Note: This is part four of a five-part series on the New York Yankees and what we think they should do during the 2018-2019 offseason to better the team. This series will take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the team and identify the options the Yankees have internally and externally through trades and free agency.
Since Aaron Judge, Tyler Austin, Luis Severino, and Gary Sanchez took New York by storm, fans now look forward to the next wave of ‘Baby Bombers.’ You came to the right media outlet for information on that! Below you can find the next group of Yankees that are set to reinforce an already strong Major League club in 2019.
Sheffield’s big-league career didn’t get off to the start as one would have hoped. He was nervous, wild, and hit hard. Have no fear, Justus is the real deal.
The southpaw will get an opportunity coming out of the gate to earn a spot in the Yankees rotation, as he will battle for the number five spot during Spring Training. I expect him to win it, as he has the upside of a top of the rotation arm.
He has seemed to try and attack hitters as a power pitcher throughout 2018, which cost him dearly. The Tullahoma, Tennessee native needs to refine his command if he expects to stick as a Yankee starter. Should he accomplish this, he will have an extremely bright Major League future.
Chance, like Justus, cracked the big leagues for a short stint last season. The Dallas Baptist alum made one start and appeared in two other games as a reliever. If I were GM Brian Cashman, I would keep Adams on the Major League roster as a reliever. At a minimum, he could fill the valuable role that A.J. Cole had last year and have better numbers as a result of having better pure ‘stuff.’
I just don’t see him sticking as a starter, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a valuable piece on a championship caliber team. He will compete with Sheffield this spring for the number five spot in the rotation, but look for him to lose that battle, but secure a place in the bullpen in 2019.
Abreu could see Major League action as early as this season. The hard-throwing right-hander primarily pitched for the Tampa Tarpons (Single-A Advanced) in 2018 but did make one hitless start for the Trenton Thunder (Double-A) before seasons end. Look for the 23-year old to begin the season back in Trenton and have the chance to work his way all the way up to New York in 2019.
The Dominican Republic native, who is on the 40-man roster, has the talent to make the aforementioned leap from Double-A to the big leagues. His fastball can reach triple digits and is coupled with both run and sink. He not only generates swing and misses with his heater, but his power-curve and change as well.
Acevedo is ticketed for the bullpen as the flamethrower profiles as an elite late innings reliever, a la Dellin Betances. His fastball has touched 103 mph, while his slider and changeup have become more effective secondary pitches. He throws more strikes than Betances, however as one could imagine, his arm slot and delivery are at times inconsistent due to his towering 6’7” frame.
The 24-year old, if healthy, will battle for a spot for New York. Should he lose this battle, you can almost guarantee he will make his debut later on in the season. He was already called up once during the 2018 campaign to pitch out of the bullpen potentially, yet never made his big-league debut.
The southpaw impressed the Yankees brass during his September call-up. His performance earned him a spot on the Yankees American League Division Series roster against the Boston Red Sox.
Tarpley’s two-seam/sinking fastball is a solid offering that sits around 95 mph to go with a changeup, curveball, and slider. The Los Angeles, California native, will be an effective option at some point out of the Yankees major league bullpen in 2019. Stephen is uncertainty a name to watch for during the Spring Training battles this upcoming season.
Florial will be a solid Major Leaguer; I can guarantee you that. What I can’t tell you is if he will get an opportunity next season. After his coming out party in 2017, a wrist injury that required surgery slowed his development timeline down tremendously this past season.
The extremely toolsy Yankee outfielder is currently facing some adversity as he plays in the Arizona Fall League. He continues to work on refining his offensive approach by controlling the strike zone better and limiting strikeouts. Once he can improve these two aspects of his game, look for New York to give the youngster a real shot at becoming their everyday centerfielder in the future.
Rosa is extremely likely to make his major league debut in 2019 whether it is for the Yankees organization or not as he will either be selected to New York’s 40-man roster or selected in this winter’s Rule V Draft.
In 2018, Rosa went 14-6 with a 3.93 ERA in 26 games, 21 starts, with 108 strikeouts in 128 1/3 innings. His strong performance garnered the lead as the pitcher with the most innings pitched and victories throughout the entire Yankees organization.
He relies heavily on plus command of his four pitches and competitiveness that matches up with anyone in the system.
For those who thought that last year’s trade of Caleb Smith and Garrett Cooper to the Miami Marlins was simply for organizational pitching depth, a young right-hander named Michael King is out to prove you wrong.
King began the season in Class-A Advanced with the Tampa Tarpons and went 1-3 with a 1.79 ERA in seven starts. On may 19th he was promoted to Double-A Trenton and was 6-2 with a 2.09 ERA across 12 games (11 starts). He earned yet another promotion to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on August 4th. Michael went 4-0 with a 1.15 ERA in six starts.
Overall, the crafty-righthander recorded a career-high (and organization leading) in both strikeouts (152) and innings pitched (161 1/3). Kings’ command, maturity, off the charts preparation, in-game adjustments, and ability to induce ground balls make him a solid candidate to get a shot in the Bronx at some point in 2019.
A freak injury has derailed Estrada’s career this season, as he is still working his way back to prove himself all over again. Last offseason, if you haven’t heard, Thairo was shot in the hip back in his homeland of Venezuela during an attempted robbery. The bullet is still lodged in his hip as doctors ended up causing more damage than what was initially done from the gunshot wound.
I am fully convinced that Estrada would have made his big-league debut last season if it wasn’t for the unfortunate incident. He still plays good defense at short, second and third base. At the very least he will be a utility type player on a championship caliber club.
As he continues to make up for lost time like his organizational teammate Florial in the Arizona Fall League, look for Estrada to make his debut early to mid-season in 2019.