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Random Minor League Notes: 2021 Edition
1 month ago  ::  Sep 10, 2021 - 2:37PM #291
Posts: 15,901

These top Yankees prospects could be on their way to winter ball

by: Dan Kelly SB Nation: Pinstripe Alley

The Dominican winter league (LIDOM) recently held its rookie player draft, and Yankees prospects were well-represented among the players selected.

As the stateside baseball season comes to a close following the World Series, many talented players from MLB organizations will head south to continue honing their craft in winter ball. Leagues in Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and Mexico all hit the field with teams stocked full of former and future Major League players. The Dominican Republic’s national winter league, LIDOM, has become the most prominent organization of the bunch, with well-known players and prospects arriving every year to hone their craft.

Earlier this week, LIDOM held its annual rookie draft to select minor league players who have signed up to be in consideration for a spot in the league this year. The six teams from the league selected 96 players out of almost 400 eligible professional players, and the Yankees were well-represented. There are no guarantees of participation, but which Baby Bombers could be packing their bags for the Dominican Republic as fall comes to a close?

Last winter, Tigres del Licey turned out to be a team that Yankees fans probably came across at some point during the winter. The team saw Deivi García, Luis Gil, and Albert Abreu suit up on their roster at different times.

This year, they used two of their picks on young Yankees prospects. In the ninth round of the draft, Tigres del Licey selected Aldenis Sánchez, who the Yankees acquired earlier this season from Tampa Bay in return for Mike Ford. Since joining the Yankees, the speedy outfielder has done nothing but hit, slashing .413/.500/.588 in 23 games for Low-A Tampa. The 22-year-old center fielder has been on the injured list recently and could possibly hit his way onto a winter ball roster to make up for some of those lost at-bats.

Several rounds later, Licey selected hard-throwing right-handed pitcher Nicio Rodriguez in the 14th round. Rodriguez has struck out 42 batters in 33 innings this year while pitching in the Florida Complex League and with Low-A Tampa. The team also picked up former Yankees minor leaguers Maikol Escotto, who was traded to Pittsburgh in the Jameson Taillon deal, and Juan Then, who the Yankees both acquired from and traded back to Seattle a few years ago.

Escogido saw some of the best young players in the sport play for their team last winter. At times during the season, they fielded lineups with Vladimir Guerrro Jr., Wander Franco and Seattle uber-prospect Julio Rodríguez. They also had Estevan Florial in their lineup, and he came on strong down the stretch, even batting leadoff for them in the playoffs.

While the status of those players for this winter’s team is unknown, they picked up two of the Yankees’ top hitting prospects during the LIDOM Draft. In the third round, the team selected perhaps the most talented player in the Yankees’ system, Jasson Dominguez. The 18-year-year-old has rebounded from a so-so start and is hitting .313/.405/.500 since August 18th for Low-A Tampa.

Escogido was not done selecting esteemed Yankees prospects, as they then grabbed the team’s first-round pick from 2020, Austin Wells in the 14th round. The catcher has a .269/.394/.490 slash line across two levels this year with 15 home runs.

Another team that Yankees fans saw in highlights over the winter was Toros Del Este. With high-profile Yankees players such as Gary Sánchez, Miguel Andújar, and Domingo Germán on the roster, the team was watched closely by many fans from New York.

This season, they may have another well-known Yankees talent in the fold, as they drafted Double-A Somerset pitcher Luis Medina. The Futures Game participant has had an up-and-down season in 2021. At times, he has displayed his trademark wildness, which has resulted in a 5.0 BB/9 rate, but he has also strung together a streak of over 50 batters faced without a walk.

Last winter, Medina put together a monster campaign pitching in the Puerto Rican Winter League; this year he could be looking to do the same thing and become a more consistent pitcher.

Estrellas Orientales was home to current Yankees fan favorite Néstor Cortes Jr. in 2020. He made five starts for the team before joining the Yankees on a minor-league deal and surprisingly becoming one of their most valuable pitchers. The team also made a lot of noise when they were joined late in the season by Fernando Tatis Jr. and Robinson Canó.

This year, Estrellas could have a Yankees prospect in the mix after they selected right-handed Double-A pitcher Randy Vasquez. Vasquez has jumped two levels already this season and is ranked as the team’s 20th-best prospect by MLB.com.

