Yankees announce top pitching prospect now just one step away from MLB

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees / New York Yankees/GettyImages

Was it slightly unfair to pile so many expectations upon the shoulders of sweeper specialist Will Warren, after the Yankees dealt away so many of the pitching prospects above him in the pecking order at last season's trade deadline? Of course! Yes.

But ... did Warren deliver, with aplomb, at Double-A Somerset this season for a system desperately in need of upper-level pitching stars? Without Ken Waldichuk, Hayden Wesneski, JP Sears, and Luis Medina? Absolutely. And he's now been rewarded for it.

The news dropped on Wednesday that Warren would be heading to the next level, just one call-up removed from being given a shot in the Yankees' rotation or bullpen.

As it turns out, the final start he watched with Somerset was a Luis Severino rehab outing. Not to portend something potentially interesting, but ... might Warren get a shot to replace Sevy in the big-league rotation, post-free agency?

Yankees sent top pitching prospect Will Warren to Triple-A Scranton

Just Tuesday night, Warren spoke to AMNY's Christian Arnold about the strides he's made this season, as well as the things he still has to work on.

The good? Hitting 97-98, while striking out 39 men in 29.1 innings at Double-A with a 2.45 ERA to show for his troubles.

The bad? Like current MLB back-end starter Clarke Schmidt, Warren has a bit of a lefty problem. And, if Schmidt's cutter use is any indication, the Yankees can't use a "one size fits all" strategy here to mitigate the issue.

"So far this season Warren has struck out lefty batters 20 times, but their hitting line against him has been .283/.377/.321, so Warren knows work needs to be done and calls the process of learning the pitch 'a lot of trial and error.'

'Going into this offseason, we were really ‘let’s hammer down on that if we can get that, you know, I think this will help you out against lefties.' And so, really just working on that throughout the entire offseason,' Warren explained. 'Coming into spring training and having that, you know, having those guys in Tampa saying yeah, this has really come a long way. Yeah, that just gives you confidence going out there to throw it.'"

Christian Arnold, AMNY

Warren's first Triple-A start will take place in Charlotte, which will likely begin a half-season chance to establish his footing and earn a big-league look out of camp (or a little bit after that) in 2024.

It's fair for fans to expect an adjustment period, but considering the expectations heaped upon him this spring as "the only guy left," Warren has the ability to adjust and carry the burden.

Hopefully, it won't be long before the emergence of Drew Thorpe, Richard Fitts and Chase Hampton to join him. Because, here's the funny thing: The Yankees actually were right. They didn't empty the tank last deadline. They just shaved off a number of players who'd already hit their ceilings in favor of the next batch.

Warren might be a tweak or two away from surpassing all those 2022 trade chips at once.