2020 Minor league rebound candidates


Mar 14, 2019; Dunedin, FL, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Estevan Florial (92) at Dunedin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees farm system had a good year in 2019. It wasn’t the best in recent history, but there were some major positives. The players below were largely disappointing in 2019 for various reasons. Each of them, however, has redeeming qualities that allow them to remain promising prospects. As a result, this is a list of players who could have big bounce back seasons in 2020.

1. Frank German – With a fastball that reaches the upper 90’s and some improving off speed pitches, German has some real similarities to Glenn Otto. Both throw hard. Both have promising developing secondary pitches. Both have had injury shortened seasons recently. German threw 81 innings this year with a 4.11 ERA. With new pitching coordinators and improved health, he could be in for a rebound season in 2020.

2. Michael King – King’s overall numbers didn’t look good and there’s a reason for that. He was injured for a large portion of the year, and when he first came back his stuff was not back. Towards the end of the season the velocity and secondary pitches came back, and therefore he is a prime candidate for a rebound season in 2020. He could be a huge help to the major league team if he is needed in the starting rotation.

3. Ben Ruta – There were very few players on the farm who were off to as hot of a start as Ruta at the beginning of 2019. He trailed off in the middle of the season though and never really rebounded. Ruta will look to find some of the touch that made him one of if not the hottest player on the farm to start last season. If he does, Ben could quickly find himself in the conversation for the major leagues. He should be starting in Triple-A in 2020.

4. Isiah Gilliam – Gilliam was aggressively promoted to Double-A this year and had trouble adjusting. He had been off to a hot start in High-A when the move was made, and never really got back to that after the promotion. He is still relatively young though and switch hitters always take longer to develop. He still has a ton of power potential left to unlock. I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the adjustment to Double-A pitching in 2020 and has a big year.

5. Trevor Stephan – After a dreadful start to the season, Stephan did some work with the minor league pitching coaches. The result was that he was fantastic at the end of the season. The overall statistics are not great, but Stephan could be in for a monster season in 2020 if he picks up where he left off. The stuff is high quality, so next year he could find himself in Triple-A in short order.

6. Brian Keller – Keller is a low velocity pitcher with solid secondary pitches but nothing that reaches the level of plus. He is a sum of all parts kind of pitcher. Keller operates best at a mid-90’s velocity but can be effective in the low-90’s too. In 2019 he was more in the low-90’s. If he can bump up to the mid-90’s velocity again, Keller could be in for a major rebound season after a mediocre 2019.

7. Domingo Acevedo – Acevedo didn’t have a terrible season in 2019. It was disappointing when you consider that he was an upper-90’s starter and now he is a low-90’s reliever though. Acevedo will look to recapture some of that velocity and stuff in 2020. If he is able to do that, he could bounce back and become another high-end reliever.

8. Nick Green – 2019 was a dreadful year for Green. He got taken in the rule 5 draft, was returned to the Yankees without playing a game in the majors. Then, he proceeded to have a horrific season statistically. He still has mid-90’s velocity with secondary pitches that flash plus potential. He also has major trouble with control. If he can reign in the control and re-establish himself in 2020, he could bust out.

9. Estevan Florial – The tools are all there for Florial to be a stud centerfielder. He has speed, above average power, good defensive capabilities in centerfield, and a good head on his shoulders. He has had a miserable two years due to injuries. He has not played particularly well when healthy either. If he stays healthy all year, Florial could make one or two results that result in a bounce back year that puts him back on the prospect map and in the top prospects discussion.

10. Antonio Cabello – Cabello did not perform well in 2019, but his tools were still on display. Scouts took note of that and ranked him among the top prospects in the pioneer league with the Pulaski Yankees. He too is a tooled-up centerfielder who has speed, power, contact ability, and rapidly improving defensive prowess. Pulaski was a small sample size, so there is a good chance he breaks out In 2020 after a down year.