Rumors have been floating about the Yankees’ intention to make a trade involving closer Aroldis Chapman. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal has reported that the Yankees intend to deal the Cuban reliever and sources including Bronx Pinstripes have reported that the Cubs, Nationals, and Indians are all in aggressive pursuit of a deal for Chapman. While teams like the Giants, Rangers, or Dodgers may also swoop in to land Chapman, we will focus on prospects the first three teams, as they have all consistently been floated as options by multiple sources. Instead of the usual weekly update on current Yankees minor leaguers, this week we look at some prospects on other teams who may soon be part of the Yankees’ system if their current organizations can reach a deal for Chapman. (Update: the Cubs are the current favorites to land Chapman as of time of writing Sunday night. It is unknown exactly who will be sent in return, but most signspoint to the prospect below, Gleyber Torres, being sent to the Yankees in return. Here is a profile on the young Cubs prospect.)
Gleyber Torres– Cubs SS- High A- Torres, 19, has already reached High-A with the Cubs and has become the organization’s top prospect. Torres has spent all of 2016 at High-A Myrtle Beach, batting .273 with a .356 on-base percentage. The shortstop has moderate power, with nine home runs and 46 RBI, as well as good speed, having stolen 19 bases in 29 attempts this season. The young Venezuelan can spray the ball across the field and reportedly has good bat speed. His speed and defense may allow him to stick at shortstop, but he could also provide effective output from second or third base. Torres would likely immediately become the top prospect in the Yankees organization, and partnering him with rising star prospect Jorge Mateo may make for a dynamic exciting young infield combination.
Ian Happ– Cubs 2B/OF- AA- The Cubs selected Happ with the 9th overall pick in last year’s draft out of the University of Cincinnati and he has demonstrated a highly appealing power-speed combo in his second season as a professional. He batted .296 with a .410 OBP in 293 plate appearances at High-A Myrtle Beach, also hitting seven home runs, driving in 42 runs, and stealing 10 bases before his call-up to AA Tennessee. Against tougher competition, Happ has continued to flourish, hitting .313 with two home runs, 11 RBI, and three stolen bases in just 107 plate appearances. Given a full season, he could eventually become a 20-20 player. One thing to note as of right now is that despite high walk rates at lower levels, his walk rate in AA has been rather low and his long-term position may be unclear. Regardless, the Yankees should be able to find a spot for Happ should he come over to their organization.
Keith Law has reported on the Nationals’ interest in Aroldis Chapman and has noted that the following two prospects were the center of the Nationals’ offer:
Erick Fedde– Nationals SP- High A- Fedde, a 23 year-old right-hander, has allowed only three runs in his last eight appearances. He has a 3.45 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP on the season for High-A Potomac, but since May 15th those numbers have been a 0.69 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP. On the whole, he has struck out 71 batters in 73 innings this season, with just 17 walks allowed. MLB.com has him ranked as the Nationals’ #4 prospect, as at 6’4” and 180 pounds, his fastball may move higher than the current 91-94 mph range. He has a mid-80s slider that could eventually become a plus offering and has surprisingly refined command given his 2014 Tommy John surgery.
Koda Glover– Nationals P- AAA- Glover, an 8th round pick in last year’s draft, leapt through the minor leagues to make his major league debut this past week. Despite being sent down Sunday, he pitched two scoreless innings in two appearances for the big club. Glover has been a reliever throughout his professional career, and this season he has struck out 52 batters and walked 14 in 33 innings between High-A, AA, and AAA. He has also posted a 2.18 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP while converting six out of seven save opportunities. A 6’5”, 225-pound righty, Glover can touch 98 mph with his fastball and can use his plus slider sitting just below 90 mph as an out pitch. He looks like he could be a future closer wherever he goes, but if he ends up a Yankee, he may eventually take the role currently filled by the man being traded away.
The Indians may not be as frequently mentioned as the Cubs or Nationals, but could be contenders to pull off a deal due to their deep minor league system. Here are a couple of prospects who could draw the Yankees’ interest, or in the case of the first prospect below, already has.
Justus Sheffield– Indians SP- High A- Sheffield is an undersized left-hander at 5’10”, but he can hit 96 on the radar gun or throw a slower fastball with late break. His combination of a potentially plus curveball and an improving changeup has helped him post a 3.53 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 89 1/3 innings. Sheffield looks like the kind of prospect who has the repeatable delivery to eventually sit in the middle or back end of a major league rotation, but has to cut down his walk rate. The 37 free passes he has issued have contributed to his less than stellar 1.34 WHIP, but he has time to develop as he is only 20 years old.
Bobby Bradley– Indians 1B- High A- Bradley has blazed his way through the Carolina League despite just a .264 average, mashing 19 home runs and 77 RBI this season while posting a .380 on-base percentage. In 329 at-bats, the 20 year-old has 121 strikeouts and 57 walks, and while this may point to the floor of becoming a three true outcomes player, Bradley has the opportunity to potentially refine his approach given that he is just 20 years old. Despite the strikeouts and the limitation of a first-base only prospect, Bradley profiles as the kind of hitter who can hit for both power and average (in the mold of David Ortiz.) Still, Bradley would be a bit bigger of a risk than some of the other prospects on this list.