Who’s The Second Lefty In The Yankees Pen?
NJ.com a few days ago said that Joe Girardi would prefer to carry two lefties in the bullpen. Here’s a passage from the article:
“We’ll see if one steps up,” he said. “Somebody would have to show us.” Barring an injury, left-hander Damaso Marte would be the Yankees’ (first) lefty in the bullpen.”
That’s assuming Marte doesn’t implode in the early going. But assuming that, who steps up as the second lefty?
Boone Logan, acquired from the Braves offers a pipe dream of a chance to be that guy. The book on him reads like most young pitchers: Good stuff, inconsistent control and command. Last year in pitching-friendly Turner Field he had a 5.19 ERA and a not-very cool WHIP of 1.731. He’s still only 25 though and improved his pitching against lefties last year, as they hit .231 against him. in a specialized, specific role of only getting lefties out, he might be useful.
Royce Ring, who pitched in the Cardinals AAA club and earned himself a 3.04 ERA there, could be the guy. His career though is the very definition of erratic. He got shelled in his first season up with the Mets. He pitched well in 2006 and 2007 for the Mets, Padres and Braves, but then got absolutely bombed in 2008, giving up 25 runs in 22.1 innings. Could he be the Man who comes in and gets important crunch time outs against Carlos Pena or Victor Martinez? Do you feel comfortable with that? We’ll see in camp how he fares.
A few interesting prospects could be brought up if they impress. Wilkin De La Rosa is a raw prospect that has pitched well in AA in 2008 and 2009. The book on him is that he throws a hard fastball with late movement, but is still working on his changeup and slider. He has a career K/9 of 10.56, and is improving his BB/9 rate of 3.56. The Yankees thought enough of him to include him on the 40 man roster. Though raw, the ceiling is the limit for De La Rosa.
Another prospect, albeit an older 29-year-old one is Wilkins Arias. The Yankees have invited him to camp as a non-roster invitee. Most likely they have done this because last year in AA ball, Arias held opposing lefties to an impressive .183 BA. Arias is lucky to be a Yankee right now—Mike Ashmore of the Hunterdon County Democrat describes him a “nondescript southpaw”—because the Yankees need lefties right now, even nondescript ones. If he impresses enough, the Yankees might try him out of the pen in Scranton and possibly promote him to the majors if he fares well.
The last option is sure to bring shivers to Yankees fans. Kei Igawa is an invite to Yankee camp because as Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote on his Twitter account recently, “the Yankees want something for their 46 million dollar mistake. Now, Kei Igawa’s splits against major league lefties has been an awful .317 BA with a equally awful 1.69 WHIP. However last season against lefties in AAA, Igawa had an impressive 0.80 WHIP. Also, he strikes out lefties quite well and only walked just 4 out of 169 lefties he faced. Igawa also only gave up 2 HRs to lefties. In The Hardball Times FIP number (Fielding Independent Pitching, a measure of all those things for which a pitcher is specifically responsible), Kei Igawa scored a 2.87 FIP against lefties. They conclude, “Maybe, just maybe, Kei Igawa could be successful in a limited major league role.”
In short the Yankees and Joe Girardi have a lot of wishing and hoping to do, if they want a second lefty in the bullpen. Camp usually provides a few surprises. Let’s hope one of them is a reliable lefty reliever.