Andrew Brackman will attempt to return from severe control problems and Dellin Betances from elbow surgery.
"It's a bounce-back year," general manager Brian Cashman said. "These guys have the ability to be poster boys for the cover of 'Baseball America.' When they have that kind of ability, you wait on it."
Ignoring the righthanders being 6-foot-10 and 6-foot-8, respectively, Brackman and Betances represent the biggest pitching names in the system.
The Yankees' first-round pick in 2007, Brackman signed a four-year big league deal worth $4.55 million, with options through 2013 that could push the deal to $13 million. He also starred in basketball at North Carolina State, but he had Tommy John surgery immediately after signing, delaying his pro debut until 2009.
First, the good news. In 107 innings for low Class A Charleston, Brackman allowed 106 hits and fanned 103. The awful news: miserable control led to 76 walks and a minor league-leading 26 wild pitches. He went just 2-12, 5.91 as a 23-year-old in the South Atlantic League—and the Yankees used an option on him because he's a member of the 40-man roster.
"Three years ago in the same league, Daniel Bard got hammered as a starter," farm director Mark Newman said of the Red Sox reliever whose fastball has been clocked at 100 mph. "In the low minors you have to look at stuff."
Having limited Brackman's innings late in the season, the Yankees saw improvement.
"We anticipated growing pains due to the missed time and the injury," Newman said.
As for Betances, the Yankees will wait patiently for the 21-year-old Brooklyn prep product whom they signed for $1 million as an eighth-round pick in 2006.
"There is no rush—May or June," Cashman said of Betances, who had an elbow ligament enhanced, not transplanted, after going 2-5, 5.48 in 11 starts for high Class A Tampa. In 44 innings he struck out a respectable 44 batters but also issued 27 walks.
• The Yankees acquired speedy 24-year-old outfielder Greg Golson from the Rangers, sending Texas third baseman Mitch Hilligoss. Golson will get a look in left field this spring but is a similar type of player to Brett Gardner, the projected starter.
• New York made its second foray into Taiwan to sign 18-year-old third baseman Fu-Lin Kuo. Their first was Chien-Ming Wang, whom they signed in 2000.