The New York Yankees have provided more excitement off the field in the last several days than anything we have seen on the diamond in 2016. Yankees GM Brian Cashman finally convinced ownership that the club was not a true playoff contender and allowed him to convert five players into 14 in the first sell-off since 1989.
The Yankees' farm system might now be considered one of the best in the majors (if not the best), as they accrued three former (and recent) first-round picks. The Yankees' minor league system has enough talent to remain a top-10 organization should they decide to move any of the current crop of young talent.
Here is a look at the deals and players the Yankees received over the last several days. All prospect rankings via MLB Pipeline.
SS Gleyber Torres, RHP Adam Warren, OF Billy McKinney and OF Rashad Crawford from Cubs for LHP Aroldis Chapman
Torres sits at No. 26 among all MLB prospects and No. 2 in the Yankees system. With Torres, 19, the Yankees add another middle infielder who has very good hitting tools. His range is considered middle of the line, but he owns a strong arm, which can keep him at shortstop. The right-handed hitter projects to be a 15-20 home run threat and his current MLB eta sits at 2019. Torres has been placed on High-A Tampa's roster.
Warren returns to New York after being traded in the offseason for Starlin Castro. Warren was having a down year in Chicago, but slots into the late innings for New York after losing its top two relievers. Minimally, Warren figures to solidify what has been a rocky middle relief crew this season.
McKinney ranks 15th in the Yankees' system. The left-handed throwing and hitting 20-year-old was a first-round pick (No. 24 overall) in 2013. McKinney has not displayed any power in his minor league career and is not considered a base stealer. He gets on base at a decent clip and is considered an average outfielder. McKinney reported to Double-A Trenton.
Crawford, 22, throws right and bats left. Like McKinney, Crawford has little to no power, but he makes up for it with speed on the bases. Before the trade, Crawford owned a .716 OPS with 29 extra-base hits and 22 steals at High-A. Crawford has mostly played center field as a pro, and he will see time all over the outfield with High-A Tampa.
OF Clint Frazier, LHP Justus Sheffield, RHP Ben Heller and RHP J.P. Feyereisen from Indians for LHP Andrew Miller
Frazier jumps straight from the top of the Indians' system to the top of the Yankees'. Frazier, 21, is the No. 24 overall MLB prospect who hits and throws from the right side. Frazier has plus power, projecting to hit 30-plus home runs per year, according to some scouts. Frazier is a good fielder, able to cover center but he could find himself in one of the corners. Some scouts believe Frazier could be ready as early as next season. With Aaron Judge also potentially ready next season, the Yankees could have serious raw power at the corner outfield positions for years to come.
Sheffield (No. 94 MLB, No. 7 Yankees) is yet another first-round selection (No. 31 overall in 2014) the Yanks snagged. Sheffield, a 20-year-old southpaw, tops out at 96 with a plus-fastball and owns a swing-and-miss curveball. The last left-handed starter the Yankees developed in their system was Andy Pettitte, and Sheffield has a chance to be the next.
Heller, a power right-handed reliever, has enjoyed a stellar 2016 season to date. Heller, 24, could be ready for the majors as early as September when rosters expand after a quick climb up the Indians' system ladder. (He was drafted in the 22nd round in 2013.)
Feyereisen, another right-handed reliever, is one level behind Heller, and his fastball is a few ticks off as well. That said, Feyereisen had a 2.23 ERA in 40 1/3 Double-A innings this season to go along with 56 strikeouts and 20 walks. Feyereisen, 23, figures to report to Double-A Trenton.
RHP Tyler Clippard for RHP Vicente Campos
Clippard, a former Yankees draftee (ninth round in 2003), is now an experienced a mostly dependable middle reliever. Clippard, like Warren, was having a tough season compared with a competitive 2015 season. Clippard also figures to work toward the end of games as part of a bridge to new Yankees closer Dellin Betances. Clippard owns an 11 K/9 rate this season, though it comes with a 3.6 BB/9 rate and a high home run rate. Clippard, 31, is in the first year of a two-year contract worth $12.25 million.
RHPs Dillon Tate, Erik Swanson and Nick Green from Rangers for OF/DH Carlos Beltran
In Tate, the Yankees get another first-rounder during the sell-off. Tate has a plus-fastball that tops out at 98, as well as an above-average slider. Tate has had a rough go this season with a 5.12 ERA in Low-A, but at 22, they can certainly allow him to figure things out as a starter or convert him to a reliever and move him up the organization faster. For a two-month rental, it is hard to pass up such a talent.
Swanson, a teammate of Tate's at Class-A Hickory, is another right-hander who is starting this season for the first time in his short professional career after working as a reliever.
Green was actually drafted by the Yankees in the 35th round in 2013, but did not sign, then was drafted the following year by Texas in the seventh round. Green has seen action predominantly as a starter in his career.
Two players to be named later from Pirates for RHP Ivan Nova
Nova had limited value to the point that the Yankees might have simply designated him for assignment if they could not find a suitor. Therefore, getting two low-level minor league players for him is better than nothing.
Once the Yankees decided to focus on the future and try to create a sustained core, they did exactly what they needed to do to grab high-end upside prospects. With money coming off the books over the next two seasons, coupled with the upgraded system, the Yankees finally have a chance to create an active roster balanced with young veterans and youthful prospects in the near future.