Warren 'hit in the mouth,' then gets back up

Prospect continues to impress Yankees by rebounding from rocky first inning

March 17th, 2024

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- For Yankees manager Aaron Boone, there are some players he identifies as having a big league aura, even if they have yet to take the field in a Major League game.

is one of those players.

“I’m overstating it, but I sometimes feel like when I meet a young player that’s maybe not there yet -- and it can look a lot of different ways -- it’s like: ‘That guy’s a big leaguer.’ Without even watching him,” Boone said ahead of the Yankees’ 12-6 loss to the Red Sox at JetBlue Park on Sunday.

Though it seems the Yankees avoided the worst-case scenario with Gerrit Cole, they’ll still need an arm to slot into the rotation until he returns. Warren -- along with Cody Poteet, Luis Gil, Luke Weaver and Clayton Beeter -- are all contenders for that fifth spot.

Sunday’s outing didn’t exactly start off as an ideal audition for Warren, who was pulled for Luis Arejula one out into the first inning after allowing six runs (though only two were earned). Thanks to the beauty of Spring Training, Warren returned to the mound for the second inning and retired the side with bookend strikeouts.

“I think that goes into the factor of proving that you belong there,” Warren said. “When you get hit in the mouth, how do you bounce back? How do you respond to how bad that first inning was, in my opinion, to how do the next couple look? Because at the end of the day, you got to keep your team in the game.”

Throughout his 2 2/3 innings, Warren embodied the Major League aura that his manager described. When his defense erred behind him, Warren kept his composure. When he finished his outing (for good), he stuck around the dugout for the remainder of the game.

“Certainly a struggle, but kind of showed us who he was,” Boone said of the Yanks’ No. 8 prospect per MLB Pipeline. “I thought he was pretty sharp the rest of the way, unfettered. In fact it's times like this where you learn even more about a guy. I think he's really good. I think he's really good right now. [Just] obviously had a tough first inning.”

Another young player in the rotation mix is Beeter, the Yankees’ No. 14 prospect. Still awaiting his big league debut, Beeter nearly got the call last season thanks to a fastball and slider that New York believes could generate a lot of strikeouts in the Majors.

In Monday’s game against the Phillies, Beeter retired the first seven batters he faced in four scoreless innings in Clearwater. He racked up four punchouts, including getting starters Bryson Stott and Alec Bohm to strike out swinging back to back on sliders up in the zone.

“What I’ve liked about [him] is, all the stuff is there,” Boone said. “And he’s got deception in his delivery. You can tell guys don’t get great swings off him all the time. What I’ve liked is, he’s been in the strike zone. … You’ve got to be a consistent strike thrower if you’re going to be a starter in this league. And he’s done a really good job of that this spring, I feel like, in some big situations.”

Though he has almost exclusively been used as a starter (76 of 80 games) in his professional career, Beeter worked primarily as a reliever in his 25 games at Texas Tech. When asked if Beeter could profile as a long reliever for the Yankees, Boone said the 25-year-old is among a “handful of guys” being considered both as a starter or multi-inning reliever.

Beeter made quick work of the heart of Boston’s lineup by retiring Jarren Duran, Rafael Devers and Trevor Story in the fifth Sunday. The outing took a turn after a leadoff walk in the sixth, but the righty hung in for four innings, allowing three runs on five hits and the one walk.

“Got a little out of the strike zone a little bit,” Boone said. “But overall, a good work day for him. You see him flash all the stuff that he's got. [His strike-throwing] wasn't as consistent today as he's been most of the spring. But a lot of good in there. And those are two guys that I think are ready to be contributors.”