As always, good stuff in today’s Times from our friend Tyler Kepner. He took a look at two of the very few Yankees first-round draft picks who have made an impact at the big league level in the past decade and a half. It doesn’t seem all that long ago that they got to the big leagues, but their future in pinstripes is uncertain at best.
(Phil) Hughes and a 2006 first-rounder, Joba Chamberlain, are both eligible for free agency after the season.If the Yankees re-sign (Robinson) Cano, who is represented by Scott Boras, his new salary will take a huge chunk from their payroll. How much would be left for Hughes and Chamberlain?
To use Kepner’s term, the Yankees have generally gone “boom-or-bust” in the first round, and they’ve busted quite a few times. In the six years since taking Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy in 2006, the Yankees first-rounders have been Andrew Brackman (derailed by injuries and lack of command), Gerrit Cole (who refused to sign and is now an elite prospect with the Pirates), Slade Heathcott (compensation for Cole, now one of the top prospects in the system), Cito Culver (shortstop who’s shown no bat in the low minors), Dante Bichette Jr. (supplemental rounder coming off a massively disappointing season), and Ty Hensley (talented high school pitcher a long, long way from the big leagues).
Hughes and Chamberlain come with mixed reviews, largely because of massive expectations that one or both would develop into an ace. Both have had injury problems, Chamberlain’s back-and-forth career is well documented, and Hughes has been an all-star but has also lacked consistency. Still in their 20s, both are young enough to play for another decade, but their futures are unclear.
What’s certain is that, for at least one more year, the Yankees need them.
Joe Girardi on Hughes: “I think it’s just to build off what he did. More consistency. Deeper into games. Can you log a few more innings for your club? Have the changeup continue to develop. At times it was really good last year, but try to get it to where it’s really good every day. Sometimes you’re not going to have your second pitch, and you’d like to have your third pitch when you don’t. But that’s the natural progression.”
Joe Girardi on Chamberlain: “You want depth in your bullpen, and I think it’s important. In what I saw last year, that it seemed that each week that went by, it seemed he got more consistent in his stuff. We’re going to need that. A lot of times, we’ve had three guys who can kinda knock down the seventh, eighth, and ninth. And he’s important. He’s an important role for us. Anytime a guy can knock down a whole inning, it gives you more opportunities to set up earlier in the game if you need it.”
Associated Press photos