Yankees uncovered one of their fastest-rising prospects in Lucas Luetge trade steal

Cincinnati Reds v Atlanta Braves
Cincinnati Reds v Atlanta Braves / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

We're going to give our readership credit. You guys are all over the Yankees' minor-league system. After all, when the big-league roster falls short of expectations, that's where we typically turn our hopes to.

But you have to be really plugged in to have noted infielder Caleb Durbin as a breakout candidate prior to the 2023 season. Hell, we'll give you credit if you noticed him before this past week or so down at High-A Hudson Valley and had the wherewithal to remember where he came from and how he joined the system.

Durbin got the bump to Double-A Somerset on Tuesday, and while we advocated for red-hot Aaron Palensky to get a look last week, promoting the infielder definitely made more sense. Somerset's outfield looks impossible to crack without a Brandon Lockridge bump to Triple-A, but there's some wiggle room at second, where Durbin will look to continue his early-season hot streak.

Oh, and what a hot streak it's been. The 23-year-old, righty-swinging (darn it) infielder was acquired, somewhat silently, in the Lucas Luetge trade with the Braves this offseason. Considering that deal was mostly about ejecting a low-leverage arm off the 40-man roster, it wasn't expected that the Yankees would be acquiring much potential in return.

When they finagled hard-throwing 6'5" reliever Indigo Diaz, that felt intriguing enough. Turns out, Durbin might be even better (though Diaz sports a 1.54 ERA at Triple-A).

Yankees prospect Caleb Durbin, from Lucas Luetge trade with Braves, promoted to Double-A

Durbin posted 26 hits in 78 at-bats with the Renegades, swiping a Yankees system-high 15 bags in April and early May. While he hasn't socked a home run yet, keeping his SLG under .400, he's still managed to post an .861 OPS, striking out only nine times.

Last season? His bat had less thump in it, but he whiffed a remarkably low 50 times in 382 at-bats. When Yankee fans talk about inserting more bat-on-ball skills into the lineup, they're talking about adding players like Durbin, who has a chance to develop into a valuable utility bench piece, at the very least.

And, oh yeah: He's got range.

Surely, Durbin slowed down after he reached Double-A, though? Tough adjustment, after all.

Uh, no. We are now receiving word that he did not, in fact, slow down.

You're forgiven if Durbin wasn't on your radar a month ago. He wasn't on ours.

But as the Yankees seek to develop their next generation of utility men, Durbin's baseline skills could really come in handy. 10 out of 10, would trade Lucas Luetge (8.10 ERA, 1.80 WHIP) again after getting two great years out of his comeback story.