The Yankees farm system in April: Top pitching prospects

Yesterday, I profiled the April performances of the Yankees’ top hitting prospects. Today, I’m repeating this exercise for the team’s pitching prospects, as ranked by Mike Axisa of River Avenue Blues in the preseason. The players are in the order they were ranked in the pre-season and the arrows reflect the player’s statistical performance over the last month:

Luis Severino

Level BB% K% HR% ERA FIP
A 7% 27% 0% 1.89 2.39

Down

Severino is off to a tremendous start with class-A Charleston. Through 5 starts, the 20-year-old’s ERA sits below 2 and his peripheral numbers suggest his performance is no fluke.

Most Yankees pitching prospects have struggled to stay healthy the last couple of years, but Severino is one of the few bright spots. He’s quickly becoming one of the Yankees’ most exciting prospects, and I would imagine he’ll find himself in high-A Tampa before long.

Ian Clarkin

Level BB% K% HR% ERA FIP
A- N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Down

The Yankees took Clarkin out of high school with one of their supplemental first round picks last year. Clarkin opened the year in extended spring training after getting roughed up in his three rookie ball starts last summer.

Clarkin’s curveball is supposed to be the real deal, but his command reportedly needs some work. Clarkin’s still years away from sniffing the big leagues, but at age 19, he has plenty of time to figure things out. He was recently assigned to class-A Charleston and should be making his debut with the team any day now.

Manny Banuelos

Level BB% K% HR% ERA FIP
A+/AA 3% 30% 0% 2.30 1.69

Down

Banuelos was easily the Yankees best pitching prospect a couple of years ago, but a multitude of injuries have sidelined him for most of the last two seasons. Before his injuries, Banuelos had climbed all the way to triple-A, but the Yankees opted to take a conservative route this year by sending him to class-A Tampa, where he pitched phenomenally. While encouraging, his performance is not all that surprising considered he mastered A-ball some four years ago. He was promoted to double-A Trenton for one start at the end of the month.

Banuelos excelled in Tampa, but double-A and triple-A will be the real test for the 23-year-old. Considering he’s already on the 40-man roster, there’s a decent chance he’ll find himself in the majors before the year’s out.

Jose Ramirez

Level BB% K% HR% ERA FIP
AAA N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

DownRamirez strained his oblique in Spring Training and has yet to return to game action, but is expected back in the near future. Partly due to his inability to stay healthy, Ramirez will work exclusively out of the bullpen this year.

Ramirez has dominant stuff, which could play up with a move to the ‘pen.  If he excels in his new niche, he’ll undoubtedly see time in the Bronx this summer, especially considering he’s already on the 40-man roster.

Jose Campos

Level BB% K% HR% ERA FIP
A+ N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Down

It was announced last week that Campos would need to undergo Tommy John surgery, putting an end to his 2014 campaign before it even started.

Campos has a great arm but, injuries have really done a number on his development as a prospect so far. He should be ready to pitch again by mid-season 2015, but by then, he’ll be a 23-year-old with no experience above low-A. At this point, all the Yankees can do is hope Campos stays healthy enough to develop into a serviceable reliever.

Bryan Mitchell

Level BB% K% HR% ERA FIP
AA 11% 31% 0% 4.26 2.16

Down

Mitchell recently landed on the minor-league DL with an elbow strain, but his MRI came back clean, and its not supposed to be anything serious. Prior to his injury, he had done a fine job through four starts with Trenton, posting a strikeout to walk ratio of 26:9. The 23-year-old even spent a day in the majors a couple of weeks ago, but didn’t see any game action.

Mitchell’s an intriguing arm, and is supposedly capable of dialing up to 97 MPH with his fastball. Considering he’s already on the 40-man roster, he could be a factor in the Bronx this season, assuming his elbow heals up in a timely manner.

