Yankees Busy Trade Deadline in Review!

Luis Medina, Somerset Patriots, June 16, 2021. Photo credit Jeffrey Hyde, @jeffhyde on Twitter, and Jeffrey Hyde on Flickr

Like in the past at the baseball trade deadline Brian Cashman was very busy improving the major league team using prospects at his disposal. Cashman pulled off Andrew Benintendi, Frankie Montas, Scott Effross and Lou Trivino without giving up any of Oswald Peraza, Austin Wells, Anthony Volpe, or Jasson Dominguez.  I believe the Yankees drafted all college players, knowing they would be trading away so many pitchers at this deadline. The college players may be promoted quickly to fill the holes in the minor league system. I love the trade of Joey Gallo for Clayton Beeter. It fills a new hole in the system and gets Gallo a fresh start. The Yankees also acquired outfielder Harrison Bader from the Cardinals in exchange for pitcher Jordan Montgomery. But being a non-prospect trade I will not touch on that here. Instead, I break down the other big trades after the busy deadline week. I believe the Yankees did just enough to get over the hump and win number 28 this season.

Andrew Benintendi from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for minor-league pitchers LHP T.J. Sikkema, RHP Beck Way and RHP Chandler Champlain.

I’m a huge fan of this trade (even though one minor leaguer I wasn’t a fan of getting rid of in this trade, see below). Hopefully Benintendi will contuing being a solid player, and the Yankees offer him an extension in the offseason.

Benintendi (.321/.389/.399) brings a much needed contact-oriented bat to the Yankees outfield mix. He walks at a strong 10.1% clip while only punching out 13.5% of his trips to the plate (at time of trade). Although he only connected on three home runs, Benintendi currently leads the majors with 91 singles, as well as 14 doubles. Benintendi’s production has been helped by a career-high .368 BABIP (batting average on balls in play). Even if his BABIP regresses closer to his .325 career mark, his plate discipline and bat control should support a solid on-base percentage. Those plus bat-to-ball skills contrast sharply with Joey Gallo, the player he is replacing in the lineup.

Sikkema was the 38th overall pick in the 2019 draft.  I ranked him at 20 in the midseason Prospects1500 top 50 rankings. His first season (2020) was wiped out due to COVID, and he spent last year on the injured list. Hence: to date he only has 15 appearances despite being drafted in 2019. He owns a 2.43 ERA with 54 strikeout through 37 innings in High-A Hudson Valley this year. Sikkema is expected to be a solid back-end rotation piece He will be Rule 5 eligible this winter, so the Royals will need to add him to the 40-man roster or risk losing him. Given roster considerations, he was a good trade candidate for the Yankees.

The Yankees picked Way in the 4th round of the 2020 draft.  He has spent this season at High-A Hudson Valley where he has worked 73 innings of 3.73 ERA ball, striking out 80 hitters this season. Way owns a mid-90’s fastball and a promising sweeping slider. He should become a back-end rotation piece or valuable long reliever in the big leagues. I ranked him at 24 in the midseason Prospects1500 top 50 rankings. Of the three prospects in this trade, Way is the one I most hate to lose.

Champlain was a ninth-round draftee out of USC last season. The 23-year-old has spent the entire year with Low-A Tampa, posting a 4.26 ERA with 94 strikeouts in 74 innings (16 games, 15 starts). He is armed with a mid-90s fastball, a 12-to-6 curveball which flashes above-average, a good slider, and an at-best average changeup with room for improvement. Champlain has shown good control with all four pitches. He projects as a prospect who should take some time to develop in the minor leagues, and is one to watch due to his excellent spin rate and three potential above average pitches.  I ranked him at 34 in the midseason Prospects1500 top 50 rankings. I’m a huge fan of Champlain’s and am sorry to see him go.

RHP Frankie Montas and RHP Lou Trivino from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for LHP JP Sears, INF Cooper Bowman, RHP Luis Medina and LHP Ken Waldichuk.

Montas has been a solid member of Oakland’s rotation for years, first establishing himself in 2018. Despite a down year in 2020, Montas still owns a career 3.73 ERA with a 24.8% strikeout rate, 7.8% walk rate and 43.5% ground ball rate. Just looking at what he’s done since the start of the 2021 season, he’s been on an even better level, logging a 3.30 ERA, 26.3% strikeout rate, 7.1% walk rate and 44% grounder rate. In 19 starts this season Montas has 109 strikeouts in 104.2 innings to go with a 3.18 ERA.

Trivino has posted an ugly 6.47 ERA to go along with 45 strike outs over 32 innings. Digging deeper you find that the ugly ERA is in part due to a .451 BABIP, well above the league .285 league average for relievers this year and Trivino’s .275 career mark coming into the season. His ground ball rate was 46.1% coming into the season but is at 49.4% this year. Trivino’s 28.9% strikeout rate this year is well above the 23.9% of prior seasons. His walk rate of 9.6% is slightly above league average, but better than his own previous year’s mark of 10.9%. Trivino just seems to be having some bad luck this season. He’s making a modest $3M salary this year and can be retained via arbitration for another two seasons.

