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Yankees Draft: New York doesn't draft enough pitchers

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Everyone thinks the Yankees can't develop a good homegrown starting pitcher. But looking at their recent draft history, they're not exactly giving themselves much of a chance.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Being a Cardinals fan must be nice. Adam Wainwright gets hurt, Shelby Miller and Joe Kelly get traded, and the rotation is still one of their biggest assets. It's like Hydra, the Greek mythological monster. They trade one pitcher or send him to the DL and three more are ready to take his place. But while everyone just assumes their pitching development program is straight out of a 3,000-year-old legend, it is important to remember one thing: they develop more pitchers because they try.

Since 2008, the Cardinals have had 16 first round draft picks. They have drafted a pitcher with nine of them. Usually, a first round pick is considered to have at least a two-starter ceiling. The Cardinals gave themselves nine realistic chances to churn out a front-of-the-rotation starter. Some are still in the minor leagues, some were traded, and some are guys like Michael Wacha and Lance Lynn.

During that same time period, the Yankees have only drafted five pitchers with first round picks. Granted, they haven't had that many first round picks, as they are more aggressive in free agency. One was Gerrit Cole, who decided to go to UCLA instead of signing with the Yankees. It is well known that 2012 first-rounder Ty Hensley has terrible luck. Ian Clarkin was taken out of high school in 2013, so it is too early to judge him. 2010 first rounder Cito Culver was drafted as a shortstop, but scouts always said his ceiling was as high, if not higher as a pitcher.

Every Yankee fan would love to have a farm system packed to the brim with high-end pitching prospects. If they want to do so, they have to invest in pitching. They have two first round picks this year, so I suggest using both of them and the second round pick to aim high for pitchers. Matt already suggested taking a flyer on current Tommy John surgery rehabbers Brady Aiken and Michael Matuella for the 16th overall pick. Both pitchers would be duking it out for the number one spot if not for injuries. Personally, I don't think either will make it to the 16th pick, but it is worth looking into.

Furthermore, the notion that the Yankees simply can't develop prospects is unfounded. Phil Hughes was horribly miscast at Yankee Stadium, Ian Kennedy was traded while still technically a rookie, and Joba Chamberlain was used horribly throughout his time in pinstripes. They basically brought Joba up with no changeup, then told him to dial his fastball back from 100 mph to 94 mph as a starter. People still had the nerve to be surprised when he didn't do well! Joba was never quite the same after Tommy John surgery, but Hughes and Kennedy have both succeeded in the Major Leagues.

Now that the Yankees are using analytics better, as shown by their midseason trades last year, there is no reason to think they simply can't develop young pitchers. They are starting to pay attention to command and groundballs instead of just throwing money at every pitcher with a low ERA. But to build up a solid farm, they have to invest in prospects with ceilings that actually match the fans' expectations. Hopefully the 2015 draft will bring some solid pitching prospects to the Yankees minor league system.