Yankees: 4 surprise prospects whose hot starts we’re watching

3 of 3
Somerset Patriots /

1. Ron Marinaccio (And Stephen Ridings?)

OK, something’s going on in Somerset, so we’d recommend you get to the ballpark.

The Yankees know better than we do which pitchers are worth monitoring, but I can guarantee these two potential flamethrowers were not on your radar before the campaign kicked off.

Ron Marinaccio, a 25-year-old hurler from Toms River, NJ (who we assume hung out with Todd Frazier), was selected in the 19th round out of Delaware back in 2017. He showed up to Double-A this year with 3.1 shutout innings of relief on Opening Day, matched with seven strikeouts.

During the extended break, Marinaccio claims he got really into the available analytics meant to maximize his changeup (“Join the club,” said Corey Kluber) and … it certainly worked in his debut.  The last time we saw him, the righty struggled in the Sally League, walking 18 in 32.1 innings pitched (though he did pile up 40 strikeouts).

On Tuesday, it was nearly all swings and misses on chase off-speed pitches, which is certainly a welcome development.

As for Stephen Ridings? We doubt most Yankees fans gave it a second thought when he was signed to a minor-league deal this offseason after being jettisoned by the Royals, but … did you know he was 6-foot-8 and could top 100?! Neither did we.

Ridings debuted with a scoreless singular inning, and could rise as quickly as any minor-league bullpen piece if this keeps up.

The 40-man roster doesn’t have many weak spots, but needless to say, Albert Abreu and Brooks Kriske at the fringes should be on somewhat high alert.