Chase Whitley was drafted by the Yankees in the 15th round of the 2010 draft. He was a 2 way player at Troy University in Alabama, playing 3rd base and pitching in relief. Originally from Ranburne Alabama, Whitley attended Southern Union State community college before transferring to Troy University. As a junior, Whitley posted a .364/.464/.564 with 10 HRs at 3rd base, but scouts saw more promise in his arm as he went 7-3 with a 3.68 ERA. He was the 475th overall pick in the 2010 draft.
Whitley got off to a great start in Staten Island. He took over the closer role and went 4-2 with a 1.31 ERA and 15 saves. In 34 innings, he had a K/9 rate of 11.5 with a BB/9 of 3.9 with a 2.03 FIP. Whitley also made the New York Penn League all-star team and locked down the game, earning the save for the American league. He had a brief stint in Tampa at the end of the year where he figures to start 2011.
2011 will be the first year Whitley is exclusively used as a pitcher, and the Yankees hope he’ll continue to develop. Right now, he throws an 88-93 mph fastball and has a true plus changeup. The Yankees had him work more on his slider and fastball last year which may have been why he struggled with command occasionally. With a big frame (6’4”, 220 lbs) the Yankees hope he can add more velocity now that he’s solely focused on pitching. Even if his slider develops I think it’s a good bet Whitley remains in the bullpen. Right now he’s a fast moving middle relief arm which certainly has plenty of value. If his velocity does jump however, he has the chance to be more of a late inning guy.