The New York Yankees have plenty of star prospects, ranging from Anthony Volpe to Jasson Dominguez. The bigger names draw all the headlines, but one underrated pitcher has been climbing the farm system at an astronomical pace.
Ken Waldichuk, who recently was promoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, has been impressing this season. Waldichuk made six appearances with Somerset over 28.2 innings. He recorded a 1.26 ERA with 16 hits and two homers allowed. He struck out 46 batters over that span, a tremendous rate that caught the attention of the team’s Triple-A affiliate.
In Waldichuk’s first outing with Scranton, he lasted 5.1 innings, giving up three hits, one earned run and striking out nine batters. His fastball sat at 95 mph on average, mixing a slider at about 81 mph.
Having showcased upside at the MLB level, Waldichuk was promoted to the top-100 prospect list in all of baseball, according to MLB Pipeline.
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Here’s what MLB Pipeline had to say about Waldichuk:
Ken Waldichuk, LHP, Yankees (No. 91): We covered Waldichuk’s deep four-pitch arsenal here. (Check out the Whirly, in particular.) Since that story ran, he’s been promoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre having fanned 41.1 percent of the Double-A batters he faced.
Waldichuk ranks 91st among 100 prospects on the list, no longer coining him “underrated” but fairly evaluated. The Yankees have lost a number of pitching pieces this past week, including Chad Green and Luis Gil, to Tommy John surgery. If they want to call up a bullpen piece or potentially supplement a starting spot to mitigate fatigue down the road, Waldichuk could get an opportunity at some point this season.
Management would rather rely on JP Sears, who recently had a phenomenal start against the Baltimore Orioles last week, but if the lefty continues to thrive, he may need another level of competition to show his true capabilities.
The most exciting aspect of Waldichuk up to this point is his incredible strikeout rate.
In total, Waldichuk has produced 55 strikeouts over 38.1 innings this season with both Somerset and Scranton.