The SSTN Top 15 Yankee Prospects: Who is Most Likely to See the Bronx in 2020
Clark Schmidt – Photo Courtesy of Charles Wenzelberg, NY Post
In a normal season, there are only a couple of prospects in the SSTN Top 15 that I would expect to pull on the pinstripes in 2020. However, the 2020 season will be far from normal. Expanded rosters and fewer off-days are near certainties for the 2020 season, which will mean more Yankee prospects will see the field this year. While some of the players we’ve discussed as part of our series on the SSTN Top 15 Yankee Prospects are highly unlikely to see the Bronx even during these strange times, I think that the Yankees have multiple arms on the mound that have a shot to contribute this year. Check them out:
Honorable Mention #1: Mike King
I’m cheating a bit here, as Mike King just missed inclusion in the SSTN Top 15 by an eyelash, but he belongs in this conversation. King does not wow you with stuff or velocity, making him the black sheep of Yankee pitching prospects, but that doesn’t mean that King doesn’t have value, particularly in a scenario where starting pitchers need to limit innings early in the season. King can mix and match four solid pitches to get outs. Most importantly, King is likely the most stretched out of any Yankee minor league pitcher on the precipice of the Majors, so he can soak innings when needed. While King may not have quite made our Top 15 list, he may be the prospect most likely to see the Bronx this year.
#13: Albert Abreu
Abreu has struggled with injuries and a lack of command throughout his time in the Yankee organization. His time as a starter looks to be short as 2020 will likely be his final chance to build innings and grow enough command to start. Despite injuries though, Abreu has knockout quality stuff, and has already shown that he has the ability to strikeout upper level hitters. Abreu could be dynamic in a relief role, and the strange dynamics of the 2020 season could give Yankee fans to get a taste of what Abreu could do in pinstripes
#9: Luis Medina
Medina has the most electric stuff of any prospect in the Yankee system, which is truly saying something. Medina has not put it all together yet with regards to control or command, but he is on the 40-man roster, and the signs from the 2nd half of last season and Spring Training are good that Medina is turning the corner as a pitcher. While Medina is young and hasn’t faced hitters above high-A ball yet, his stuff plays anywhere, and could be dynamite in short outings right now.
#4: MIguel Yajure
Yajure is just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Majors as it stood prior to the shutdown. With the possibility for expanded rosters, it would not surprise me at all to see Yajure get some time in the Majors to aid his development. More than just a favor to his development, Yajure could likely help the Yankees in a pinch. Yajure has a good, three-pitch mix that he shows an ability to control and a growing ability to command. In the last year, Yajure has reportedly added velocity, sitting now in the 92-96 MPH range. This velocity bump takes him from being a solid prospect to one of the highest probability arms the Yankees have in the minors. Yajure has already faced AA hitters and is on the 40-man roster, making him a viable option for the Yankees in 2020.
#3: Deivi Garcia
Many Yankee fans hoped that Garcia’s arrival would come in 2019. Fatigue, an adjustment period at AAA, and the gopher ball all contributed to the fact that Garcia was left in the minors in 2019. 2020 may be a different story, though. Garcia has significant experience at AAA now, giving him the experience he needs to get upper level hitters out. Garcia also possesses two excellent breaking balls that can help him navigate lineups more than once, giving him a chance to be a multi-inning weapon in the Bronx this year.
#1: Clarke Schmidt
Schmidt is the only player I’ve listed that has not been added to the 40-man roster yet. While the 40-man roster is filled at the moment, I don’t think that the Yankees would hesitate to make a move for a prospect of Schmidt’s caliber. In fact, Schmidt was so good during Spring Training, that he had a shot to earn a roster spot even under normal circumstances. Schmidt mixes and maxes two easily plus pitches and an average change-up to rack up strikeouts. The Yankees are going to have a hard time holding Schmidt back given how good he looked this Spring, so I think Schmidt is right up there with King as the most likely Yankee farmhand to find his way to the Bronx in 2020.
For those Yankee fans that love fawning over prospects, 2020 stands to be an exciting year. I think that the unique situations that will occur during the 2020 season will allow Yankee fans to see a host of fun prospects in the Bronx a year or more earlier than we might have otherwise had the opportunity.