Yankees protect only 1 top prospect from 2022 Rule 5 Draft, take major risk


The last time New York Yankees fans saw MLB Pipeline’s No. 14 prospect Randy Vásquez in action, he was as dominant as possible, twirling eight spotless innings in a combined 15-0, Double-A Eastern League-clinching no-hitter against the Erie Seawolves.

That’s the kind of ridiculous stuff that gets you protected from poachers in the Rule 5 Draft.

The Yankees have learned that difficult lesson well in recent years, watching their overflowing young pitching be picked apart piece by piece. Sometimes, it was a simple numbers game; the Yankees lost Garrett Whitlock to the Red Sox because they believed no one would take the risk after his Tommy John, and Boston took it.

Sometimes, it was pure foolishness; how many times did the Yankees erroneously protect Brooks Kriske, who was shipped overseas shortly thereafter?

Next season, the Yankees are going to need to do a ridiculous amount of work to protect some tippy-top prospects like Anthony Volpe. This year? They had a few open 40-man spots, and it figured they would take two or three prospects along for the ride, especially after losing Stephen Ridings to waivers.

Turns out, New York is being very stingy this time around, and only Vásquez gets the initial nod. That leaves the Bombers in somewhat risky territory, even if they made the obvious right move here in protecting an electric arm.

Yankees protect Randy Vásquez on 40-man roster, leave Andres Chaparro up for grabs

Vásquez had to be protected. Had to. An arm like his, who could be stashed in some bad team’s bullpen for the full 162, is exactly the type that usually gets plundered.

But with so much roster space available, and with Jhony Brito and Matt Krook added to the 40-man a few days prior, it seemed likely the Yankees would go even further.

Perhaps one or two top catching prospects would get the nod? Both Josh Breaux and Antonio Gomez are now up for grabs.

Easily, the Yankees’ most egregious error was not protecting 23-year-old slugging third baseman/Double-A exit velocity king Andres Chaparro.

Was there room on the Yankees’ 26-man roster for Chaparro this season? Hopefully not, but that’s a pretty good developing insurance policy to have.

Could some other team promote an advanced bat like Chaparro’s immediately, though, to swipe him away from the Yankees? You’d think so. He’s no teenager. What’s the Twins’ plan without Miguel Sano? The Oakland A’s wouldn’t be interested?

Beyond Chaparro, you could’ve convinced us the Yankees could go in many different directions here, even standing pat after adding only two names. Instead, the Bombers went one step riskier, and it could easily come back to bite them.

Wouldn’t take long, either.