5 Yankees Prospects That Could Make An MLB Impact In 2019
Trevor Stephan-Starting Pitcher
An Advanced-A All-Star in 2018, starter Trevor Stephan was the Yankees 3rd round pick out of the University of Arkansas in 2017. Stephan quickly climbed the Yankees organizational ladder, reaching Double-A less than midway through his first full professional season. In 124 ⅓ innings in the Yankees system, he has posted a 3.18 ERA with opponents hitting .224 off of him. Stephan had a little bit of an issue keeping the ball in the ballpark in 2018, but did strikeout 24% of the batters he faced. Stephan’s above average fastball, which has been clocked at 98 mph, plus his 6’4 210 frame could get him to the big leagues in 2019.
Michael King-Relief Pitcher
Acquired via trade from the Marlins in the 17-18 offseason, Michael King surprised many Yankees fans in 2018 when he broke out, pitching to a 1.79 era, 11-5 record, and holding opponents to a .202 batting average across 3 levels. King throws a low 90’s fastball with an above-average slider to go with it. Whatever worked for him in 2018, if King can keep it up in 2019, he is likely to earn a big-league promotion by the end of September.
Domingo Acevedo-Starting Pitcher
Domingo Acevedo was so off the radar of international scouts that he did not sign until he had already been eligible for 2 years. Acevedo’s fastball caught the eye of scouts in 2012 and has since been clocked at 103 MPH. The 6’7 starter reached Triple-A in his 4th season in the Yankees system in 2017, and dominated across three levels, pitching to a 3.25 era. Acevedo participated in the 2017 MLB All-Star Futures Game. After an impressive 2017, Acevedo was considered a candidate to start 2018 in the Yankees bullpen but didn’t get the job, and missed 6 weeks due to injury early in the season. He was assigned to Double-A Trenton and continued his success, pitching to a 2.22 era before being called up on July 21, 2018, but just a few hours after his big league promotion, Acevedo was sent back to Trenton without seeing game action. Acevedo finished 2018 with a 2.99 era in 12 starts and 4 relief appearances. With a packed bullpen, Acevedo very likely won’t begin the season in the bigs, but continued success should send him to the bigs by the end of 2019.
Mike Ford-First Baseman
Mike Ford has been one of the more undervalued prospects in the Yankees organization over recent years. The power-hitting first baseman has never hit for average, but has plenty of pop at the plate and plays quality defense. Last offseason the Yankees made the decision to leave Ford off the 40-man roster, making him eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Ford was selected by the Mariners in the draft and reported to big league camp for them, where he hit .259 with 10 rbi’s in 14 games. Ford wasn’t put on the Mariners opening day roster and was therefore returned to the New York Yankees. In Triple-A Scranton in 2018, Ford hit .251 with 16 homers and 22 doubles. Especially with the short right field porch and questions surrounding who will play first base for the Yanks in 2019, the big lefty power hitter is a candidate to be on the big league roster at some point this season.
Zack Zehner has been another one of the more underrated Yankees prospects over the last few years and had a great 2018 to go with that. Zehner was an 18th round pick in the 2015 draft out of Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo and spent his pro debut in Staten Island. He spent his first full season in High-A Tampa and hit .278 in 109 games. Zehner started 2018 in Double-A Trenton and was promoted to Triple-A after about 5 weeks. In 2018 Zehner showcased just about all of his talents, especially an unseen before pop at the plate, he hit .270 with 14 homers, 6 triples and 25 doubles. His patience at the plate, as well as speed, helps him have an on-base percentage at least 100 points over his batting average every year. The Yankees starting centerfield is still to be determined, and a good spring could put Zehner on Aaron Boone’s radar to give him the call at some point in 2019.
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