Yankees fans are much more interested in free agency and trades at the moment, but these five prospects may boost the team in 2019 as well.
Brian Cashman and the rest of the Yankees brain trust are focused on improving Aaron Boone’s roster by every possible avenue this winter. Trades and free agency will certainly garner most of the headlines, but internal improvement will also be crucial. Specifically, the team may need several young players to step up and play big roles.
The line between prospect and fringe player is tough to determine. For the record, we’re not going to include players like Clint Frazier and Tyler Wade in this piece. Yankees fans have seen enough of them to know what they’re capable of. For Wade there are questions about his talent, Frazier is dogged by concussion concerns.
Instead, we’re focusing on players who have only experienced, at most, a cup of coffee in the Bronx. We’ll start with a pitcher who hasn’t made his Major League debut yet.
5. Michael King
No one raised their stock inside the Yankee organization more than King in 2018. He doesn’t blow scouts away with dynamic stuff, but it’s hard to argue with his results at the minor league level. That’s why he went from unranked to becoming the organization’s No. 24 prospect.
His lack of a second quality pitch is a problem. King uses a really good two-seam fastball to force a lot of ground balls. Quality hitters at the big league level are going to lay off that pitch. His ability to develop a second, and potentially a third, quality pitch may determine just how good he can be for the Yankees.
It’s still possible King could find his way to the Bronx this season. The short porch in Yankee Stadium puts a premium on ground ball pitchers. He could emerge as an emergency starter or middle reliever if he starts the season well in AAA. He’s a wildcard for Yankees fans to watch.