Gigantes del Cibao used their 11th-round pick on Low-A Tampa Tarpons pitcher Blas Castaño. Castaño has pitched his way up to Low-A Tampa this year after starting in the Florida Complex League. In 39.2 innings, he has a 10.9 K/9 against just a 1.8 BB/9 rate.

The last team in this years LIDOM draft, Águilas Cibañas, did not select any Yankees prospects but they did grab former farmhand Ezequiel Duran, who reached High-A with the Yankees before being traded to the Rangers in the Joey Gallo deal.

Winter ball can prove critical to players who are looking for their next step in development. In the past, players like Gio Urshela and Néstor Cortes Jr. have appeared in LIDOM immediately before their breakout seasons. This year, a number of Yankees prospects will have the opportunity to compete for a spot in the league, if they choose to pursue it over the winter months.

1 month ago  ::  Sep 14, 2021 - 9:43AM #292
Posts: 15,901

Yankees prospects: Week 19 minor league review

The Tampa Tarpons wrapped up a playoff spot, but Somerset and Hudson Valley still have work to do to secure a postseason berth.

Heading into the last week of the season, the Yankees’ minor league affiliates are chasing the postseason. In a modified set of playoffs, only the two teams with the best record will participate in the playoffs at the Double-A, High-A and Low-A levels. The Tampa Tarpons have clinched their spot, while Somerset has the inside track on a spot of their own. Despite winning their own division, Hudson Valley is still chasing a spot, but will get the chance to play the team they are chasing over the final week.

Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre RailRiders

Record: 64-47, 2nd Place in the Triple-A (Northeast); 4.5 GB

Past Week: 5-1 vs. Rochester Red Wings (WSN)

Upcoming: Away vs. Lehigh Valley IronPigs (PHI); 50-62

After a nine game losing streak, the RailRiders returned to the form that they have played at all season this past week. Only a Sunday afternoon late inning meltdown by the bullpen cost the team an undefeated week. Matt Krook and Adam Warren have been amazing over the last few weeks, while Estevan Florial has paced the offense with a big week at the plate. This week the RailRiders will close out the regular season against Lehigh Valley. Last time these teams played, benches cleared after Scranton catcher Max McDowell was hit in the head by a pitch following a significant amount of trash talking from both teams. There is no love lost between these two as they head into a Triple-A postseason where every team will play 10 total games and the team with the best record will be declared the winner.

Players of Note:

Matt Krook 4 G; ERA, 21.1 IP, 13 H, 9 BB, 2 ER, 23 K

Adam Warren: 8 G; 0.00 ERA, 10.1 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 1 R, 0 ER, 11 K

Estevan Florial: 7 G; .310/.394/.586, 2 HR, 2 2B

Brian Keller: 5 G; 1.93 ERA, 9.1 IP, 7 H, 4 BB, 2 ER, 16 K

Double-A Somerset Patriots

Record: 69-44, 1st place in the Double-A (Northeast); 3.5 GA

Past Week: 6-0 vs. Hartford Yard Goats (COL)

Upcoming: Away vs. Akron Rubber Ducks (CLE); 70-42

Somerset has been on fire over the last two weeks and has put their magic number to reach the playoffs at four entering this week’s play. They will square off with an Akron team that has the best record across both divisions in the Double-A Northeast. The Patriots’ closest competition is also in Akron’s division, where the Bowie Baysox are just a game behind the Patriots for the second playoff spot. This past week Hayden Wesneski stepped up big, allowing just a second inning home run before striking out 11 of the last 12 batters he faced in a seven inning, 14 strikeout performance. Oswald Peraza has been crushing Double-A pitching for the last month and is helping to carry the team towards a playoff berth.

Players of Note:

Hayden Wesneski: 6 G; 2.23 ERA, 36.1 IP, 26 H, 8 BB, 9 ER, 47 K

Oswald Peraza: 26 G; .355/.404/.536; 5 HR, 5 2B

Brandon Lockridge: 37 G; .331/.387/.547, 8 HR, 8 2B, 12 SB

Luis Medina: 3 G; 2.12 ERA, 17 IP, 12 H, 6 BB, 4 ER, 27 K

High-A Hudson Valley Renegades

Record: 67-46, 1st place in the High-A East (Northern); 9.0 GA

Past Week: 3-3 vs. Brooklyn Cyclones (NYM) Greensboro Grasshoppers (PIT)

Upcoming: Home vs. Greensboro Grasshoppers (PIT); 71-43

The Renegades wrapped up the High-A East division title, but their postseason chances are still up in the air. Because of how the postseason format is arranged for this season, the Renegades will have to surpass the Grasshoppers’ regular season record in order to advance. Fortunately, they play their competition head-to-head to close out the year, so their fate is in their own hands — even if they’re facing an uphill climb. Anthony Volpe continues to pace the offense, and should the Renegades not clinch a postseason berth, it will be interesting to see if the organization allows him to help out the Patriots or RailRiders to close out his stellar season.

