Yankees: Which minor leaguers could impact the rotation in 2018?

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Chance Adams
TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Chance Adams /

No rotation is ever lucky enough to stay completely healthy over the course of 162 games. That’s why it’s so important to have depth beyond your starting five. The Yankees have that with a collection of young arms who could impact the big league rotation in 2018.

With a little over two weeks to go until Opening Day the Yankees rotation is set. There was competition for the fifth starter’s spot coming into camp, but to the surprise of nobody, Jordan Montgomery won the job. After his terrific rookie season and strong start to the spring the decision was a no brainer for new skipper Aaron Boone.

However, because management opted not to sign a free agent starter there will come a time where somebody from the minor leagues will be called upon to join the rotation. Their stay might not be long, but they’ll be given an opportunity to make an impact.

Let’s take a look at potential call-ups who could do just that.

Chance Adams

Adams is the obvious name on the list after having an excellent season last year between Double and Triple-A. He’s quickly gone through every level of the minor leagues since being drafted back in 2015 and it’s only a matter of time before he’s ready to make his big league debut. He still has work to do when it comes to developing a third out pitch, but he has the stuff to get big league hitters out with his fastball/slider combo right now.

Adams would’ve likely already been given a shot in the Yankee rotation if not for Montgomery’s success. Now it’s a luxury to have him waiting in the wings at Triple-A. There’s a reason why he’s been one of, if not the top pitching prospect in the system over the past two years. This could be the season he gets his opportunity to show why.

Domingo Acevedo

Acevedo has been someone to keep an eye for the past couple seasons because of his power fastball that has reached up to 103 mph. He’s a big man at 6’7, 250 lbs, but unlike most pitchers who are that tall he has pretty good control. That’s one of the reasons management has stuck with him as a starter instead of converting him to a flame thrower out of the pen.

This spring we haven’t seen him in any game action because all his work has come in simulated games. However, he’s certainly flashed his potential; just ask Aaron Boone.

Here’s Boone on Acevedo, per Randy Miller of NJ.com.

"“He’s a guy that because of his talent, as soon as he gets rolling, he gets himself into the (emergency starter) conversation in a hurry.”"

Those are encouraging words from the Yankee manager, which tells you the 24-year old is definitely on the coaching staff’s radar. He’ll still have to conquer Triple-A, after only making four starts with Scranton a season ago. However, don’t be surprised if he’s in pinstripes later this summer.

Luis Cessa

Over the past two seasons Cessa has the most big league experience of the four names you’ll see on this list. The results have been hit and miss. His career 4.49 ERA isn’t great, but that’s mostly because of his struggles when he was back and forth on the Scranton shuttle a season ago. During his rookie year of 2016 he looked like a future staple in the rotation after posting a solid 1.09 WHIP in 51.2 innings as a starter.

Two straight seasons of poor spring performances have cost Cessa a spot in the rotation and you hope that doesn’t affect him when he starts this season at Triple-A. He’s shown glimpses in the past that he can pitch at this level, but if he doesn’t perform at Scranton he might not get another opportunity.

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Domingo German

German has flown under the radar throughout the organization since coming over to the Yankees in the Nathan Eovaldi trade back in 2015. He’s only the team’s 18th best prospect according to MLB Pipeline, but he’s coming off a strong 2017 campaign at Triple-A and he’s had an excellent spring.

The 25 year-old right-hander has an ERA of 0.84 in 10.2 spring innings with a very impressive 13 strikeouts. He’s showcased a high 90s fastball with serious two-seam movement and a nice feel for his change-up and curveball. It’s unclear if German was ever in the running for the fifth starter job but he’s certainly made his mark and that won’t go unnoticed once the regular season rolls around. He could be first in line for a call-up if somebody gets injured.

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Outside of these three, the Yankee system has plenty more to offer when it comes to future members of their big league rotation. Justus Sheffield and Albert Abreu are two of the main names to keep an eye on, but they’re probably still a year away from making an impact. The same goes for Frecier Perez and Dillon Tate.

This is all a credit to Brian Cashman and his scouting/player development team. All this organizational depth at such a vital position is going to benefit the Yankees for years to come.