Farmhands who could contribute in 2020

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Farmhands who could contribute in 2020

Postby T15D23 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:16 pm

Farmhands who could contribute in 2020
Greg Corcoran


We all know about the marquee free agents the Yankees could chase this offseason. Gerritt Cole, Stephen Strasburg, and Zach Wheeler would all look great in pinstripes. It would also be nice to bring back some familiar faces like Brett Gardner, Austin Romine, and Didi Gregorius.

While these signings may or may not take place, the Yankees have some farmhands who could be a big part of the success (or failure) in 2020. It would be great if the Yankees signed an ace and maybe also traded for another one. In the absence of those trades and signings, however, the below players could play a major role in the Yankees season next year.

1. Deivi Garcia, SP – He is a top prospect and has great stuff. The spin rates are off the charts, and the velocity is top notch. Sitting in the mid-90’s and hitting upper 90’s, Garcia could probably help the Yankees already in the bullpen. That’s his floor though, and the Yankees are hoping to see him approach his ceiling. If there is an injury in the rotation, Garcia could find himself making starts at some point in 2020. There is even an outside chance he makes the rotation out of Spring Training. If and when he makes his debut, he will be an exciting player to watch and could be a huge breakout player.

2. Nick Nelson, SP – Another starter with mid-90’s heat that touches the upper 90’s, Nelson has blossomed into a player who will in all likelihood become a major leaguer. Whether that happens in 2020 remains to be seen. Nelson would probably benefit from a full year in Triple-A, however he could be called upon for spot starts or filling in for an injured starter. His stuff also would play out of the bullpen. If there is an injury Nelson could be called upon in that role as well.

3. Trey Amburgey, LF – Amburgey has slowly but steadily worked his way up through the minor league ranks. He spent 2019 in Triple-A and fared pretty well. He finished the year with 22 homeruns and a .274/.329/.494/.822 line. He also hit 31 doubles and three triples. He is a left fielder who has increased his power numbers every season. He is solid across the board, including defensively. He would make a good 4th or 5th outfielder. The Yankees could have a need for him in 2020, especially if they don’t sign another outfielder in free agency. If there is an injury or two, Amburgey could have a Tauchman-like impact on the major league team. He may get selected in the rule 5 draft though, in which case he is the type of player who has a high likelihood of sticking on a 26-man roster.

4. Mandy Alvarez, 3B – Alvarez is another player who has steadily worked his way up the minor league ladder. In 2019, he finished with a .270/.324/.417/.742 line split equally between Double-A and Triple-A. He had 11 HR, 31 doubles, and one triple. Alvarez is 25 and plays a solid third base to go along with decent offensive production. A team could look to swipe him in the rule 5, as another guy with a high probability of sticking. If not, he is a nice option to have in case there are injuries to Gio Urshela and Miguel Andujar.

5. Brooks Kriske, RP – Kriske earned some notoriety when the Yankees protected him on the 40-man roster recently. He had an excellent year mostly in Double-A, finishing with a 2.08 ERA and 80 K : 28 BB in 60.2 innings. Kriske ran his fastball up to 98 this season, sitting mostly in the 95-96 mph range. He also throws an above average slider. He will likely play in Triple-A in 2020 and is a phone call away from making his debut in the majors. If he is able to replicate his success from 2019, Kriske could become a valuable bullpen piece for the Yanks.

6. Gosuke Katoh, 2B – Most have all but given up on Gosuke Katoh, given that he never really lived up to his fantastic first season in the GCL. That said, he reached Triple-A this season and his numbers at that level were good. In 83 Triple-A games, he finished with a .279/.382/.443/.825 line with 11 homeruns, 10 doubles, and eight SB. Including his time in Double-A, the final line was .267/.362/.401/.763 with 13 doubles, one triple, 11 homeruns, and 11 SB. Those numbers are solid for a second baseman. He too will be exposed to the rule 5 draft, although I don’t see him being selected. Still, he is a plus defender with some improving power and speed. The ingredients are there to be a solid backup infielder and if there are injuries in 2020 the Yankees may need help in that department.

7. Wendell Rijo, 2B – Rijo is another middle infielder who could see time with the Yankees. He too saw a power surge in 2019. He finished with a .258/.325/.438/.763 line over three levels. He had 13 HR, 24 doubles, and four SB. Rijo is a contact hitter who can put a charge into the ball from time to time. Rijo can play an average second base but is seen as a hit first type of player. An injury or two in the middle infield could result in a callup for Rijo, and he might surprise a few people with his bat. He is still just 24.

8. Daniel Alvarez, RP – Alvarez is a spin rate darling with his deadly fastball and changeup combination. He used that stuff to have a wildly successful year in 2019. Alvarez had 76 K : 23 BB and a 2.29 ERA in 59 innings. Batters hit just .193 against him. He was not protected in the rule 5 draft, so he could be gone this season. If he stays with the team, Alvarez will start in Triple-A and could easily become a part of the Scranton Shuttle if the bullpen in the Bronx needs some help.

