Jacob deGrom’s MLB debut? If you’re a Yankee fan, you were probably just as impressed by the guy wearing the other uniform.
Somehow, the May 2014 edition of the Subway Series became a showcase for under-the-radar debuts, as deGrom made his first major league start against … middling Yankee farmhand Chase Whitley.
deGrom surrendered just one run in seven full innings of work, and it came in his last frame of the game on an Alfonso Soriano RBI double. Whitley? He went 4.2 blank, whiffing four, before turning the ball over to the bullpen, which held down the Mets offense entirely. Adam Warren contributed .2 shutout innings, and David Robertson finished it off with 1.1. The real secondary star, though? Dellin Betances, probably in the most impressive performance of his entire career.
Gritting his teeth through a 0-0 ballgame, Betances (also a rookie!) went 2.1 innings (!!) and struck out six Mets, throwing only 27 pitches and 20 strikes. Congratulations to the green starting pitcher, of course, who’ll always be able to tell his family he hung with an inner-circle Hall of Famer, but this was also Betances’ coming out party, leading to the first of four All-Star seasons (and an oh-by-the-way 2018 campaign where he struck out 115 in 66.2 innings pitched).
Whitley will forever be an impressive footnote here, but this extended, dominant Betances performance in middle relief is maybe the most surprising Yankee line of the past decade, and set up the remainder of his time as a fireman in the Bronx.