Yankees’ promising pitching prospect goes down with shoulder injury

MLB: New York Yankees at Houston Astros, clayton beeter
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees‘ minor league system has encountered significant setbacks this year, particularly with injuries affecting their top pitchers. Chase Hampton, a premier pitching prospect for the Yankees, has been on the 60-day injured list for several weeks due to a shoulder injury and has not made his season debut yet.

Yankees’ Prospects Face Setbacks Due to Injuries

Adding to the team’s concerns, Clayton Beeter, another promising young pitcher, has also suffered a shoulder injury. Beeter, 25, made a brief appearance in the major leagues this season, pitching an inning against the Houston Astros before being sent back to Triple-A.

Despite his short stint, he demonstrated potential over 32 innings in Triple-A, achieving a commendable 2.53 ERA with an impressive 12.38 strikeouts per nine innings. However, his walk rate remains a concern at 5.91 per nine innings, though he has managed to reduce his home run rate significantly to 0.28 per nine innings, showing promise with a low 4.8% HR/FB ratio.

MLB: Spring Training-Miami Marlins at New York Yankees
Feb 29, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Clayton Beeter (85) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Miami Marlins at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Managing Pitcher Health and Development

The Yankees acquired Beeter from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Joey Gallo trade, and with three minor league options remaining, they have ample time to further develop his skills. His arsenal includes a fastball, slider, and curveball, providing a solid foundation for a successful pitching career. Unfortunately, shoulder discomfort has sidelined him, and he is expected to spend the next few weeks in rehabilitation.

Graham Johnson, the Triple-A Scranton pitching coach, made the decision to shut Beeter down to prevent a more severe injury. “It was something he was starting to battle a little bit, and it got to a point where it was like, ‘hey, let’s not put anything at risk at this point,’” Johnson explained. He also praised Beeter’s spin rates and the effectiveness of his breaking pitches, highlighting them as some of the best in the minor leagues.

The Yankees are focused on ensuring Beeter’s full recovery before considering his return to play, emphasizing the importance of his long-term health over immediate gains. With his potential and the quality of his pitches, Beeter is viewed as a valuable asset who could significantly impact the Yankees’ pitching staff in the future. The priority remains to get him fully healthy and ready to contribute to the team’s success.

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