Last June, only the true seamheads knew much of anything about Yankees sixth-round draft pick Chase Hampton. If the Yankees were targeting a pitcher in the middle rounds, that probably meant he had high upside with an advanced changeup, but ... beyond that completely effort-free summation, Hampton was mostly a mystery.
One year later? Not only is he the system's fastest riser, but he was such an obvious pick for MLB Pipeline's "Team-by-Team Biggest Jump" that it almost wasn't even worth hinting at. You can just come out and reveal your Yankees pick. It's Hampton. Next.
Thursday marks the full, post-draft Pipeline overhaul of their team-by-team prospect lists, but the first domino to drop for the Yankees was, of course, the announcement that Hampton was rocketing up the list from his current preseason position at No. 24. No. 24!
What's he done since then? Oh, just strike out 77 men in 47 innings at High-A Hudson Valley, earn a promotion to Double-A Somerset in his first professional season, and maintain intriguing peripherals despite some poor homer luck and a rising walk problem (56 more Ks in 48.2 innings, covering up a 4.99 ERA/1.32 WHIP).
Yankees' top prospect Chase Hampton rising quickly in MLB Pipeline Top 30
How high will Hampton fly? He probably hasn't earned a promotion over fellow 2022 draftee Drew Thorpe, who set records at Hudson Valley with his plus-plus changeup. But if Thorpe and his advanced approached entered the year at No. 6, Hampton certainly deserves to be in Richard Fitts territory at No. 7. They might both surpass Trey Sweeney when the dust settles, too.
Hampton was recently joined by Thorpe in the Double-A Somerset rotation, and that's probably how 2024 will begin, too. The Texas Tech righty just turned 22 this month (Aug. 7), making him nearly one year younger than the mustachioed Cal Poly product.
For all those who doubted the Yankees' ability to regenerate top-tier arms after getting rid of Ken Waldichuk and Hayden Wesneski, though, these two have helped lead a revolution. Sounds like Hampton is getting rewarded for it with accolades, as his MLB ETA looms in late 2024/early 2025.