The New York Yankees announced that they have added six prospects to their 40-man roster, protecting them from the annual Rule 5 draft. The prospects protected were infielders Gleyber Torres and Thairo Estrada, outfielder Billy McKinney and right-handed pitchers Domingo Acevedo, Jonathan Loaisiga and Albert Abreu.
Since coming over in the Aroldis Chapman trade with the Cubs in 2016 Gleyber Torres has been the top prospect in the organization, and the reason the Yankees were able to deal Jorge Mateo to the A’s to get Sonny Gray. He owns a .282/.360/.416 hitting line in 356 minor league games and was hitting .309/.406/.457 in 23 games in Triple-A before going down with an injury in June.
Torres underwent Tommy John surgery and began his road to recovery shortly after being placed on the disabled list. He has resumed baseball activities and is spending the winter working out at the Yankees minor league complex down in Tampa with the assistance of Yankees coaches like Jody Reed.
Right-handed pitcher Domingo Acevedo took a significant step forward in 2017. The 23-year old out of Villa Los Almacigos, Dominican Republic went 5-1 with a 2.38 ERA in 14 games for the Trenton Thunder while striking out 82 batters in 79 1/3 innings in his first taste of Double-A. He also had a two-game cameo in Triple-A where he went 1-1 with a 4.38 ERA in 12 1/3 innings of work.
Jonathan Loaisiga, 23, impressed many this season after throwing just 32 2/3 innings in 11 games between the Gulf Coast League Yankees and the Staten Island Yankees. This season he was 1-1 with a 1.38 ERA, and 33 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings pitched. Loaisiga is intriguing. His injury history is a red flag, but the upside is tremendous. He possesses a fastball that topped out at 98 mph with the Staten Island Yankees this year and mostly sits in the mid-90s along with an impressive curveball that Staten Island Yankees pitching coach Travis Phelps said was “major-league quality” after his last start of the season. His changeup is still a work in progress but there is a lot to like about him.
Albert Abreu, 22, came over to the Yankees from the Houston Astros in the Brian McCann trade. He has quickly risen to become one of the top pitchers in the organization and is spending his fall in Arizona pitching for the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League. Abreu went 2-3 with 3.38 ERA over 14 games during the regular season over three different levels of the minors. In Arizona, he is 0-2 with a 3.18 ERA over five games and struck out 23 batters in 22 2/3 innings pitched. While out in Arizona he is working to perfect his secondary pitches and his pose. Manager Jay Bell noted that it is essential for him to have composure as he moves up the ladder.
Infielder Thairo Estrada, 21, made a name for himself in 2017 when he hit .301/.353/.392 for the Trenton Thunder over 122 games. Estrada is a natural shortstop but has had time playing both second base and third base in the minors, expanding his flexibility. His bat is one of his strongest attributes but is a capable defender in the field as well.
Billy McKinney, 23, worked on expanding his versatility while playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League. The former first-round pick came over along with Gleyber Torres in the Aroldis Chapman trade as sort of a project. The risk has seemed to pay off this season hitting .250/.339/.431 over 69 games for the Thunder before being promoted to the RailRiders on June 30. In Triple-A he hit .306/.226/.541 in 55 games. He went on a tear in Spring Training, hitting .400/.400/.880 over 20 games for the Yankees that helped re-establish his prospect status.