Examiner:

Manny Banuelos, the top pitching prospect in the New York Yankees farm system, will undergo Tommy John surgery on Thursday and miss the entire 2013 season.

This comes months after the Yankees shut down the 21-year-old Banuelos in May while pitching for their Triple-A affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Banuelos had complained of elbow soreness, but the organization did not feel that he would need surgery at that time. He attempted to resolve his elbow woes with multiple rehab attempts and return for winter league baseball, but the attempts ultimately failed.

“Obviously (it was) failed rehab,” Cashman said. “Sometimes you have to drill down, drill down until you get to the bottom of things. … If we knew he’d needed Tommy John a year ago, he’d have had it a year ago.”

The inability to foster young high-end starting pitching, whether it be by bad luck/injury or a poor development/evaluation process, is a definite problem for this organization.

Hughes, Joba, Brackman, Betances and now Banuelos are part of a growing list of lauded Yankee starting pitching prospects who haven’t met their lofty expectations (you could throw Pineda in their too). To their credit, the Yankees have been successful with less-acclaimed prospects like Chien-Ming Wang, Ivan Nova, and David Phelps.

The issue remains, however.

With Hal Streinbrenner taking a hardline stance on being below the luxury tax by 2014 and other organizations locking up their young pitchers to long-term deals, the Yankees will have a tough time finding top starters if their system is producing ‘jack squat’.