Yankees Top 30 Prospects for 2021: T.J. Sikkema (LHP, #16)
The highest rated left-hand prospect in the Yankees system, Sikkema was a 2019 draft pick who impressed as a D1 athlete at Missouri and again in his first professional stint with the Staten Island Yankees. He could very well find himself into a MLB rotation over the next few years as he has good stuff and control. However, his upside is likely as a #4 or #5 piece, which keeps him as a mid-level prospect in the system.
T.J. Sikkema, LHP (#16):
Age/Date of Birth: 22 Years Old (07/25/1998)
Most Recent Team(s) (Level and Year): Staten Island Yankees (Class A: Short Season, 2019)
Most Recent Yearly Statistics (2019, Regular Season): 0-0 Record, 0.84 ERA, 0.66 WHIP, 10.2 Innings, 13 Strikeouts, 1 Walk, (4 Games, 4 Games Started)
Height/Weight: 6’0”/221 Pounds
Acquired: Drafted in the Competitive Balance Round A in the 2019 First Year Player Draft by the New York Yankees with the 38th overall pick.
MLB ETA: 2022
T.J. SIKKEMA SCOUTING GRADES (20-80 SCALE):
What to Know:
Undrafted out of high school, T.J. Sikkema went to the University of Missouri (Columbia, MO; NCAA D-I, SEC) where he was a solid reliever his freshman year before transitioning into the Friday-night starter (or the ace of the staff) and a plethora of All-American honors.
During his draft-eligible year as a junior at Mizzou, Sikkema started 13 of his 17 games for 88.2 innings around a 1.32 ERA (0.959 WHIP) while leading the SEC in ERA and being a semifinalist for the 2019 Golden Spikes (the best collegiate baseball player who that year went to Adley Rutschman). All of this had Sikkema as a potential 1st round pick of which he just passed before the Yankees took him with their 38th overall pick of which they got from the Cincinnati Reds in the trade of Sonny Gray.
After signing with the Yankees with a nearly $2 million signing bonus, Sikkema went to start his professional career with the Staten Island Yankees (New York-Penn League, Class A: Short Season), where he started all 4 games he appeared in to a 0.84 ERA across 10.2 innings. While he had no options to continue to prove that he was legit because the 2020 season was cancelled, Sikkema did use the year to continue to improve his craft and conditioning, of which he can thank his girlfriend (who is a dietitian).
As a pitcher, Sikkema throws 4 pitches with good control and great deception due to varying arm angles which allow for an extra level of manipulation. His 2-seam fastball (or sinker) has good movement while sitting around 88-91 MPH out of a low 3/4ths arm slot, while his 4-seam fastball comes from an overhead slot and sits between 93-95 MPH. He also throws a high-movement slider between 78-83 MPH and a changeup (average velocity unknown) of which Sikkema is comfortable and confident in. With his repertoire he has been compared to a lefty Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, and his great control and confidence gives him a high floor and upside in the middle of a rotation.
What Will the Future Hold?
T.J. Sikkema is likely to start the season with the Hudson Valley Renegades (High Class-A) in 2021. Given the 3 years of collegiate ball in the SEC and his dominance at Staten Island in 2019, his experience and track record plays in his favor. A move to the Somerset Patriots (Double A) could also be something to hope on happening around mid-season if he continues to put up good-to-great stat lines.
With an MLB ETA of 2022, his move to Double-A this season will be greatly needed to hit the goal, and is something I’d expect. Sikkema seems to be a pitcher that the Yankees can promote quickly and someone who’ll be able to adapt well at the higher levels. He’s another prospect that I am high on even though he’s likely not to be a top-arm in a rotation but he’s likely to make a difference in the middle of a rotation in the next few years.