While the New York Yankees are trying to iron out the final details of a blockbuster Juan Soto trade, the Rule 5 Draft started on Wednesday afternoon. Right off the bat, the Yankees lost three pitchers from their farm system just a day after three arms were sent to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for outfielder Alex Verdugo.
In just two days, the Yankees have lost six pitchers, and the expectation is they will lose several more in the deal for Soto. The Yankees will have to rebuild their farm system in that regard, but clearly, they’re trying to leverage some of that quality now for MLB-ready talent.
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Yankees Lose Three Pitchers in Rule 5 Draft
To start, the Yankees lost Mitch Spence to the Oakland Athletics and Matt Sauer to the Kansas City Royals with the first two picks of the Rule 5 Draft.
Spence is a 25-year-old Triple-A RHP who tossed 163 innings this past season. He hosted a 4.47 ERA, 5.21 FIP, including 8.45 strikeouts per nine, a 74% left-on-base rate, and a 50% ground ball rate. He’s a high-ground ball pitcher and features a dominant slider with good breaking stuff. Given he’s a bit older and hasn’t been able to crack the MLB roster, there’s a reason the Yankees didn’t protect him from the draft, but they will have to replace his high innings services in Scranton this upcoming season.
Sauer, on the other hand, is a 24-year-old prospect standing at 6’4″ and 230 pounds. He spent 68.1 innings with Double-A Somerset last year, hosting an oppressive 3.42 ERA, 4.30 FIP, including nearly 11 strikeouts per nine, an 82% left-on-base rate, and a 38.8% ground ball rate. Sauer has good potential as a former second-round pick back in 2017.
Last but not least, the Texas Rangers snagged right-hander Carson Coleman, a 25-year-old prospect who pitched 44 innings in Double-A last season. He hosted a 2.86 ERA, enjoying 14.11 strikeouts per nine, a 72% left-on-base rate, and a 34.8% ground ball rate. Coleman has decent potential but is already 25 years old and still in Double-A, so he was certainly reaching the back end of his stay before needing to make the jump to Scranton.
While it is impossible to say if any of these minor-league arms would’ve become anything special at the MLB level, the Yankees are prepared to trade both Michael King and Thorpe for Soto, one arm that is projected to make a significant impact in the starting rotation next season and another who was graded as one of the Yankees’ best-pitching prospects in 2023 and has a bright future ahead.