A funky left-hander from St. Mary’s who just keeps blowing away the competition, no matter what level he’s placed at? The mainstream prospect media probably thought they’d never have to speak in depth about Yankees lefty Ken Waldichuk, but after an exceptional Triple-A debut this week, it became undeniable: he is among the game’s Top 100 prospects.
Since the start of 2021, Waldichuk has emerged from the canceled pandemic season with a renewed vigor for sending his opponents whiffing back to the dugout, and the southpaw’s first taste of Triple-A ball went swimmingly last week.
While he was surely in consideration for MLB Pipeline’s renewed Top 100 prospects list due to 1.25 years of exceptional work, the buzzworthiness of his accolades at the highest level could’ve pushed Waldichuk over the edge.
All the way to No. 91, in fact.
Waldichuk, in the midst of his second consecutive season of video game numbers, has been honored with a back-end spot on MLB’s list of the game’s top young performers, slotted in between Mariners right-hander Matt Brash and fellow lefty Blake Walston of the Diamondbacks.
He’s only two spots down from Yankees catcher Austin Wells, too, another helium alert candidate in the midst of a powerhouse 2022 (though he currently sits on the IL).
Yankees’ Ken Waldichuk cracks MLB Pipeline Top 100 Prospects
Both Waldichuk and Wells are looking up at Anthony Volpe, who got the bump to No. 5 despite an inconsistent first two months at Double-A.
Now, you want to talk about someone who had no trouble adjusting to the level … Waldichuk struck out 108 men in 79.1 innings of Double-A ball last season after a quick promotion, but held a 4.20 ERA, as his control (38 walks) left something to be desired.
This year? 4-0, 1.26, 46 whiffs (and 10 walks) in 28.2 innings at Somerset before his nine-strikeout debut at Triple-A.
Will Waldichuk get consideration for a potential midseason bump to the bigs? Alongside Hayden Wesneski and Manny Bañuelos, he seems like the team’s best internal prospect candidate when the rotation needs a booster (now that Luis Gil’s out for the season).
Both Gil and Chad Green will reside on the 60-Day IL from here on out, leaving two 40-man roster spots in play.
If Waldichuk keeps pushing and punishing Triple-A batters while climbing up the ladder, he could receive the ultimate prize this summer.