• David Phelps

    Posted by on August 23rd, 2012 · Comments (20)

    David Phelps was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 14th round of the 2008 amateur draft. To date, in his five seasons as a professional, he’s never had an ERA over three:

    Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS IP BB SO WHIP
    2008 21 NYY-min A- 8 2 .800 2.72 15 15 72.2 18 52 1.170
    2009 22 NYY-min A,A+ 13 4 .765 2.38 26 26 151.0 31 122 1.205
    2010 23 NYY-min AA,AAA 10 2 .833 2.50 26 25 158.2 36 141 1.103
    2011 24 NYY-min AAA,Rk 7 7 .500 2.99 20 20 114.1 27 95 1.277
    2012 25 NYY-min AAA,AA,A+ 2 0 1.000 0.00 4 4 18.2 5 23 0.911
    2012 25 NYY AL 3 4 .429 2.69 24 5 63.2 20 66 1.147
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 8/23/2012.

    .
    I like this guy. And, I love how he’s come in under the radar – compared to other recent hyped Yankees pitching prospects – and how he’s been handled by the Yankees, getting his feet wet, breaking into a starter’s role in the big leagues.

    He’s not going to light up a radar guy or a scouting report.  But, he can pitch.

    Jed Weisberger shares more on him, here.

    Comments on David Phelps

    1. LMJ229
      August 23rd, 2012 | 1:52 pm

      It seems to me that the pitchers who get all the hype never seem to pan out while the guys who fly under the radar have the most success. I think the Yankees fall in love with the “stuff” a guy has. They place too much emphasis on the radar gun and a guy’s potential while ignoring guys who can just flat out pitch.

    2. August 23rd, 2012 | 1:56 pm

      Yup. See how Andy Pettitte was introduced and brought along back in 1995.

    3. MJ Recanati
      August 23rd, 2012 | 2:03 pm

      LMJ229 wrote:

      It seems to me that the pitchers who get all the hype never seem to pan out while the guys who fly under the radar have the most success.

      Do you mean for the Yankees or in baseball generally? If you mean basebal generally then it’s just too much of a generalization to be a true statement.

      LMJ229 wrote:

      I think the Yankees fall in love with the “stuff” a guy has. They place too much emphasis on the radar gun and a guy’s potential while ignoring guys who can just flat out pitch.

      First, every team does this, not just the Yankees. If you want to fault the Yankees for group-think, that’s fair. But, frankly, given the attrition rate of minor leaguers, you still have to sort prospects by some method of classification and you may as well do so by the quality of a prospect’s stuff. Pitchability is nice but odds tend to favor quality over guile.

      Second, I don’t think any of us is qualified to claim that we absolutely know what the Yankees’ scouting methodology is. I presume that raw stuff is a very large part of the equation but I’m not willing to say that it’s the only thing the Yankees (or any other team looks at). Build, athleticism, makeup, projectability and track record/pedigree are all parts of it that I think you’re ignoring here.

    4. MJ Recanati
      August 23rd, 2012 | 2:31 pm

      LMJ229 wrote:

      They place too much emphasis on the radar gun and a guy’s potential while ignoring guys who can just flat out pitch.

      I missed this part of your statement but want to touch on it for a moment.

      I’m not following how this can be true. As none of the pitchers the Yankees are scouting at the amateur level (internationally, in HS/college, or otherwise) are professionals, all each team — including the Yankees — can do is judge their future potential as professionals. Those in the amateur ranks that can “flat out pitch” are the ones with the highest potential. Those who cannot “flat out pitch” are the ones that are left behind.

      Keep in mind that every team seeks to have a staff of five #1 pitchers, right (because it beats the alternative of having a staff of five #5 pitchers, obviously). So what you’re trying to say here is that the Yankees should aim for the guys with lower talent ceilings and higher talent floors, guys who are more likely to hit their probability of achieving the major leagues and spend less time with the guys whose upside is much higher but may not pan out.

      If that’s what you’re trying to say, then I don’t think you’ll like the result you’ll end up with. If only one out of every five or so prospects graduates to the major leagues and you start with a talent pool of 125 players to get to your 25-man roster, starting with a less talented but more probabilistic pool of players won’t yield you anything but a less talent group of major leaguers than the alternative of seeking the best talent available at every possible opportunity.

    5. MJ Recanati
      August 23rd, 2012 | 2:39 pm

      @ LMJ229:
      All of that said, there’s certainly a place in every organization for a healthy mix of high-ceiling and high-floor players. I’d argue that the Yankees do very well in creating this mix given that David Phelps — the original topic of this thread — is an example of a lower-ceiling/higher-floor player. The Yankees have others like Phelps in their organizaton (Adam Warren, DJ Mitchell, Nik Turley).

    6. Raf
      August 23rd, 2012 | 5:33 pm

      LMJ229 wrote:

      I think the Yankees fall in love with the “stuff” a guy has.

      It isn’t just the Yankees. In general, MLB teams are like that, falling in love with guys that can light up a radar gun. If they weren’t, no one from the Dom Rep would ever be signed…

    7. Raf
      August 23rd, 2012 | 5:49 pm

      As for David Phelps, good for him, hope he enjoys the ride and has a long big league career.

