Which of the Yankees Top Pitching Prospects Should Be Traded?

The trade deadline draws near and it is an exciting time as the Yankees will look to add pieces to the team for the final stretch run. However, for fans of the farm system this can tend to be a scary time of the year as the Yankees are often the ones losing prospects in deals.

So I wanted to take a look at 10 of the Yankees pitching prospects and evaluate their season. This is in an attempt to gauge which ones I would like to see them hold on to and which ones I wouldn’t mind seeing traded.

This is in no way and endorsement that any of these pitchers should be traded. Instead it’s just a look at which ones would be smart to deal in the next two months.

Manny Banuelos – (LHP, Age: 20, Highest Level: AA, 2011 ERA: 3.50): Consensus no. 1 pitching prospect in the season at the start of the year, he has been so-so this year. His ERA is a full run higher (2.51 in 2010, 3.50 in 2011). That’s the result of a K/9 ratio that has dropped from 11.8 to 8.7 and a BB/9 that went from 3.5 to 5.0. That’s a far cry from the 2.3 BB/9 he posted in his last full season (2009).

Should they deal him? No. Banuelos is still very young for his level and his ceiling is way to high to give up on so early. Banuelos should only be included in the most amazing of deals.

Andrew Brackman – (RHP, Age: 25, Highest Level: AAA, 2011 ERA: 6.98): Brackman entered spring training with an outside chance to win a big league rotation spot and he has taken giant leaps backwards since then. His 6.98 ERA is fugly, his K/9 of 7.1 and BB/9 of 7.0 are both career worsts. The walk rate in particular is shocking. He has just fallen apart this year.

Should they deal him? No. As bad as Brackman’s season has been trading him now would be a bad idea because they would get very little in return. At this point the Yankees should hold on to him and hope that he turns things around and only trade him if they can get back his winter value.

Dellin Betances – (RHP, Age: 23, Highest Level: AA, 2011 ERA: 2.61): Betances opened eyes with a big season last year and he has continued to be a promising prospect this year. His ERA is up, but to a still impressive 2.61. His K/9 of 10.3 is also impressive, his only problem is that his 4.8 BB/9 is very high and more than twice that of last year’s 2.3. Still, he’s gotten off to a good start in 2011.

Should they deal him? No. He certainly will be the no. 1 target of teams looking to trade with the Yankees, but they need to resist that urge. With no real ace’s on the upcoming free agent market and CC Sabathia‘s opt-out looming it is important that the Yankees hold on to what could be their best pitching prospect. If one of the Killer B’s have to be traded, Betances should be the last one.

Hector Noesi – (RHP, Age: 24, Highest Level: MLB, 2011 ERA: 4.12): Noesi has actually reached the major leagues and up until a bad outing the other day has been impressive. One thing that Noesi needs to do is improve his K/9. It’s at 3.2 since he has been promoted to the bigs and that pales in comparison to his career minor league mark of 8.6. Overall though this has been a positive¬† year for him.

Should they deal him? Yes, if they can capitalize on his moderate success since getting called up to the big leagues. Noesi has never been a huge prospect and dealing him now would represent selling high. I would envision Noesi being part of a package for a good to very good player.

Adam Warren – (RHP, Age: 23, Highest Level: AAA, 2011 ERA: 3.07): Warren made the jump from A-ball to AA last year and he has been in AAA this season so its been a quick ride up the ladder for him. He’s done pretty well this year considering. His ERA is up overall from last year, but his numbers at AA and AAA are actually somewhat similar. His walk rate is up slightly, the problem is his K/9 is down to 5.7 after being at 8.4 last year.

Should they deal him? As part of a big trade, yes. For a marginal upgrade, no. Warren doesn’t jump out as a front end starter, but he is very close to the major leagues and he should be more than serviceable. Unlike with Noesi, dealing him now would not necessarily be selling high either (nor selling low).

Brett Marshall – (RHP, Age: 21, Highest Level: A+, 2011 ERA: 4.02): Marshall has always had a lot of promise, but injuries have held him back a bit. His numbers in 2011 are right along with their career norms, not great, but not bad either and just getting a full, healthy season under his belt is a plus right now. So this has been a productive season.

Should they deal him? No. Unless somebody is really in love with him they would probably be better off holding on to him. His stock isn’t dropping this season and it could go up a lot if he improves in 2012.

Jose Ramirez – (RHP, Age: 21, Highest Level: A+, 2011 ERA: 5.68): Ramirez’s emergence made it easier when the Yankees traded Arodys Vizcaino a few years back, but since then Ramriez has not lived up to the hype. This yearisn’t much different as he has struggled at the A and A+ levels this year.

Should they deal him? Yes. Why not? They aren’t going to get a lot for him, but if a team wants him included in a deal over somebody else they shouldn’t hesitate. Dealing him now might be selling low, but it might also be cutting their loses.

