The Yankees have had a unbelievable first half. Injuries have forced depth players into action, and they kept the ship afloat while the regulars recovered. Now Clint Frazier and Thairo Estrada are back in Scranton, and Gio Urshela is seeing more time on the bench. Brian Cashman has built impressive depth in quantity and quality, so much so that it may have even blocked the promotion of several RailRiders currently showcasing great performances.
With the trade deadline right around the corner, several of these depth players could find themselves as secondary pieces in deals. They include Mike Ford, Ryan McBroom, and J.P. Feyereisen.
Per Roster Resource, Feyereisen and McBroom are both set to be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft giving the Yankees even more incentive to trade them away. Cashman has consistently traded away players eligible for the Rule 5 Draft in an effort to use the talent before losing it. For example, on November of 2018, Erik Swanson was packaged together with Justus Sheffield and Dom Thompson-Williams in the James Paxton trade.
Since not much attention has been paid to the production of these players, I’ll break down why teams should be intrigued by their improvements thus far in Triple-A.
Ford’s walk percentages in the minors have always been impressive, continuously demonstrating his great plate discipline. His power numbers, however, have truly stood out in 2019. Ford has not only been able to greatly improve his power number from last season but currently leads the International League in slugging percentage. He also sports an isolated power number of .332.
Along with his pop, Ford has also been able to lift his BABIP this season to .316, the highest mark of his minor league career. Since first base is usually figured to be a power-heavy position, Ford’s showing in Scranton has proved he is capable of being a slugger with a great batting eye. Barring injury, the Yankees have little space to give him batting opportunities. If another team does take the chance, Ford could be one to impress.
Like Ford, McBroom has been able to to show an increase in power, but what has improved the most over the last two seasons is his BABIP production. Earlier in his minor league career, McBroom had an impressive ability to find hits when he put the ball in play. That skill unfortunately faded over the years.
Since 2018, however, he has been able to keep his BABIP over .350 both in Double-A and Triple-A. A strikeout rate of 27% strikeout rate at Scranton last year raised flags, but he has made adjustments to lowering that to a 18.7% this season. As another first baseman, McBroom suffers the same fate as Ford. But with a Triple-A season leading to Rule 5 eligibility, he knows his time to impress is now. His ability to play right field gives him a slight amount of versatility that some organizations might consider in his evaluation.
The Andrew Miller trade has already produced great results for the Yankees. Frazier keeps proving his bat belongs in the big leagues, and Sheffield helped bring over Paxton. Now Feyereisen is making the trade look even better, as he is having one of his most dominant seasons in the minors.
With a total of 38.2 innings pitched, he has been able to log a 2.09 ERA and an impressive 13.73 K/9 rate. Since joining the Yankees organization, Feyereisen has not shown the ability to strike out more than one batter per inning, but in 2019, he has shattered the thought completely. As bullpen pieces are continuously important to the Yankees’ Scranton Shuttle, Feyereisen could easily be a new member next season or a bullpen piece on another club come this offseason.
It’s never fun to see Yankees’ farm system talent leave for another team, but with the amount of depth in the Yankees’ organization, having to trade players that are most likely to be drafted away is a must. With McBroom becoming eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, you have to imagine the Yankees have a decision on their hands. Is Ford going to be the Triple-A first baseman on the 40-man roster or is McBroom? Or do you carry both?
Having to figure out exactly who to keep and who to let go might be difficult. Nevertheless the more these players make these decisions hard for the Yankees, the more they are catching the attention of other teams. They just could find themselves having consistent playing time in the big leagues soon as next season.