Players of Note:

Anthony Volpe: 49 G; .295/.392/.600, 13 HR, 17 2B, 11 SB

Everson Pereira: 22 G; .261/.359/.693, 12 HR, 2 2B, 5 SB

Andres Chaparro: 32 G; .281/.410/.570, 8 HR, 3 3B, 3 2B

Josh Maciejewski: 1 G; 0.00 ERA, 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 K - High-A Northeast Pitcher of the Week

Low-A Tampa Tarpons

Record: 72-40, 1st place in the Low-A Southeast (West Coast); 2.5 GA

Past Week: 2-4 vs. Dunedin Blue Jays

Upcoming: Away vs. Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (MIN)

The Tarpons wrapped up a playoff spot earlier this week and will meet Pittsburgh’s Low-A affiliate the Bradenton Marauders in the playoffs. The regular season division title still hangs in the balance as the Tarpons head to Fort Myers for their last series. The top of the lineup remains potent as Jasson Dominguez, Trey Sweeney and Anthony Garcia have continued to play well over the last few weeks.

Players of Note:

Jasson Dominguez: 20 G; .293/.398/.467, 3 HR, 4 2B

Anthony Garcia: 14 G; .306/.443/.653, 5 HR, 2 2B, 5 SB

Clay Aguilar: 21 G; 2.15 ERA, 46 IP, 27 H, 11 BB, 66 K

Trey Sweeney: 17 G; .294/.368/.603, 4 HR, 3 3B, 3 2B

Florida Complex League Yankees: L, 6-9 vs. FCL Blue Jays

CF Grant Richardson: 1-5, SB
SS Alexander Vargas: 0-5, K, E
C Agustin Ramirez: 0-2, 2 BB, K
DH Raimfer Salinas: 0-4
3B Marcos Cabrera: 0-4, 2 K
SS Miguel Marte: 1-4, K
LF Kyle Battle: 2-4, 2 2B
1B Jose Martinez: 2-3, BB
C Hemmanuel Rosario: 1-2, 2B
C Juan Crisp: 1-1, BB , E

Alfred Vega: 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 6 K
Starling Perez: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 5 H, 5 H, 4 BB, 1 K, WP
Christian Sumoza: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 2 K

Dominican Summer League Yankees 1: W, 6-5 vs. DSL Angels

SS Hans Montero: 1-4, BB, R, K, CS
LF Felix Negueis: 2-5, HR, CS
3B Enger Castellano: 1-5,
RF Christopher Familia: 1-4,
DH Alan Mejia: 2-3, BB
C Omar Martinez: 0-0
C Manuel Palencia: 1-4, SB
2B Jared Serna: 1-3, BB, 3 SB
SS Darwin Castillo: 2-3, K, CS
1B Gabriel Bersing: 1-4, 2B, 2 K

Daniel Guerrero: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Miguel Vargas: 4.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 3 K, WP
Diego Cordero: 2.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 2 K, WP

DSL Yankees 2: L, 5-7 vs. DSL Pirates Gold

SS Brenny Escanio: 0-3, BB, 4 SB, 2 K
DH Dayro Perez: 0-3, 2 BB, SB
C Josue Gonzalez: 0-3
C Edinson Duran: 1-2, HR
RF Daury Arias: 1-4, HR
LF Nelson Medina: 0-4, K
CF Ramiro Altagracia: 0-1, 4 BB, K
3B Ronny Rojas: 0-4, 3 K
1B Miguel Torres: 0-3, BB, K

Brian Arias: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
Carlos Rosario: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
Luis Urbano: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K
Ernesto Borges: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
Riordan Oropeza: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
Juan Espana: 1.0 IP, 0 H , 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

1 month ago  ::  Sep 14, 2021 - 9:49AM #293
Posts: 15,901

Baseball America: In news that has no effect on the 2021 playoff hunt but will interest anyone looking to the future, Baseball America has released its final in-season Top 100 prospects list. This one is unfortunately behind a paywall, so I cannot provide too many details other than three Yankees farmhands made the list. I can tell you, however, that shortstop Anthony Volpe soared up the list to 22 and fellow middle infielder Oswald Peraza has climbed to 59, leapfrogging super-prospect Jasson Domínguez. If you have an account with Baseball America, this is a very good read.

