|We couldn't wait to see him.|
Here is the Yankee list of TJ victims, going way back to 2006:
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.