Who is Chase Whitley?

Chase WhitleyWhen Joe Girardi made the official announcement that Chase Whitley would start, there was a collective response from Yankees fans … Who?

With all the injuries to the pitching staff, New York needed to fill CC Sabathia’s Thursday start. So, Girardi dug into the minors and yanked out Whitley, a 25-year-old righty from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Whitley spent most of his minor league career as a reliever. He’s played in 151 games, but wasn’t moved to the starting role full time until this season. He’s made 14 starts in the minors. In seven games (six starts) this season, he has a 2.39 ERA with 32 strikeouts and seven walks in 26.1 innings. He has a 1.025 WHIP, and has not given up a home run yet this year.

Whitley wasn’t just a pitcher out of college. He also played third base at Southern Union State Community College and Troy University, both in Alabama.  Perhaps, he won’t be a liability with the bat during when plays the Mets at Citi Field.

Scouting reports had Whitley with a fastball in the low 90s, but a changeup that drops into the mid- to low-80s. He also has a slider and sinker. His last full start came on May 6, striking out seven of the first 12 batters he faced, and wound up with a career-high 11 Ks. He pitched an inning on May 12 to keep him fresh for Thursday’s debut.

So far, Whitley is having a good season, but he has never been touted as one of the top prospects in the Yankees system. His biggest struggles seemed to come in double-A where he posted a 1.457 WHIP in 46.2 innings. However, he managed to bring his numbers down while in triple-A, but has spent parts of the last three seasons there.

He may not have been ready in 2012 and 2013, but there is something now – besides depth problems at the big club – that the Yankees want to see.

Whitley also only has 900 followers on Twitter (probably because he doesn’t say a lot and just RTs people), but give him a follow and maybe he will write something interesting about coming up to the Yankees.

You can also check out the initial scouting profile on Whitley on IIATMS in 2011.