1 month ago  ::  Sep 14, 2021 - 1:07PM #294
Posts: 15,901
MLBPipeline: Yankees No. 19 prospect Brandon Lockridge continues to rake for @SOMPatriots: 2-for-3 9th HR in 38 G Batting .338 at Double-A
1 month ago  ::  Sep 15, 2021 - 10:32AM #295
Posts: 15,901
  • Baseball America updated their top 100 prospects list and the Yankees have 3. Anthony Volpe has moved all the way up to #22 on their list. Oswald Peraza comes in at #59 and Jasson Dominguez is #61.
  • After his 7 shutout innings with 11 K’s last week, Josh Maciewjewski was named the High-A East Pitcher of the Week.
1 month ago  ::  Sep 16, 2021 - 5:29PM #296
Posts: 15,901

Yankees prospect Brandon Lockridge is breaking out down the stretch

Lockridge is putting together a great season for Double-A Somerset and may be on the Yankees’ radar for 2022.

Centerfield is one of the deepest positions in the Yankees minor league system. Jasson Dominguez has generated most of the hype over the last few seasons, but other names like Estevan Florial, Everson Pereira, and Kevin Alcantara (before he was traded in July) earned their fair share of attention on the prospect rankings as well. However, the Yankees’ fifth-round draft pick from 2018 has been flying under the radar. This season, Brandon Lockridge is putting up loud numbers and is forcing the Yankees to take note of his performance heading into his first Rule-5-eligible offseason.

Lockridge had a reputation in high school and college as a speed guy. He played second base for his first couple of years at Troy University before moving to center field for his junior year. Entering the 2018 draft, some rated Lockridge as the fastest player in the draft. His 75-grade run speed on the 20-80 scale is the highest-ranked individual tool on the Yankees top-30 prospect list at MLB.com.

Lockridge entered the Yankees system, and in his first full season, found himself in a talented outfield with Low-A Charleston next to Canaan Smith-Njigba and Josh Stowers. While his final slash line of .251/.319/.410 did not necessarily stand out, he still showed flashes of development and progress. He matched the total number of home runs from his three-year college career with 12 on the season and finished fourth in the South-Atlantic League in total bases.

When the pandemic shut down play ahead of the 2020 season, Lockridge returned to his hometown of Pensacola, Florida and got to work on improving his game. In addition to Zoom calls and shared videos of his work with Yankees coaches, Lockridge was able to workout daily with a current coach in the Cleveland organization, Travis Fryman.

The five-time All-Star helped Lockridge continue to improve his swing and approach at the plate while also assisting him to improve in other areas as well. In an interview with Pinstripe Alley last year, Lockridge said, “I never needed much arm strength playing second base, my throwing mechanics... have always been a little funky.”

Lockridge worked on his arm strength and throwing mechanics extensively during the shutdown to create another defensive tool to go with his elite speed.

At the outset of 2021, Lockridge was initially assigned to High-A Hudson Valley, but hit the injured list with a hamstring issue during the team’s second series of the year. He returned in early June and after just 32 games at the High-A level, he had shown the Yankees enough to earn a promotion to Double-A Somerset.

Once promoted and with his injury a month behind him, Lockridge really heated up. In 38 games at the higher level, he has slashed .333/.387/.562 and is starting to show the speed and power combination that the Yankees envisioned when they selected Lockridge in the draft. In those 38 games, Lockridge has smashed nine home runs and also stolen 12 bases in 13 attempts.

Following this season, the Yankees might be forced to protect Lockridge with a spot on the 40-man roster to keep him away from the Rule-5 Draft. Roster spots will be at a premium over the offseason and fellow up-and-coming center fielder Everson Pereira is making his own strong case for a spot on the Yankees’ full roster this offseason.

