Yesterday, Tyler covered the Yankees' starting pitcher organizational depth and concluded that there was plenty of it. While the Yankees' reliever depth perhaps isn't as exciting, they have an up-and-coming high-octane arm ready to make his major league debut sometime this year, as well as a number of intriguing prospects further down the system.
If you're only going to remember one name from this article, let it be Cody Carroll. Carroll, a 25-year-old, 6-foot-5, 210-pound right-handed pitcher, made a name for himself last year when he posted a 2.66 ERA and 3.42 FIP in 47.1 Double-A innings, striking out 11.22 batters per nine. A well-earned promotion hasn't slowed Carroll down by the least, as he currently owns a 2.08 ERA and 2.28 FIP in 21.2 innings pitched in Triple-A, with a 12.46 K/9 to boot.
Carroll succeeds with a fastball-slider combo, which sounds conventional but makes sense when you learn that 1) his fastball sits 96-98 and touches 101 MPH, and 2) his slider has the depth of a curveball with more velocity. The only concern here is control, as Carroll has posted a BB/9 above 4 in each of his last two seasons. If Carroll is able to throw more strikes after additional seasoning in Triple-A, look for him to make the big league club this year as an impact bullpen reinforcement.
Carroll is the standout here, but there are other arms of note too. One high-level reliever of note is Cale Coshow, who is Carroll's teammate on the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and also shares the same handedness, height, and alliteration scheme. The similarities don't stop there, as Coshow also features a big fastball (though not as fast as Carroll's) and is running a K/9 north of 10 this year.
Unfortunately, Coshow also shares Carroll’s tenuous relationship with the strike zone (4.15 BB/9). And while Coshow had kept pace with Carroll until recently, running a 2.08 ERA of his own through his first 21.2 innings, he gave up seven earned runs on seven hits while recording just a single out in his latest appearance on May 28. It's safe to say Coshow probably could benefit from a little more seasoning than Carroll. However, he too could make his big league debut this year, depending on the state of the already taxed Yankees bullpen come September.
Looking further down the system, the Yankees have another intriguing arm in Trevor Lane. MLB ranked Lane 26th on their Top-30 prospect list for the Yankees, noting his fastball-slider combo, improved walk rate, effectiveness against hitters on both sides of the plate, and ability to handle multiple innings as pros. While Lane is just dipping his feet in Double-A, having recently graduated from High-A after posting a 1.35 ERA in 20 innings there this year, he has the potential to move quickly through the system. Keep an eye on him just in case.
Lane heads a group of potential impact relievers in the low-to-mid levels of the Yankees' system, a group which also includes Nick Nelson, Matt Frawley, and David Sosebee, and more. I don't have the space to give each of them an in-depth treatment, but they are all noteworthy for strong performances statistics-wise, stuff from a scouting perspective, or both. In addition, many of the starting pitching prospects Tyler covered yesterday could also be converted into relievers if their development stalls. Suffice it to say that the Yankees have plenty of interesting potential relief arms.
Looking forward to draft day, expect the Yankees to forgo relievers for other areas of need. Maybe the Yankees will stockpile on high-octane projects in the later rounds, but I really don't see them burning early-round picks on bullpen arms unless they plan on going full-on Rays and rendering the concept of starting pitching obsolete in the near future. The talent the Yankees currently have in their system is plenty enough.