The 2020 season was a lost season for New York Yankees minor league players as there was no minor league season as the coronavirus ravaged the country. In 2019 the Yankees looked to strengthen their void of lefty pitching prospects, With six picks inside of the first five rounds, the Yankees used three of those selections on left-handed pitching by acquiring T.J. Sikkema, Jake Agnos, and Ken Waldichuk.
Waldichuk could be on the brink of entering the major leagues this coming season. while the other two prospects will return to the minors after suffering injuries on the field during 2021. While Sikkema and Agnos will return to the field after battling injuries in 2021. With the addition of these three pitching prospects, the Yankees should be able to balance out their pitching prospects going forward.
Ken Waldichuk, in the early rounds, was selected third, but as of this point, he has demonstrated far above the Yankees’ expectations. He started the 2021 season with 30.2 scoreless innings for Hudson Valley High-A Renegades, He is currently ranked as the Yankees’ ninth-best prospect by MLB.com. His 163 strikeouts placed him as the fourth-best strike-out leader, finishing the year with the Somerset Double-A Patriots. Between two teams in 2021, the 6′ 4′ 220 pounder 24-year-old lefty put up a record of 6-3 with an ERS of 3.03 over 21 games started. If the Yankees have pitching injuries this season, you could very well see Waldichuk on the mound at Yankees Stadium.
TJ Sikkema. The 6-foot 221-pound pitcher from the University of Missouri my join Waldichuk this season. Sikkema excelled over three seasons against the Southeastern Conference competition in college. Known for his excellent command explains why he was the Yankees 38th overall pick. Sikkema is not a powerball pitcher but his ability to pinpoint pitches makes up for the lack of power. He mixes his pitches and angles, much like Nestor Cortes Jr. He has an elite slider, fastball, and changeup that confuse hitters. Although a small sample in 2019, he allowed just one run in 10.2 innings while with the Short-Season A Staten Island Yankees before being derailed by injuries.
Sikkema will start 2022 with High-A Hudson Valley, and like Waldichuk, last season could quickly climb into the Double-A ranks if he can show the stuff he had in college and during his time as a professional.
In 2019 the Yankees used pick three and four for two position players in Josh Smith and Jake Sanford, but in the final pick, they chose lefty pitcher Jake Agnos right out of East Carolina University. Scouts loved his fastball, curveball, and slider. Agnos, in his junior year of college, broke out of the pack with a tiny ERA of 2.29. Agnos’s progress was halted when he underwent Tommy John surgery during spring training in 2021. If the Yankees are lucky, he should return to action mid-season.
With the three lefty addition to the Yankees’ minor league system, they will be looking forward to seeing what both Sikkema and Agnos can do, as they are solid and could shore up the Yankee pitching in the next couple of years. It all depends if they can rebound from two lost years. Waldichuk, who will likely start with the Somerset Patriots and advance to the Railriders in Scranton, will hope to make a major league debut this season.