Shoeless Joe Jackson’s glove was called "The Place Where Triples Go To Die". The New York Yankees are rapidly becoming the organization known as the place where young pitchers have their careers short-circuited.
John Harper in the New York Daily News discussed that the Yankees’ brain trust might be wise to reconsider their approach to developing homegrown pitchers.
The two untouchables, right-hander Dellin Betances and left-hander Manny Banuelos are struggling at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Betances has started five games. He is 1-2 with a 7.25 ERA, a Freddy Garcia-like 1.925 WHIP and has walked 21 batters in only 22.1 innings.
Banuelos has suffered from back problems, which is clearly not good for a man as young as he is. In his limited work this season, Banuelos has made only two starts. He is 0-1 with a 10.12 ERA and a 3.938 WHIP.
Harper points out that some scouts think that there is a limit to limiting a youngster’s innings.
“I know we all baby these guys now,” one scout said, referring to young pitchers throughout baseball, “but I don’t know, maybe the Yankees take it to an extreme with the innings limits and pitch counts, and their kids never learn how to push themselves when they’re a little tired in situations where they need to get out of trouble.”
And that, my friends, may be the key.
A young pitcher that gets into a tough situation when he is close to his pitch limit may, as Mel Allen used to tell us, “reach back for a little extra.” It’s similar to a runner that is almost at her distance limit trying to go much faster than she ran her first six or seven miles.
Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain had the makings of super pitchers, but injuries and "rules" have taken their toll. Referring to injuries and workload, the scout said,
“…you can only protect arms so much, and sometimes it doesn’t matter at all because pitchers are going to get hurt. I just look at Hughes and Chamberlain and I can’t figure out what happened to them, and now I don’t like what I’m seeing from their two young guys (Banuelos and Betances) either.”
Ironically, one pitcher that got away, Ian Kennedy, now ranks among the elite. This is not a knock at the Yankees because they received Curtis Granderson in a complex trade.
Yankees’ management can learn from the team’s past.
Ron Guidry was 5’11” tall and weighed 161 lb. In his first full season, at the age of 26, he worked 210.2 innings and completed nine of his 25 starts.
In his great season of 1978, Guidry started 35 games and completed 16. He pitched 273.2 innings.