Adam Warren’s Big Chance

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(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Right-hander Adam Warren will make his big league debut against the White Sox tonight, but he’s really Plan C for this start. Obviously the Yankees would prefer CC Sabathia to be healthy and able to make his regular turn, but when he hit the DL the plan was to pull Freddy Garcia out of the bullpen and let him start. When Garcia was needed in long relief of Andy Pettitte on Wednesday, the Bombers had little choice but to give the ball to Warren on regular rest.

The team’s fourth round pick back in 2009, the 24-year-old former North Carolina Tar Heel has steadily climbed the minor league ladder and came into this season as the ninth best prospect in the organization (in my opinion). Warren’s performance in Triple-A since the start of last season hasn’t been anything special — 3.70 ERA (3.84 FIP), 6.51 K/9 (16.6 K%), 3.02 BB/9 (7.8 BB%), and 41.6% grounders in 238.2 IP — but his last six starts have been pretty strong. He’s allowed zero runs in three of the six starts and two earned runs in another to go with a 24/11 K/BB in 37.1 IP. Warren thrice complete seven innings of work during the stretch.

“[Warren] came out with a lot of intensity,” said Triple-A Indianapolis manager Dean Treanor to Mark Hale, referring to his team’s loss to Warren this past Sunday. “Just the way he went about it. I was very impressed with that. He attacked us.”

When I wrote my Prospect Profile prior to 2010, I mentioned that Warren saw his velocity jump into the mid-90s after turning pro and that his best secondary pitch was a changeup. More than two years have passed though, so that info is a bit outdated. Warren now sits in the 89-93 range with his fastball and will still bump 95 on occasion, but his top offspeed pitch has become his slider according to Baseball America and their 2012 Prospect Handbook. Warren’s curveball and changeup lag behind the fastball-slider combination, but he will use four pitches. It’s a classic back-end starter repertoire, which has been his profile since his days at Chapel Hill.

The Yankees are probably hoping to get six solid innings out of Warren tonight, modest expectations for a kid making his big league debut. This is obviously a massive opportunity for him as he has a chance to pitch his way into the long-term mix with Pettitte shelved until September. Sabathia is scheduled to come back immediately after the All-Star break, but Warren can’t look at this as “I just have to out-pitch Garcia to keep the job.” The Yankees have D.J. Mitchell waiting in Triple-A and David Phelps getting stretched back out in High-A, and they won’t hesitate to stick one of them in the rotation if Warren isn’t getting the job done.

Competition is a great thing, especially when you’re talking about young players. These guys theoretically push each other to be better, and the odds are in favor of at least one of them proving to be a serviceable starter for the next two months. That’s the great thing about depth, you don’t have to rely on one guy. Whoever is the best out of Warren, Phelps, and Mitchell will get the chance to replace Pettitte and establish himself as a long-term pitching option, and Warren is getting the first chance simply because he lines up perfectly to pitch tonight. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime.

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  • @ggooglyboogly

    No matter how good adam warren is, this game will be painful to watch for me as i live in Chicago and my only option is to get the white sox broadcast….

    • vin



  • Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

    The only way Warren keeps a rotation spot is if Garcia is as bad (or worse) as he was earlier in the season while Warren goes all Felix Hernandez over everybody.

    • Jim Is Bored

      Actually I imagine if Garcia is terrible, all Warren has to do is average something like 5-6 innings with 3-4 runs and he’ll probably stick around. Doesn’t need to go all Felix-y.

      • jjyank

        True, but if Phelps or Mitchell goes on a tear in AAA, Warren would have those two breathing down his neck as well.

        • Jim Is Bored

          True true true. Would be quite a good problem to have.

          • jjyank

            Indeed it is.

  • MannyGeee

    hooray for pitching depth!

  • viridiana

    Excellent piece, especially given the obvious limitation of no having real scouting input. I have never been especially keen on Warren but if he can survive five innings with three runs (or less!) I’d be pretty happy. The best thing is Warren/Phelps/Mitchell all deserve some major league experiece, if for no other reason than to improve their perceived value on trade market. And maybe onwe of them sticks in Yankee rotation– right now, I think Phelps has best shot.