Brandon Lockridge’s significant statistical improvement while playing at the upper levels of the Yankees system is making him a player who the team could very well incorporate into their long-term plans. His elite speed and improved power could give the Yankees a key depth piece and contributor as soon as next season. That same mix of tools and performance will also ensure that he does remain under the radar, even in a mix with some of the Yankees’ most high-profile prospects.

1 month ago  ::  Sep 17, 2021 - 9:48AM #297
Posts: 15,901
1 month ago  ::  Sep 17, 2021 - 9:54AM #298
Posts: 15,901

MLB.com | Sam Dykstra: Anthony Volpe has flown up the prospect ranking lists this year, and is currently a top-15 prospect according to MLB Pipeline. Much of Volpe’s emergence was built off of the 2020 season, where he dissected his game thanks to the lack of games to play in. Volpe’s power has spiked, and it hasn’t even been due to a shift in launch angle — he’s simply hitting the ball harder than he ever has before. Promising results for a player likely to be in the Yankees’ plans for the near future.

1 month ago  ::  Sep 18, 2021 - 10:17AM #299
Posts: 15,901

Yankees prospects Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe broke out in 2021

by: Andres Chavez SB Nation: Pinstripe Alley

The pair of promising infielders fully broke out this year, and represent the hope for a better tomorrow.

Before the start of the season, MLB had just two Yankees’ prospects in its Top 100 list: outfielder Jasson Dominguez at 32, and pitcher Clarke Schmidt at 88. Infielders Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe were nowhere to be found, although the former wasn’t far from the list.

Fast forward a few months, and we can now firmly say that Volpe is the best prospect in the Yankees’ system (yes, he is now considered to be higher than Dominguez) and Peraza is firmly in the top 100.

The league’s official site has Volpe as the 15th-best prospect in baseball, and Peraza checks in at 59, while Dominguez remains well-ranked, at 17. Luis Gil, at 96, is the last Baby Bomber in the updated list, and Schmidt fell off it altogether because of the elbow woes that forced him to miss most of the season.

Volpe is perhaps the prospect with the biggest jump this season, not only on the Yankees, but in all of baseball. The 2019 first-round pick wasn’t supposed to have this kind of all-around threat, but he was always projectable.

Volpe was one of those prospects that saw the pandemic take away almost every developmental tool at hand: minor leagues, instructional league, everything. He wasn’t invited to the alternate training site either. He was in the “home development” group. And while most young players had a tough time showing real skill changes under those circumstances, Volpe raked from the start in the 2021 minor league campaign.

The 20-year-old shortstop hit .302/.455/.623 with a 186 wRC+ in 257 Low-A plate appearances. He homered 12 times and stole 21 bases, earning himself a promotion to High-A after 54 games. With the Hudson Valley renegades, Volpe is slashing .290/.394/.595 with a 157 wRC+, 14 more homers and 11 thefts in 241 plate appearances.

Naturally, his walk rate decreased (from 19.8% to 10.4%) and his strikeout rate went up (from 16.7% to 23.2%) with the promotion, but he is hitting the ball hard consistently, and his short, compact swing is producing an enormous amount of power. Defensively, he could stick at shortstop in the long term despite not having elite range because he has good instincts, hands, motions, and release.

Peraza, on the other hand, is perhaps a slightly better fielder than Volpe, but also a slightly worse hitter. He did, like Volpe, dramatically improve his stock among prospect evaluators with a step forward offensively in 2021. His offensive profile is now a very attractive one: he combines excellent bat-to-ball skills with major-league exit velocities, a recipe for success. He also knows and controls the strike zone and is very, very fast.

The Yankees assigned him to High-A Hudson Valley to begin the year, and he thrived there. Slashing .306/.386/.532 with five homers, 16 steals and a 143 wRC+, he found himself with the Double-A Somerset Patriots after just 28 games. It was evident he was ready to be challenged.

In Somerset, he has continued to perform offensively, though not at the rate he was doing it in Hudson Valley. In 76 games and 340 plate appearances in Double-A, Peraza is hitting .294/.350/.473 with 12 round-trippers, 19 stolen bases, and a 124 wRC+.

Like Volpe, the jump in level affected Peraza’s walk rate (from 9.4% in High-A to 6.8% in Double-A) and strikeout rate (18.9% to 22.6%), but it has been a very impressive year for him nonetheless.

