The 2015 Versions

Whether it be Dellin Betances, Shane Greene, Chase Whitely or others, the Yankees have received some solid contributions from their rookie class this season. Looking far into our crystal ball, here are the potential candidates to be the 2015 versions among the rookie contributors a year from now.

The 2015 Version of Chase Whitley

Chase Whitley statistically has been up and down for the Yankees at the big league level this season, posting a mere 5.13 ERA but doing so while being yo-yo-ed between the starting rotation and the bullpen. He has done an admirable job in his rookie season all things considered, especially when keeping in mind he had made a grand total of six minor league starts prior to his big league call-up [all of which came in 2014], posting a 2.56 ERA through his first seven big league starts before experiencing some growing pains.

It is very early but right-hander Jaron Long could prove to be the 2015 version of Whitley as a potential spot starter should the need arise and somebody who could also pitch out of the bullpen in the same kind of Whitley-like versatile role. The undrafted free agent out of Ohio State [and son of hitting coach Kevin Long] posted a combined 2.18 ERA over three minor league levels this year and struck out 122 batters in 144.1 innings, and walked a meager 22 batters along the way.

Like Whitley, stuff-wise Long doesn't project to be a back-end bullpen kind of pitcher. He doesn't throw particularly hard [in fact, Whitley throws harder], sitting mostly in the 88-91 mph, but he shows the same mix of moxie and guile on the mound, and a big league average four-pitch mix that could prove enough to get through a big league lineup more than once in emergency situations.

And like Whitley, while the stuff probably plays better in a potential middle relief role at the big league level, Long's versatility could provide both some cheap and yet priceless flexibility for the big league club next season.

The 2015 Version of Shane Greene

The former 15th round pick has been a revelation of sorts for the big league club this season, going 5-3 with a solid 3.56 ERA, striking out better than a batter per inning pitched, and posting a quality start in ten of his first twelve starts with the Yankees.

Always admired for his plus stuff but never able to put it all together at the lower minor league levels, Greene turned a corner when he decided to finally focus more on consistently getting ahead in counts and relying on his stuff more rather than trying to nibble corners. And right-hander Bryan Mitchell falls into a similar category.

Like Greene, Mitchell not only has the ability to throw hard [as high as 98 mph] but sustain his top velocity deep into his starts. And like Greene and his slider, Mitchell has a plus big league breaking pitch with his curveball to pile up strikeouts too. Should Mitchell follow Greene's approach and not worry about striking everyone out, focus more on the baby steps of simply getting ahead in counts more often and not shying away from contact, he could have similar big league success going forward.

The 2015 Version of Dellin Betances

It wasn't all that long ago that Betances was seemingly on every pundits' scrap-heap, just yet another 'failed starting pitching prospect' of the Yankees according to many. Well, a potential rookie of the year candidate this season, all Betances has done is go a perfect 5-0 with a ridiculous 1.37 ERA, limit opposing batters to just 42 hits in 85.2 innings, and strike out a whopping 128 batters.

While it is true the Yankees have had some trouble breaking in position players and to some degree starting pitchers from their farm system recently, the bullpen is where they're able to strut some significant depth. Whether it's Nick Rumbelow or Jacob Lindgren or others, the Yankees have more than a couple of potential Betances-like, in-house bullpen candidates for the 2015 season.

However, keeping in true Betances-like fashion, it would behoove many to not forget right-hander Jose Ramirez, another 'failed starting pitching prospect', as potentially having a Betances-like impact with the Yankees in 2015.

Ramirez won't hit 100 mph like Betances has but he'll ring it up to 98 mph pretty consistently once he's going right, and while he doesn't have the wicked breaking pitch that Betances has, he does have a plus changeup that could prove to be nearly as effective. And like Betances was seemingly an afterthought by many because of his supposed failure as a starting pitching prospect, Ramirez, plagued by injuries the past two years, is on a similar discounted path. A return to full health for Ramirez could give the Yankees another stellar bullpen weapon next season.


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