Yanks' young arms make Boone 'dream' of future

Chapman throws live batting practice; Judge update

February 28th, 2020

TAMPA, Fla. -- Three young arms. Six shutout innings. Seven strikeouts.

The Yankees got a glimpse of their future on Thursday, when young right-handers , and were at their best against the Rays.

King, the No. 25 prospect in the Yankees' system per MLB Pipeline, relieved starter J.A. Happ, who allowed one run over three strong frames, during New York’s 7-1 win over Tampa Bay, and he escaped unscathed despite allowing three hits in two innings.

Schmidt, the Yanks' No. 2 prospect and No. 88 in all of baseball, worked two shutout innings after King, and then Loaisiga closed out the game with two perfect frames. Loaisiga, the veteran of the bunch with 56 1/3 career innings in the big leagues under his belt, has an outside shot at an Opening Day spot in the Yankees' rotation if he keeps performing at a high level.

Manager Aaron Boone said on Thursday that it’s too early to tell how he might use Loaisiga this season, but the skipper said he is definitely in his plans.

“It’s still a long way off,” Boone said of the start of the season. “The most important thing is that 'Lo' is going to play an important role for us this year. It could be some different roles.

“You watch him throw today and see how efficient he is with that stuff, and you don’t want to put a ceiling on what he can potentially do. We’ll build him up, try to take care of him and be smart. But his role could continue to evolve and change.”

Loaisiga didn’t allow a hit and struck out four of the six batters he faced on Thursday. The 25-year-old had also worked a hitless inning in his Grapefruit League debut.

Boone said he was also impressed with Schmidt, who struck out two three on Thursday. Schmidt, 24, was New York’s first-round pick in the 2017 Draft, and he’s thrown just 19 innings at the Double-A level. Still, despite his inexperience, he seems to belong.

“He’s clearly advanced for that lack of experience. He’s got a lot of the intangible things, as well as the raw stuff, to be able to move quickly,” said Boone. “I think he threw some really good breaking balls [today] and got three strikeouts on curveballs that were … bucklers. Aggressive in the strike zone, on the attack.”

New York will also see a few prized young arms throw in Friday’s game against Atlanta. will start that game, and Boone said he’d like to use No. 16 prospect Nick Nelson in relief. Boone is also looking forward to seeing Alexander Vizcaino (No. 7) and Brooks Kriske this spring.

“That’s one of my favorite things about this camp," Boone said, "the amount of talented young pitchers we have that are starting to knock on that door a little bit.

“We saw a couple today. Deivi is going tomorrow," he added, "Nelson going tomorrow. …These are all guys you can certainly dream on a little bit, and in a lot of cases really have bright Major League futures.”

The closer gets closer
made an important stride on Thursday when he threw live batting practice for the second time this spring.

Chapman, a six-time All-Star, faced five hitters during his mound session and flashed his signature fastball and slider. The 31-year-old left-hander has 111 saves in 198 appearances with the Yankees, and Boone said it was positive to see his stuff work against live opposition.

“He looked great," Boone said. "The command was there. He threw a number of sliders where and how he wanted to. He was in the mid-90s with his fastball. He was competing a little bit, too, with the guys. I thought he was really efficient.”

Camp cuts
Boone said it’s possible that roster cuts could be coming at some point in the next few days, but he also said that it’s more likely the team waits until the end of next week.

Judge update
The team is still taking it slow with , who is sidelined with right shoulder soreness. Boone said that Judge was able to take batting practice in the cage on Thursday, but he’s not sure when the superstar slugger will get back into the lineup.

“I don’t know his exact schedule through the weekend but … he’s doing well,” said Boone.

Up next
The Yankees will travel to North Port, Fla., on Friday for a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Braves. Garcia, the Yankees' No. 3 prospect and No. 92 in all of baseball, will make his first spring start for the Yankees. He’ll be matched against Atlanta right-hander Mike Soroka, who is coming off a breakout 2019 that saw him register a 2.68 ERA over 29 starts.