The fate of the Yankees 2021 season, and possibly their future, will be shaped by the outcome of the intense trade negotiations taking place this week and next, leading up to the Friday, July 30 MLB trade deadline. As I have already written, the team is more likely to be buyers than sellers this season.
Given the poor performance of many established players as well as countless stints on the injured list, the Yanks will almost certainly have to dig into their farm system if they hope to acquire at least one or two players who can make them more competitive during the second half of the season.
It is very unlikely the Yanks would be willing to part with their number one star prospect, Jasson Dominguez. In five games, he has produced a slash line of .400/.429/.700 (HR, 3B, 2B) for the Single-A Tampa Tarpons after recently joining them. His upside is unlimited.
Fortunately, several minor league players have blossomed this year and have been mentioned as potential significant elements of attractive trade packages for the Bombers. MLB Pipeline’s top 10 Yankees prospects include Clarke Schmidt (#2), Deivi Garcia (#3), Luis Gil (#5), Luis Medina (#7), Yoendrys Gomez (#8), and Alexander Vizcaino (#9), all of whom are pitchers. As for the position players, Oswald Peraza (#4), catcher Austin Wells (#6), outfielder Estevan Florial (#10), and shortstop Anthony Volpe (#11) lead the way.
Also, Hoy Jun Park and Trey Amburgey have been lighting up the minor leagues playing for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRaiders. They have had spot starts for the Bombers, and they could attract attention from other clubs, too.
In addition to demands for these potential future stars, watch for savvy opposing team GMs to aggressively pursue left-hander Ken Waldichuk (currently No. 27 and rising quickly) in talks with the Yankees.
Waldichuk grew up in San Diego, California, and played for St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California (east of Oakland). He had a 2.08 ERA in 2018 and was named First-Team All-West Coast Conference that year.
Waldichuk finished college with a 2.58 ERA, and he was drafted by the Yanks in the fifth round (165 overall) in 2019. He was assigned to the High-A Hudson Valley Renegades in May and was named to MLB.com’s Prospect Team of the Week. Waldichuk was promoted to the Double-A Somerset Patriots last month.
Thus far, in 2021, he has a 5-0 record, 1.88 ERA, and a ridiculous 104 strikeouts in 62.1 innings pitched. The 23-year-old has a good command of his fastball, slider, and changeup. Baseball America identified him as one of the most promising pitching prospects in baseball. Word’s gotten out!
If Waldichuk continues to pitch as well as he has, he could be promoted to Triple-A by the end of this year. More realistically, we’ll see him in Triple-A next year. Either way, he very well could make his MLB debut in 2022 if he progresses on this trajectory.
While Waldichuk has been flying under the radar thus far, that’s likely coming to an end soon. Don’t be surprised if he gets traded to another team along with other promising prospects if there’s a player the Yankees highly covet at the deadline.
What we’re hoping for, though? He stays with us and becomes a cornerstone piece for the rotation and buck the trend of the Yankees not being able to develop young pitchers. That’d be more fulfilling.