The New York Yankees bolstered arguably the best bullpen in baseball Tuesday evening. The Yankees acquired whom many felt was the top reliever on the market in the Baltimore Orioles Zach Britton for three prospects.
In Britton, the Yankees got the Orioles’ 30-year-old left-handed closer. He joins a bullpen that now has several arms, like David Robertson, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman, with closing experience and gives the Bombers a formidable lefty-combo in Chapman and Britton. Britton, who is still clearly recovering from off-season surgery, isn’t far removed from being one of baseball’s premier closers, however injuries have not been kind the past two seasons.
The Orioles actually got a pretty nice haul. Dillon Tate, Cody Carroll and Josh Rogers are all nice pieces. While it may seem like a bit of an overpay in talent, all three were set to be Rule 5 eligible, thus needing room on an already crowded 40-man roster. That said, the Orioles did improve in this trade and got two pieces that may be ready to help immediately.
Dillon Tate, RHP
Tate is the prized piece in the deal. The 24-year-old righty has had a roller coaster of a career, dealing with injuries on and off himself, but has taken the strides the past two seasons to regain the top form that made him the fourth overall pick of the Texas Rangers in 2015.
The righty was a lights out closer for Santa Barbara before a big final Golden Spikes semifinalist season as a starter. With big velocity and nice fastball-slider combo, he became the highest Gaucho ever drafted. A bum hamstring destroyed his 2016, seeing his mechanics fail him and velocity drop, so the Rangers included him in the Carlos Beltran deal that season.
Tate came out of the bullpen during Charleston’s 2016 playoff run, and looked much more like himself once again. He worked closely with skipper Luis Durante and pitching coach Justin Pope on getting the mechanics back and learning how to strike people out. After a stint in the Arizona Fall League, Tate was back in the rotation and has looked pretty solid the last two seasons.
John Sickels had him ranked the No. 10 Yankees preseason prospect. Here’s what he said:
...posted 2.81 ERA in 83 innings between High-A and Double-A with 63/24 K/BB, 71 hits; history of nagging injuries and durability concerns but effective when healthy in ’17; mid-90s heat, often higher, both slider and change-up are plus on his best days, giving hope that he can start, but he’s never exceeded 83 innings in pro ball; probably winds up in pen. ETA 2019.
As usual, he’s pretty spot on. His changeup is still lagging, but the fastball-slider combo will get him to the big leagues. We know he has a history of excelling in the bullpen role, but there is little doubt the Orioles want to see him succeed in the rotation. There is still reason to believe he can, but the bullpen is a nice fall back option.
Cody Carroll, New York Yankees
Carroll quietly climbed the Yankees ladder as a steady bullpen piece since the day he was drafted in the 22nd round of the 2015 MLB Draft. Those that didn’t know him prior to his 2017 Arizona Fall League performance certainly did after. He caught a lot of people’s attention and became a favorite to see the bullpen in the Bronx this season.
Carroll has stuff and makeup to be a big league closer. Likely goes right into O’s bullpen.— Matt Kardos (@mattkardos) July 25, 2018
Carroll is the 25-year-old big righty, listed at 6’5”, 215. He has an electric fastball that touches the upper 90s and a slider that is not only a strikeout pitch, but can break like a curve. Most reports are that his changeup is a mid-80s splitter that serves its purpose to keep hitters off balance, but is still a bit behind.
Righties don’t stand much of a chance against Carroll. He left them hitless this fall in the desert and was dominant in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre against them this season as well, posting a 1.13 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, .125 batting average against and 34 strikeouts in 24 innings pitched. It’s not like lefties fared that much better, but that’s his bread-and-butter. Something worth noting is a pretty big drop off in his ground ball rate this year (48.6% in 2017 to 32.6% this season). If he can get back to last year’s numbers in this era of launch angles, paired with his velocity and slider combo, Carroll should be a nice addition to the Orioles pen.
Josh Rogers, LHP
Yet another member of the 2015 MLB Draft class, the Yankees took Rogers out of Louisville in the 11th round. The 24-year-old lefty posted a nice final line with the Cardinals going 8-1 with a 3.36 ERA and 82 strikeouts in his final 16 starts in Louisville.
He worked out of the pen during his half-season debut, likely watching his innings as he quickly moved back to the rotation in 2016. He dominated the South Atlantic League in four starts before finding success in the Florida State League. Rogers climbed the ladder quickly, struggling last year in Trenton, but looked solid in with the Railriders once again, posting a 3.95 ERA with an 83:29 K:BB ratio in 109.1 innings.
Per Ricky Keeler of Pinstriped Prospects, Rogers has mid-90s heat that he pairs with with a slider and change. Rogers was close to his debut with the Yankees and should likely get a taste of the bigs now with Baltimore.