  • PhillyMatt

    Maybe the White Sox will struggle with a pitcher that they have never seen before.

    Shoe on the other footed.

    • Betty Lizard

      I like that shoe. Err, foot.
      Keep HOPE alive!

  • Robert

    I must ask this question with the Scranton Yanks literally playing the whole season on the road, How much did that effect this pitching staff given the inconsistant performances and down right disappointments ( Betances & Banuelos)

    • jjyank

      Besides being generally awful, I wonder if that’s part of the reason for Betnaces’ demotion to Trenton.

    • Ted Nelson

      Don’t think it has particularly. Those problems started really early in the season. If anything, the traveling would catch up later in the season. The first few weeks of the season it’s just like having a road trip. Banuelos was hurt twice, and downright dominant between those two injuries. Outside Betances, guys have pitched to expectations when healthy. Ortiz has probably outperformed expectations.

      Same with getting vets to sign MiLB deals… Mike was worried about that, but when was the last time the Yankees had guys with the MLB track record of Branyan, Cust, and Ortiz in AAA?

  • Esteban

    Story no one will care about (but screw you): Today I overheard a female coworker talking to another co-worker saying, “Oh my friend Adam is pitching for the Yankees tonight.” I immediately interrupted their conversation and asked “ADAM WARREN!?!?!?!.” Turns out she went to HS and then college with him. I told her she should have asked him for a ticket to the game.

    • Vinny Scafuto

      My fiancee and her brother went to school with Rob Segedin. So there’s that.

    • RI$P FTW

      My friend is friends with Swisher.

      • Jim Is Bored

        Pics or it didn’t happen.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          He has no friends. Remember, you shouldn’t have loyalties to anything or anyone.

    • vin

      Big deal, TJ Beam was once my wife’s patient. Talk about a brush with greatness.

      • Yank The Frank

        Roy Campenella rolled over my foot in his wheelchair during his Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Totally unrelated but Cat Stevens (when he was called Cat Stevens) stepped on my hand on the way to the stage in a club in the Village. I’ve been maimed by some of the best.

        • jjyank

          Anne Hathaway was my baby sitter when I was in kindergarden :P

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I’ve said this before on here, but I graduated both HS and college with Mike Lowell.

      • Esteban

        Nice, my cousins knew him before he transferred from Columbus. They SAY that he transferred because my (older than Lowell) cousin was ahead of Lowell in the depth chart on the baseball team.

    • Knoxvillain

      I’m friends with Casey Coleman and gave up a home run to Mike Zunino in little league. Aww yeah.

    • Zanath

      My former co-worker went to elementary school with Rick Porcello. He walked to the bus with him every day.

  • BK2ATL

    Nice write-up on Warren. I’m hoping he can give us 6 good innings, holding them to 3 runs.

    I recall him pitching pretty well against Boston’s A lineup towards the end of ST, when Girardi didn’t want to show them CC so early.

    Best of luck to the kid!!!

  • LiterallyFigurative

    Hopefully Warren can do a good job and keep the rotation spot until September.

    Nothing against The Sweaty One, but I want to see the younger arms get the opportunity as the 5th starter.

  • RI$P FTW

    “Competition is a great thing, especially when you’re talking about young players.”

    I seem to remember everyone blaming ‘competition’ for Pineda’s injury.
    “How dare the Yankees expect him to COMPETE??!!!?? Of course he was throwing too hurd!!!??%?”

    • RI$P FTW

      Not everyone, but a lot of people.

    • Jim Is Bored

      Oh no “I seem to remember” anecdotes!

      With no proof except your memory!

      Or, to use your favorite phrase: No one cares.

      • RI$P FTW

        Look at the Pineda threads, you lying piece of shit.

        • Jim Is Bored

          No one cares

    • jjyank

      Very different situation. Phelps/Warren/Mitchell are fringe, back end type pitchers who have little or no MLB experience that have to earn a spot. Pineda was an all star and a superior talent that shouldn’t need to earn a spot.

      I’m not saying that is what caused Pineda’s injury at all, but that’s a terrible comparison.

      • Ted Nelson

        I disagree. Either competition is good for guys or it causes them to injure their shoulders… can’t have it both ways.

