The Yankees took Brady Lail in the 18th round of the 2012 draft. At the time of the draft Lail was committed to attend the University of Arizona. To sway Lail from fulfilling his commitment the team gave him a $225K bonus and put aside another $135K for future college tuition. At the time of the draft he was known for having a fastball-curveball combination which flashed plus potential.
His fastball should still be considered plus, even if it sits in the low-90s, but his curve has yet to reach that level and is now mostly considered just an above-average pitch. He also throws an above-average changeup and an average cutter, so while he doesn’t have two plus pitches he does have a lot to work with. His biggest strength is his overall control, and the command of his fastball, these two elements is what should make him a good back-end starter.
Lail overall package has allowed him zoom through the Yankees system. He was only drafted in 2012, yet he pretty close to big league, and is already in AAA. Lail’s impressive minor league career began in the GCL in 2012.
He only pitched 12.1 innings in his first stint in the GCL, but he was impressive in this miniscule sample with a FIP of 2.33 and an ERA of 1.42. Of course the true start of his career came in 2013 where he had 54 innings in the GCL. In those 54 innings he put up the following numbers: 2.33 ERA, 1.90 FIP, .81 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, and a .83 BB/9. He also pitched 7.2 innings in A+ that year, but that was just because some other starters needed rest and he was already in Tampa.
He began the 2014 season in A-ball, and would need to pitch 97 innings before returning to A+. Lail was once again very impressive he put up the following stats: 3.71 ERA, 2.99 FIP, 1.27 WHIP, 8.81 K/9, 1.58 BB/9. He also did well at the end of the year when he was officially promoted to A+. He put the following stats in his 37.1 innings in Tampa: 3.38 ERA, 3.77 FIP, 1.04 WHIP, 5.06 K/9, and a 2.17 BB/9. These High-A numbers are even more impressive considering he was over three years younger than the average pitcher at the level.
This performance demonstrates just how polished he was at such a young age, which is probably why the Yankees pushed him to AA so quickly the next season. He only had to make one start in A+ before his AA promotion.
After the promotion he spent most 2015 season in AA, and dominated the league despite being three-and-a-half years younger than the average pitcher. He put up the following numbers: 2.45 ERA, 3.06 FIP, 1.10 WHIP, 5.33 K/9, and 2.20 BB/9.
He finished his year in AAA, and the first time in his Yankee career he actually struggled. In the 37 innings at the level he had an ERA of 4.62, a FIP of 5.32, a WHIP of 1.72, a 4.14 BB/9, and a K/9 of 3.16.He was about 6 years younger than the average pitcher, but you’d still expect a better performance based on what he’s done in his career.
Regardless of the ugly numbers he put up in AAA, he’s clearly one of the Yankees best prospects, and is the most major league ready of all their pitching prospects (unless you consider Byran Mitchell a prospect).
Lail will begin the 2016 season in AAA, and if everything goes well, probably will see some time in the majors even if it’s just as a September call-up,