The 2023 Futures Game rosters dropped Monday night, and on July 8 in Seattle, the New York Yankees will be sending two prospect representatives to the American League team: 2022 first-rounder Spencer Jones and 2022 trade deadline acquisition Clayton Beeter.
One of those players arrived in New York's system in the most conventional way possible. 6'7" outfielder from Vanderbilt with Aaron Judge-like exit velocities who's still available at the tail end of the first round? Yeah, the Yankees are going to go ahead and select that guy, thanks.
One of them, though, arrived as the result of a trade that the Yankees probably would've nodded and said yes to even if there hadn't been another player on the other end of the line.
After a disastrous year in the Bronx, which ended with an interview where he detailed being afraid to leave the house for fear of visceral booing, Joey Gallo was given the green light to pursue greener pastures at the 2022 trade deadline. After teetering dangerously close to the edge of overvaluing a nearly deadened asset, the Yankees and Dodgers met in the middle on deadline day; New York sent Gallo west, while LA countered with Beeter, a 2020 compensatory round draft pick who'd been having a Gallo-esque time in the Double-A Texas League.
Nearly one year ago, Beeter was holding onto a 5.75 ERA across 18 outings in the Dodgers' system, a number so ghastly it almost made you miss his 88 strikeouts (and 35 walks) in 51.2 innings. The Yankees, holding a lottery ticket, hoped for some positive progression. With that type of swing-and-miss stuff, there was always a chance Beeter could at least become an elite reliever.
Now? Beeter, recently promoted to Triple-A, has whiffed 82 in 66 innings, but with greatly improved numbers across the board (2.32 ERA, 50 hits allowed, .211 BAA, and we'll ignore the 30+ walks). He'll be headed to the Futures Game as the Yankees' second rep, on the cusp of being another big-league contributor from this fruitful pitching farm.
Yankees Clayton Beeter, Spencer Jones selected to Futures Game
Last summer, fast-riser Ken Waldichuk went directly from the Futures Game to the A's at the deadline. Beeter, a potential future relief weapon (if he can't harness his control), could be next in line to either help the 2023 Yankees upgrade or the 2024 Yankees dominate. Not a bad prize to receive in exchange for a player in distress.
Gallo, of course, has already moved on from Los Angeles to Minnesota, though the chain of his Yankees legacy has continued to add links.
New York acquired Gallo at the 2021 deadline in a blockbuster that featured two players, Ezequiel Durán and Josh Smith, who looked like MLB contributors, but would've squeezed someone off the Yankees' 40-man roster in the offseason if they hadn't been traded. The Yankees kept and protected Everson Pereira instead, a decision that's paid dividends. Smith and Durán have both become big-leaguers, and Durán would be (sigh) a nice piece to have in left field right now, hitting .315 with an .883 OPS for the West-leading Rangers.
That said, ideally the Yankees' left field gap doesn't last forever. That's what Spencer Jones is for. Maybe Beeter can pick his brain while they're both in Seattle being honored for their dominance as the Gallo Wheel in the sky keeps on turning.