Although we've only had a small sample to work with, it appears that some of the young bats in the Yankee organization have found their home in pinstripes. Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge in particular have taken their opportunity and running with it. Tyler Austin has seen success as well. But what isn't talked about as much are the arms that are working their way toward the Bronx.
Suzie Pinstripe did a great piece on Justus Sheffield titled:PITCHING PHENOM JUSTUS SHEFFIELD HEATS IT UP IN TAMPA, and he's earned that headline. But there are more exciting arms that are even closer to making their mark with the big club. Let's review...
We've seen the good and the bad of Luis Severino this season as well as some great outings as of late from relatively no-hype prospects Chad Green and Luis Cessa. Both were acquired in the Justin Wilson trade with Detroit last off season. Both have live arms but weren't seen as big time prospects. With the youth movement in motion it's been great to see those two take advantage of opportunities.
With the 122nd overall pick in the fourth round of the 2014 amateur draft, the Yankees selected LHP Jordan Montgomery out of the University of South Carolina. After posting a combined 2.95 ERA between A-ball and high-A ball in 2015, Montgomery began the year at Double-A Trenton. Montgomery went 9-4 over 19 starts posting a 2.55 ERA before being promoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Montgomery picked up where he left off and over four starts is 3-1 with a 0.71 ERA over 25.1 innings. For the season he has a 2.19 ERA with 123 strikeouts to 43 walks over 127.2 innings. His fastball, which was clocked between 87-91 in college has jumped up and is now siting in the low-to-mid 90's regularly.
Montgomery doesn't have a terribly high ceiling, but has a ton of poise and is comfortable with all four of his pitches. After his last start in which he threw seven scoreless while striking out eight and allowing just three hits, Montgomery quoted by MiLB.com as saying; "I've been trying to be as aggressive as I can, changing speeds, mixing up pitches and keeping the hitters as off-balanced as I can." Montgomery is comfortable throwing his fastball, change-up and slider is hitters counts which, like he said, keeps the hitters guessing. With his repertoire and knowledge of pitching, he could be a middle of the rotation mainstay in the Bronx as soon as next year.
The other very exciting pitcher to keep and eye out for is RHP Chance Adams. The 2015 fifth round pick has a mid-90's fastball to go with his change-up, curve ball and slider. He started his second professional season this spring in Tampa with a 5-0 record along with a 2.65 ERA before making the jump to Trenton where he has continued to cruise. Since joining the Double-A club, the 22 year-old has gone 8-1 with a 2.07 ERA.
Adams was quoted in The Trentonian as saying; "I've been trying to learn how to pitch and not just be a thrower. Being able to throw off speed in (different) counts and not just throw fastballs in hitters' counts like 2-0. I've been really working on the change-up. It's really developed over the last few months."
With his improvements made seemingly every start, Adams could find himself in Triple-A in September and/or next spring with an opportunity to see some time in the Bronx in 2017. Adams has a bit of a higher ceiling than Montgomery and could make a great number three-type starter when the time comes.
Aside from Montgomery and Adams, the Yankees have 2015 first round pick James Kaprellian who had an injury plagued 2016 season. He was seen as a guy who could have maybe made it to New York this summer but the injuries derailed those hopes. Young flame throwing Domingo Acevedo is another guy who could make his presence known in the next couple of years as he is now in high-A ball. Acevedo tops 100 MPH regularly and has struck out 102 batters in 93.0 innings this year.
Along with Justus Sheffield, LHP's Ian Clarkin and Dietrich Enns are names we will likely hear next spring as well as Drew Finley and maybe even Dillon Tate. While some of these guys are a couple years away, the Yankees system is as good as it's been in the last two decades and that's something to be excited about!!
Now that some of the big time offensive prospects have made an impact and guys like Luis Cessa and Chad Green have had a taste of success, the Yankees youth movement is in full swing and us fans finally have something to be excited about! Back in July, I wrote that something needed to give to make the Yankees fun again and I, for one, am enjoying August much more than I did the first four months.
Keep and eye and ear out folks, because the Yankee arms are coming!
One quick personal note: Happy Anniversary to my wife Angela of six years!
--Dan Lucia, BYB Senior Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @DManLucia