The Yankees drafted Eric Milton in the 1st Round of the 1996 amateur entry draft. He was the 20th overall section in the draft.
In 1997, his first pro-season, Milton was awesome. Splitting the season between Single-A and Double-A, Milton threw 171 innings, allowing only 137 hits and 50 walks. That works out to a WHIP of 1.09. In addition, in those 171 IP, Milton struck out 162 batters – which is a K/9IP rate of 8.53.
At the end of the 1997, Milton was just 22-years-old and as blue-chip as a blue-chip pitching prospect could be in terms of potential.
What did the Yankees do with him at that point? On February 6, 1998, they traded Milton, Brian Buchanan, Cristian Guzman, Danny Mota, and cash to the Minnesota Twins for Chuck Knoblauch.
Eight years later, at the age of 29, Eric Milton was the second worst starting pitcher in the major leagues. Further, coming into this season, in 233 career major league starts, Milton’s career ERA was 4.99 (compared to a league average of 4.57).
If the Yankees do end up trading Philip Hughes this season, before Yankees fans get too upset, they should think about Eric Milton.
Where you’re drafted and how you pitch in the minors does not always mean that you will be a star.