Friday, April 14, 2017

Who was going to be greatest? A look at the fallen Yankee soldiers slain by the murderous hands of Tommy John

We couldn't wait to see him.
Yesterday, the Gray Lady noted that James Kaprielian is the 15th Yankee pitcher since 2014 to need Tommy John surgery - and 15 minutes can save you big in car insurance! - according to a database kept by a writer named Jon Roegele.

(Only the Indians have had more, with 17. The Mets have 14.)

Here is the Yankee list of TJ victims, going way back to 2006:

James Kaprielian
Nathan Eovaldi
Ty Hensley
Ivan Nova

Jacob Lindgren 
Tyler Cloyd 

Brandon Pinder
Nick Rumbelow
Chaz Herbert

Sergio Santos

Joe Harvey
Chase Whitley
Austin DeCarr
Domingo German
Vincente Campos
Nick Goody
Andrew Brackman
Joshua Rogers
Joba Chamberlian
Caleb Frare
Manny Banuelos
Sean Carley
Conner Mullee
Andrew Chin
Corey Black
Christian Morris
Christian Garcia

George Kontos

Mark Melancon

So, the question is, who was gonna be the greatest? 

The answer, of course, must be based on the truest barometer of Yankee greatness - YES team/public relations conventional consensus hype. 

Thus, players like Nick Goody, Nick Rumbelow and Brandon Pinder fall short: Not enough superlatives. Also, I'm dropping Nathan Eolvaldi, Joba Chamberlain, Ivan Nova and Mark Melancon - who had decent careers, even if they weren't what we wanted.

I'm boiling it down to six candidates, like the Oscars. And the nominees are... (in alphabetical order):

Manny Banuelos: Compared to Ron Guidry, roared through the system, led the "Killer B's," fiery competitor, incredible composure, was truly gonna be great!

Andrew Brackman: Former first-rounder, the tallest Yankee pitcher in memory; was drafted despite needing TJ surgery, led the "Killer B's," had a cup of coffee, was truly gonna be great!

Vincente Campos (formerly Jose Campos): Part of the famous Jesus Montero/Michael Pineda deal, some experts called it "the Jose Campos" deal; hard-thrower, was truly gonna be great!
Ty Hensley: Former first-rounder, Texan who invoked comparisons to Roger Clemens, had a shoulder injury, then another injury, then got in a fight with a linebacker, then another injury, was truly gonna be great!

James Kaprielian: Former first-rounder, a consensus early pick, missed most of last year, was expected to shoot through system, maybe reach Yanks this year, was truly gonna be great!

Jacob Lindgren: Former top pick (not first round), one of the first of his class to reach the majors; was lights out in college, unhittable in minors, was truly gonna be great!

And the winner is... obviously: Nobody was ever going to be greater than Brackman. That 6'11" frame, the fact that he hardly ever pitched and already needed TJ surgery, and was picked first anyway... how could you NOT have his plaque at Monument Park? He's the greatest prospect that Tommy John ever ruined. Thank you, Tommy. 


Alphonso said...

I think Manny Banuelos was better.

Wait, who was the number one pick who ruined his career in a pre-season bar fight?

Although he likely didn't have Tommy John.

Just shoulder surgery and a career as a roofing salesman.

Local Bargain Jerk said...

Brien Taylor.

IIRC, he injured it while with the Colonie Yankees.

Taylor was always interesting to me because his mom served as his agent and actually was going to hold him out and refuse to sign unless the Yanks agreed to give him a $1MM signing bonus. He was a high school senior at the time.

The Yanks blinked and paid up. Brien injured and permanently ruined his arm in a bar fight.

Smart lady.