Former Thunder Pitcher Whelan DFA’d By Yankees

Reliever Kevin Whelan, who spent parts of four seasons with the Trenton Thunder, was designated for assignment by the New York Yankees in order to make room for Hiroki Kuroda.

Whelan, 28, appeared in just two big league games with the Yankees this season, his first and so far only Major League experience.  Somewhat tellingly, despite remaining on the 40-man roster, he was not given a September call-up, leading many to believe his days were numbered.

Originally acquired from the Tigers on his wedding day, Whelan went as far as his split-finger fastball would take him.  He struggled all too often despite relatively solid numbers at the minor league level (3.23 career ERA), but the 48 wild pitches and 206 walks in 367 2/3 innings may tell the real tale.

However, there is some upside, as Whelan had most likely his best season in the Yankees system last year, collecting 23 saves, walking just 14 batters and keeping his WHIP under one for the first time in five years with the organization.  He also avoided Double-A all season, a first for him.

The thing I’ll take away most from Whelan — similar to Andrew Brackman — is how classy he was in dealing with some tough questions myself and other reporters had for him.  His performance often warranted some difficult conversations, and not once did he show any signs of frustration towards us.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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