Yankees Prospect Report: Left-Handed Pitcher TJ Sikkema
Left-hander TJ Sikkema will look to improve on his brief but impactful time in the Yankees’ minor league system.
The Yankees selected TJ Sikkema, a southpaw from the University of Missouri, with the 38th draft pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. Sikkema had a tremendously successful 2019 season for the Tigers, compiling a 7-4 record to go with a 1.32 ERA. He earned All-Conference and All-American honors for his excellence and was a top prospect for June’s Major League Baseball Draft. On June 3rd, only a week after his college season ended, Sikkema sat down with his family and prepared for the phone call which would change his life.
“The draft day was a long day to be honest…it was almost a four hour day of just waiting, but it was really cool. I was just with my family at home on the couch,” Sikkema told me in September at Richmond County Bank Ballpark, home of the Yankees Short-A affiliate. He describes his appreciation for the Yankees telling me, “I can’t thank them enough. Its been a childhood dream to be where I am now and I’ve worked my whole life for it. For them to call my name, such a historic organization, it’s incredible. I’m almost at a loss of words for how incredible it is.”
Sikkema spent a week at the Yankees rookie camp at the team’s facility in Tampa, FL before being sent to Staten Island to begin his pro career with the Staten Island Yankees. He was shut down from throwing a couple of weeks into his stay, but in his four games with the short-season affiliate, he posted a 0.84 ERA, allowing only one run and striking out 13 batters in 10.2 innings pitched.
“I’ve just been trying to do the things I normally do. Throw strikes, attack hitters, and the guys behind me are playing really well… I’ve had nothing but a good time here.”
The big left-handed pitcher’s repertoire features a fastball, changeup, curveball, and slider. He is pretty heavy with his fastball, which sits in the mid-90’s. He primarily works his slider to left-handed batters and his curveball to righties. “I’m never afraid to go after a guy no matter who it is…(I just want to) get that first-pitch strike and read a hitter from there,”
T.J. will likely begin next year with Full A-Charleston. Don’t be surprised however if you see him start at Advanced A-Tampa. He definitely has the experience and mound maturity to skip a level or two in the low minors.
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