Due to COVID-19 the Yankees 60-man roster is very interesting. Here I highlight 10 Names You Need To Know (and a couple extras) on their roster. I excluded a few notable players on the 60-man roster for context of this article. One notable position player I left off was Max McDowell. Some notable pitchers I left off were Mike King, Alexander Vizcaino, and Adonis Rosa, all of whom (except for King) were just reassigned to the Spring Training Alternate Site on July 16. I’m all in on Clarke Schmidt. I expect his future to be very bright. If you can’t tell, I’m watching more of the pitching prospects right now as opposed to the hitters. We’ll see what happens.
Estevan Florial, OF – Florial probably won’t see any time in the majors this season. He must try and stay healthy after having fluky injuries the last few years, even as recently as 2019. He spent two months on the IL from fracturing his right wrist while crashing into the center field wall during Spring Training. It’s the second straight season Florial has dealt with right wrist problems. In 2018 he played just 84 games due to hamate bone surgery. The Yankees added Florial to the 40-man roster in the offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. One concern is that he is still very raw and at time gets overly aggressive as a hitter since he’s so young, which leads to concerns about whether he can make enough contact to realize his full potential. Finally healthy, the extra work and at bats against big league pitching will help improve his stock and hopefully help get his groove back.
Kyle Holder, SS – Holder has a major league ready glove and the extra at bats will help his development. The Yankees have worked to improve his load in 2019 when he hit .265/.336/.405 with 25 doubles, three triples, nine home runs, and 40 RBI. When you drill down you see he had a great season after a very bad first month. In April, he hit just .175/.246/.206 in 16 games. Holder then went on to hit .281/.352/.441 over the next 96 games with 23 doubles, three triples, nine home runs, and 35 RBI. That includes an incredible June when he hit .337/.385/.566 in 23 games with a .362 BABIP. There is potential for the bat to come around. I believe he would be able to hold his own as a utility man if the Yankees needed him. He’s a solid hitter and could be an above average player.
Clarke Schmidt, RHP – All aboard the Schmidt train. I expect him to make a few appearances for the Yankees even in this abbreviated season. After watching him in Spring Training version 1 his stuff lived up to the billing of an ace. He has a fantastic four-pitch mix, with a fastball that sits between 94-96 mph with some run and sink which induces ground balls. Add to his fastball a low-80s curveball, mid-80s slider and a changeup. He also has a deceptive delivery, hiding the ball pre-delivery. He has true swing and miss stuff with excellent command and control. Schmidt has shown the ability to throw breaking balls for strikes on a consistent basis making the batter chase balls. With only 124.2 career minor league innings between the regular season and postseason, do not expect him to be ready to throw 200 MLB innings right away. He looks like a high upside number two starter in the rotation.
Domingo Acevedo, RHP – Acevedo’s high 90s fastball looked to be back and in great shape in Spring Training version 1. He was a starter in the earlier part of his career and moved to the bullpen full-time last year after suffering a loss of velocity on his fastball, batters catching up to the change up, and his slider never fully developing. The velocity has returned in the bullpen and has helped the change up along. I expect him to be an effective mid reliever in the near future. *Reassigned to Spring Training Alternate Site 7/16
Albert Abreu, RHP – Abreu ended the 2019 season with Double-A Trenton. All his pitches graded out as plus or better, but he has control and command issues. His fastball hits mid 90’s with some sink and run. Abreu owns a curveball and changeup as well. His short-arm delivery provides deception but sometimes hampers him from locating pitches. He could find his way to a high leverage roll in the bullpen.
Deivi Garcia, RHP – Garcia ended the 2019 season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He owns a fastball that regularly hits 93-96 with a great spin rate. He backs it up with a high spin curveball with depth, which may be his best pitch, and an above-average changeup that is still developing but should be able to be a strong third pitch. He made a lot of progress in 2019, in both controlling his pitches and commanding the ball. With very clean mechanics and a low-effort delivery he could help as a reliever.
Nick Nelson, RHP – Nelson spent 2019 with Triple-A. His fastball hits 92-96 and can touch 98 mph and he has good stamina to maintain the velocity throughout a game. He also has a curveball that is solid but at times he can’t get a strike with it. His slider and changeup are also still developing but should be average offerings. After leading all Yankees pitching prospects in K/9 in 2018, last year he picked up right where he left off. He had a strikeout rate of 11.5 K/9 over three levels in 2019. The Yankees plan to keep developing him as a starter but as a reliever he could make an impact much sooner maybe as soon as this season. During the abbreviated Spring Training in 5 innings across 3 games he only allowed two hits but walked four while striking out three. He was put on the 40-man roster in November to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft.
Luis Medina, RHP – Medina’s fastball sits in the mid-90s, sometimes hitting triple digits. He has two secondary pitches, a curveball and changeup. Both are above-average right now but have the potential to become plus pitches in the future. He is still young and extremely raw. He does lack the ability to often locate his pitches. He threw 27 wild pitches in 2019. If he can get his location under control at a reasonable rate, he has the potential to be an ace. *Reassigned to Spring Training Alternate Site 7/16
Luis Gil, RHP – I love Gil as a future closer or high leverage relief pitcher. Gil’s big arm helps him regularly hit 94-98 mph and reach 101 mph with his four-seam fastball. He keeps his velocity deep into his starts and can blow his heater by hitters up in the strike zone. He can also miss bats with an excellent power curveball that has exceptional spin rates and a decent changeup that’s still a work in progress. He has trouble keeping his delivery in sync and repeating his release point, which makes it difficult for him to harness his overpowering stuff at times. *Reassigned to Spring Training Alternate Site 7/16
Miguel Yajure, RHP – Yajure operates at 92-95 mph with his fastball. His best pitch is a solid to plus changeup that keeps left-handers honest. He has added a cutter this year that has similar potential but it is a work in progress. He also has feel for spinning a curveball that should be at least an average offering. While Yajure isn’t overpowering, he has a long history of throwing strikes and commands his pitches well. He pounds the bottom of the strike zone and generates a lot of soft ground ball contact. He’s on the path to becoming a mid-rotation starter.
And two more for the fun of it…
Brooks Kriske, RHP – Kriske saved 11 games in 13 chances for Trenton last year while striking out 64 over 48.2 innings and having a 2.59 ERA for the Thunder. In spring Version 1 he pitched in 6 games striking out 4 while walking one in 5.1 innings, also getting 2 holds but blowing a save. He had a 1-0 record with a 3.38 ERA before being opted to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre during Spring Training back in March.
Daniel Alvarez, RHP – Alvarez saved 21 games with Trenton in 2019 while striking out 76 in 58.1 innings pitched to go along with a 7-2 record and 2.31 ERA. He will be counted on in the bullpen if someone gets hurt. *Reassigned to Spring Training Alternate Site 7/16