Does the New York Yankees organization have any idea how to develop young pitching? Look around at what is going on and you have to wonder.
This rant starts with Ian Kennedy, the 2006 first-round pick who was banished to Arizona after the 2008 season. In case you missed it, Kennedy pitched seven shutout innings Friday night as the Diamondbacks defeated the Mets, 3-0. The 26-year-old right-hander is now 15-3 this season with a 3.12 ERA. He was pretty good last season, too, posting a 3.80 ERA and 1.201 WHIP in 194 innings, while compiling a deceptive 9-10 record.
Kennedy, of course, was supposed to combine with Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain to form a big three to lead the Yankee staff for the next several years. Consider that Hughes is 2-4, 7.11 ERA and Chamberlain's star had plummeted well before he lost this season to Tommy John surgery. Pretty easy to accuse the Yankees of giving up on Kennedy too quickly.
Speaking of Hughes, look at what is going on with the Yankee rotation right now. Hughes is about to be bounced to the bullpen in favor of A.J. Burnett. Argue all you want about that choice, but general manager Brian Cashman's assertion that the idea of the under-performing Burnett going to the bullpen is "crap," is hardly correct. It could easily be justified. Of course, the move is necessary because another young pitcher the Yankees have bounced around, Ivan Nova, is out-pitching either Burnett or Hughes.
There are plenty of other examples of the Yankees' follies with young arms around the big leagues. The Yankees portrayed Mark Melancon as a future closer, then shipped him to Houston when he wasn't the second coming of Mariano Rivera right away. This season Melancon leads the woeful Astros with 11 saves and has a 3.31 ERA in 53 games.
Tyler Clippard made the All-Star team for Washington as a reliever, a place in which the Yankees admittedly never even though to try him. Pretty amazing since it seems they try everyone else in the bullpen. Jeff Karstens and Daniel McCutcheon are pitching well for Pittsburgh, Karstens having racked up nine wins.
The Yankees are now talking about Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances as potentially the next great starting pitchers to come out of their farm system. Considering the Yankees' track record is recent years I fear we will never see either of them reach the success that is forecast for them. And, if we do, we will see it in someone else's uniform.