Despite the fact that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman had his sights set on Corbin Burnes via the trade market, the Baltimore Orioles swept in and stole the show.
The Missed Opportunity
Unfortunately, the Yankees are holding a risky hand in the starting rotation, with several players bouncing back from injury and inconsistencies across the board, aside from Gerrit Cole.
Adding Burnes to the unit would certainly have given the Yankees a World Series-caliber team, but he’s headed into the final year of his arbitration, and the Yankees could always make a run at him in free agency next off-season. With that being said, Cashman isn’t done making moves; he’s just waiting for the right opportunity and the right price to improve.
Yankees’ Promising Prospects
In the meantime, the Yankees have two young pitching prospects who could have a big impact in the future, if not in 2024.
Right off the bat, Will Warren is a player to watch. At 24 years old, Warren pitched 99.2 innings in Triple-A last year after being promoted from Double-A Somerset, where he tossed 29.1 innings. His 3.61 ERA in Triple-A was solid, but he struggled against left-handed batters, a problem he started to correct late in the year.
Warren has a dangerous array of pitches to utilize, but introducing a cutter to his sequence has started to improve his metrics against lefties, an essential challenge to overcome before making his MLB debut.
“I went in the offseason, worked on the cutter and the four-seam…when I made that transition to the Triple-A season, it was more about commanding my cutter, my four-seam, [and] my sinker all at once…if I can command those, I can constantly keep them guessing and use all three; then they all move differently.”Via Empire Sports Media
[su_posts template=”templates/list-loop.php” posts_per_page=”3″ tax_term=”1622326″ offset=”1″ order=”desc”]
Spring Training Spotlight
Both Warren and Chase Hampton will have an opportunity to showcase their stuff during spring training in a few weeks. Warren is the closest to being MLB-ready since he’s expected to come out of the bullpen and make a few spot starts if need be. He boasts good strikeout numbers, and he will try to limit walks; he doesn’t give up many home runs either, with a 52.7% ground ball rate to boot.
On the other hand, Hampton, 22, pitched over 100 innings this past year in High-A Hudson Valley and Double-A Somerset. His 2.68 ERA with Hudson Valley was certainly exciting, especially since he struck out nearly 15 batters per nine. He struggled to make the transition to Double-A but still struck out 10.26 batters per nine and posted a 4.37 ERA.
Hampton needs a bit more time to get acclimated, but his pitch quality is arguably better than Warren’s; he just needs more consistency and reps against better talent. Hampton utilizes a fastball that averages around 94 mph and a nasty curveball with a tremendous sweeper/slider that dances around the strike zone. This is no ordinary prospect; this is a player who has several elite pitches in terms of RPMs and break; he just needs to hone in on his accuracy and consistency.
“His stuff is just nasty,” Hudson Valley manager Sergio Santos said last June, via NJ.com. “He’s the type of guy that when you see his stuff, you’re sitting there going, ‘Man, how does he ever get hit?’ His stuff is just as good as any big-league guy. It’s just a matter of innings and experience until he toes the slab in the big leagues one day.”Via NJ.com
Given he’s two years younger than Warren, Hampton won’t be rushed to the MLB anytime soon, but spring training will offer both quality prospects a chance to display their upside and put together strong performances. If the Yankees don’t make any big moves, Warren could end up making a sizable impact in 2024 in various roles.