The Pittsburgh Pirates have gotten some decent players from the New York Yankees over the past decade. Of course, the big trades are those like A.J. Burnett, Ivan Nova, Francisco Cervelli, and Jameson Taillon. But even smaller ones, like the trade that netted the Pirates Chris Stewart and Manny Banuelos, have worked out reasonably well for them.
People like to joke that the Pirates are the Yankees’ farm system, but I’m not going to complain about the last decade’s worth of Pirates-Yankees trades. Most have worked out in the Pirates’ favor, all things considered. The Bucs could take another player from the pinstripes if they leave pitching prospect Randy Vasquez unprotected.
Vasquez posted solid numbers for the Yankees’ Double-A affiliate. Through 115.1 innings, the right-hander posted a 3.90 ERA, FIP, and 1.27 WHIP. Along the way, Vasquez struck out 24.2% of the batters he faced with a healthy 8.3% walk rate and 0.89 HR/9. On top of that, he had a 48.3% ground ball rate. His numbers might not stand out, but they’re pretty solid all-around numbers.
Vasquez isn’t a hard-throwing pitcher but typically works in the 90-95 MPH range, which is fast enough. But what he lacks in velocity, he makes up for in spin. His four-seamer averages out at 2500 RPM. His curveball has one of the highest spin rates in the minor leagues, coming in well over 3000 RPM. His change-up is still in development, but it could be a third offering he can use with confidence. Vasquez might see an uptick in velocity as a reliever, but he’s worth selecting based on his curveball alone. The high spin gives it some wicked movement:
But Vasquez is the highest-profile prospect we’ll discuss today. FanGraphs ranks him as the Yankee 18th best prospect, while MLB Pipeline lists him as the organization’s 14t best prospect. Vasquez is far from a guarantee to be part of the Rule 5 Draft, though I don’t think you can completely rule out the possibility. If Vasquez is available and still on the board when the Pirates are up, he needs to be a pitcher they heavily consider drafting.