Over the last half-decade, the Yankees have developed pitching depth almost as poorly as any team in the major leagues.
For this study, we tallied the pitchers who debuted between 2008 and 2012 and tied them to the team with which they arrived. Then we compiled their Wins Above Replacement, via Baseball-Reference, with that first team only. By this measure, actually, the Yankees actually are one of the better teams in baseball, with 16.4 WAR, more than three-quarters of which come from reliever David Robertson, since-jettisoned Alfredo Aceves and Nova, who will compete for the fifth-starter job with Phelps.
Beyond that is mostly a pitching wasteland, and that is where the last five years get so damning. Robertson, Aceves and Nova are the only pitchers who debuted with the Yankees to throw more than 100 innings for them. Just as bad, Phelps (99 2/3 innings) and the departed Phil Coke (74 2/3) and Hector Noesi (56 1/3) are the only others with 25 or more innings. Only one other team has fewer than six homegrown pitchers with 25 or more innings: the Boston Red Sox, with five.
Don’t view this data in a vacuum. Coke was part of a trade that landed Curtis Granderson. Noesi went to Seattle for Pineda. The innings cutoffs are arbitrary, too. And considering the Yankees lock up a roster spot every time they spend big money in free agency, it is ostensibly tougher to crack their roster than most.
Still, it puts in perspective the Yankees’ stated philosophy – develop pitching, especially starters – and the inability to do so that prompted them to pursue Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte for the last two seasons in free agency. The average starts from homegrown pitchers over the last five years among the 30 major league teams is 197.9. The Yankees have 82.