Now, looking at the future, after watching Yankees infielders struggle every night offensively and defensively, one has to wonder if Volpe and Peraza can help soon. Neither is an option for this year, but Peraza could be up at some point next season, while Volpe is looking at more of a 2023 ETA if he keeps developing like he has in 2021.

In any case, having two quality infield prospects like Peraza and Volpe gives the Yankees even better odds of at least one of them paying off at the MLB level within a couple years. Having one top infield prospect is nice, let alone two (with more possibly on the way, too, depending on how Trey Sweeney, Alexander Vargas, Oswaldo Cabrera, and others develop.)

If both Peraza and Volpe prove capable of handling MLB pitchers in the not-so-distant future, they could both be regulars and resemble the Atlanta Braves’ current situation, with second baseman Ozzie Albies developing into a star and Dansby Swanson a good regular. That’s not a bad scenario to shoot for.

With Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu, and Gio Urshela all having disappointing years offensively, Peraza and Volpe represent the hope of tomorrow.

4 weeks ago  ::  Sep 22, 2021 - 9:30AM #300
Posts: 15,901

Ken Waldichuk is missing bats and positioning himself to help the Yankees

by: Dan Kelly SB Nation: Pinstripe Alley

The left-handed pitcher was among the strikeout leaders for all of minor league baseball in 2021

Over the last few years, the Yankees’ minor league system has been known for its deep roster of hard-throwing right-handed pitchers. With a system deep on righties, the Yankees pivoted from that strength and selected three left-handed pitchers inside of the first five rounds of the 2019 draft. While T.J. Sikkema and Jake Agnos have yet to see much time on the mound due to injuries, fifth-round pick Ken Waldichuk has begun to fly up the ranks of Yankees prospects. After a breakout 2021 season, Waldichuk could be a factor for the Yankees as soon as 2022.

Waldichuk drew serious attention during his sophomore season at Saint Mary’s College of California, as he racked up a 2.05 ERA in 92.1 innings pitched. Pitching at the alma mater of Corbin Burnes and several other recent major league pitchers, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound pitcher had the size, arm talent, and results that scouts could easily envision on a future Major League mound.

Entering the Yankees system, Waldichuk used his college experience to work over the hitters of the Rookie-advanced Appalachian League. Like many pitchers drafted following a full college season, Waldichuk saw limited action but made the most of it. In 29.1 innings pitched, he struck out an astounding 49 hitters against just seven walks.

During the lost 2020 minor league season, Waldichuk continued working to improve his velocity. After sitting 91-92 mph in college with his fastball, he has flashed upwards of 98 mph in short bursts for the Yankees in his first full season as a professional. This season, he has held those gains for longer stretches, often hitting the 95-96 mph range during his starts.

Waldichuk’s fastball comes at hitters from a low arm slot and has been called a “invisiball” by some scouts as hitters have had trouble picking it up. That pitch — paired with its increased velocity and three other quality pitches — allowed Waldichuk to explode out of the gate in 2021. Starting the season with High-A Hudson Valley, he did not allow a single run at the High-A level, racking up 30.2 straight scoreless innings before earning a promotion to Double-A. That 30.2-inning stretch also included 55 strikeouts and just 12 hits allowed.

The shutout streak did not continue at Double-A, but Waldichuk continued to fan hitters at a very high rate. At Somerset, he recorded a 12.3 K/9 and his 163 strikeouts across both levels on the season placed him fourth among all minor league pitchers.

Waldichuk was a key part of the Somerset pitching staff that had the best ERA in the Double-A Northeast by a sizeable margin. He also saw his stock rise, and MLB.com ranks him as the Yankees’ ninth-best prospect.

Beyond his fastball, Waldichuk has the pitch mix to work as a starting pitcher with a slightly above-average curveball and slider. His changeup is more of an average offering that will need more work going forward. Yankees minor league pitching coordinator Sam Briend was recently quoted by Baseball America as saying, “Pitch-package wise, he’s one of those guys who’s got everything you could want.”

Waldichuk put himself on the radar of evaluators early this season and continued to excel even after a promotion to the Double-A level. He has positioned himself to start next season with either Double-A Somerset or Triple-A Scranton, essentially knocking on the door of the Bronx. His ability to miss bats makes him an attractive arm either in the rotation or out of the bullpen, and he could very well be the first Yankee from the 2019 draft to reach the major leagues.

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