There was once a time where the Yankees had the “Killer B’s”, three pitchers that seemed to have a bright and destined future in the Yankees organization. There was also a time where the Yankees #1 prospect was Jesus Montero, a catcher that was imagined to be the heir to Jorge Posada‘s throne. Fast-forward to 2013, when the Yankees were experiencing issues with pitching and catching. None of the “Killer B’s” were major league ready (Andrew Brackman isn’t even on the Yankees anymore). Jesus Montero was traded to the Seattle Mariners for Michael Pineda (there’s still no clear winner of that trade since Montero ended up in the minors and Pineda hasn’t thrown a pitch for the Yankees as of yet). When it came to trying to find help for the team with all the injuries in 2013, the Yankees looked abroad their organization. Looking abroad for talent during a crisis showed just how much faith the Yankees organization had in their minor league system.
Out of 56 players on the 2013 Yankees, 23 of them were homegrown. That’s less than half of the 2013 team. Most of the deals the Yankees made were for third basemen and shortstop, two positions where the Yankees do not have a major league ready player. Why were there no answers in the organization for such a long period of time? It goes back to the 2007-2008 draft. The draft picks were underwhelming. Since then other teams found raw talent while the upper levels of the minor leagues appeared stagnant.
Since 2005-2011, the Yankees only had two players who were selected in the first round to come up to the majors and give meaningful contributions: Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain, both drafted in 2006. Some of the previous first round picks C.J Henry, Andrew Brackman and Jeremy Bleich haven’t worked out at all for the Yankees, while they missed out on a chance when Gerrit Cole elected to go to college instead of taking the Yankees offer in 2008. Many seem to believe that the Yankees minor league system is a complete failure.
“Our biggest issues have been higher in the draft, not lower; I think that’s a fair assessment,” Mark Newman, the Yankees senior vice president of baseball operations said. “Some of that (criticism) is legit. Some of it isn’t. All of us are committed to being self-aware about it.”
The Yankees don’t have immediate answers for 2014 if Derek Jeter‘s injury hinders his performance or if Alex Rodriguez is suspended, but the Yankees do have promising talent coming up such as Cito Culver and Eric Jagielo–probably as early as 2015.
“I would say that there’s moderate hope,” Jonathan Mayo, who covers the minor leagues for MLBPipeline.com told NY Daily News about Jagielo being up as early as 2015. “They don’t have the worst system in baseball, but the one thing they’ve lacked in recent years is they haven’t produced any real impact players.”
Some wonder if the Yankees will ever find success again in the farm system? It could happen, but for now there is uncertainty, especially with what could happen in the near future with question marks around shortstop and third base.