Thursday, June 12, 2014


I am always attracted and equally excited by young people who humbly do their jobs without over thinking it.  I was at my fourth retirement party in five weeks today and I saw a former graduate assistant who is now a teacher.  She looked enthusiastic and empowered by her day- a healthy disposition for a new educator.  She said, “this is my coming down time after a day in the classroom.”  I thought about her words and said to myself, “yes, that makes sense.  You work hard all day, giving it everything you have and then you get to just come down off of that high and celebrate with friends or just through quiet reflection.  And young people like Chase Whitley certainly fit that mold.  Based on his performance since coming up to the majors, Whitley seems to just do what he knows he can do- pitch.  He doesn’t over think it, he doesn’t put unreasonable demands on himself, he trusts his mentors, he trusts himself and he trusts that he will improve his craft over time.  But who is this phenom Chase Whitely anyway? Where did he come from and why is he performing so well? 

Chase Whitely is a former relief pitcher transformed into a starter because his club needed him.  “We didn’t know what we had in him as a starter.  He definitely give us a chance to win every game that he starts,” stated Joe Girardi in an interview following Whitely’s first win on June 10th against the Kansas City Royals.  Whitley went seven innings only giving up two runs on five hits, no walks and struck out five making it 18 strikeouts in 26 innings pitched for the season.  In a word, he is impressive.  What makes him so special?  It is a combination of attributes.  Much like the former graduate assistant now new teacher, Whitley has a healthy disposition for a new pitcher in his new role as a Yankee.  Whitley shows confident resilience, a powerful two-punch ingredient that is essential for new pitchers to have success in the major leagues.  Despite having a bad bullpen the other evening in Kansas City, Whitley used this experience to power himself forward.  He believed he could and so he did.  As a matter of fact, Brian McCann said that after Whitley's first outing, “he didn’t show any nerves at all. He executed all his pitches,” according to an article in the New York Post in mid-May. 

Whitley is also taking criticism well and as a result, he is improving, particularly with his slider. “Joe Girardi said he thought he's seen a drastic improvement in Whitley's slider since his first outing — a 4.2-inning, white-knuckle start against the Mets that resulted in the first of his four straight no-decisions,according to  McCann stated that, “It's getting tighter. He's using it backdoor and back foot to lefties. He's doing a lot." That’s very encouraging and shows that the rookie is definitely coachable, which will help him immensely in the long run of his career.  His command has been improving as well, yielding no walks in his most recent game after walking batters in his previous starts.

I think the most notable quality of Whitley that perhaps separates him from other young pitchers currently in the game is his faith in himself and his catcher.  According to, “Whitley said he simply hands the reins each game to McCann, who draws up a game plan and talks it over with the rookie before he takes the mound. That puts Whitley at ease, he said.”  Belief in the people you work with and trusting their knowledge and experience to guide you is key to staying focused on doing what you need to do.  If you waste less time worrying about if the catcher is calling the right pitch or if the center fielder is going to catch a sharply hit line drive and focus on executing, you are more productive.  And that’s just what Whitley is doing, which is different from other rookie pitchers on the team.  

I like what I see Chase Whitley and so do the fans.  Keep calm and pitch on.  And in the words of author and educator Stephen Covey in his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, make your tasks underwhelming by focusing on what is most important and not wasting your time on the wrong things.

--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
Twitter: @suzieprof


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