Yankees pitching prospect from Luke Voit trade might've turned impressive corner

Mar 1, 2021; Peoria, AZ, USA; San Diego Padres Justin Lange #97 poses during media day at the Peoria
Mar 1, 2021; Peoria, AZ, USA; San Diego Padres Justin Lange #97 poses during media day at the Peoria / USA TODAY NETWORK

With most current Yankees prospect energy focused on the big offensive names -- Jasson Dominguez struggling, Spencer Jones mashing, Andres Chaparro doing Andres Chaparro things -- the team's pitchers might get lost in the shuffle.

After all, this team is looking to build outsized personalities on offense, while also creating a repeatable fleet of pitchers. They might not be 6-7 or nicknamed "The Martian," but that's OK with the Yankees, who just want to instill their recommendations, teach everyone a sweeper, and create the next line of defense after trading Ken Waldichuk/Hayden Wesneski/JP Sears last summer.

That next group appears to be led by fast-risers Will Warren, Clayton Beeter and Richard Fitts. Fitts and Warren were drafted by the Yankees, while Beeter was snared in the Joey Gallo trade with the Dodgers last summer.

Fire-breathing Justin Lange is also making an early argument that he shouldn't be forgotten. The top-30 prospect acquired in the preseason dump of Luke Voit to San Diego last spring, Lange has harnessed his velocity, topping out at 98 at Low-A Tampa. He's also generating a high degree of whiffs so far after being unable to get out of Rookie Ball last season.

Yankees pitching prospect Justin Lange turning Luke Voit trade into win

Lange spent 2022 working on his mechanics at the lowest levels, posting a 6.44 ERA in 12 short starts in the short-season FCL.

Given the bump to full-season ball this year for the first time, Lange has responded with renewed enthusiasm, allowing seven hits, two earned runs, and just two walks across 10 innings in his first two starts -- and oh, right, he's whiffed 17.

Lange predictably fell out of MLB Pipeline's Top 30 Yankees prospects entering the season. After all, his resumé didn't merit inclusion, even if his arsenal might've deserved a second look.

Now unleashed in 2023, though, the 21-year-old who was selected in the sandwich round between the first and second rounds of the 2020 MLB Draft is making a case for himself in New York's system. Considering Voit is long gone in San Diego and was edged out of the Yankees' lineup long ago, this trade likely already goes down as a win, even if Lange eventually stalls out.