The New York Yankees learned late this week that they would be without right-handed pitching prospect James Kaprielian for the entire 2017 season and some of the 2018 season as well after the righty decided to undergo Tommy John surgery on his elbow. The ulnar collateral ligament surgery is just the latest blow to the arm of Kaprielian who also missed basically all of last season with a strained elbow flexor muscle leaving the Yankees once again short-handed in the pitching depth department… or are they? Let’s take a look at some of the possible reinforcements and the way the Yankees pitching prospects as a whole stack up now that Kaprielian is out of the picture once again for 2017.
We’ll start with the immediate reinforcements just in case a Yankees starter struggles or, god forbid, gets hurt. You have to think that list starts with Bryan Mitchell, who is already in the team’s bullpen, and ends with Double-A prospect Chance Adams. In between you have the likes of Chad Green and Luis Cessa because of their MLB experience and the fact that both are already on the 40 man roster but I truly think Chance will be up in the Majors at some point this season. Adams and Jordan Montgomery are going to create one hell of a tandem for opposing teams going forward, especially if Luis Severino pitches like he did Thursday afternoon in the Bronx. The future is soon and the future is now all at the same time in the Bronx and those are exciting words to mutter.
Beyond the immediate reinforcements there are a few high-end arms the Yankees are currently grooming to eventually follow to the Bronx. That list starts with Justus Sheffield, the left-handed starter the team acquired from the Cleveland Indians in the Andrew Miller trade last season, and continues on with Albert Abreu, the prized pitching prospect the Yankees got back in the Brian McCann trade with the Houston Astros this winter. Domingo Acevedo, the big right-handed arm that can hit and top 100 MPH consistently with his fastball, is another big pitching prospect in the Yankees plans for the future while Nolan Martinez, a recent draft pick out of High School who is currently working his way through extended spring training, is opening the eyes of a lot of Yankees executives and scouts with a 92 MPH fastball and a great curveball at just 18-years old.
Another couple of intriguing arms the Yankees have at their disposal going forward are Jonathan Holder, currently pitching out of the Yankees bullpen where he spent much of his collegiate career although the Yankees did try him out as a starter in the Minor Leagues with great success, while Ian Clarkin, the man who was drafted in the same draft and round as Aaron Judge back in 2013, is slowly making his way through the Yankees system after a Tommy John surgery and a torn meniscus slowed his development a bit. Clarkin is still a bit off but an ETA of around September 2018 may not be completely out of the question.