Yankees: 3 prospects who’ve become untouchable during 2021 season

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NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 17: Luis Gil #81 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Boston Red Sox in the first inning during game two of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium on August 17, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images) /

Sometime around mid-April, the Yankees‘ future changed across every single level of the minor leagues.

Bizarrely, the team’s top prospect catalog seemed to flip on its head once the 2021 MiLB season reignited, featuring a ton of hungry players who felt left behind by the pandemic that canceled a full year of their development.

Several of the names you’ve heard before have taken steps back, namely Deivi Garcia, who lit up the Bronx in 2020, and Clarke Schmidt, who’s barely appeared at all.

Luckily, on the flip side, several names have emerged from deep within the system not just as intriguing pieces, but as potential cornerstones.

You saw it at the trade deadline. Despite the perception that the Yankees’ farm system was quit weak, Brian Cashman was able to spin several 2021 breakouts into both Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo, while keeping the vast majority of his top 15 prospects in-house.

And that’s after he kicked a few additional prospects into the packages to get those two All-Stars’ salaries fully covered, too.

Without the leaps forward they’d made during the 2021 season, there’s no chance Josh Smith and Glenn Otto (as much as we love ’em) could’ve highlighted a package for Gallo. Laughable. Wouldn’t have made it to the final screen of any “Trade Simulator” prior to April. After a sequence of breakouts this season, though, combined with the Rangers’ desire for MLB-ready talent, the Yankees had a deal.

Sure, there might be a few franchises out there with farm systems preferred by the experts (nearly 20, per Baseball America), but we’d wager no other MLB team is having a more impressive year, in terms of unexpected development top-to-bottom, than the Yankees.

When the season began, you’d have been devastated to learn Garcia has become unpitchable and Schmidt hasn’t been able to stretch himself out. As the season ends, though, things have flipped. There’s a good chance both men remain in the system next year and are given a chance to answer some pretty prominent questions, mostly because their respective values have never been this low.

Meanwhile, their legacies have been lapped by a few players who’ve become essential to New York’s future.

These 3 prospects have become untouchable for the New York Yankees.

3. Luis Gil

How can you justify jettisoning Luis Gil at this point? He can’t be removed from the big-league rotation, let alone the minor-league ranks.

There are still plenty of things the rookie has to iron out, but none of them seem to matter much after he was tossed directly into the MLB fire and responded with three consecutive outings without an earned run allowed…against the O’s (welcome), followed by the Wild Card contending Mariners and Red Sox.

Gil’s command isn’t spectacular, something the Sox took advantage of in their most recent matchup (again, to the tune of literally zero runs), and he’s had a few extremely short minor-league starts this year where he’s struggled to hit the corners whatsoever. All told, though, it’s no great stunner his breakout year has ended with major-league success.

In Gil’s first taste of Double-A this year in Somerset, he struck out 50 in 30.2 innings, getting the surprisingly early bump to Triple-A. Once he reached that level, he lost some of his trademark confidence, walking 23 in 30.1 innings and scuffling to find his swagger.

Luckily, the Yankees showed supreme confidence in the righty (and ran into a bare pitching cupboard) and they’ve been summarily rewarded. Don’t even think about asking for Gil this offseason.