Going to have to shift the format for this one. Doesn’t really make sense to group the starting pitchers the same way as the other positions, so let’s try this:
Barring some surprise or injury, the big league rotation is going to come from this group.
This is his last year of arbitration. Is he worth signing long-term? Is he too expensive to sign long-term?
Re-signed to another one-year deal. Was terrific in his American League debut last season. Can he maintain that level at age 38?
In half-season spurts, he’s been a very good middle of the rotation starter. In other spurts, he’s been awful. Has to be pretty good this spring to win his old job back.
Back for another season. Trying to stay healthy this time. Has reportedly turned down an offer to play in the World Baseball Classic.
When opportunity presented itself last spring, Phelps took advantage. He’s not going to surprise anyone this spring. He has a real chance to win a spot in the starting rotation and possibly establish some long-term value.
The Yankees are hoping he’ll become a big league starter sometime in the middle of the season. For now, he’s still rehabbing. He’ll get a lot of spring attention even without any spring innings.
Coming off a relatively minor surgery, Sabathia has again slimmed down. He’s coming off a strong season, but he’s capable of more.
40-MAN MINOR LEAGUERS
Most of these are upper-level starters who could fill a big league role at a moment’s notice. Some of them might even be considered for a big league role out of camp if a Phelps-like opportunity opens up.
Rehabbing from Tommy John. Out of the picture this season.
At this time last year he seemed to be knocking on the door to the big leagues. Now he’s trying to regain his prospect footing by showing he can command the baseball and throw strikes.
Sinkerballer has emerged as a steady upper-level starter who should be an early call-up candidate should the Yankees need a spot starter or long man. Had a 3.52 ERA in Double-A last year, and a 3.78 in High-A the year before that.
Hard throwing right-hander who’s always had huge potential. Finally starting seeing big results in the second half of last season. Heading to Double-A to open the season.
An emerging prospect who’s always had pretty good results, had a real breakout last year with a 2.89 ERA and 116 strikeouts in High-A. The big lefty should open in Double-A.
Got one big league spot start last year but spent most of the season in Triple-A, where he had a 2.98 ERA in the second half. Probably the most big league ready of this bunch.
NON-ROSTER MINOR LEAGUERS
Most of these are lower-level guys just in camp to get their feet wet. With few exceptions, they’re at least a year away from being real big league candidates.
Already invited to big league camp after being drafted just last year. Has already made five starts in Low-A and could move fairly quickly.
Not really an organizational standout, and he’s coming off a down year in High-A. His stuff seems to be better than his underwhelming numbers.
Scouts love this guy. Didn’t have a great season in Charleston last year, but he’s one of the high-risk, high-reward starters in the Yankees system.
Spent most of last season with High-A Tampa where he had a 3.89 ERA. Another of those mid-level rotation prospects that line the Yankees system.
One of the big surprises of last season, the soft-tossing lefty had a terrific Double-A season and the Yankees talk about him as a legitimate big league option. Could stay in the rotation or shift to the bullpen.
Ninth-round pick in 2008, he’s moved steadily through the system including 19 Double-A starts last season. Never really a standout, but steady at every stop.
A lefty out of Ole Miss, had a 3.27 ERA in High-A last season. Has only one full season as a pro, so still some time to really figure out how good he can be.
Associated Press photo