Yajure tops Pirates' prospect package for Taillon
The Yankees dipped into their prospect depth to fortify their most glaring weakness at the top Sunday. New York shipped four prospects, three who were in the organization's top 30 -- No. 15 Miguel Yajure, No. 19 Roansy Contreras and No. 21 Canaan Smith -- as well as shortstop Maikol
The Yankees dipped into their prospect depth to fortify their most glaring weakness at the top Sunday.
New York shipped four prospects, three who were in the organization's top 30 -- No. 15
Yajure, Contreras and Smith slotted right into their new organization's Top 30 at Nos. 14, 19 and 26 respectively, while Taillon appeared to fill a gaping hole in the Yankees' starting rotation.
A No. 1 for No. 89.#Yankees No. 15 prospect Miguel Yajure dons the last unworn number in Major League history in debut.pic.twitter.com/Ax6xJ5kKBM— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) September 1, 2020
Signed as an international free agent by New York out of Venezuela in 2015, Yajure appeared to be a bargain at $30,000 after putting together solid numbers in Rookie-level ball through his first two professional seasons. But the right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery after his 2016 campaign and missed all of 2017 rehabbing the injury. He returned to action in 2018 and made 14 starts for Class A Charleston, where he posted a 3.90 ERA over 64 2/3 frames.
The 22-year-old opened 2019 with Class A Advanced Tampa, putting his advanced control on display as he amassed a 2.26 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP with 122 punchouts and 28 walks over 127 2/3 frames in the Florida State League. Yajure's performance earned him a promotion to Double-A Trenton, where he allowed one run while fanning 11 over two starts spanning 11 innings. Yajure made his debut in The Show last year and proved effective in three relief appearances for the Yankees -- yielding one run on three hits and five walks while whiffing eight over seven frames. The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder limited Major League hitters to a .130 average during that stint.
Contreras' fastball attacks hitters in the mid-90s and touches 97 with regularity. The 6-foot, 175-pound righty pitches off of the heater with a 55-grade changeup that showcases heavy sink and an average 50-grade curveball. In 24 starts for Charleston in 2019, he finished with a 3.33 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP, 113 strikeouts and 36 walks over 132 1/3 frames.
Smith was selected in the fourth round of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft out of Rockwall-Heath High School in Texas by New York. The toolsy outfielder possesses a 55-grade hit tool for his ability to make contact and advanced strike-zone awareness. The 21-year-old delivered as advertised in his first professional season in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, where he batted .289/.430/.422 with 15 extra-base hits, 46 walks, 29 runs and 28 RBIs over 57 games. After a down season in 2018 with Class A Short Season Staten Island, Smith rebounded with Charleston in 2019. The native of Dallas, Texas, paced the South Atlantic League with 74 walks, ranked second in on-base percentage (.405), and ranked third in batting (.307) and OPS (.871). The lefty swinger also found his power stroke with a career-best 11 dingers in 2019, and in the field showcased the ability to play both corner outfield positions with a .972 fielding percentage over 100 games.
Escotto was signed by the Yankees out of the Dominican Republic in 2018. The 18-year-old infielder made his pro debut with the organization in 2019. In 45 games for the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League Yankees, Escotto posted a .315/.429/.552 slash line with eight homers, four triples, 11 doubles and 32 walks. The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder scored 47 times and drove in 26 runs in his only pro campaign.
Rob Terranova is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobTnova24.