Is Yankees pitching prospect Drew Thorpe emerging as system's best arm?

Who's *your* favorite Yankees pitching prospect, and why is it Drew Thorpe?

New York Yankees v Seattle Mariners
New York Yankees v Seattle Mariners / Alika Jenner/GettyImages
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Someday, at some level, 2022 Yankees draft pick Drew Thorpe and his elite changeup will be challenged by minor-league hitting.

June 2023 at High-A Hudson Valley is not that "someday."

So far in his pro debut season in the system, the former Cal Poly right-hander and second-round pick has excelled, allowing three earned runs or fewer in 10 of his 12 starts. The only two outliers came against ... the same team, the Nationals-affiliated Wilmington Blue Rocks. Baseball! In the first of those two outings, he was stomped by top-10 talent James Wood. That game was also the only one of Thorpe's starts attended by ... yours truly. Something to put in the ol' hip pocket for when he makes the bigs.

Other than a few occasional blips against the best of the Nats' farm, Thorpe has flashed plus-plus potential with his change of speeds, reaching new levels of dominance in June. In 28.2 innings across four starts in the month, he's whiffed 34, walked six, and allowed a single earned run (coming in a 7.2-inning outing against Brooklyn his last time out). When he was drafted, scouts claimed Thorpe was already armed with a big-league change and would have to work on fleshing out his arsenal around the pitch. Early on, that's been borne out.

Yankees starting pitching prospect Drew Thorpe is most pro-ready in minors?

It's probably good news when, every few weeks, there's a new story about how, well, actually, this guy is the best Yankees pitching prospect in the minors. Yeah. New guy. We found a new guy.

Thorpe still has plenty of work to do beneath the surface (and, again, he might just encounter some more fearsome Washington Nationals someday). Based on his past month of work, though, it seems like he's nearly done with the High-A level, and could use a push.

Will Warren and Clayton Beeter have moved up to Triple-A Scranton to officially replace 2022 departures like Ken Waldichuk and Hayden Wesneski. Hudson Valley sensation Chase Hampton moved to Double-A Somerset recently. It's only natural to speculate about Thorpe being next to get the bump, especially if Carlos Rodón's rehab wraps up in the not-so-distant future.

Thorpe, currently MLB Pipeline's favorite Yankees pitching prospect (No. 6 overall), isn't cookie-cutter like so many other modern pitchers. He's not sweeper-centric. He possesses a pitch some struggle to harness and develop -- but he's had it since his collegiate days.

After the trade deadline, it would seem logical that he'd take the next step, and his starts should be a hot ticket -- except against Harrisburg. That's where Wood lurks.