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Yankees prospects: More Baby Bombers are on the way

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Regardless of the playoff outcome, the future is still hopeful

Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

As I sit writing, the outcome of the Yankees’ ALCS Game Seven is still unknown to me. In a way this is Schrödinger's playoffs; for the sake of this article, they are both pennant winners and prospective golfers. There is certainly a split among Yankees fans on how to process yet another elimination game: in one way it’s remarkable such a surprise team made it this far, and in another way, it’s disappointing if they lose.

The playoffs are elusive, just as unknowable as the game in front of me. You don’t know if you’ll see another chance to get one game away from the World Series next season, or the one after, or in a decade. So, for the sake of this article and your sanity depending on last night’s result, indulge me in yesterday’s naivete.

I would likely take the under on the next decade, though. The Yankees have multiple position players and starters under 27—Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, Clint Frazier, Greg Bird, and Luis Severino are the “core” of this team, but that could be expanding very soon.

The first obvious addition is Gleyber Torres, a consensus top prospect in the world and a guaranteed future infielder for the Yankees. He missed all of this season with Tommy John surgery in his non-throwing arm, and he has just begun taking batting practice for the upcoming year. Jason wrote a nice piece on him just three days ago, and he rightfully points out a few things.

He makes the addition of Todd Frazier next season... likely unnecessary, and because of his ability to play any infield position, the Yankees have the ability to play him where he’s needed. Chase Headley has a single year left on his deal, so switching him at third and swapping out Starlin Castro at second provides them with a number of options, none of them bad. It’s largely undisputed that unless something catastrophic happens, Torres will be an everyday infielder in 2019.

Then there’s Miguel Andujar, who isn’t a big-name prospect, but will likely get time in his own right. He had a 139 wRC+ in 58 games in Triple-A, and despite the fact he has an almost all-contact approach, you could see him coming in as a utility player next year, which would be a slight upgrade on Ronald Torreyes. He could also totally flop, but he will get a shot.

Estevan Florial has been making waves, a notable exclusion from the Sonny Gray deal, and the because results have been at High-A and lower, people are still holding their breath. He’ll probably make a few top 100 lists, but it won’t be consensus. Suffice it to say that it’s better to have him, with his stock rising, and give up Jorge Mateo, whose stock has been relatively stagnant.

The pitchers are just as intriguing. Justus Sheffield, the pitcher who came over in the Andrew Miller deal, he has been pitching incredibly well in the Arizona Fall League. Here’s what Keith Law said just a week ago:

“Sheffield was absolutely filthy in his AFL debut, sitting 94-96 with a plus slider at 86-87 and above-average changeup at 86-89, better at the 86-87 part of that range. He's always been athletic with a good delivery that's online to the plate, but now his arm looks faster than ever, and he has a real breaking ball in the slider -- he didn't throw a curveball at all. He was on my top 100 last winter on the promise of his athleticism and changeup, but now he's got more fastball and a potential out pitch in the slider.”

Law also wrote a bit about Al Abreu, the hurler from the Brian McCann trade:

“[He was] working at 94-96 and showing promise with both a low-80s power curveball and an action changeup at 83-86. He's a bit of a short-armer, but stays online to the plate; I don't think he really repeats the arm action, and I could see him turn the changeup over at release, which might tip off hitters. There are the elements of a good starter here if he can get to average-ish command, which may require smoothing out the arm swing.”

Chance Adams is probably the closest to the big leagues though, and my guess is that even though it is the Yankees’ priority to get pitching this offseason, Adams will get a shot. With basically four plus pitches and command that has been constantly improving, all of the pieces are there. If the Yankees were to build a rotation of Severino, Gray, Jordan Montgomery, Chance Adams, and a couple of free agents sprinkled in, it’s both young and dangerous.

There are more, of course, and I’m sure people will point out the ones I’m missing. This is still one of the deepest farm systems in baseball after all of the Baby Bombers have graduated, and that’s utterly remarkable. I don’t know what the outcome of the final ALCS game looks like—remember, I’m from the past—but right now I’m just looking at the future. It doesn’t look bad.