Stockpiling Pitchers: Duffey, Gonzalez, Barnes
The Yankees are continuing to stockpile arms. Are any of them hidden gems?
Chi Chi Gonzalez
MLB Experience: 6 Years (2015-2016, 2019-2022)
MLB Teams: Texas Rangers (15-16), Colorado Rockies (19-21), Minnesota Twins (22), Milwaukee Brewers (22)
MLB Career Stats: 67 Games (51 Starts), 9-24 Record, 5.72 ERA (83 ERA+), 280.0 IP, 167 K's
2022 MLB Stats: 6 Games (4 Starts), 0-1 Record, 6.87 ERA (79 ERA+), 18.1 IP, 12 K's
While Chi Chi Gonzalez's years in Colorado definitely helped to raise his career ERA, it wasn't enough to the extent of really hiding him as a hidden gem. A former serious prospect who was a consensus Top-100 guy in 2015- BaseballAmerica ranked him as high at 29(!) that year- Gonzalez showed some promise as a starter during a brief MLB stint in 2015 where he pitched to a 3.90 ERA (109 ERA+) over 14 games and 10 starts. He then had a decent, but not great, 2016 season before his 2017 and 2018 seasons were taken due to recovery from Tommy John surgery. Since then, Rodriguez has been up-and-down as an end-of-the-roster player for the past 4 years with middling results in the rotation and bullpen.
Ultimately, Rodriguez keeps getting shots because he was a former Top-100. And, this is the exact type of M.O. of a player that Brian Cashman likes to go after. To be blunt, Rodriguez is not likely to make any impact at the MLB level outside of- maybe- a spot relief appearance to rest the bullpen after a long stretch of uniform use and/or long extra innings games. As one person on an online forum put it, "...the reason we signed the 5.00+ ERA Rodriguez is to prevent another team from getting him and having him no-hit us later in September".
MLB Experience: 7 Years (2016-2022)
MLB Teams: Milwaukee Brewers (16-19), Kansas City Royals (19), Los Angeles Angels (20), New York Mets (21), Toronto Blue Jays (21), Detroit Tigers (22)
MLB Career Stats: 251 Games (54 Games Finished), 8-16 Record, 4.73 ERA (92 ERA+), 247.1 IP, 252 K's
2022 MLB Stats: 22 Games (2 Games Finished), 3-1 Record, 6.10 ERA (89 ERA+), 20.2 IP, 10 K's
The Yankees mark the 3rd franchise that Barnes will spend time with in 2022 joining the Detroit Tigers (split MLB-MiLB time) and the Seattle Mariners (minor league appearances only). Jacob Barnes was a hot name as a reliever while with the Milwaukee Brewers after his first three years (16-18) where he pitched to a combined 3.54 ERA (121 ERA+) over 149 games and 147.1 innings pitched. However, ever since his 2019 campaign saw his numbers fall off a cliff and result in a Triple-A demotion, he has never been the same.
Jacob Barnes was never considered a Top-100 prospect and he was also quickly transitioned into a relief role as a prospect in 2014. Many teams have tried to fix him back to that same early career level of pitcher- he's been in 6 different organizations over the past 4 years- and nobody has been able to tap back in. It'd be nice for the Yankees to be able to to do so, but being a reliever is a fickle beast and being over 5 years removed from your best performances will make this a serious challenge.
MLB Experience: 6 Years (2015-2022)
MLB Teams: Minnesota Twins (15-22)
MLB Career Stats: 295 Games (40 Games Finished), 29-27 Record, 4.27 ERA (93 ERA+), 475.0 IP, 466 K's
2022 MLB Stats: 40 Games (10 Games Finished), 2-4 Record, 4.91 ERA (78 ERA+), 44.0 IP, 39 K's
From 2019 to 2021, Tyler Duffey had a 2.69 ERA (163 ERA+) over 144 games and 144.0 innings with the Minnesota Twins. He was a dominant reliever who was proving consistency for the first time in his career, and at an inconsistent position.
Before that Duffey was an okay starting pitcher from 2015-2016 and then a player learning how to transition into the bullpen over 2017 and 2018. However, after that dominant 3 year stretch, Duffey has been bad this year to the tune of a 4.91 ERA and a DFA from the Twins- the team he was pitching great for the prior 3 years. (Like I said, being a reliever in the MLB is a fickle business!)
If there is anyone to hope that the Yankees can fix, it is Tyler Duffey. I'd also consider him the best best to rekindle the stuff that made him a worthwhile arm to take a chance on as he had great stuff just last year. I say this because of how fickle the reliever role is and how often it seems great relievers have off years between stretches of dominance. Names like Andrew Miller, Craig Kimbrel, Adam Ottavino, Tyler Clippard, and Ken Giles all had stretches of dominance followed by a bad year or two and then another good-to-great year or two before their careers ended.
Let's go Duffey!