Right now, it might not be a stretch to say that the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A) and the Somerset Patriots (Double-A) are more interesting to watch than the New York Yankees. The former have several interesting hitting prospects such as Oswald Peraza, Everson Pereira, and Andrés Chaparro; while the Patriots boast one of the most impressive rotations in the minor leagues: Richard Fitts, Matt Sauer, Yoendrys Gómez, Chase Hampton, and Drew Thorpe.
Thorpe, a second-round pick last year, made his professional debut this year with a rock-solid 2.81 ERA in 109 innings with the High-A Tampa Tarpons. That forced the Yankees to bring him up to Somerset, and he has done nothing but dominate there: his first start was an eight-inning, nine-strikeout gem in which he conceded no runs.
He made his second Double-A start on Friday, and he was also impressive:
He was always seen as a command-first prospect because he is so advanced at hitting his spots that people underrate his stuff. But he now has 21 strikeouts in his first two starts in the upper minors: it’s time for the league to start taking him seriously.
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The Yankees have a gem in Thorpe
Thorpe now leads all minor leaguers this year with 159 strikeouts, and his season is far from done. The Yankees have to be very excited about their entire Double-A rotation, but the evidence says Thorpe might be a special one.
His fastball is closer to average than plus, but he has made strides with the pitch this year, and he can command it perfectly. His bread and butter is a fading low-80s changeup that misses bats and generates soft contact. He also throws a good slider, giving him three solid pitches.
Here is what MLB Pipeline said about him in their midseason report:
“He has advanced feel for pitching, and his ability to sequence and locate his pitches allows him to the get the most out of his stuff. He has a high floor as a near-certain starter and he could work his way into the middle of a big league rotation.”
Most of the Double-A starters mentioned in this article could be ready at some point in 2024. The Yankees would love for Thorpe to claim a spot by midseason next year.