The Yankees may have a pitching gem in the minors

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Alexander Lewis / MyCentralJersey / USA TODAY NETWORK

As the New York Yankees approach the upcoming trade deadline, the probability of them capitalizing on some of their prospects increases.

The Cashman Approach: Leveraging Pitching Prospects

Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman, last season, employed his top two pitching prospects as trade bait. It’s a tactic he may duplicate in the next week to reinforce the offense.

The decision to exchange Ken Waldichuk and Hayden Wesneski for Frankie Montas and Scott Effross seems, in retrospect, to be an unfavorable move. Neither Montas nor Effross has made a mark this season, and Montas is set to become a free agent in the coming off-season.

A Yankees Rising Star: Drew Thorpe’s Dominance

Among Cashman’s potential trade tools could be the 22-year-old A+ pitcher, Drew Thorpe. Thorpe’s impressive performance with Hudson Valley stands out. Over 99.1 innings, Thorpe boasts a 2.08 ERA, including 11.23 strikeouts per nine, a 79.7% left-on-base rate, and a 49.3% ground-ball rate.

Thorpe entered the Yankees’ minor-league system with some of the highest pitch grades from his college days, particularly earning recognition for his change-up. His capability to outsmart hitters with varying velocity and break is a hallmark of his game.

In fact, since June 1, Thorpe has clinched seven wins, registering a 0.65 ERA, allowing just four runs, and striking out 72 over 55.2 innings.

MLB.com highlights Thorpe’s 65-grade change-up and evolving slider. His fastball may not be his prime pitch, but he has the velocity to use it as a decoy alongside his change-up.

“Thorpe owned one of the best changeups in the 2022 Draft and earns double-plus grades from some scouts for his ability to get swings and misses as well as chases with a fading low-80s cambio. He can do the same with a low-80s slider after adding more depth to it last year. While his fastball features below-average velocity (parking at 89-92 mph, peaking at 95) and mild sink, it plays as an average offering because he commands it and mixes it well with the rest of his arsenal.”

Future Considerations: Is AA Next for Thorpe?

Given his dominant performance with Hudson Valley and 16 appearances, Thorpe undoubtedly merits a feature in AA with Somerset.

By the time 2024 arrives, Thorpe should, at the very least, be contending during the Yankees’ spring training. His talent is evident, but his significant improvement could prompt Cashman to use him as a trade chip in the coming days, leveraging his stock to enhance the MLB team promptly.

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