The 2019 season is in full swing, and the 2019 MLB draft is only days away. Many of the Yankees top prospects are having great seasons, but there are also many under the radar performances from pitchers throughout the full season leagues.
We take a look at five underrated pitchers that are having a great start to the 2019 season.
Kaleb Ort – Trenton Thunder
Ort, 27, has had a solid career in the minor leagues since the Yankees signed him out of the independent American Association. In 2017.
This season has been no different, between the Double-A Trenton Thunder and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders the right-hander is 4-0 with a 1.88 ERA and 36 strikeouts over 24 innings pitched in 14 games.
Ort appeared in five games with the RailRiders and nine games in Double-A with Trenton. Two of those games he struck out five batters in two innings of work. Once on April 12 against the Portland SeaDogs and again on May 5 against the Syracuse Mets.
Daniel Alvarez – Trenton Thunder
Alvarez, 22, has been with the Yankees since signing as an international free agent on March 14, 2014. The Venezuela-native got his first taste of the minors’ upper levels in 2019.
The right-hander completely skipped over High-A Tampa, jumping from the Charleston RiverDogs in 2018 to Trenton in 2019, now working exclusively as a relief pitcher has been holding his own.
In 17 games in Double-A, Alvarez owns a 2.82 ERA and 1.03 WHP with 30 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings over 17 games. He even had a one-game cameo in Triple-A, throwing 2/3 innings against the Rochester Red Wings on April 25.
Seven of his appearances this season have been for two innings, including the game on April 29 against New Hampshire where he struck out four batters. He has only allowed earned runs in four games this season. His seven saves lead the Yankees organization.
Brooks Kriske – Trenton Thunder
Kriske, 25, is a former eighth-round pick from the 2016 draft that missed the entire 2017 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He returned to action in 2018 with the Staten Island Yankees and made the quick up to Double-A.
He started the season in High-A with the Tampa Tarpons where he did not allow an earned run over seven games, striking out 16 batters in 12 innings. The strong performance earned him a nod to the Florida State League All-Star Game, despite being promoted to Trenton when the rosters were announced.
In Trenton, Kriske owns a 2.08 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP and 17 strikeouts in 13 innings over nine games. His best game came on April 8 when he pitched a career-high three innings, striking out four batters, tying a career high.
Jhony Brito – Charleston RiverDogs
Brito, 21, is having a great start to the 2019 season after missing the entire 2018 season due to Tommy John surgery. After being promoted from extended spring training, he is 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA, 1.05 WHP, and 27 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings over seven games.
His best game came on May 10 when he struck out six batters in 4 innings, allowing just two hits. Overall, he allowed only six earned runs, three of them in the game on May 27.
Jio Orozco – Charleston RiverDogs
Orozco, 21, is having the most under-the-radar season of any Yankees, minor league pitcher. The former 14th round pick that the Yankees acquired for Ben Gamel in 2016 is in his third tour with the RiverDogs.
After being sidelined by a foot injury for most of the 2018 season, he came back strong in 2019. In nine games, seven starts, he is 4-2 with a 2.81 ERA, and 1.01 WHIP with 38 strikeouts in 51 1/3 innings pitched.
He is the organization leader in innings pitched and has thrown a career-high seven innings twice so far this season. He best game came on May 8 when he struck out eight batters in seven innings.