New York Yankees management has come under increased scrutiny regarding the way that they have cultivated their young pitchers. Michael Pineda's season-ending injury, prior to the start of this season, prompted many to question why the Yankees haven't produced better starting pitchers over the last 20 years.
I decided to go back to 1996, the start of the Yankees great dynasty of the 1990s, to look at Yankees pitchers under the following criteria: a) players who were drafted by the team or signed as amateur free agents while under the age of 25. b) players brought up in the Yankees minor league system who went on to start at least five games for them in a particular season.
This list does not include any free agent signing which occurred after a player had major league experience. The one pitcher that is the extreme outlier here is Andy Pettitte, who has enjoyed a borderline Hall of Fame career and is one of the greatest pitchers in Yankee history.
You'll also see that while Phil Hughes has experienced his share of struggles, his Yankees career, which is admittedly brief thus far, doesn't seem all that bad in comparison. The following pitchers have not been great contributors to the tremendous success the Yankees have enjoyed these past 17 seasons, which makes the Yankees ability to win so consistently that much more remarkable. Here is the list:
Sterling Hitchcock (Games started by year: 1994: 5; 1995: 27; 2001: 9).
Andy Pettitte (Games started by year: 1995: 26, 1996: 34, 1997: 35, 1998: 32, 1999: 31, 2000: 32, 2001: 31, 2002: 22, 2003: 33, 2007: 34, 2008: 33, 2009: 32, 2010: 21, 2012: 9 as of now, with likely three or four more starts to come. It's also worth nothing that Pettitte has started 42 career post season games and has won 19, the most in major league history).
Ramiro Mendoza (Games started by year: 1996: 11; 1997: 15; 1998: 14; 1999: 6; 2000: 9).
Randy Keisler (Games started by year: 2001: 10).
Brad Halsey (Games started by year: 2004: 7).
Chien-Ming Wang (Games started by year: 2005: 17; 2006: 33; 2007: 30; 2008: 15; 2009: 9).
Jeff Karstens (Games started by year: 2006: 6).
Phil Hughes (Games started by year: 2007: 13; 2008: 8; 2009: 7; 2010: 29; 2011: 14; 2012: 18 as of now, expected to make at least 30 starts).
Matt DeSalvo (Games started by year: 2007: 6).
Tyler Clippard (Games started by year: 2007: 6).
Joba Chamberlain (Games started by year: 2008: 12; 2009: 31).
Ian Kennedy (Games started by year: 2008: 9).
Ivan Nova (Games started by year: 2010: 7; 2011: 27; 2012: 18 as of now, expected to make at least 30 starts).
- Some may think that Ted Lilly came up in the Yankees system. He did not, he was acquired in the Hideki Irabu trade to the Expos in 1999.
- Sterling Hitchcock came up much earlier with the Yankees, made starts for them in 1994 and 1995, then was traded to Seattle (along with Russ Davis) in the deal where the Yankees acquired Tino Martinez, Jim Mecir and Jeff Nelson. Russ Davis actually went on to have 3 pretty good seasons with Seattle but that was an incredible deal for the Yankees.
- Hard to believe that Randy Keisler threw 50 innings for a 2001 Yankees team that nearly won the World Series.
- It's worth nothing that Wang did give the Yankees some very solid seasons. He led the AL in Wins in 2006.
- I chose not to count Al Leiter's starts for the 2005 Yankees. He started 10 games that season for NY and was originally drafted by the Yankees in 1984.
- Tyler Clippard has been a good reliever for the Nats. The Yankees got Jonathan Albaladejo for him in a trade.
- David Phelps is having a very impressive rookie campaign for the Yankees. He's had a very solid career in the minor leagues and he's carried that over to the big league club. Phelps has a 2.89 ERA this season in 43.2 innings pitched.