David Phelps – (RHP, Age: 24, Highest Level: AAA, 2011 ERA: 3.38): Phelps was nearly called up to the Yankees this month, but they signed Brian Gordon instead. Now Phelps is on the DL with an elbow problem with unknown severity.

Should they deal him? They can’t. Phelps certainly had value two weeks ago, but he certainly was not a blue chip. Now that he has an issue with his elbow not many teams are going to be interested though. At least for right now.

D. J. Mitchell – (RHP, Age: 24, Highest Level: AAA, 2011 ERA: 3.79): Mitchell’s value as a prospect lies more in his proximity to the majors than anything else. He has put together a solid if unspectacular season this year.

Should they deal him? Yes. He could be a solid piece for the Yankees major league team, even in the near future, but they may have to part with him to avoid parting with other, better pieces. It certainly would not want to see him just given away or as an afterthought throw in though.

Bryan Mitchell – (RHP, Age: 20, Highest Level: SS-A, 2011 ERA: 7.50): First of all, his ERA is misleading as his season just started and he has only pitched in two games. However, he does have some of the best stuff in the orgazation and should start showing up on more prospect lists soon.

Should they deal him? No. He’s still very young and too much of an unknown at this point. He is not valuable enough to be a centerpiece of a deal and too valuable to be a throw in.

In a perfect world, the Yankees would be able to hold on to all 10 of these guys. However, they will be active at the deadline and these are a few of the first names that will come up in conversation. They need to be smart as to which ones they should deal and which they should hold on to.

Let’s hear from you! Which prospects should the Yankees hold on to, and which would they be smart dealing?

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.
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9 Responses to Which of the Yankees Top Pitching Prospects Should Be Traded?

  1. Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

    While I agree with your thoughtful analysis of the situation, I'm concerned about exactly who would be out there worth trading for. Assuming Jeter and Chavez come back, their bench is relatively stacked. Even if one or both don't, it's not a high need area. They have high quality relievers potentially coming back but irregardless, relievers look to be very expensive on the trade market this year. Obviously a front line starter would be wonderful but I don't see anyone at this point that looks to be available. Looking forward to a similar positional player article in the near future.

    • I will definitely do one of these for the position players, but it won't be until later in the week. I have a couple of good pieces coming up Monday and Tuesday morning that I expect you will like too.

  2. yankeepride says:

    could you imagine getting something for Brackman…Warren's pitching well, Noesi is a crapshoot, i'd keep Banuelos and Betances, Warren, Stoneburner…everyone else is more expendable…

    • I can't see the Yankees getting much at all for Brackman at this point. I mean, if you were the GM of another team would you want to give up much for him?

      I also feel like maybe there is something wrong with him. If they can straighten him out then he'll provide them with more value.

      • yankeepride says:

        that's what I was saying…they've been trying to straighten out Brackman for a while…the guy came to us shelved, looked good in 2010 and the bottom has fallen out this year…another injury may account for his poor performance but this is not looking good…just looked, he gave up 5 runs in 1/3 of an innings today in relief…you are right in that GM's won't value him much…i feel bad for the guy and it's hard to give up on a first rounder…

  3. Tanned Tom says:

    Nice article. I want to echo the comments of the first poster, trade for whom? What does the team need? The starting has been good, they need a leftie specialist for sure, and they're stuck with the under performing starters (Jeter, Posada, Swisher). I don't see Cashman pulling off a major deal, more like sliding Hughes into the bullpen, seeing if Silva can pitch in the majors, and making pickups like Gordon. Unless of course a front line starter is available, but somehow I can't see NY pulling off a deal for Felix Hernandez, especially after the Clif Lee trouble of last season.

    • As for the who, I have an article about relievers up today and one for the starters coming tomorrow. The starter list isn't overly impressive though. You never know who becomes available.

      Also, you should reevaluate whom you call under performing. Posada and Swisher have been very good for over a month now.

  4. @valkmeister says:

    Banuelos – no.
    Brackman – yes.
    Betances – no.
    Noesi – only for a very good player.
    Warren – no.
    Marshall – no.
    Ramirez – yes.
    Phelps – no.
    Mitchell – no.
    Mitchell – if he has a bad year.

  5. Irabu for President says:

    If I am a GM, and you want me to give up a major league piece, you better come to the table with someone better than Hector Noesi. If you want to toss out the yearly MFY fans idea of trading for someone like Felix Hernandez, then you put the names Banuelos, Betances, Montero, Sanchez, and Heathcott on a list. Then you let the M's tell you HOW MANY of those they want. That's what happens when one team has 100% of the leverage. Welcome to supply and demand economics.

    I see multiple people saying only to trade _____ if a very good player is coming back. If you want quality major league pieces, but don't want to give up quality minor league talent to get them, you are blinded by homerism. Realistically, a guy like Hector Noesi and 1 or 2 other C-grade prospects MIGHT get you someone like Hiroki Kuroda in this market.

    P.S.- This is a really nice write-up. As a non-Yankees fan, I actually enjoy learning about organizational depth rather than ad nauseum articles about guys I've already heard of.

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