Over at BP, Kevin Goldstein has the lowdown on which Yankee farm hands could replace Joba as Mo’s set-up guy. In order of “prospecty goodness”:
Marc Melancon: Someone didn’t give Melancon the note about Tommy John survivors having problems getting their control back. In 54 innings this year, the former University of Arizona star has walked just 10, while limiting opposing batters to a .209 batting average. Both his sinking fastball and his hard curve rate as plus pitches, and with the way he’s throwing at Double-A (1.57 ERA in 11 games), he could be in line for a September look.
David Robertson: As a small righty, Robertson doesn’t pass the scouting sniff test, but he keeps getting hitters out, easing concerns about his height. In over 130 innings as a pro, he’s yet to give up a home run, and in 28 appearances between Double- and Triple-A this year, he has a 1.74 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 49 2/3 innings. With a low-90s fastball and outstanding slider, Robertson may not have Melancon’s upside, but he might get the call sooner.
J. Brent Cox: Like Melancon, Cox missed all of last year due to reconstructive elbow surgery, and like Melancon he’s impressed people upon his return. Spread across three levels and now at Triple-A, Cox has posted a 1.38 ERA in 22 games. The one knock against him is that he doesn’t miss many bats (only 13 in 26 innings), but he makes up for it by inducing a good number of groundballs.