The New York Yankees have one of the best farm systems in all of baseball, if not the best. With that comes a lot of top-level talent that becomes household names in the fan base. But aside from the big names the fans already know there are several players throughout the system that they should also keep an eye on in 2017.
When the Yankees traded Ivan Nova to the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 1 for players to be named later, no one knew what kind of caliber of prospect the Bronx Bombers would get back. But on August 30 we found out when the Pirates sent Tito Polo and left-handed pitcher Stephen Tarpley to the Yankees to complete the trade.
Tarpley, 23, was originally drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the third round of the 2013 First-Year-Player Draft out of Scottsdale Community College. The Los Angeles, CA native made his professional debut later that year in the Gulf Coast League, starting seven games for the GCL Orioles striking out 25 batters in 21 innings. After 2013 season had ended Tarpley was named the #21 prospect in the Orioles organization by Baseball America.
The 2014 season was him get a promotion to the NY-Penn League where he was a regular in the rotation of the Aberdeen IronBirds. Tarpley earned a 3-5 record with a 3.66 ERA in 13 games, 12 starts, striking out 60 batters over 66 1/3 innings. His strong performance earned him a spot in the organization’s top 20, being named the #16 prospect in the system by Baseball America.
In January 2015, the Orioles traded Stephen Tarpley to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Travis Snider. In his first season in the Pirates organization, he started 20 games for the West Virginia Power, striking out 105 batters in 116 innings and winning 11 games while earning a 2.48 ERA. His success earned him pitcher of the week honors as well as a spot-on Baseball America’s Low Class-A All-Star team as well as being named by BA as the #17 prospect in the Pirates organization.
The 2016 season saw Tarpley start the season on the disabled list due to an oblique injury, but after he had returned from injury, he started 20 games for the Bradenton Marauders of the Florida State League. With the Marauders, he was 6-4 with a 4.32 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 100 innings. After being traded to the Yankees, he would appear in only one game for the Tampa Yankees, allowing five runs on seven hits and two walks in 5 innings against the Lakeland Tigers on September 4. After a few days, he went on the disabled list after experiencing some soreness.
Tarpley is a rare talent, a left-handed pitcher that usually sits in the mid-90s with his fastball. He backs it up with a curveball, changeup, and slider. His repertoire allows him to keep hitters guessing what is coming next.