        (I think it’s good for guys and the Pineda fan reaction was laughable.)

    • Mike Axisa

      Pineda was an All-Star last year and showed he was an above-average big leaguer, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that part flew over your head.

      • Steve (different one)

        Right, and he was also competing with guys who had been above average starters in the last 2 years.

      • Brian S.

        Pineda doesn’t have a shoulder anymore.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          They just attached his bicep to his side?

      • Ted Nelson

        Not that I want to agree… but I think he’s right. Pineda’s injury being linked to competition was a joke.

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    If I was a betting man, it would be Phelps.But the opportunity falls to Warren.

    The guy wearing the the Yankee uniform has my support.

    Go Yanks!

  • Gonzo

    “Don’t blow it, son. These people will hurt you. Don’t waste your talent.”

    “Be careful, A. Don’t lose it. Keep your head.”

  • Bartolo’s Colon

    I’m excited to see warren live tonight. not quite cc, but a good start could make me forget about that.

    • gc

      Yes. And it would be nice for the Yanks offense to help the kid out and put a bunch of runs on the board! :)

    • Brian S.

      Both Warren and CC are non-aces so the drop off probably won’t be that big.

      • Jim Is Bored

        I can’t even tell if your doing this in jest anymore.

        • jjyank

          Me either. It was kind of funny (assuming he’s joking) at first, but I feel like it’s every other comment now and I’m starting to believe him.

          • Brian S.


  • your mom

    So what’s everyone’s prediction for Warren tonight?

    • Jim Is Bored

      5 innings, 6 hits, 1 walk, 3 runs, 3 k’s

      No rationale behind it whatsoever.

    • Bartolo’s Colon

      for some reason i am thinking 5.2 innings 4 runs. no clue why but it just came to me this morning

      • Brian S.

        You saw it in your cereal?

        • Robinson Tilapia


  • Ghost

    The days of Hughes/Joba/Kennedy >>>> Phelps/Warren/Mitchell

    • Brian S.

      Not really. Those were painful because I thought they were going to be awesome and they all flamed out.

      • CS Yankee

        They are all collecting a big league paycheck every Friday.

        Hoping for one Verlander or Santana was wishful thinking, expecting all three being “awesome” is really unheard of (boderline batshit insane)…name any team that had three arms be “awesome” over a decent period, let alone at the same time?

        • CS Yankee


          I was really high on this trio and figure a #2 type from either Joba or Hughes and a #3 type from IPK at their ceiling…believing that one would stick, one would be injury prone, and one would bomb.

          These days, I’m expecting a #2 from Manny, and a couple #4’s from Phelps or Warren and decent MRP’s from Mitchell & Dellin as their ceilings…believing that one will stick, two will be traded and two will bomb.

          • RIVAN

            just wondering….2 years ago didnt we have an unknown SP named Nova show up and wow us? Why cant one of our more finished low ceiling prospects do the same? If any of our AAA SP turn into Nova-like…isn’t that a plus?
            It seems that the Yankees dont give these guys a try until they are forced to….This may be the silver lining in the CC/ Pettite rain cloud…finding out what we have in theses guys on a big league level

            • Robinson Tilapia

              Because we hate narrative-busting around here?

              Of course it can happen. You shouldn’t bank of it but, yes, it can happen.

              • RIVAN

                My thinking is that with the awesome run producing offense that the yankee are.. Shouldnt we love it when we can produce low cost 4.3 to 4.7 ERA guys?
                Seems that we forget that.. While I love Pettite he never was a big ERA guy…He was a big game SP..but his ERA was always hovering sround 4.

                • Brian S.

                  His ERA was hovering around 4 in an era where a 4 ERA was really good.

        • Brian S.

          Cool story bro.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Can you imagine the Game Thread tonight if Quintana’s thrown four scoreless innings and Warren is struggling? Go watch the game at a bar tonight and stay away from the PC.

    Most importantly, though, GO ADAM!

  • rogue

    I have high hopes for Warren. Higher than B + B.

    I’m hoping it’s another case when the better starting pitcher is one not under the radar. (Nova vs Hughes).

    • Brian S.