Yankees Dietrich Enns Finally Getting Prospect Recognition

Apr 6, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; General view of fans arriving for the game between the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays on Opening Day at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 6, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; General view of fans arriving for the game between the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays on Opening Day at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports /

After 19 brilliant starts in the upper minors, unheralded Yankees minor league starting pitcher Dietrich Enns is finally getting recognition as a prospect.

Four years after being drafted in the 19th round of the 2012 amateur draft as an unheralded college arm, New York Yankees pitcher Dietrich Enns has forced his way onto his first prospect list, ranking 27th in the system on MLB Pipeline’s updated 2016 Prospect Watch.

The 25-year-old product of Central Michigan University has put up insane minor league numbers for the Yankees the past few years, compiling a 1.85 ERA as a professional. It has taken this long for Enns to be taken seriously as a prospect because MiLB statistics always have to be taken with a grain of salt, especially in the lower levels.

After being drafted, Enns had a 2.11 ERA in 42.2 innings working out of the bullpen for the Staten Island Yankees. He also worked mostly as a reliever for Low-A Charleston the following year, but was completely dominant (0.61 ERA and 14 K/9 in 44.1 IP).

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He struggled for the first and only time during his minor league career after a promotion to Tampa. It was also his first time seeing action as a starter. He went 0-5 with a 5.63 ERA in nine appearances (seven starts) to finish 2013.

His second go-round with the Tampa Yankees was going much better (1.42 ERA with 26 strikeouts in 25.1 IP) when Enns suffered an elbow injury required Tommy John surgery. He missed the remainder of the 2014 campaign and did not return to the mound until June of 2015.

Since returning from surgery, Enns has a 1.33 ERA in 175.1 innings pitched across four levels. He made a few starts for the GCL Yankees in 2015 before ending the season with a dominant performance in High-A.

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Enns was so good that there was talk he could even be added to the 40-man roster following last season to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. As a polished lefty with three quality pitches, it seemed like there was a real chance he might get claimed. Luckily, he flew under the radar and the Yankees managed to keep him in the system.

The surprising Enns has shown that his recent performance is no fluke in 2016, posting unreal numbers with both Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton this year, posting a combined 1.70 ERA in 20 starts while striking out 8.2 batters per nine innings.

There are definitely some drawbacks to his game. Enns is unlikely to have this type of success at the major league level. Control is already an issue for him, issuing 3.5 walks per nine this season, which is the exact same as his career rate.

The scouting reports have not exactly been glowing either. Here’s what his MLB Pipeline write-up has to say:

Here’s what his

"Enns’ lone plus pitch is his changeup, a low-80s offering that dives at the plate. He sets it up with an 87-92 mph fastball that he can spot to either side of the plate and a decent slider with similar velocity to his changeup. He also has a slow curveball he can use to give hitters a different look.Enns hides the ball well with his delivery and has a quick arm, so his pitches jump on hitters quicker than expected. Though he commands his fastball well, he does surrender walks as the result of nibbling around the plate because he has a low margin for error. He’s running out of things to prove in the Minors, and though it’s difficult to project a long-term big league role for him, he should get the call to Yankee Stadium in the near future."

There isn’t anything particularly special about his repertoire or natural abilities, but the simple fact is he has gotten results. Sometimes you just have to see how far these guys can go.

The Yankees will either have to add Dietrich Enns to the 40-man roster before the Rule 5 deadline or he will almost certainly get selected this year. As an unheralded lefty with excellent numbers, he is pretty much the prototypical Rule 5 selection.

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Enns has Chad Green, Luis Severino, and probably Luis Cessa in line ahead of him in the pecking order for big league starts, but he might be useful as a long reliever at some point this year or next. He may not amount to anything long-term, but in terms of pure performance, it doesn’t seem like there’s not much more he can do in Triple-A to demonstrate he’s ready for the show.