Aroldis Chapman came to the Yankees in the exact type of trade New York has become known for in the past few years. The team has been extremely reluctant to part with its “blue chip” prospects recently, with Luis Severino and Greg Bird having already been allowed to advance all the way to the majors and Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge likely next this season. Julio Mateo has a long way to go but has been deemed untouchable in a lot of different scenarios already.
What made the Chapman deal worth it was the Yankees’ ability to have and to part with secondary prospects. Players who can become MLB players but may not be expected All-Star talent.
The Eric Jagielo and Rookie Davis’s of the world. The players who are likely on the 40 man roster, not too far from the majors but have a distinct ceiling.
In the past couple of years it’s Shane Greene, David Phelps, Adam Warren and then some secondary but useful pieces like Martin Prado. The Yankees will be aggressive with #6-10 in the system, largely leaving untouched #1-5. So who might be next in a deal under certain circumstances? We’ve covered the major league talent who can be expendable for a return (Ivan Nova, Andrew Miller, Brett Gardner and Rob Refsnyder) and we know about the potential fast risers (James Kaprielian, Ian Clarkin, Tyler Wade, Kyle Holder, Miguel Andujar etc.) But who are the Yankees’ top realistic 40 man roster trade pieces heading into this season from the minor leagues?
Ben Gamel: If he’s not careful, he will become untouchable, but for now Gamel stands out as one of the most attractive trade pieces in the Yankees’ minor league system. At 23-years-old and a left fielder, Gamel is among the top of a deep outfield system, hitting .300/.358 in 500 ABs in AAA Scranton last season. With about one third of his hits going for extra bases and 13 stolen bases, Gamel does have a nice balance of some power and some speed and could be MLB caliber as early as this season. He would be among the top realistic trade chips in the Yankees’ system, especially if Aaron Judge pans out and Brett Gardner stays put.
Mason Williams: At 24-years-old and having spent a “cup of coffee” in the majors already, Mason Williams is the most MLB ready trade chip of the three major OF prospects between Williams, Gamel and Aaron Judge. He also likely has the lowest ceiling. Williams has dabbled among the top 10 in the Yankees’ system for years, struggling to stay healthy but always showing elite defense in center field. Last season, Williams’ bat caught up and he hit .318/.397 in Scranton and Trenton along with a successful but brief stint in the majors before another injury. At this point, a fully healthy season from Williams, still at a young age, could catapult him back into prospect prominence but the clock is ticking. With Gamel, Judge and Aaron Hicks on the roster and Jacoby Ellsbury signed long-term, even with Gardner in a trade the Yankees could probably still afford to move Williams in the right deal.
Jacob Lindgren: As a soon to be 23-year-old reliever, Lindgren isn’t going to headline any deals but he would be an excellent second or third piece depending on the return. Lindgren has never struggled through his march to the minors and is a MLB ready, left-handed reliever with a solid arsenal. He may make more sense as a cheap arm in a bullpen which could use depth, but he’s not going to hold up a deal which could make the team even better with plenty of lefty relievers already on the MLB roster and in the system.
Nick Goody: Goody emerged onto the scene in 2015 with a breakout year across AA Trenton and AAA Scranton. In 62.1 innings, the 24-year-old pitched to a 1.59 ERA with 84 strikeouts, a .190 BAA and 1.03 WHIP. He had a brief and largely unsuccessful stint in the majors in under six innings, but remains one of the best relievers in the system and on the shortlist of pitchers who could make the MLB roster out of spring training in the bullpen.