Pitching has become the strength of the Yankees farm system in recent years thanks in parts of trades, graduations, strong drafting, and development. While some pitching prospects had some highly publicized success, such as right-hander Michael King, others strong seasons had gone under the radar.
These five pitching prospects had strong seasons that were not as highly touted but could lead them to become contributors at the big-league level in the coming seasons.
Right-handed pitcher Adonis Rosa spent the 2018 season at three different levels. He began the year with the Tampa Tarpons of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League, before moving up to Double-A Trenton Thunder and finally ending his season with the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. All the while having success as a starting pitcher and demonstrating to fans, coaches, and scouts alike that he is one of the true sleeper prospects within the organization.
Rosa opened the 2018 season with the Tampa Tarpons, spending the majority of his season with the team where he was 12-3 with a 3.84 ERA in 20 games, 15 starts, and e struck out 89 batters in 96 innings pitched. He was promoted to the Thunder in August, where he started just two games for Trenton, earning a 0-2 record with a 4.63 ERA and five strikeouts in 11 2/3 innings. On August 30, the Yankees promoted Rosa once again to Triple-A where he was 2-1 with a 3.92 ERA in four games for the RailRiders. He struck out 14 batters in 20 2/3 innings.
Overall, Adonis Rosa went 14-6 with a 3.93 ERA in 26 games, 21 starts, with 108 strikeouts in 128 1/3 innings. He led the entire Yankees organization with 14 victories and was third in the organization in innings pitched. His 128 1/3 innings was a career high for him, as he heads into an offseason where he will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft.
Left-handed pitcher Phillip Diehl spent his 2018 season with both the Tampa Tarpons and the Trenton Thunder, only having a brief cup of coffee in Triple-A with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders for the playoffs. The season marked the first time in his career that he was a full-time reliever and he has shown to excel in the role.
In his first 25 games, he was 2-2 with a 3.14 ERA for the Tampa Tarpons. He struck out 79 batters in 48 2/3 innings pitched, allowing hitters to hit just .209 against him. On July 13, he was promoted to Double-A Trenton where he was 0-1 with a 1.35 ERA in 14 games, 26 2/3 innings pitched and struck out 29 batters.
On September 12, Diehl was promoted to the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders where he struck out two batters in 1 2/3 innings pitched during the International League playoffs. Diehl was the only full-time relief pitcher in the organization with more than 70 innings pitched. His 39 total games were good for seventh in the organization while he was ninth in the organization in total strikeouts, the only full-time reliever in the top 10.
Right-handed pitcher Matt Wivinis was signed a free agent by the Yankees in 2016 after spending the 2016 season with the independent Evansville Otters of the Frontier League and spent his first season in affiliated baseball with the Pulaski Yankees and the Charleston RiverDogs.
This past season Wivinis split his time between the RiverDogs, the Class-A Advanced Tampa Tarpons, and the Double-A Trenton Thunder. At 25-years old, he was often older than most of his competition, but his numbers were solid. Overall, he owned a 2-3 record with a 2.41 ERA in 45 games out of the bullpen with 77 strikeouts in 56 innings pitched.
His 2018 season began in April with Charleston where he allowed just one unearned run on three hits in 8 2/3 innings through nine games. He struck out 14 batters and did not walk anyone before being promoted to Tampa on May 9. With the Tarpons he was great, striking out 44 batters and allowing just six earned runs over 30 2/3 innings in 24 games.
Finally, on July 26, Wivinis was promoted to the Trenton Thunder where he struggled a bit in 16 2/3 innings allowing nine earned runs but struck out 19 batters in 12 games.
David Sosebee has been an under-the-radar guy since he was drafted in the 28th round of the 2015 draft, so there is no surprise that he once again finds himself on a list of prospects with underrated performances. Like last year, he spent the 2018 season with three different teams with him seeing time with Tampa, Trenton, and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season.
Sosebee began his season in Tampa where in 18 games out of the bullpen he was 4-2 with a 0.72 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 25 innings. In June he found himself in Double-A again with the Thunder, where he continued to have a strong season with a 4-2 record and 3.66 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 32 innings pitched. In August he was promoted to the Triple-A RailRiders for a game before heading back to Trenton. Later in the month, he would return to Scranton where overall, he had a 1.59 ERA in four games with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
The 2018 season marked right-handed reliever Brooks Kriske’s return from Tommy John surgery. The former sixth-round pick missed all of the 2017 season due to rehab and came back strong this season. After opening the season down in Tampa at Extended Spring Training, Kriske would get back into regular game action with the Staten Island Yankees.
With Staten Island, Kirske was spectacular with a 2-2 record and 1.09 ERA in 14 games out of the bullpen. He struck out 33 batters in 24 2/3 innings, allowing just three earned runs before earning a promotion to the Charleston RiverDogs in August. He would get into only two games with Charleston where he allowed two earned runs in his second game to finish out his season.
Between both levels, he was 2-2 with a 1.57 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 28 2/3 innings.