With Andy Pettitte retiring, the New York Yankees now must rebuild their bullpen. Where will the Yankees turn to find their next pitching star?

Andy Pettitte 

I can hear the new Bronx cheer now and it will ring out loud “Sabathia and Hughes and then we lose” With the announcement of Andy Pettitte’s retirement the starting rotation for the New York Yankees is unknown at best. With roughly a $250 million payroll it is absolutely remarkable that the New York City media and fans are in total despair for the 2011 season.

One starter does not contribute that much ‘winning’ to any team that upon his retirement at age 38 would have that significant and dramatic affect on the next season. He did post 245 wins with 138 losses with a 3.88 ERA, five World Series Championship Rings, 19 postseason wins, six starts where he got the win in the clinching game of a series. The 19 wins and six clinching wins are Major League Baseball records.

In my opinion, I don’t think he is looking forward to having to testify against Roger Clemens in Federal court sometime this summer and that may have been a factor as well. At age 38 though I have to question the reason for retiring that he ‘lacked the hunger’ to endure another season on the wealthiest franchise in sports. 

Rothschild the Psychiatrist

Let’s not forget the head case performances of the Yankees No. 3 start A.J. Burnett and his $82.5 million contract. The most important moves that general manager Cashman made in the offseason was the hiring of pitching coach Rothschild. He is fully capable of turning Burnett around and is one of the best working with the young pitchers and varying styles of pitching. The big question is where are the fourth and fifth starters going to come from. 

The Yankees are loaded in the farm system with catchers, infielders, and pitching. The Yankees have limited their pitchers with exact pitch counts and innings pitched for years and that philosophy will have to be adjusted accordingly to their dire needs. 

Adam Warren and David Phelps

Adam WarrenWith that dire need does come hope and I have identified two significant AA Trenton Thunder prospects that have what it takes to get to the Majors. Keep an eye on Adam Warren and David Phelps. They have tremendous promise and I would not be surprised to see them pitching in the Bronx by June 1 and replacing the scrap heap signees of Freddie Garcia and Colon. 

Adam Warren is 24 years old and product of the University of North Carolina. He is 6-1 200 pounds and has tremendous control. He went 32-4 with a 3.42 ERA and 240 strikeouts in 65 games. He started in 49 games for the Tar Heels. He is ranked second all-time at Chapel Hill in wins and tied for best in win percentage. He won his first 19 college starts ranking second best all-time.  

His transition to a professional starter has been exceptional. He started last season at Tampa posting a 7-5 record with a strong 2.22 ERA in 15 starts spanning 81 innings. He allowed a .235 batting average and had a ground out to fly ratio of 2.18. To have more than twice as many grounds out than fly outs shows that he has remarkable command of the lower portion of the strike zone and has an excellent change and slider. 

He was promoted to AA Trenton Thunder and went 4-2 with an impressive 3.15 ERA in 10 starts spanning 54.1 innings and struck out 59 batters. The fact that he struck out more batters than innings pitched was quite impressive and his ground out to fly out ratio was strong at the AA level posting a 1.24 ratio. The hitters are far better in AA than A and to have a decline in that ratio is not a concern when he struck out more batters than inning pitched. 

This is certainly a starter to watch for promotion and to get onto your fantasy baseball rosters not to mention one that will be worth betting too. 

In my next article we will take a look at the other AA Thunder prospect David Phelps.