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James Kaprielian with the Tampa Yankees (©Mark LoMoglio/Yankees)

Mailbag: Adams, Sheffield, Acevedo, Rutherford and more!

With Spring Training, only a few weeks away we decided it was time to bring back our New York Yankees minor league mailbag.  We got a lot of great submissions from our readers so without further ado, here we go.

Aaron Judge will start the 2017 season as the Yankees regular right-fielder, I do not see anyone being able to change that right off the bat.  Frazier will begin the season in Triple-A and if he continues to develop the way he has the fans will see him in The Bronx sometime this season.  Rutherford, on the other hand, is much further away from making his major-league debut.

This past season Rutherford was impressive, to say the least hitting .351/.415/.570 in 33 games between the Gulf Coast League Yankees and Pulaski Yankees.  While he only played in Rookie ball so far and ended the season being shut down due to injury, he still has the goods to start 2017 with the Charleston RiverDogs of the South Atlantic League.

He was one of the best hitters in the 2016 draft class and the Yankees lucked out with him falling to him at the number 18 pick.  He also is pretty advance for a prospect his age and could find himself in the Florida State League by the end of the season if he hits like he did last season.  But do not expect him in the majors in the next year or two.  Rutherford will likely see his first taste of the big leagues towards the end of the 2019 season or 2020 season.

Well that is tough to say.  I personally would love to have Jose De Leon on the Yankees roster but I feel that Starlin Castro would not be enough alone to get him.  De Leon made his major league debut this past September and ended last season as #33 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 prospects list.  At present, he is the Dodgers #2 prospect.  He has the potential to be a front-of-the-rotation starter.  It would be safe to assume the Dodgers would want something a bit more than just Castro.  If the deal was say Castro and a minor-league arm like Brady Lail or Dietrich Enns I would do it.

This is difficult to say as I have yet to see Albert Abreu pitch in person.  I am a huge Domingo Acevedo fan and fully believe he will be able to be a starter long-term.  Abreu has the potential to be a front-of-the-rotation starter and like Acevedo there are some questions on whether he can stick as a starter.  I know this is sort of like a non-answer but until I see Abreu in person or see more video of him I am not comfortable making that determination.

This is an easy one for me.  I think James Kaprielian is the better prospect of the two and the better chance of being a front of the rotation guy.  I think we will end up having a rotation where these guys are back-to-back because they are both that good but Kaprelian has proved he can sustain his velocity and control.  If injury didn’t cut his 2016 short he would have made his MLB debut and I honestly believe that.  I remember talking to scouts in 2015 after they watched his first two starts they were convinced he has what it takes.


Simple answer, yes.  Justus Sheffield has the ability to be a solid MLB starter.  He profiles to be a middle-of-the-rotation arm and can give the Yankees much needed lefty starter in their rotation for years to come.

This can be tough to say.  I am a Miguel Andujar fan, he is all-around a good prospect.  However, if for some reason, he doesn’t develop as I hope I think the Yankees have enough depth in the system to develop someone to take the spot.  I know my colleague advocated for the Yankees to start working Gleyber Torres out at third base this season.  But not to be over looked is Thairo Estrada who I believe will be a solid third base prospect and further down the system look to Dermis Garcia who has plus-plus power and plays a good third base.

When the Yankees traded for Tate they saw something in his delivery they wanted him to fix.  Due to that they moved him to the bullpen so he can work on it without having to worry about going deeper into games.  Even in the Arizona Fall League he worked out of the bullpen but that could just be for him to continue to work on the changes they made.  I would not be surprised to see him back in the rotation in 2017, most likely back with the Charleston RiverDogs.

Chance Adams is another pitcher I am a big fan of.  This guy has rose quickly through the system after being drafted in 2015 ending the 2016 season in Double-A Trenton.  He will likely start 2017 in Trenton and end it in Triple-A but if things go right for him I would not be surprised to see him in the bigs this season.

At the time of the draft, he compared himself to Trevor Rosenthal.  I pitched the question of comparing him to our writers, and some said, Greg Maddux.  Personally, I am not a fan of comparing guys, they should all go out there and be themselves.

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