Yankees Prospect Profile Number 7: Domingo Acevedo
As we continue along with the Yanks Go Yard Prospect Profile series, we move down the MLB pipeline to the 7th-ranked prospect for the New York Yankees, Domingo Acevedo.
Scouting grades (courtesy of MLB Pipeline): Fastball: 80 | Slider: 40 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50
No Yankees prospect has split the opinions of pundits this spring more than Domingo Acevedo. The flame-throwing 22-year-old ranked as high as number two in the system one prominent list, but was left out of the top ten entirely on others. With a massive 6’7 frame and a heater that has been clocked as high as 102-103 mph, few pitchers in the minor leagues can match Acevedo’s physical gifts. The reason some evaluators are skeptical however, is that he is still quite rough around the edges for his age. This can be explained by the fact that Acevedo didn’t even begin playing baseball until age 16. He signed with the Yankees in 2012 two years later for just $7,500, and made his debut in the Dominican Summer League the following year.
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After losing most of the 2014 campaign to injury (he made just five starts for the GCL Yankees), Acevedo was assigned to Low-A Charleston to begin the 2015 season. He struggled with blisters on his pitching hand in the first half, but rebounded to make 11 starts with a 1.69 ERA in the second half with Staten Island in the New York-Penn League. Following the season, Acevedo was one of several Yankees top prospects to play for the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League, where he allowed just three earned runs in 12 innings of work while striking out 11 against advanced competition.
Acevedo was once again sent to Charleston to start the year. In his first six starts he dominated Sally League batters, striking out 10 per nine while limiting walks to 1.4 per nine. He allowed just one home run in his first 33.1 innings pitched. Unfortunately, the big righty’s progress has once again been derailed by injury. On May 7, Charleston placed Acevedo on the 7-day DL with an undisclosed lower body injury. It is rare to receive detailed injury reports on minor league players, especially from the secretive Yankees, so there is no public timetable for his return. Although little has been released about the injury, the fact that it is not an elbow or shoulder issue is an encouraging sign for Acevedo’s 2016 season.
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Acevedo’s impressive size and velocity give him perhaps the highest ceiling of any Yankees MiLB starting pitcher. His secondary pitches are still a work in progress, with a slider and change that have the potential to be average or better major league offerings with refinement. If Acevedo comes back healthy, he is expected to rise quickly through the system. It’s plausible he could make his MLB debut as soon as 2017 and claim a place near the front of New York’s rotation the following year.