The most consistent part of the Tampa Yankees 2016 season was by far their pitching.Tampa started the season with all very young arms in their rotation, and they would just continue to get better and better.
The four primary starting pitchers in the rotation were Vicente Campos, Ian Clarkin, Chance Adams, and James Kaprielian. Only one of them ended the season healthy and pitching for Tampa, but by no means was it a lost season for any. Clarkin and Kaprielian would both be shut down before seasons’ end.
Kap’ only pitched three games in the season before being shut down due to elbow inflammation. Though it was a possibility he’d return in September; some setbacks would have him shut down for the rest of the season and have his sights set on 2017. His three starts were still stunning, and a great preview of what was to come for the first-round draft pick. In three games he threw 18 innings, giving up three runs and striking out 22.
Clarkin was in for the Yankees up until mid-July, he also got better as the season went on, but the 21-year-old would be shut down as well. He hit 98 innings and finished with a 3.31 ERA; the injury did hinder Tampa, though. Clarkin was an arm the Yankees very well could’ve used in the playoffs, and it was likely he’d be their number one pitcher to start the Dunedin series.
Vicente Campos and Chance Adams would go on to have two of the best 2016 campaigns in all of the Yankees’ system. Campos was traded after being promoted to Double-A, then Triple-A ball. The Yankees received former Tampa Yankees pitcher Tyler Clippard in return from the Diamondbacks, and trading Campos was a bit of a head-scratcher to some fans who saw just how solid he was this season, but the Yankees still needed bullpen arms after trading Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller. Campos pitched 59 1/3 innings for High-A Tampa, in that time he held a 3.49 ERA and 1.23 WHIP.
As for Chance Adams, he’d be promoted to Trenton just about two weeks after Campos, and he’d stun Trenton the same as Tampa. Before Josh Rogers and James Reeves, Adams was the Yankees’ automatic arm from the rotation. Adams pitched a similar 57 2/3 innings for Tampa and sported a 2.65 ERA, paired with a .96 WHIP. He also totaled 73 strikeouts and gave up just 17 earned runs in his time as a Tampa Yankee. Adams would give up more than two runs in a start just twice on the season and those two starts came in two of the first three games. In fact in his last month and a half at High-A, he didn’t give up more than a run in each of his last seven starts before continuing his success in Trenton.
After promotions and injuries, Josh Rogers and James Reeves would lead the Yankees to a majority of their second half success. After 22 2/3 innings in Low-A Charleston, he’d contribute 113 2/3 for High-A, finishing the season with a 2.53 ERA. At one point, Rogers would go 27 2/3 innings with giving up just a run in that five-game span. Rogers was up for promotion throughout the second half, but there was always just one other guy ahead in line. Rogers was another player who headlined the Yankees 2016 top-farm-performance-list. He did end the season somewhat sluggish, but he was just about as his innings limit come to the last couple of weeks. Rogers will be a name to follow throughout the fall as he could very well start in Trenton come 2017.
Not only did Rogers have a huge part in Tampa’s second half pitching success, but James Reeves was probably the biggest shocker in the Yankees’ farm this season. He started 12 games for Tampa this season and pitched in 25 games overall. His 2.27 ERA might be somewhat of a blemish on how strong he was. He allowed more than two earned runs in a start just once, and it was his last start of the season before he was moved back to the bullpen.
Reeves still has much to work on if the Yankees choose to move him back into a rotation, he pitched over 80 pitches just four times, and perhaps having him work this offseason as a starting pitcher was the reason for moving him back in Tampa. Reeves spent most of the last season doing that, trying to evolve his slider into an above average finishing pitch. Reeves will most likely start next season in Tampa, but I feel he could be up in Trenton after a couple of dominant starts. He struck out eight in his four innings he pitched for Trenton during the playoffs.
Supporting arms for the Yankees came in Domingo Acevedo, Domingo German, and Nestor Cortes.The trio finished with a 3.22, 3.04, and 3.21 ERA for Tampa this season. Injuries hindered Acevedo and German’s season as both were on and off the DL. German would be able to come back and make two more starts to finish the season, which wouldn’t be the case for Acevedo.
Before Acevedo’s injury struggles, it was confirmed he was set to be promoted to Trenton as it was, at the tail-end of the season after pitching 50 1/3 innings for the Yankees. With this in mind it means he’ll most likely start the 2017 season in Trenton should his off-season plan take its correct course. As for Cortes, he’d play from Low-A Charleston all the way up to Triple-A SWB. He helped the Yankees immensely in the little time he was there and was quite the pitcher to watch. Cortes has a lot of tools to work with, and none will necessarily blow by batters as he works with more off-speed variations. His fastball is mainly from 85-90 mph, but he also carries a changeup, curveball, and slider. Cortes is likely to start with Tampa or Trenton next season; he’ll be just 22 in December.