The Yankees have made some big splashes so far this offseason, but which of their own prospects have the potential to do damage in 2020?
This offseason for the Yankees has been highlighted by the blockbuster Gerrit Cole signing; however, it’s important not to forget how injury riddled the 2019 Yankees season was and the possibility that the 2020 season may rely on some names you haven’t seen in Pinstripes thus far.
It’s no secret as to how stacked the Yankees’ bullpen was throughout the 2019 season; however, even with the dominant arms and big names that powered through the late innings of games, we still saw the lesser known pieces like Jonathan Loaisiga and Nestor Cortes Jr. play an integral part down the stretch as well. Who are some of those lesser known names in the Yankees farm system that could be used in similar roles this year?
The most talked about and obvious name that falls in this class of players is the Yankees #1 prospect Deivi Garcia. A relatively under the radar name going in to last year, Garcia saw his season start in High-A ball for the Tampa Tarpons and end as one of the best players on the Triple-A Railriders. Not only did the young right-hander standout in the Yankees organization, he pitched so well at the Double-A level that he was named the starting pitcher for the East in the All-Star Futures game. If you simply look at the statistics of his last season, all the numbers don’t paint the prettiest picture; however, the Yankees front office is enamored by the quality of his pitching arsenal as seen in his 161 strikeouts — especially for a player who can’t even legally drink a celebratory beer after a game until May of next season.
2019 Stats: 111.1 IP, 5-9 Record, 4.28 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 165 Ks, 54 BBs
Albert Abreu has had a very different path through the Yankees’ minor league system than Garcia. Abreu, 24, had a very strong 2017 season where he struck out 61 hitters in 53.1 IP; however, his command has seen a drastic dip and the walks have hindered his statistics over the last two seasons including last year when he walked 53 batters in 96.2 IP. If Abreu can get his command back, there is no doubt the Yankees’ 6th ranked prospect has the potential to play a role out of the bullpen for the Yanks but if he continues to average just under five walks per game, I can guarantee he won’t be getting the call from Cashman anytime soon.
2019 Stats: 96.2 IP, 5-8 Record, 4.28 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 91 Ks, 53 BBs
This is one that many Yankees fans may not have heard of but should definitely keep an eye on heading in to the 2020 season. Clarke Schmidt is a 23-year-old right-hander who the Yankees drafted 16th overall in the 2017 draft just 2 months after he went under the knife for Tommy John surgery. The Yankees 5th ranked prospect spent most of his 2019 campaign pitching for the Single-A Tampa Tarpons before finishing up the year in Trenton where he went 2-0, striking out 19 batters in 19.0 IP. Although his innings are limited, noted prospect guru and MLB Pipeline senior writer Jim Callis has listed Schmidt as one of the American League’s top 5 breakout candidates for 2020.
“He shows the makings of four-plus pitches,” Callis said Friday on MLB Network’s MLB Tonight. “Now look, the Yankees obviously spent a lot of money on Gerrit Cole to help upgrade their pitching staff this offseason, but I do think Clarke Schmidt is a hundred percent (healthy) now. There aren’t going to be any restrictions on him. There’s nothing holding him back. It wouldn’t surprise me if you see Clarke Schmidt as part of that Yankees rotation in 2020, as well.”
2019 Stats: 90.2 IP, 6-5 Record, 3.47 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 102 Ks, 28 BBs