Thursday, August 24, 2006

Jeff Karstens

I wrote here awhile ago that Jeff Karstens screams out "Replacement player!" to me. At the time, I was looking at his not-so-great-but-not-bad stat line. He was a career 4.00 ERA player at every part of the minor leagues. He struck out a decent amount, and walked a fairly low number. He seemed to me a decidely average pitcher.

The Yankees added him to the 40 man roster prior to the Rule V draft. A pitcher who could potentially post a sub-5.00 ERA in the major leagues is a pretty valueable commodity, and the Yankees rightfully prefered to see Karstens start for Columbus this year instead of Kansas City.

Karstens started the year off rocky. He earned himself a demotion, and quickly responded. The 23 year old tossed 74 innings to a 2.31 ERA. His strikeouts rose and his walks declined. After a promotion to AAA, Karstens dazzled the international league.

He shot up on the Yankee's depth charts, and now is on the major league roster. He pitched successfully - if rocky - against the Mariners. Torre's quick hook prevented him from attaining a quality start, but Karstens gave the Yankees a chance to win.

I have no confidence in Karstens right now. He threaded the needle against the Mariners. In Yankee stadium, he would have allowed two more home runs. In Fenway, he would have allowed yet another. Karstens allowed way too many very high fly balls. His changeup kept hitters off balance, but not enough.

Jeff Karstens will be an average major league pitcher one day. He'll be an innings workhorse, and a very good 4th or 5th starter. But he's not there yet. Jeff Karstens may rattle together a few good starts, and position himself for a roster spot next year. That is all well and good - but that is next year. He needs more AAA experience under his belt.

He'll be a part of quite a rotation at Columbus next year. Phil Hughes. Tyler Clippard. Steve White. Darrel Rasner. Kris Wilson.

Wait... that is five starters. Maybe Jeff Karstens is not intended to be at Columbus at all next year. My bet? He's being showcased. Check back in November.