The New York Yankees are officially in “future” mode for the first time in over 20 years as they have traded arguably their two best players in Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller this week, stocking up on elite prospects. With Carlos Beltran, Ivan Nova, Brian McCann and dead weight in Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez still on the roster, New York may not be finished restructuring the team, or as team President, Randy Levine, prefers, “reloading” the franchise.
Adding onto the bounty for Chapman, which included two top 100 prospects and one in the top 25 (on most evaluation lists), New York struck again, dealing Miller, acquiring: Elite outfield prospect, Clint Frazier, lefty starter Justus Sheffield and a pair of relievers in J.P Feyereisen and Ben Heller.
Simultaneously, New York dealt pitching prospect Vicente Campos for reliever, Tyler Clippard, who they will add to the bullpen along with Adam Warren (from the Chapman deal) to help replace the innings left by Chapman and Miller.
Here’s a brief description on the acquisitions for New York in the past 24 hours:
Frazier: .273/.350/.811 across AA and AAA, recently promoted to the latter. Frazier has an all-star ceiling and will likely stick as a corner outfielder. He has 13 home runs and stolen bases making him a dual threat with a quick bat. Think Andrew Benintendi with a slightly lower ceiling.
Sheffield: Only recently 20-years-old, Sheffield is already in high A ball and giving up almost a hit and a strikeout per inning with a 3.59 ERA in 94+ innings. Some have him projected as an elite lefty reliever, some think he can be a middle of the rotation arm. Currently, Sheffield is ranked around 96th on the list of top 100 prospects, one of now seven players in the Yankees’ minor league system ranked in the top 100 in baseball, the most among any team.
Feyereisen: Still 23-years-old, Feyereisen is in AA with a 2.23 ERA as a closer. Despite being a 16th round draft pick, the reliever has become a AA All-Star with 21 saves in 23 opportunities overall. He could be in the majors by next season.
Heller: Possibly in the majors later this year, Heller is MLB ready with a 1.73 ERA and 12 saves in 13 chances in AAA. The 22nd round pick is widely considered to have the best fastball in the Indians’ minor league system and tops out around triple digits.
Clippard: A Yankees’ homegrown, Clippard will reunite with New York where he made his debut as a 22-year-old. The deceptive righty had 27 uninspiring innings for the Yankees in 2007 before being traded to the Nationals where he emerged as an elite reliever for the next seven years before splitting a 2.92 ERA with the Mets and Athletics last season. This season, Clippard struggled in Arizona with the Diamondbacks and has a 4.30 ERA in 37.2 innings. The righty will be relied upon likely as setup man down the stretch this season, eating innings with Warren and bridging the gap to Dellin Betances, the holdover from the Yankees’ “Big Three” in the bullpen.
Clippard has team control next season before hitting Free Agency, and could form a new Big Three if New York resigns Chapman as a FA for 2017 and assuming Clippard can improve upon his 2016 campaign.
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