The Yankees rotation, as currently constituted, is brimming with question marks destined to in all likelihood solidify this another less than stellar season, regardless of how nicely the youngsters within the batting order perform. The ball club and fan base are all looking to a bright future filled with top positional talent, however it’s going to all be nullified in terms of overall achievement if they are not able to reverse a gloomy over 20-yr slump in regards to the drafting and growing of a single top of the rotation starting pitcher. Therein lies the dilemma when it coming to historical Yankees pitching prospects. They just have a hard time developing the next big thing. Remember Andy Pettite, he who is Hall of Fame eligible? Yep, that’s the last time they did it successfully.
Yankee fanatics should be focused on the young pitchers in the farm system and not just Clint Frazier and crew. James Kaprielian, Jordan Montgomery, Justus Sheffield, Chance Adams, and Domingo Acevedo are names that true fans should follow over the next 12-18 months as that is the true litmus test for the long term success of the franchise.
A lot is being made of the mighty Yankees and their youth movement. It has been their whole advertising campaign for the 2017 season and frankly what has been sold the last couple of seasons. But the best laid plans of mice and men do not always lead to the promised land. One of those youngsters is down for the count or at least the subsequent 12 months plus some more time in James Kaprielian. The loss of Kaprielian, who also missed most of the previous 12 months with a flexor muscle problem in his forearm, is particularly devastating on account that most scouts agreed he had the substance to be an impactful starter for the Yankees in the near term. However do not lose hope Yankees fanatics, after James Kaprielian, there are different Yankees pitching prospects which could step up and break the drought.
In reasonably recent memory, the Yankees used their No. 1 pick on five starting pitchers, four of which went down with elbow injuries, like their top pick from 2015, James Kaprielian. It isn’t always easy to make this work and Yankees continue to learn that prospects, irrespective of how fantastically touted they are, are just prospects and every player is a tweak or injury away from changing all of it.
Drafting and building a front of the rotation guy is no simple task and there are more misses than hits to say the least. But, no team in baseball has gone as long or spent as much to cover up their miscalculations in relation to “in house” starting pitcher development as the Yankees. However Yankees pitching prospects currently within the farm system might be able to change all of that.
Pitching in baseball is tough business. As pitchers continue to throw harder and harder in the commonplace and touch levels that used to be saved for rare air their probability for injury increases. Reaching the pinnacle position for pitching prospects hinges upon a small ligament that does not grow like larger muscle groups. It is fragile by nature in comparison and all a prospect can really do is rest. It is a tough spot and business to be in but welcome to the trials of becoming a starting pitcher in Major League Baseball. If it was easy then everyone would be doing it but it is not which makes success for the team and player sweeter.
With James Kaprielian down and his future unknown, let’s have a look at what other talented alternatives may be able to break the failed streak that has been in place since Andy Pettite. They still have a bundle of talented pitchers that’ll bring hope to Yankee fanatics when looking at the Yankees pitching possibilities (If you want a list of all Yankees pitchers to undergo Tommy John surgery just read Tommy John Surgery History and Yankees Pitchers to Get It)
Yankees Pitching Prospects – Three Arms
Yankees Pitching Prospects – Domingo Acevedo
Domingo Acevedo is a fire baller who has the ability to pop three digits on the radar gun. He does need to learn to throttle it back a few percent in order to sustain throughout a full season unless the Yankees move him to an already insanely stacked bullpen upon his arrival. He adds a plus slider and a good changeup that could work into a shutdown pitch next to his triple digit heater. The challenge here is of course, as mentioned, throttling back. He needs to learn that throwing 100 in the first to only throwing 92 in the fifth is not as good as 95 or 96 for all five innings. The other possibility is he gets stronger and bring heat for 30 quality starts a year. At his age he can still get bigger and stronger. He will learn over time and if not, with a 100 mph fastball and two other plus pitches he could be the next closer in New York with no offense to the current crop at the big club already.
Yankees Pitching Prospects – Chance Adams
The talented closer in college was taken by the Yankees with apparent other intentions. In 2016 they moved Adams to the rotation and that sure has looked like the right move. Chance Adams comes with a solid group of pitches. He brings a high 90s fastball and an already plus slider. The scary (in a good way) part for the youngster is he is working on two other pitches that are already serviceable. A curveball and change-up are coming and he already showed confidence in them. While both are a work in progress and not elite, when worked in with the others they already are effective. Adams is polished and his 12 starts at AA last year were nothing short of dominant. He is on the fast track to MLB and the Yankees may look at this position chance as their best move of 2016 if he meets his potential, which is sky high.
Yankees Pitching Prospects – Justus Sheffield
Raw is a great way to describe Justus Sheffield. He has talent and much bigger fastball than his frame would elude to. He clocks in at 94-96 MPH with his heater and can touch 98 when pumped. His change-up and breaking ball have potential to be plus pitches with development. His breaking pitches have the ability to ride multiple planes which lead to tremendous swing and miss potential. At 20, he is still refining his craft and has a tendency to lose track of the strike zone from time to time. He projects, with refinement, to be a middle of the rotation starter. The intriguing note is that the Yankees have three to five interesting pitching prospects and all could be MLB ready in 2017, 2018, and 2019. There is a slim possibility that the Yankees could have a 90s Braves type rotation that are all young and under team control for years.
If you want to read about more of the top Yankees prospects at the start of this season check out Yankees Top 10 Prospects 2017.
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