Both pitchers got a chance to show off their stuff at the big-league level in 2020, and both graduated from a strong Yankees farm system with huge potential and huge expectations.
But which up-and-comers emerging through the Yankees pipeline could become the next Clarke Schmidt or Deivi Garcia? Both of those youngsters headlined a notable group of talented right-handed arms that has recently populated the Yankees’ top-prospect rankings, and the next wave of hurlers could soon follow suit.
Here now we’ll take a look at some top contenders that could make noise in the Majors as early as next season, sorted in descending order by their MLB.com prospect ranking within the organization.
1) Luis Gil, RHP - 22 years old, No. 5 prospect
As mentioned, the Yankees have compiled a deep squad of talented young righties throughout the minor leagues, and the 22-year-old Gil (pronounced “Heel”) put on a strong showing in 2019 at the Single-A level. The Dominican native posted a 2.72 ERA over 20 starts for Charleston and Tampa with an impressive 123 strikeouts over 96 innings pitched. “To make it as a starter, Gil will need to develop more consistency with his breaking ball while continuing to refine his changeup,” writes MLB.com, adding that, “If he can't stick in a rotation, his electric arm could make him a potential closer.”
2) Estevan Florial, OF - 22 years old, No. 7 prospect
The talented and speedy outfielder Florial has kept himself among the top names in the Yankees organization over the last few years, and even got his first taste of big-league action this past season when he debuted on August 28 against the Mets. His 2019 season with Tampa showed he still has room for improvement on the offensive side of the ball, but he still “generates well above-average raw power to all fields” and “has the best all-around ability in the system,” according to MLB.com.
3) Alexander Vizcaino, RHP - 23 years old, No. 8 prospect
Perhaps a bit further from an MLB call-up than some of the other righties on this list, Vizcaino has still impressed enough to put himself in the top-10 among all Yankees prospects. His velo topped out as high as 100 miles per hour in 2019 and pairs well with a “devastating” changeup, per evaluators. “The key for him going forward will be to develop a more consistent breaking ball, because his low-80s slider can be a solid offering at times but gets slurvy too often,” MLB.com writes.
4) Luis Medina, RHP - 21 years old, No. 11 prospect
At 6-foot-1 and a lean 175 pounds, Medina could be compared as a similar type of player to another Yankees right-hander, Jonathan Loaisiga. Both righties boast immense arm speed and effortless velocity, with Medina’s fastball clocking as high as 102 miles per hour and earning him a 75-grade on the 20-80 scouting scale. The 21-year-old racked up 127 strikeouts over 103 2/3 innings in Single-A in 2019, but also averaged north of six walks per nine innings. His command will be something to continue to refine going forward, but with that kind of raw throwing ability he’s a weapon that could be on the rise for the Yankees.
5) Albert Abreu, RHP - 25 years old, No. 12 prospect
Another righty prospect that saw the big leagues in 2020, “Abreu has showcased perhaps the best all-around stuff in New York's system,” writes MLB.com. Injuries have nagged the Dominican native, but when healthy his fastball/changeup/curveball repertoire is a fearsome force. Over his professional career, Abreu has struck out almost a batter per inning at all levels (486 K/488 IP) and could find himself earning another MLB opportunity in the near future.
6) Miguel Yajure, RHP - 22 years old, No. 15 prospect
Yajure’s MLB debut this past season included a bit of interesting history when he sported the very first No. 89 jersey baseball had ever seen. Across three appearances for the Yankees, Yajure was sharp, notching eight strikeouts and allowing just three hits and one earned run over seven frames. The 2019 season saw Yajure go 9-6 with a 2.14 ERA over 138 2/3 innings in Tampa and Trenton, and his impressive efforts on the mound this past year could be a sign of things to come for the Yankees.
7) T.J. Sikkema, LHP - 22 years old, No. 17 prospect
The former Missouri Tigers hurler was a first-round pick for the Yankees in 2019 (38th overall) after a dazzling NCAA career that included an 18-11 record, 2.38 ERA and 258 strikeouts over 238 innings. While his fastball velocity may top out at 95 miles per hour, Sikkema’s varying arm angles and ability to pitch with true feel and finesse have helped lead to those stellar results on the mound. Drawing comparisons by some to former Yankees pitcher Orlando Hernandez, Sikkema is “not afraid to attack the strike zone or pitch inside, adding to a package that gives him a high floor,” MLB.com writes.
8) Josh Breaux, C - 23 years old, No. 23 prospect
The Yankees have drafted catchers in the first round of two of their last three drafts, but Texas native Josh Breaux could be poised for a look behind the plate in the Bronx sooner than later. Not only does Breaux boast mammoth power from the right side, he has one of the strongest arms for any position player in the organization, claiming a 60-grade in that category according to evaluators. “He has huge raw power and an extremely aggressive approach, displaying well above-average bat speed and strength,” notes MLB.com, “and could have 35-40 homer upside if he makes better swing decisions and puts the ball in the air more often.”
9) Trevor Stephan, RHP - 24 years old, No. 24 prospect
At 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, Stephan is a hulking presence on the mound. Stephan may eventually find a role as a reliever rather than a starter, but his strikeout stuff will help him wherever he ends up in the pitching staff. The former third-round pick and Arkansas Razorback has struck out 275 batters over 238 2/3 innings in his professional career, but needs to refine a dependable third pitch to help him bring his game to the next level.
10) Frank German, RHP - 23 years old, No. 28 prospect
With “sound mechanics and a history of repeating them well,” German has turned heads during his jump from the collegiate ranks to pro ball thanks to an improved fastball and an “advanced feel for pitching,” per MLB.com. The 23-year-old righty utilizes a fastball/changeup/slider arsenal and has been working with coaches to improve his secondary pitches, but control is another area of improvement he can work on going forward as well. As the years have shown, you can never have too much pitching depth in your MLB organization, so there’s no telling how soon German might get a look at the next level if he can elevate his game.
Stay tuned to the YES Network for all the latest news and developments as the Yankees embark on the 2020-21 offseason.