The other day, I analyzed how the Yankees’ top position player prospects performed in April. Today, I’ll highlight some impressive performances from pitching prospects who weren’t highly regarded headed into the season.
Southpaw Eric Wooten has gotten off to a tremendous start for class-A Tampa. Over 5 April starts, the 24-year-old compiled an impressive 19:5 strikeout to walk ratio, while not allowing a single homer. Wooten was equally as impressive last season after the Yankees scooped him out of the independent Frontier League. In 50 A-ball innings last season, he posted a 41:6 K:BB on his way to a 1.97 ERA.
At age 24, Wooten‘s pretty old for the Florida State League, so his performance isn’t worth getting too excited over. It’ll be interesting to see how he does if bumped up to double-A Trenton, where hitters aren’t as liable to be fooled by fringy stuff. Since joining the organization last year, Wooten‘s held left handed batters to an anemic .174/.189/.221 over 90 PA’s, so at the very least, maybe he could end up being a serviceable LOOGY.
Last year’s 14th round pick Caleb Smith has been nothing short of dominant in his five April starts for class-A Charleston. The 22-year-old southpaw whiffed a remarkable 26 batters in 21.1 innings on his way to a sub-one ERA. He was particularly impressive on April 24th, when he struck out 13 batters in 6 innings.
Smith is still years away from the majors, but given his loud early-season numbers, he’ll probably get promoted to class-A Tampa in the near future. He’s definitely one to watch.