First Pitch: The Young Pitching Story

June, 15, 2013
David Phelps, Adam Warren, and Vidal NunoGetty ImagesDavid Phelps, Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno could be the future of the Yanks' starting staff.
Saturday's starter David Phelps has solidified the No. 5 spot. In eight starts since May 1, Phelps, 26, is 3-2 with a 3.38 ERA in 45 1/3 innings.

Adam Warren, 25, posted a 3.12 ERA in 34 2/3 innings as the long man. Preston Claiborne, 25, has walked just one batter and allowed only two earned runs in his first 21 innings in the bigs. Vidal Nuno, 25, had a 2.25 ERA in 20 innings, which included three solid starts.

There is no Matt Harvey among them, but young, controllable pitching has emerged in 2013 and beyond. Phelps could move up the starting food chain in the next year or two, while Nuno and Warren could head into next spring fighting for the No. 5 spot. When the Yankees formulate their plan around a $189 million 2014 payroll, Phelps, Warren, Claiborne and Nuno could be important names.

Quietly, you can see how the Yankees will replace Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, if they depart as free agents after this season. Hughes, Chamberlain and the long-gone Ian Kennedy were the face of the last young Yankees pitching influx in 2008.

Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances were supposed to be the next wave. Banuelos, recovering from Tommy John surgery, is still just 22 and might have a big future. Betances, who will be out of options next spring, will try to make the team as a reliever in ’14.

Phelps, Warren and Nuno could be in the mix in a 2014 rotation that will include CC Sabathia, for sure. Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda will have to decide if they want to pitch in the Bronx for one more season.

If Michael Pineda is healthy, he will be in the rotation. So there should be, at least one, if not more, spots open for Phelps, Warren, Nuno and Ivan Nova.

By next spring, some of the names above won’t be in pinstripes anymore, but a beneath-the-surface story emerging from this 2013 season is how the Yankees are developing some young, contractually controllable pitching that figures to be a significant part of their upcoming $189 million plans.

UP NOW: Wally Matthews with everything you need to know from Friday night’s game in Los Angeles.

ON DECK: Phelps (4-3, 3.90 ERA) vs. Tommy Hanson (3-2, 4.12 ERA). Game time is 7:15 p.m. ET.

QUESTION: Do you believe in Phelps, Claiborne, Nuno and Warren?
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »



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Jacoby Ellsbury
.271 15 67 69
HRM. Teixeira 21
RBIJ. Ellsbury 67
RB. Gardner 81
OPSB. Gardner .770
WM. Tanaka 12
ERAH. Kuroda 3.81
SOM. Tanaka 135