9. Mike King, SP – 2018 was a tremendous breakout season for Mike King. He went from an afterthought in a trade with the Florida Marlins to being on the brink of the major leagues. His velocity climbed from the low-90’s to the mid-90’s, and so did his strikeout numbers. 2019 was more of a struggle. He was injured for most of the year and when he came back, he struggled initially. Once he was able to shake of the rust he pitched well. He even threw two scoreless innings for the Yankees in September. Now that he’s fully healthy, King will be competing for a rotation spot out of Spring Training depending on how the offseason shakes out. I would be surprised if he didn’t make a few starts for the Yankees in 2020 regardless as there are always injuries to the rotation. The best quality about King is that he locates all of his pitches at will.

10. Trevor Lane, RP – Lane is a lefty who has had great stats at every level of the minors. He even pitched in Triple-A in 2019. He finished with a 2.05 ERA and 74 K : 26 BB in 74.2 innings. He had a .170 average against. Lane is eligible for the rule five draft this year and certainly could get taken. He has low-90’s velocity with several solid secondary pitches. As with all of the relievers on this list, if he has a big season in Triple-A he could find himself in the Bronx at some point.

11. Ben Heller, RP – Heller is on the 40-man roster already which gives him an advantage in making the team. He also has been oft injured the past two seasons, which will make it more difficult for him. He has a high spin rate, high velocity 94-97 mph fastball that has hit triple digits. He also throws a slider which can be a plus pitch. When he has been healthy, he has been quite effective. He struck out nine and had a 1.23 ERA in 7.1 innings this September, which is encouraging for 2020.

12. Brian Keller, SP – Keller was injured for about half of 2019 and it’s not so much that he took a step back, but he failed to take a step forward. He maintained his stuff but didn’t advance it. Keller is eligible for the rule five draft this year so hopefully he doesn’t get drafted, but that is doubtful at this point anyway. He has a nice four pitch mix and has upped his stock over the years as his velocity has increased. Keller also has pinpoint control. If his stuff takes another jump in 2020 he could be ready to contribute to the majors as a starter or long reliever. Despite the injuries, he had a 3.79 ERA and 62 K : 19 BB in 76 innings this year.

13. Chris Gittens, 1B – Gittens is a big dude but is athletic for his size. He won defensive first baseman of the year in Trenton this year. Gittens is also eligible for the rule five draft and I wouldn’t be shocked if he got drafted, although my money is against it. He had a phenomenal year in Double-A in 2019, hitting .281/.393/.500/.893 with 23 homeruns. Needless to say if he keeps up that production or even improves in Triple-A, the Yankees could have a need at first base at some point in 2020. It would be fun to see how his power can translate to the majors.

14. Hoy Jun Park, SS – Yet another rule five eligible player, Park had a nice season in Trenton in 2019. He hit .272/.363/.370/.733. This was a pretty typical year for him, including the 20 stolen bases he managed. His progress has been steady but the Yankees are still waiting for some power to show up. If it does, Park could quickly become a major league option in 2020. With the departure of Didi Gregorius, the Yankees will likely have some holes to fill in the middle infield.

15. Kyle Holder, SS – Holder is another SS, and you guessed it, he is eligible for the rule five draft. It is unlikely he gets taken, but a team could keep him as a Tyler Wade type since he is such a good defender. Holder came into his own in the second half of 2019, hitting .281/.363/.407/.770. If he can continue that offensive surge, Holder could become a major league option. We already heard about the middle infield at the major league level, so there is some opportunity there.

16. Ben Ruta, OF – He had the opposite season as Holder, starting off red hot and then cooling off significantly in the second half. Still, Ruta has great speed and athleticism and knows how to steal a base. He may start in Triple-A in 2020, which would put him in position to get some innings in the outfield if an injury or two occurs and he goes back to his hitting ways of the first half of 2019. I’ve always been a big fan of Ruta because of his athleticism. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he finds his way to the majors in 2020 and makes an impact.

17. James Reeves, RP – Reeves is another left-handed reliever who had a tremendous year in Double-A. He finished with 83 K : 26 BB and a 1.87 ERA in 67.1 innings. He had a .177 average against. Reeves has dominated every season in the minors as a reliever. He too is rule five eligible. I’d like to see what he can do at Triple-A this year. Reeves is a low-velocity guy who gets swings and misses with great movement and location. He has nothing left to prove in Double-A, and at some point you have to think this guy can get major leaguers out too.

18. Albert Abreu, SP – It wasn’t a banner year for Albert Abreu, but it wasn’t a terrible year either. He managed to throw 96.2 innings and had 91 K, but he also walked 53. He also had a .276 average against. The main question with Abreu is whether he can gain more control and command. If he can, the stuff could turn him into an ace. If not, he could move to the bullpen and blow guys away. My prediction is that the sooner they put him in the bullpen the sooner he will be in the majors permanently. If that happens in 2020 the Yankees could get a nice boost in their bullpen.

19. Adonis Rosa, SP/RP – Rosa is another ho hum low-mid 90’s pitcher with multiple solid secondary pitches. He has excellent control and has had good results every season. Rosa even pitched in the majors this season for two innings and held his own. He could be used again in a more extensive role for the 2020 Yankees.

20. Rony Garcia, SP – Garcia took a major step forward this year in terms of velocity and stuff. His fastball increased by 2 mph and he added a cutter which has turned out to be a plus pitch for him. Garcia really picked it up at the end of the season and I expect him to improve again in 2020. Garcia now has a mid 90’s fastball that touches the upper 90’s. He could be used as a starter or reliever for the Yankees in 2020.
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