The New York Yankees added outfield help on Wednesday night time, closing a deal with the Kansas Metropolis Royals to amass outfielder Andrew Benintendi in return for three lower-level pitching prospects. Coming off his first profession All-Star look, Benintendi is having what is well his greatest season since 2018, lucky timing for him on condition that he’ll hit free company for the primary time this fall. In 93 video games for the Royals, Benintendi has hit .320/.387/.398 for a career-best 126 wRC+, and his 2 WAR already makes 2022 his second-best full season.
It could be onerous to argue that a lot has gone flawed for the Bronx Bombers in 2022 — even after a month of .500 ball, the Yankees stay on a 108-win tempo. However I doubt anybody would declare that Joey Gallo’s annus horribilis is what they’d in thoughts once they despatched 4 prospects to the Rangers for him and Joely Rodríguez nearly precisely a 12 months in the past. Over his time in New York, Gallo has hit .160/.293/.371, good for an 89 wRC+ and 0.9 WAR. Whereas that’s a reasonably sturdy line for a .160 common, secondary abilities can solely go thus far. There was an argument to be made that Gallo’s awful stint on the finish of 2021 was a BABIP-related blip, however this 12 months, his strategy on the plate has fully fallen aside. All the time a brutally poor contact hitter, Gallo needs to be selective to outlive, and in what is likely to be him reacting to his poor August/September final 12 months, he’s been aggressive on the plate in a nasty manner. How unhealthy? He’s been about 80% extra prone to swing at an out-of-zone pitch than he was in 2021 — not an incredible strategy if you miss as typically as Gallo does. Even his exit velocity numbers have dropped off the charts. Gallo’s not formally gone but, however I’d be astonished if he’s Benintendi’s teammate for various days.
Whereas Gallo could also be a wonderful candidate for a pillow take care of some fortunate crew in 2023, the Yankees don’t have the luxurious of ready out a redemption arc. The crew’s latest water-treading has whittled their 15 1/2 recreation lead within the American League East to 11 1/2 video games. That’s nonetheless a really tidy lead with two months to go, although it’s not an insurmountable one. Nonetheless, with groups not capable of make low-key waiver trades in August, the time to spherical out the roster for the playoffs is now.
If Gallo couldn’t give the Yankees a reliable bat they may simply stick in a nook outfield spot every single day, perhaps they’ll have higher luck with Benintendi, whose success is available in very completely different packaging than Gallo’s. Whereas Gallo suits the baseball trope of the massive, sturdy masher who excels by brute pressure, Benintendi is a a lot smaller participant, a twig hitter who hits line drives and can get on base at a superb clip when issues are going proper. The shift holds no terrors for him; he’s a .351 hitter in opposition to the shift in 2022, .335 for his profession. ZiPS expects Benintendi to roughly keep this degree of efficiency, with the total model of ZiPS (relatively than the less complicated in-season mannequin) projecting a .291/.356/.433 line, good for a wRC+ of 124 as a Yankee. That’s near his season line, however with rather less on-base and a bit extra energy.
Benintendi had been been related to the Yankees for greater than a month, however when he was one of many 10 Royals added to the restricted listing earlier than the crew’s collection in Toronto for failing to get a COVID-19 vaccination, these rumors started to melt. The New York Publish’s Jon Heyman reported that the Blue Jays had been in on Benintendi as nicely, suggesting that he’s maybe now prepared to get vaccinated, although Ken Rosenthal and Jayson Stark of The Athletic reported that when it got here to the Yankees, his vaccination standing “was by no means mentioned”:
Benintendi’s vaccination standing was by no means mentioned, sources inform me and @Jaysonst. Yankees both not anxious about one remaining collection they’ve in Toronto, or obtained some indication Benintendi would possibly get vaccine. TOR additionally was in combine for Benintendi, as had been MIL and LAD.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 28, 2022
It’s value contemplating how the Yankees is likely to be fascinated about Benintendi’s availability (or potential lack thereof) going ahead. Even when it seems he can’t play in Canada, New York solely performs three extra video games there through the common season, video games that appear unlikely to find out the division. There’s actually an elevated threat of him being unavailable for playoff video games in Toronto (to not point out the weightier dangers COVID itself poses), however New York possible views the potential down-side situations as manageable. Assuming they make the playoffs, the Blue Jays must survive their first three-game Wild Card collection, which is just a bit higher than a coin flip, then both face off in opposition to the Yankees or have each the Blue Jays and the Yankees survive the Division spherical to fulfill in an ALCS matchup.
