Saturday, February 02, 2008

Home-Grown Rotation???

Will Mike Mussina be in the Yankees top 5 starters (as far as games started) in 2008?

My guess is no. I think Ian Kennedy will overtake him.

It is very possible that the Yankees top 5 starters this year will be Pettitte, Wang, Chamberlain, Hughes and Kennedy.

Pettitte of course left for 3 years, but is home-grown.

If these 5 do lead the Yankees in starts, it will be the first time since the Chamionship team of 1962, which had a rotation of Whitey Ford, Ralph Terry, Jim Bouton, Bill Stafford, and Rollie Sheldon that the entire staff was home-grown.

Before that is was the war years of '43 - '45 that it was all home-grown. Before that you have to go back to 1913.

This is something that hasn't happened a lot throughout Yankee history. The Yankeees are clearly building for the possibility. Obviously lots could go wrong and you only end up with 1 or 2 home grown.

However, it looks more possible than in my lifetime. The fact that the Yankees are considered top-5 in minor league talent, and have very few position player prospects says how good the pitching is right now. The Yankees don't have one infield prospect right now that projects above reserve infielder. They have 2 legit outfield prospects, some possibilities at catcher, and the rest is all pitching.

I've never seen so much agreement about a prospect (especially a prospect that's not top-3 type) throughout the scouting world as with Ian Kennedy. Everybody seems in complete agreement that he's a top of the line #3 starter. #2 on teams that don't have a #2.

Chamberlain and Hughes, makes 2 straight years where the Yankees have one of baseball's top 5 prospects (and top 2 pitching ones). Since Baseball America had been doing their Top-100 in 1990, only two different Yankee pitchers (not including Jose Contreras) ever make the top 20. Those two, Brien Taylor and Matt Drews were both still A-ball pitchers when they did, not advanced minor leaguers. If either Chamberlain or Hughes can be an ace, Wang is clearly at worst a #2, if the other one does well at all, that's 4/5 of the rotation for what could be a long time.

That leaves the #5 spot for 6'10" Andrew Brackman. He's already had Tommy John surgery, so who knows if he comes back from that at all, but he was supposed to have #1 stuff, if he can just hold down the #5 spot, the Yankees could have an all home-grown rotation for many years.

I know many things can go wrong, it's also possible that Humberto Sanchez takes and holds a rotation spot for the next 15 years, and the Yankees never have a home-grown rotation.

However, it's fun to dream of the home-grown rotation (and I like thinking of Sanchez as Rivera's setup man). So until proven otherwise, I'll continue to dream and hope that proof doesn't come too soon.

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