Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Next Baby Bomber to Watch: Nestor Cortes

Attention all Yankees Prospect Humpers, trademark pending on that term, it is time to pay attention to the next wave of Baby Bombers coming through the Yankees system. We have all seen an enjoyed the emergence of Luis Severino, Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge and others but more reinforcements are on the way including Chance Adams who we have spoken about a lot and another arm we could see as early as the 2017 season, Nestor Cortes.

Cortes reminds me a lot of Luis Severino if I am being honest and not only because of his small pitchers frame. Cortes stands at just 5’11” and weighs in at 205 pounds. That’s where the similarities may end for some but not for me. Cortes does not throw in the mid-to-high 90’s, instead Cortes tops out at around 90 MPH. Cortes does not throw over the top like Severino, instead Cortes has a nice sidearm delivery. Cortes may not be a starting pitcher at the next level but the Yankees may have a hell of a bullpen arm coming their way really, really soon.

Cortes is now 22-years old and was drafted by the Yankees in the 36th round of the 2013 MLB First Year Players Draft, that same draft the team took Aaron Judge in among others. Cortes doesn’t overpower players but he simply wants to make outs and uses every trick in the bag to get every single out that he can which is evident by his 11-4 record and 1.53 ERA and 0.80 WHIP last season across four Yankees affiliates including the Charleston Riverdogs, the Tampa Yankees, the Trenton Thunder and the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders for one spot start. Cortes strikes out more batters than he probably should with the velocity that he has and has a 5-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio which would fit into any team and any stadium, especially Yankee Stadium.

Cortes has been moved primarily to the bullpen this season in Triple-A, although he started in Tampa and made a return trip to Trenton earlier this season, making 17 of his 27 appearances out of the bullpen. At the time of this writing Cortes is posting a 6-3 record and a 2.16 ERA with a 1.03 WHIP which is encouraging for a player the team will need to add to the 40 man roster or leave available for any team to take this winter in the Rule 5 Draft. I can’t see a scenario where the Yankees leave Cortes unprotected though as any team would love a guy who pounds the strike zone, trusts his fielders as he pitches to contact and just simply knows how to get advanced hitters out. Every team wants the next Ramiro Mendoza or Aaron Small on their team so thank goodness he looks like he is going to be a New York Yankee for a long, long time.  

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