With out understanding who the beginning pitchers can be, ZiPS offers the Jays a 50.8% to 49.2% edge in dwelling video games in opposition to the Yankees with Benintendi within the lineup. Reshuffling the protection to mirror a lacking Benintendi (and assuming no Gallo) would usually imply they both go along with an Aaron Hicks/Aaron Judge/Giancarlo Stanton outfield with Josh Donaldson or Gleyber Torres because the DH, or a Tim Locastro spot begin with Hicks and Decide within the corners. Each choices change the projections by lower than three proportion factors. Now, ought to there be an harm that thins the Yankees’ outfield depth for this theoretical collection, not having Benintendi can be a a lot greater loss. However the Yankees possible view the good thing about getting the perfect short-term outfield choice obtainable — from a baseball standpoint, I’d relatively have a Benintendi who is simply obtainable for stateside video games than a David Peralta, Stephen Piscotty, or Robbie Grossman who can play in all of them — as nonetheless being value potential absences in Toronto.
In fact, Benintendi may (and may!) merely get vaccinated and render all of this moot anyway!
That brings us to Kansas Metropolis’s aspect of the deal. Stepping again, Benintendi’s time with the crew has labored out fairly nicely for the Royals. They gave up Khalil Lee, Grant Gambrell, and Luis De La Rosa to amass him; Lee and Gambrell had Future Values of 45 and 40 respectively on the time, whereas De La Rosa wasn’t a ranked prospect. Whereas the Royals had been by no means contenders throughout his tenure, they obtained two years of Benintendi that would have helped them if they’d been, in addition to some extra money from the Crimson Sox. Now in return for Benintendi, they’ll add Beck Way (40), T.J. Sikkema (40+), and Chandler Champlain (40). These gamers aren’t thought-about prime prospects by any stretch, however all of them have some path to a future function in Kansas Metropolis.
ZiPS doesn’t have so much to say about A-ball pitchers, so I’ll flip issues over to my colleague Eric Longenhagen, who can present far more element concerning the prospects than I can.
T.J. Sikkema is a lower-slot lefty starter prospect with a four-pitch combine that options east/west motion. He sits 90-94 mph with tailing motion, however his decrease arm angle allows him to raise the fastball situationally. He has an extended, sweeping slider that has extra lateral motion than true two-plane depth, and Sikkema can manipulate it right into a extra vertical curveball. Whereas his slot makes his slider robust on lefty batters, Sikkema doesn’t lean on it solely and can work his changeup to lefties as nicely. Sure, Sikkema is a 24-year-old who was nonetheless at Excessive-A, however he missed every of the final two years because of the pandemic and a lat pressure, which saved him out for all of 2021. He obtained constructed up slowly in Could and solely lately started to work greater than 4 innings, at instances piggybacking in reduction. His final three outings previous to the commerce had been dominant, as Sikkema struck out 29 hitters in 14.2 innings. He doesn’t have large velocity, however polished command offers his fastball sturdy utility and a strategy to arrange his secondary stuff. Whereas he seems to be like a pitchability backend man for those who fixate on his fastball velocity, Sikkema’s command and the standard of his secondaries give him a shot to be a contending groups’ fourth starter. He must be added to Kansas Metropolis’s 40-man roster after the season and is prone to make his massive league debut subsequent 12 months.
Beck Method is 2 years youthful than Sikkema and had been pitching on the identical degree, Excessive-A Hudson Valley, however he’s a a lot much less polished hurler. A Pennsylvania excessive schooler who went to a Florida Junior Faculty, Method was the Yankees 2020 fourth rounder and spent 2021 at Low-A, the place he struggled some with walks. His arm swing continues to be fairly lengthy and contributes to launch inconsistency that impacts Method’s fastball command most importantly. He has higher really feel for finding his slider, which he throws greater than some other pitch. It may differ in form however is usually within the 81-86 mph vary and is usually very nasty. Method throws his fastball and slider almost 90% of the time, and whereas it’s actually doable for him to work as a starter regardless of his heavy slider use, it’s a way more widespread strategy to pitching within the bullpen, the place Method’s supply and present really feel additionally push him. He nonetheless presents Kansas Metropolis with good arm energy, a yet-projectable body, and on-mound athleticism that would conceivably result in Method’s present points being ironed out. I believe he’s a reasonably normal center reduction prospect.
Chandler Champlain is a bodily 23-year-old righty who solely began for one 12 months at USC, his 2021 draft spring. He was a high-profile excessive schooler who went to SC and didn’t get a lot better there, although he’s included a second breaking ball into his professional repertoire and is holding about two ticks extra velocity deep into Low-A begins. Champlain will sit 92-96 mph early in begins earlier than backing into the underside of that vary in a while. His fastball form isn’t nice however his considerably violent supply makes him misleading, and the ball jumps on hitters the primary time they see him. His greatest secondary pitch continues to be his large overhand curveball, which has highly effective break within the upper-70s. As a result of he was simply drafted, he has a reasonably lengthy developmental runway for a pitcher his age, although his possible long-term end result is, once more, in all probability that of a center reliever.
From me, it is a thumbs-up commerce for each of the groups concerned. It was the correct participant at what I imagine is the correct worth — my fantasy trade of Benintendi even had a equally valued package deal heading to Kansas Metropolis.