Prospect expert explains why Yankees' next wave of pitchers fit well behind Cole, Rodón

Auburn's Richard Fitts (43) pitches during the Auburn-Alabama Capital City Classic at Riverfront
Auburn's Richard Fitts (43) pitches during the Auburn-Alabama Capital City Classic at Riverfront / Jake Crandall/ Advertiser

The stars of the New York Yankees' farm system are all potential offensive juggernauts, from established talents like Anthony Volpe and Jasson Dominguez to wild cards like 6-7 Baseball Hulk Spencer Jones.

The league's worst systems are top heavy if they're not totally bereft of talent, and that's why the Yankees always fall somewhere in the middle. Their upper-tier prospects are among the game's most exciting, but once you get towards the back of the Top 10, you'll encounter a great deal of depth pieces who've yet to distinguish themselves.

As current MLB Pipeline expert Jim Callis explained in a chat on Wednesday, though, that isn't always a bad thing.

For as much guff as the Yankees got for clearing out their upper-level pitching at last year's deadline, trading the likes of Ken Waldichuk, JP Sears and Hayden Wesneski, the team clearly believed they could replicate those arms in due time. Callis and the MLB Pipeline staff believe in the Yankees, too, ranking 18 of their current pitchers among this year's Top 30 prospects.

Are they all stars? No. All-Stars? Maybe some, but probably not. As Callis said, though, if you have Gerrit Cole and Carlos Rodón long-term, you don't need a fleet of aces. You need mid-rotation standouts and innings eaters, something the Pipeline team believes they have in abundance.

Yankees Top 30 Prospects packed with 18 mid-rotation pitchers

Hey, if the Richard Fitts, wear it.

Just after the list's top seven members, Callis and Co. have three pitchers ranked consecutively to round out the Top 10: 2022 draftee Drew Thorpe at No. 8, sweeper artist Will Warren at No. 9, and Auburn's Fitts at No. 10. Most Yankees fans likely aren't too familiar with that trio of names, but Thorpe was thought of as a mid-rotation option last summer with an all-time changeup who could stand to gain a little velocity, and lo and behold, he's already up a tick or two in camp this year. Warren is probably the next in line to be a Wesneski/Waldichuk type, and should sniff Triple-A pretty quickly this season.

Fitts? He's an unknown sixth rounder and it's a bit of a surprise to see him so high, but he handled High-A Hudson Valley last season and touches 97 with natural cutting action, just the way the Yankees like 'em.

So, yes, there's a good chance Randy Vásquez and Yoendrys Gómez don't become fire-breathing, ace-caliber pitchers. There's also a good chance that three as-yet-unranked pitchers discover a new gear this season and rise onto next year's list. That's what the Yankees do, and MLB's Callis believes they're on the right path.