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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Cullen Hartzog became among Yankees' top prospects, then got injured; Saw five pro seasons, made AA

Cullen Hartzog had been among the Yankees' top prospects the previous two years, and, in 1991, he was poised to make the big jump to the bigs, Hartzog recalled years later to The Miami Herald.

He'd even been told that by Yankees brass. He'd make two more starts at AA Albany-Colonie, then jump to the Bronx, Hartzog told The Herald. But he didn't make it.

"I threw seven innings and won the first game. But in the next game, I dislocated my shoulder. It was just bad luck," Hartzog told The Herald.

Hartzog's career with the Yankees ended then, at AA. He returned four seasons later in the Pirates organization, but never did make the majors.

Hartzog began in 1988, taken by the Yankees in the 39th round of the draft out of Mosley High School in Panama City, Fla.

Hartzog started with the Yankees in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He went 5-2, with a 2.00 ERA in 13 starts. He moved to single-A Fort Lauderdale, where ne went 7-7 over 17 starts, with a 3.38 ERA. 

But he also got noticed at Fort Lauderdale. The former 39th-round pick became the third-ranked prospect in the organization that year, according to Baseball America. For 1990, as he played at high-A Prince William, he moved up to No. 2.

With Prince William in April 1990, Hartzog went six innings and gave up two earned, as he earned the respect of the opposing manger with Durham - and future major league manager - Grady Little, according to The Raleigh News and Observer.

"It took us a while to get adjusted," Little told The News and Observer. "Hartzog had some of the best stuff we've seen all season. He was hitting his breaking pitch, and he had good velocity."

Hartzog went 5-6, with a 3.75 ERA in 18 starts at Prince William. He then moved to AA Albany-Colonie for 1991. He went 6-6 there, with a 5.80 ERA in 18 starts. Then came his injury.

Hartzog returned for one more season, with the Pirates at high-A Lynchburg in 1995. He went 6-4, with a 3.34 ERA in 43 outings, one start, to end his career.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,085
Made the Majors:1,354-33.2%
Never Made Majors:2,731-66.8%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:551
10+ Seasons in the Minors:334

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