      Steve L. wrote:

      Yup. See how Andy Pettitte was introduced and brought along back in 1995.

      91: 69.2
      92: 168
      93: 164.2
      94: 169.2
      95: 11.2/175 (and 7 more in the playoffs for a total of 193.2 innings)
      96: 221 (and 22 innings in the playoffs for a total of 243 innings)

      I’d wager that Hughes, Joba, Kennedy, Wang, etc haven’t had the same workload that Pettitte had in the minors. There was a change in philosophy in baseball WRT pitching development in the 90′s.

    8. #15
      August 23rd, 2012 | 5:52 pm

      I’ve wanted Phelps to take Nova or Freddie’s spot in the rotation for a while. Guess I’m getting my wish with IvNo heading to the DL.

      Based on what we’ve seen for the past 2 months, we have a better chance of getting a decent pitching performance from Phelps than we had with Nova.

      I’m not ready to give up on Nova for the long haul, but he’s been poor and needed to go to the minors and try to get back on track.

      I understand Joba can’t/won’t be sent down. 1 or 2 more bad outings and… if he refuses a trip down to the farm, off with his head. We can’t afford to keep him around down the stretch. We need a servicable short relief arm in the pen and he’s not that guy at this time. Pisses me off if he is actually refusing to go. Take the phony 15 day DL and go get some work where it doesn’t matter. We’ve given him every opportunity to make it as a big league pitcher and he flat out stinks right now.

    9. 77yankees
      August 23rd, 2012 | 8:55 pm

      @ Raf:

      The bone I have to pick with innings “limits” is this: Why don’t they factor spring training into it as well? Strasburg for instance, threw 24 innings this spring. Those don’t count against the 160-180 IP limit?

      Same goes for pitch counts during a game. A starting pitcher will warm up with 30 pitches before the game, then eight before every inning. Granted they’re all not thrown with the gusto of game action, but it’s still motion and taxation of the shoulder and elbow.

    10. LMJ229
      August 24th, 2012 | 12:24 am

      @ MJ Recanati:
      I’m not sure what the Yankees organizational plan is regarding starting pitching but it clearly is not working. My frustration lies in the fact that the Yankees are woefully inept at developing starting pitchers and have been for a very long time now. How many successful starting pitchers have the Yankees developed in the last 20 years? In my book it’s a very short list. Some organizations seem to have a knack for it. We clearly don’t. I’m not sure what our scouts are looking for but they haven’t been very successful. I suspect they are looking for that diamond in the rough and are passing up some potential gems along the way.

    11. LMJ229
      August 24th, 2012 | 12:39 am

      @ MJ Recanati:
      I’d rather have a couple of high-floor, lower ceiling players who pan out as a #3 or #4 starter than a couple of low-floor, higher ceiling players who don’t ever make the Major League roster. I suspect both Betances and Banuellos will go that route. We’ve already seen Brackman do it. Correct me if I am wrong but I don’t think Petitte, Wang, or Nova were the high ceiling type. Of course Hughes was but he is still just our #4 starter so so much for his high ceiling. It just seems to me we have more success with the lower ceiling types.

    12. Raf
      August 24th, 2012 | 7:25 am

      LMJ229 wrote:

      How many successful starting pitchers have the Yankees developed in the last 20 years? In my book it’s a very short list.

      Since Steinbrenner bought the team? 2; Guidry and Pettitte. Wang was done by 2008.

    13. August 24th, 2012 | 8:36 am

      @ Raf:
      She said last 20 years – and Guidry was before 1993.

      My list: Pettitte, Wang, Hitchcock, Hughes and Kennedy.

      I would not count Jake Westbrook or Ted Lilly since they were not really developed or kept by the Yankees.

      And, Jeff Karstens is sort of on the fence.

      But, I think that’s it for the last 20 years.

    14. MJ Recanati
      August 24th, 2012 | 9:13 am

      LMJ229 wrote:

      I’d rather have a couple of high-floor, lower ceiling players who pan out as a #3 or #4 starter than a couple of low-floor, higher ceiling players who don’t ever make the Major League roster.

      That’s fine but you’re making it a binary choice whereby the Yankees ONLY go high-ceiling or ONLY go high-floor. As I said above, every team tries to find the right mix of the two so that you spread your risk around between high- and low-probability players of varying degrees of talent.

      Having said that, every team has a responsibility to always sign the best talent available because while two high-floor players may be fungible, two high-ceiling players are not.

      LMJ229 wrote:

      Of course Hughes was [a high-ceiling player] but he is still just our #4 starter so so much for his high ceiling.

      Yes but that’s why going for the high-ceiling player is logical. If they don’t achieve their ceiling, they nevertheless had enough talent to make it to the majors and provide value for the team. A guy with a lower talent ceiling may not even graduate to the big leagues. As I said in a separate thread this week, Hughes may not have lived up to our hopes and dreams for him but he’s nevertheless provided value to the team that justified the $10M the Yankees have invested in him since he signed out of high school nearly a decade ago. The key is getting value out of your draft picks and the Yankees got value from Hughes even if it’s not the full value they expected.

