With the loss of James Paxton, Tommy Kahnle, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Aroldis Chapman during the season and a number of relievers being ineffective, the Yankees used a number of pitching prospects during the 2020 season. The Yankees also called up Estevan Florial for a doubleheader against the Mets at Yankee Stadium after Aaron Judge got sent to the IL. Let’s take a look at what some of the Bronx Bombers’ top prospects did during the 2020 MLB season and their varying degrees of success.
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 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 between the regular season and postseason he showed he belongs but could have used a real minor league baseball season because of lack of stamina and lack of professional innings. I believe he was put in one of the toughest spots that can be for a MLB debut against the Orioles. He was brought in to relieve with two runners on in a one run game. Never being a reliever I believe he should have been brought in during a clean inning. He ended up pitching 1.1 innings giving up 3 hits and 2 runs along with a walk and strikeout. He showed he belongs but could have used some a real Minor League Baseball season. I expect him to start 2021 in Triple-A to log innings as a starter and be one call away when helping the big league squad. He looks like a high upside number two starter in the rotation.
Deivi Garcia, RHP – My Preseason #3
2020 Stats: 5 G, 5 GS, 4.88 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 27.2 IP, 26 K, 5 BB, 8.5 K/9
Selected as the 29th man for a twin bill against the Mets, Garcia started his first MLB game and showed he deserved a long look. Showcasing his sneaky fastball in the low 90s along with a terrific curveball and great command, he pitched 6 innings giving up just 4 hits and 1 unearned run well striking out 6 and walking none. García induced a good deal of soft contact, missed bats, and was incredibly efficient in his time as a starter. The young righty is known for his knee-buckling curve and he’s developing a sharp slider. He is now here for the long haul and I expect him to make the rotation out of spring training in 2021 if not he should be the first call up if someone is hurt or ineffective baring an injury.
Estevan Florial, OF – My Preseason #4
2020 Stats: 1 G, 3 PA, .333/.333/.666, 0 R, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB
Florial, who made his major league debut in a 6-4 Yankees loss to the Mets after being selected as the Yankees 29th man for a doubleheader. Florial struck out in his first two major league at bats and singled in the fifth gaining his first MLB hit. He showed his excellent speed and ability and I would expect him to start the 2021 season in Triple-A and get the call up once someone is hurt. This is all pending him staying healthy as well since he has had fluky injuries the last few years.
Miguel Yajure, RHP – My Preseason #9
2020 Stats: 3 G, 0GS, 1.29 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 7 IP, 8 K, 5 BB, 10.30 K/9
Yajure made his major league debut in relief on August 31, 2020, against the Tampa Bay Rays. He pitched three innings of shutout ball, with two strikeouts and three walks. Yajure operated his mid 90s mph fastball and solid changeup. He also showed off a cutter and decent curveball. 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. I expect him to start 2021 in Double-A Trenton working as a starter. Fun fact: he was assigned number 89, MLB’s last unused uniform number when he was called up.
Albert Abreu, RHP – My Preseason #22
2020 Stats: 2 G, 0 GS, 20.25 ERA, 4.50 WHIP, 1.1 IP, 2 K, 2 BB, 13.5 K/9
Abreu flashed his mid 90s fastball with some sink and run. Abreu owns a curveball and changeup as well and showed those. His short-arm delivery provided deception but sometimes hampered him from locating pitches. Abreu looked good in relief but struggled with command and control on his fastball. He could find his way to a high leverage roll in the bullpen as soon as 2021 but I expect him to start the 2021 in Triple-A as a starter.
Michael King, RHP – My Preseason #23
2020 Stats: 9 G, 4 GS, 7.76 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 26.2 IP, 26 K, 11 BB, 8.8 K/9
King was relied on as a swingman and was effective. King showed off his two-seam fastball that sits in the low to mid 90s. He showed run and sink on his heater to either corner of the plate. He’s an extreme ground-ball pitcher with a career groundout/air out ratio of 1.7 through his first three pro seasons prior to 2020 but struggled with that this season giving up 5 home runs in just 24 innings pitched. Both King’s slider and changeup can be solid pitches and he showed that at times as well. King got opted down to the alternative site on September 22nd after giving up 5 hits and 5 runs verse the Blue Jays in just 2.2 innings. He is a a finesse right-hander who might fit at the back of a rotation during his career or swing man as he did in 2020.
Nick Nelson, RHP – My Preseason #26
2020 Stats: 11 G, 0 GS, 4.79 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 20.2 IP, 18 K, 11 BB, 8.70 K/9
Nelson was a long man out of the pen. He looked decent flashing his mid 90s fastball and solid curveball. His slider and changeup are also still developing and he showed them off at times. The Yankees would like to develop him as a starter but he could help in the bullpen long term as well as a seventh-to-eighth inning reliever at the big-league level. Being on the 40-man roster I fully expect to see him at some point in 2021 in the bullpen. Command is going to dictate with him. At times it can be good, at times it can be real bad.
Brooks Kriske, RHP – Preseason N/A
2020 Stats: 4 G, 0 GS, 14.73 ERA, 2.73 WHIP, 3.2 IP, 8 K, 7 BB, 19.60 K/9
Kriske’s fastball runs between 93-97 usually sitting at 95. He also owns a sweeping slider and splitter that is really effective against left-handed hitters. Kriske walked way too many batters over a few games at times he has control and command issues. Kriske saved 11 games in 13 chances for Trenton last year while striking out 64 over 48.2 innings well having a 2.59 ERA for the Thunder in 2019. I expect him to start in Triple-A getting a long look in Spring Training before being called up if someone is ineffective or gets hurt.
Paul Woodin is a huge sports fan who leads the New York Yankees minor league farm system coverage for the Prospects1500 team. Growing up playing and watching baseball while collecting baseball cards, Paul developed a love for the game. Born and raised in Connecticut between Yankees and Red Sox territory, Paul become a Yankees fan because of Don Mattingly and Derek Jeter. An avid sports card, memorabilia and autograph collector, he participates in redraft, dynasty and prospect-only fantasy baseball formats during each season. Feel free to reach out on Twitter