Somerset Patrionts, Severino, Luis Severino, Patriots, no hitter
Photo Credit: JSN Files

New York Yankees’ Most Valuable Pitching Prospects

Bridgewater, NJ — The New York Yankees currently hold the two most valuable pitching prospects in their farm system. Both right-hand pitchers played in the Yankees Double-A Affiliate, Somerset Patriots this season. Drew Thorpe and Chase Hampton were both drafted in the 2022 MLB Draft. Thorpe was selected in the second-round out of Cal Poly, while Hampton was picked in the sixth-round out of Texas Tech.

Hampton and Thorpe are the Yankees fourth and fifth ranked prospects on MLB Pipeline, respectively. Each broke MLB Pipeline's top 100 prospects this season with Hampton being ranked 95th and Thorpe 99th overall. Coincidently, both did not play in the Yankees Minors League system in 2022. They began pitching in the 2023 season with  Yankees High-A affiliate, Hudson Valley Renegades. Both dominated Hudson Valley and earned their call-ups to Double-A with the Somerset Patriots.

Mind-Blowing stat: Hampton and Thorpe led MiLB in Called Strikes Plus Wiffs -- Hampton (2nd) 35.2% and Thorpe (4th) 34.5%

Drew Thorpe

Drew Thorpe was named New York Yankees MiLB Pitching Prospect of the Year and also named First Team All-MiLB this season. His changeup and cambio pitch are his best attributes. Opponents against the 23 year-old right-hand pitcher from Utah looked overmatched all season. In Hudson, Thorpe made 18 starts and had an ERA of 2.81, pitching 109 innings and striking out 138 batters, which set a record for the Hudson Valley Renegades.

He also set their single game record with 13 strikeouts. His WHIP was 1.07 and led the South Atlantic League. Thorpe led in ERA and was fourth in strikeouts. Thorpe had a 28.1 inning scoreless streak which was also the most in the league. His ability to command the zone and provide length is super impressive.

The six-foot-four, two-hundred-pound, right-hand pitcher, got the call up to Somerset on August 8th and continued his dominance with the Somerset Patriots. He pitched eight scoreless innings in his debut. He gave up just two hits and struck out nine batters. Thorpe followed up his first start, by striking out 12 batters, in 6.2 innings of two-run ball. He started in five games for Somerset and three of his outings were scoreless.

Somerset stats: 30.1 IP, 44 SO, 1.48 ERA

Thorpe was shutdown at the end of the 2023 season with minor discomfort in his non throwing arm. His 139.1 innings were a career high. He pitched 104.2 innings at Cal Poly in 2022. Thorpe struck out 11.7 batters per nine innings and his 182 strikeouts led MiLB. He also led MiLB with a 26.9% K-BB ratio.

What’s unique about Thorpe is, he does not rely on velocity, only topping out in the lower 90's with his fastball. His location and cambio pitch are his "bread and butter", which helped him have a ground ball rate of around 50%. Thorpe’s cambio is one of the best pitches in MiLB, sits in the lower 80’s. He was ranked first in strikeout minus walk percentage (26.9) and second in wins (14), winning percentage (.875), WHIP (0.98) and strikeout percentage (34 percent).

Stats (Hudson & Somerset): 139.1 IP, 183 SO, 2.52 ERA, 0.98 WHIP

Chase Hampton

Chase Hampton is a right-hand pitcher from Texas Tech. He is 22 years-old and stands at 6-2, 220lb. He earned a promotion to Somerset on June of 2023 after dominating in Hudson. He started nine games for The Renegades and was unstoppable. He pitched 47 innings, struck out 77 batters, and had an ERA of 2.68. Hampton struck out 14.7 batters per nine innings and had a WHIP of 1.00. His best start with Hudson Valley, was against the Baltimore Orioles, High-A affiliate, where he pitched five scoreless innings and struck out nine batters. Hampton also had two games with 10 strikeouts for Hudson.

He was called up to Somerset on June 15, and made 11 starts for Somerset and pitched 59.2 innings. He struck out 68 batters, had an ERA of 4.37, and 1.26 WHIP. Hampton ended his season on a high note striking out 12 batters in 11 innings with an ERA of 1.63 in his final two starts. Hampton’s best start with Somerset was his final one. He threw five scoreless innings and struck out six batters.

What sets Hampton apart are his pitches. He has great strikeout numbers and his slider and curve are plus secondary pitches. In August, the Patriots placed Hampton on the Development list after reaching an innings limit at 106.2. He struck out 145 batters with an ERA of 3.63 in Hudson Valley and Somerset this season. Hampton has a fastball, curveball, slider and change up. His fastball has topped out around 94-96 MPH. His curveball sits at 79-81, slider tops 86-87 and changeup sits in the mid 80’s.

In July, Hampton led the Yankees organization with 103 K's. His 1.04 WHIP and opponent's .195 average also led the Yankees farm system. Hampton reached a career-high of 10+ strikeouts in a game four times this season. He joins the list of teammates Blane Abeyta, Clayton Beeter, and Richard Fitts as Somerset Patriots pitchers with 10+ strikeout performances in 2023.

Stats (Hudson & Somerset): 106.2 IP, 145 SO, 3.63 ERA, 1.26 WHIP

The Yankees' organizational strength is their pitching depth as Chris Kirschner of the Athletics wrote “Clarke Schmidt, Michael King, Randy Vásquez, Jhony Brito, Drew Thorpe, Will Warren and Clayton Beeter all being potential trade chips. The Yankees would be smart to hold on to Chase Hampton.” Thorpe and Hampton are the most valuable pitching prospects the Yankees have and they should be very hesitant to trade them.