The Yankees may have lost to the Astros in the ALCS and two prospects isn’t enough to alleviate those still-fresh feelings, but young pitchers Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman are doing their very best to keep the Bronx brass very optimistic.
Abreu, the main get from those very Astros in an off-season trade for catcher Brian McCann, had a dynamite 2017 season after moving organizations. He sampled High-A in the Astros organization in 2016, but the Yankees cautiously backtracked the 21-year old to Low-A Charleston to continue defining the player he aims to become.
Now 22, the Dominican righty is still raw but is beginning to fill out with tremendous results to go by. Earning an invite to play for the Yankee-based Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League, he’s more than built on a big season.
In five starts, Abreu has struck out 23 batters, good for third among all AFL pitchers. While he’s also walked a league-high 12 batsmen, he’s done well to limit the damage, achieving a 3.18 ERA in 22.2 innings so far. He’s allowed just 15 hits in those frames, a WHIP totaling an imposing 1.19.
Guzman is not in the Fall League, but the fellow Dominican right-handed pitcher had a very strong year. He’ll join Abreu as a 22-year old as well in January and this past season advanced to short-A Staten Island, where he spent the entirety of the campaign.
Pitching exclusively in rookie ball in his first two seasons, he jumped to full-season ball this year without complication. A strikeout artist —his K/9 ratio is 12.2 the last two seasons— Guzman took well to the advancement, posting his best ERA yet as a minor leaguer...
...at 2.84 and a WHIP at 1.04, he K’d 88 batters in 66.2 innings over 13 starts. He habitually hits triple digits with his heater and started to trust his off-speed pitches a lot more in 2017, signaling the blossoming of yet another big arm in the Yankees system.
While the ALCS loss to McCann and the ‘Stros was not the plan for the big league club, the reality of the New York Yankees situation is a good one. A great, young MLB team is accompanied by a loaded farm system that boasts two more very good arms thanks to McCann and the quick, savvy rebuild by the Yankees front office.