Waldichuk is probably the best prospect being traded to Oakland. The Yankees’ 2019 5th round pick has split time this year between Double-A and Triple-A. In 17 starts between the two levels, he’s thrown 79.2 innings with a 2.71 ERA and 116 strikeouts. Waldichuck owns a strong four pitch mix (fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup) with serious late life on his fastball. He has #2 rotation potential, and most likely will be a a high quality #3. The southpaw was recently ranked number 6 in the midseason Prospects1500 top 50 rankings. He will be the player I miss the most from this trade.

Sears made his MLB debut this year and has looked good so far: notching a 2.05 ERA with 15 strike outs in his first 22 big league innings (7 games, 2 starts). In 43 Triple-A innings (11 games, 9 starts) this year, he has a 1.67 ERA with a 55 strikeouts rate. Sears will be a solid back end option or long reliever in the big leagues who owns a good fastball, a solid the slider and changeup. Sears came in 27th in the midseason Prospects1500 top 50 rankings.

Medina has made 17 starts in Double-A this year, throwing 72 innings with a 3.38 ERA, and 81 strike outs. His 50.9% ground ball rate, 26.4% strikeout rate are impressive, but he has a high 13% walk rate. Medina’s fastball sits in the mid-to high 90s and tops out at 102. His two secondary pitches, a hammer curveball and a devastating change up, are both above-average offerings right now but have the potential to become plus pitches in the future with increased command. I think Medina is destined to be a power reliever or closer in the big leagues. Medina came in 8th in the midseason Prospects1500 top 50 rankings.

Bowman was just drafted in the fourth round last year. He owns a smooth right-handed swing with a good feel for hitting and a patient approach. He makes consistent contact and regularly gets on base, and is a plus asset once on base. Bowman’s bat speed and strength give him solid raw power and he shows the ability to drive the ball out of the park from gap to gap. A solid middle infielder that hits 15-20 home runs a year isn’t out of the question here. He’s played 80 games in High-A this year, putting up a line of .217/.343/.355 with 8 home runs, 15 doubles and 35 RBI. While playing a solid second and shortstop. Bowman came in 30th in the midseason Prospects1500 top 50 rankings.

RHP Scott Effross from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for minor leaguer RHP Hayden Wesneski.

I was not a fan of this trade at first. I believe the Yankees should have pried David Robertson from the Cubs. Robertson has a successful track record in New York and probably would have cost the Yankees a less valuable prospect. But, that didn’t happen…

Effross is a very nice piece to get. He has five years of team control with three options left if he doesn’t work out or has some kinks to iron out. He’ll be arbitration-eligible following the 2024 campaign and won’t reach free agency until the 2027-28 offseason. Effross throws right-handed. He has been far more effective against lefties than right-handers to this point in his big league career, which surely held appeal to the Yankees. That’s not to say that he’s ineffective against fellow righties but Effross has held lefties to a .160/.250/.253 batting line through 85 plate appearances. Right-handed hitters have had some struggles of their own, hitting at a .262 clip but posting a meager .287 OBP and just a .369 slugging percentage.

Wesneski was the Yankees’ sixth-round pick in 2019 and has emerged as one of the organization’s top pitching prospects. I ranked him at 13 in the midseason Prospects1500 top 50 rankings. The big righty reached Triple-A late in the 2021 season and has spent the entire 2022 campaign there. Through 19 starts and 91.1 innings so far this season, he has notched a 3.45 ERA with a 83 strikeouts and a 41.6% ground-ball rate. Wesneski owns a two-seam (mid-90s velocity) and a four-seam (upwards of 99 mph) fastball. He also works with a slider, changeup and cutter. If he can refine his secondary offerings and upgrade his command, he also could move quickly as a fastball-heavy reliever as well. He has potential to be a mid- to back-end rotation piece one who’s not too far off from big league readiness.

Pitching prospect Clayton Beeter from the Dodgers for Joey Gallo

Gallo just did not work out in New York and was a strike out machine.

Beeter was the 66th overall pick in the 2020 MLB draft, and has been playing at the Dodger’s AA team in Tulsa. At 23 years old he had a 5.75 ERA in 51.2 innings pitched. He also had 88 strike outs but gave up 35 walks. Beeter will need to work on his control. I think with some Yankees tinkering he can become a even better prospect. He has a plus mid 90s fastball and a super nasty curveball. His curveball was rated best in the Dodgers organization. Worst case scenario Beeter is a power reliever in the big leagues. Beeter was ranked 17th in the Dodgers midseason list, and there is no doubt Beeter will be in my new top 50 prospects for next season.

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

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