Rafael De Paula

Level BB% K% HR% ERA FIP
A+ 10% 32% 1% 2.96 2.58

DownDe Paula dominated in class-A Charleston last year before falling upon hard times following a mid-season promotion to high-A Tampa. He’s redeemed himself in his second go around in Tampa thus far,  whiffing over three times as many as he’s walked.

De Paula has nasty stuff, but his command has been questionable at times — particularly towards the end of last season. He’s kept the walks under control this year, though, and could be in line for a mid-season promotion to double-A. But if his control problems flare up again, a move to the bullpen could be in order. De Paula’s already 23 and he definitely has the fastball to be a dominant, late-inning reliever.

Ty Hensley

Level BB% K% HR% ERA FIP
? N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Down

Hensley has barely pitched since the Yankees chose him with their first round pick back in 2012. After throwing all of 12 innings in 2012, he 21-year-old missed all of last season with a right hip impingement that necessitated hernia surgery.

He’s finally throwing again, but probably won’t see game action until the short season leagues start up in June. Hensley had a lot of promise coming out of college, but all of these injuries have really dimmed his prospect star.

Dellin Betances

Level BB% K% HR% ERA FIP
MLB 13% 43% 0% 2.03 1.24

Down

Betances really took off after moving to the bullpen last May, posting a 1.35 ERA and a 2.20 FIP over 32 appearances. The 25-year-old built on that success with an excellent Spring Training, which was enough to guarantee himself a spot in the Yankees’ Opening Day bullpen, where he’s fared well so far.

He’s made great strides with his command over the last couple of years, but a couple of wild outings have been enough to keep Joe Girardi from using him many high-leverage spots.

Mark Montgomery

Level BB% K% HR% ERA FIP
AAA 14% 28% 0% 0.82 2.84

Down

Montgomery had a strong first month in triple-A, but like last season, walks seemed to be a problem. Its hard to glean much from Montgomery’s April stats, though, as he only threw 11 innings in relief.

Montgomery is an excellent relief prospect, but his command isn’t great, which is why he’s in triple-A for the second consecutive year. Still, he strikes out enough batters to be an effective reliever, and will probably make his big league debut at some point this summer.

Nik Turley

Level BB% K% HR% ERA FIP
AAA N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Down

The Yankees released Turley the other day in order to clear a 40-man roster spot for Chris Leroux. Turley hasn’t thrown a pitch this year after hurting his arm in Spring Training.

Its not clear how serious his injury is, or if the Yankees intend to keep the 24-year-old in the organization on a minor-league deal.

Shane Greene

Level BB% K% HR% ERA FIP
AAA/MLB 12% 27% 0% 7.11 2.43

Down

Greene’s spent a lot of time riding the shuttle between New York and Scranton last month, which has prevented him from seeing much game action. The 25-year-old Greene’s been called up and sent back down again on three separate occasions this year, logging just 6.1 innings in the process.

The Yankees seem to like him a lot, so he could become a mainstay in the Yankees bullpen — or even their rotation — if he can string together a few good outings in triple-A.

Vidal Nuno

Level BB% K% HR% ERA FIP
MLB 11% 24% 5% 6.59 5.31

Down

After an impressive spring, Nuno broke camp with the team as a long reliever. Nuno’s split time between the rotation and bullpen this year and his numbers have been less than stellar.

Nuno’s nothing special, but considering he throws with his left hand, he’ll probably continue to get innings with the Yankees — especially with Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda on the shelf.f

Cesar Cabral

Level BB% K% HR% ERA FIP
AAA/MLB 17% 26% 0% 8.10 6.07

Down

After missing out on the opening day roster, Cabral was promptly called up to the majors following David Robertson‘s injury. Cabral didn’t stick around long, though, and was designated for assignment after allowing 3 runs without recording an out on April 18th.

He’s since returned to the bullpen in triple-A Scranton. Cabral’s nothing more than a LOOGY, and based on his recent performance, it’s not clear that he’s a good one.

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