The trade deadline has come and gone and the Yankees were very active in an attempt to improve their major league roster. For every player they brought, in the team traded away some of the better prospects in the system. Let’s take a look at the players that the Yankees traded to Oakland and Chicago and see how they affected the depth of the organization.
When it comes to trades, the mantra “it takes something to get something” almost always holds. The Yankees certainly got something in Frankie Montas, who was considered one of the best starters to move on the market. The Yankees continued dealing from their organizational depth in the pitching department to bring in the right-hander.
In exchange for Montas and reliever Lou Trivino, the Yankees sent four prospects to the A’s. Ken Waldichuk was the highest ranked prospect in the Yankees system to go during this trade deadline. He was the team’s fifth round pick in 2019, and quickly gained a reputation for his ability to miss bats and rack up big strikeout numbers.
Following the lost 2020 minor league season, Waldichuk was assigned to High-A Hudson Valley, where he did not give up a run in 30.2 innings pitched to start the season before earning a promotion to Double-A Somerset.
He came out strong again this year in Double-A and on the season has a 13.7 K/9 rate through 76.1 innings in the upper levels of the minors. Waldichuk was considered one of the Yankees’ top-five prospects who would have certainly been added to the 40-man roster following the season, if not sooner.
The second notable arm traded in the deal was left-handed pitcher JP Sears. Sears was originally acquired by the Yankees in a trade for reliever Nick Rumbelow in late 2017. He steadily worked his way through the Yankees system, but the 5-foot-11 pitcher stayed under the prospect radar as he climbed the ladder.
That changed following the 2021 season, when Sears was added to the 40-man roster and debuted on many lists of the team’s top prospects.. He quickly made his MLB debut in 2022 and was impressive with a 2.05 ERA over 22 innings pitched, even as he started riding the Scranton Shuttle up and down from the minor leagues.
With Sears, Waldichuk and T.J. Sikkema being traded over the last week, the Yankees have traded three of their top four left-handed pitching prospects. That leaves just Brock Selvidge and Edgar Barclay as left-handed pitchers among their top prospects.
One more highly regarded arm also departed the Yankees system in the Montas trade, and that was Luis Medina. Long known for his electric stuff but erratic control, Medina was pitching well for Double-A Somerset at the time of the trade, but his Yankees career will end with a 6.1 BB/9 rate. Medina will be out of minor league options following this season and will need to be on a major league roster or left exposed outside of the 40-man.
The fourth player heading to Oakland in the Montas deal is second baseman Cooper Bowman. Bowman was the Yankees’ fourth round pick in 2021. Bowman’s 35 stolen bases ranked second in the South Atlantic League, and he was a dynamic player on the bases for High-A Hudson Valley this season.
The trade for Montas and Trevino was not the only move the Yankees made. They also brought in righty-reliever Scott Effross. Effross comes with years of team control, and the Yankees had to give up a good prospect in Hayden Wesneski to get him. Wesneski was the team’s fourth round pick in 2019 and had a strong debut much like Waldichuk.
Known but not highly touted following his professional debut, he started making waves during the 2020 shutdown season, as videos came out of his pitches with some dynamic movement and velocity as he worked out in his native Texas. He carried that performance from the pitching lab to the field, and quickly rose from High-A Hudson Valley to Double-A Somerset, before finishing the 2021 season at the Triple-A level.
Wesneski again started the season at the Triple-A level this year, and when Baseball America updated their prospect list mid-season 2022, he was the team’s fourth ranked prospect. Considered by many to be the best bet in the Yankees minor league system to remain as a starter in his major league career, Wesneski could quickly be in the major leagues for the Cubs.
Four strikeouts in five innings for Hayden Wesneski, who has retired 13 in a row and 15 of 16 for the game.— Conor Foley (@RailRidersTT) May 14, 2022
RailRiders lead this one, 2-1. pic.twitter.com/Rz1YJcpxXV
As the Yankees traded many players away, they also gained an arm with big potential from the Dodgers in return for Joey Gallo. Clayton Beeter was a name sometimes linked to the Yankees during the 2020 draft, but they ultimately chose to pass on him and selected Austin Wells. Those two players will now team up as battery mates for Double-A Somerset.
This season, Beeter has a 15.3 K/9 rate but that is mitigated by his 6.1 BB/9 number. He features a plus fastball, curveball, and has shown a solid slider and changeup in the past. He will continue to be a work in progress in many of the same ways Luis Medina was as a pitcher with electric stuff and little control of it. He has been installed by MLB.com as the Yankees’ 10th-best prospect.
The Yankees dipped heavily into their farm system to try and improve the major league roster ahead of the trade deadline. Gone are a number of the team’s top-30 prospects, while they were also able to add one name with big potential to that mix. The player development staff will now continue the process of rebuilding the depth in the Yankees system, as they have now proven two years in a row to have a number of players that other teams want, without sacrificing the very top prospects in their minor league system.