      LMJ229 wrote:

      It just seems to me we have more success with the lower ceiling types.

      It may seem that way but you’re discounting all of the players that you never hear about that never catch a whiff of prospect buzz or see time in the major leagues.

    15. MJ Recanati
      August 24th, 2012 | 9:25 am

      LMJ229 wrote:

      I’m not sure what the Yankees organizational plan is regarding starting pitching but it clearly is not working. My frustration lies in the fact that the Yankees are woefully inept at developing starting pitchers and have been for a very long time now. How many successful starting pitchers have the Yankees developed in the last 20 years? In my book it’s a very short list. Some organizations seem to have a knack for it. We clearly don’t. I’m not sure what our scouts are looking for but they haven’t been very successful. I suspect they are looking for that diamond in the rough and are passing up some potential gems along the way.

      I think you’re overstating things a little bit. No, the Yankees haven’t produced a large number of in-house pitchers over the years but part of that comes from the fact that, until recently, they haven’t had to.

      There are other teams that develop pitching better than the Yankees do but that hasn’t seemed to affect the standings very much so I guess I’m left wondering why — apart from the optical and aesthetical aspect of preferring efficiency over inefficiency — this is such a big deal. The Rays out-scouted baseball in finding Matt Moore with the 245th pick of the 2007 MLB draft. The White Sox and Cardinals specialize in rejuvenating the careers of pitchers thanks to their exceptional pitching coaches, Don Cooper and Dave Duncan, respectively. Other than that, I’m wondering what teams you’re referring to. The best pitchers in baseball — Verlander, Cain, Price, Weaver, Sale, Strasburg, Kershaw, Hamels, Lincecum/Halladay (until this year) — were all first round picks. Some of the other best pitchers in baseball — Felix Hernandez, Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman — were signed as IFA’s.

    16. LMJ229
      August 24th, 2012 | 10:40 am

      Raf wrote:

      LMJ229 wrote:
      How many successful starting pitchers have the Yankees developed in the last 20 years? In my book it’s a very short list.
      Since Steinbrenner bought the team? 2; Guidry and Pettitte. Wang was done by 2008.

      Thanks Raf that is my point exactly – very few and far between. Perhaps it is time for some new blood and/or a new philosophy in the scouting department. The current one clearly is not working.

    17. LMJ229
      August 24th, 2012 | 10:51 am

      @ MJ Recanati:
      I would agree that the ineptitude in developing starting pitchers has not hurt us in the standings. My fear is that it will once the new cap kicks in. How long can we ride the Kuroda/Petitte/Garcia horse? With the money we are paint out to CC, A-Rod, and Tex and possibly Cano and Granderson we won’t have the cap room to sign a #2 type starter. We need inhouse options.

    18. MJ Recanati
      August 24th, 2012 | 11:59 am

      LMJ229 wrote:

      would agree that the ineptitude in developing starting pitchers has not hurt us in the standings. My fear is that it will once the new cap kicks in.

      I’m afraid that people are talking about “the cap” in somewhat imprecise terms. It’s not a hard cap, the way it is in the NFL. The Yankees have a chance to reset their luxury tax payments if they are below the $189M payroll threshold in 2014. Thereafter, they can ramp up spending as long as they are willing to incur some measure of luxury tax penalties (as they have been for the past decade).

      In other words, while they may be trying to save money over the next two seasons in order to get themselves to a payroll of $188,999,999.99, there’s no reason why they can’t sign a #2 starter (or anything else they might need) once they’ve effectively zeroed out their tax rate.

      Separately, while I agree that the team should have in-house options the fact remains that front of the rotation starters are not easy to develop. Thus, as long as the Yankees can produce effective mid/back-rotation starters, they can cobble together a pitching staff that will be respectable enough to get the job done. We’d all love a staff like the Wells/Clemens/Mussina staff of 2003 but you’ll note that two of those three pitchers were signed as free agents and the third was acquired via trade.

      Long story short, the Yankees will be fine.

    19. Raf
      August 24th, 2012 | 12:36 pm

      Steve L. wrote:

      She said last 20 years – and Guidry was before 1993.

      I am aware of that. My overall point is that the Yanks have been shitty at developing pitching for almost 40 years, which was acknowledged;

      LMJ229 wrote:

      Thanks Raf that is my point exactly – very few and far between. Perhaps it is time for some new blood and/or a new philosophy in the scouting department. The current one clearly is not working.

      Though by your count, mentioning Wang, Hughes and Kennedy (IFA, HS, College) it may be working somewhat.

    20. LMJ229
      August 24th, 2012 | 6:44 pm

      @ MJ Recanati:
      I am aware that the cap is not a hard cap like the NFL but the Yankees do seem determined to get under it nevertheless. I’m not entirely sure how the cap will work but I understand that teams will be given luxury tax rebates if they can get under predetermined amounts and if they have consecutive years over the cap the tax becomes really prohibitive. If you could shed further light on this topic I would appreciate it. Also my husband keeps insisting that MLB will be adding a figure for benefits which will count against the cap. Have you heard of this?

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