The New York Yankees may have significantly thinned out their upper-level pitching depth by trading Ken Waldichuk, Luis Medina, Hayden Wesneski, and JP Sears. But just because an advanced class has departed doesn’t mean a new group isn’t right behind them, ready to contribute.
Say what you will about Brian Cashman’ decision to put all his eggs in Frankie Montas’ basket, but the Yankees’ system works, developing those four productive arms in recent years alongside Clarke Schmidt and Luis Gil. Turns out, these days, the Deivi Garcias of the world might be the bugs in the system, not the standard result.
New York’s minor-league pitching development corps was the reason Cashman was alright with exiling that list of top arms, and several breakout starters and relievers throughout the organization have shown flashes in 2022 that they might be prepared to lead the next generation.
Top-10 prospect Yoendrys Gomez has gotten a lot of buzz after his recent return from injury, and names like Will Warren and Randy Vasquez were both tossed around as likely deadline trade pieces/breakouts before they ultimately stuck in the organization. More than anywhere else, though, the Yankees have shined in the bullpen since mid-2021, promoting Schmidt, Ron Marinaccio, Greg Weissert and Stephen Ridings to help the cause.
Little did we know that they have yet to touch the minors’ leader in WHIP for the 2022 season, who still lurks somewhere below the 40-man. Has anyone been paying attention to Double-A Somerset’s Matt Minnick?
Yankees lefty Matt Minnick led all minor-leaguers in WHIP at Double-A
Minnick, a 23rd-round pick out of Mercyhurst College in Pennsylvania back in 2019, has made the most of his age-26 season, to say the least. The left-handed artist’s campaign is his first venture above High-A, where he struggled, by and large, in 2021 (4.40 ERA, 25 walks in 45 innings for a 1.40 WHIP).
The strikeouts were always there, though, as Minnick whiffed 66 batters in The Year Before the Breakout. This season, he’s put everything together, striking out fewer batters (a serviceable 63 in 61 total Double-A innings), but harnessing his stuff and improving both his control and command significantly.
Minnick’s most ridiculous stretch of the season featured a jaw-dropping 0.28 ERA over a 31.1-inning span, but even without the fireworks, he’s still maintained a minors-best 0.75 WHIP, allowing just 27 hits, 19 walks, and four hit batters during the regular season.
The Yankees’ soft-tossing lefties in the minors, especially Minnick and Triple-A’s Matt Krook, haven’t gotten quite as much shine as their right-handed counterparts.
With numbers like these, though, it’s safe to say Minnick’s left-handed consistency may be directly behind Greg Weissert’s wipeout slider on the minor-league breakout promotion pecking order.