Updating the prospects the yankees traded away last year – pinstripe alley

The big additions from last year’s trade deadline, though, are almost nowhere to be found. The Yankees brought in David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, and Sonny Gray last July, and at the moment, Robertson is the only one remaining at his primary position. Kahnle is wallowing in Triple-A, while Gray has been banished to long relief (where he at least impressed in his first outing).

Rutherford looks more like a good, but not great, prospect after a year in Chicago. He was also sent along with a couple of minor prospects, outfielder Tito Polo and pitcher Ian Clarkin. Both are 23 years old and struggling at Double-A. Polo owns a .650 OPS, and Clarkin has posted a 6.20 ERA. Rutherford is a nice player, but he appears to be the only prospect of note to have exchanged hands in the New York-Chicago deal.


The catch was that none of those players really seemed to have a clear place in the Yankees’ plans. Mateo was a middle infielder with a team that already had Didi Gregorius and Gleyber Torres, while Fowler and Kaprelian were both injured at the time of the trade. None of them seemed able to help the Yankees for perhaps a couple years, while Gray looked like an immediate, crucial upgrade.

The same could be said a year later. Mateo ranked in the top 50 of Baseball Prospectus’ and MLB Pipeline’s top 100 lists prior to 2017, but fell into the 70’s on both prior to 2018. The Athletics bumped him up to Triple-A despite struggling after the trade last year, but Mateo has yet to adjust, posting a .233/.282/.359 line. Fowler, who suffered a devastating knee injury in his only big-league appearance with the Yankees, has also had a tough year. He did work his way back to the majors, a legitimate accomplishment, but has a .231/.260/.368 line on the year.

Kaprelian is a bit of a different story. He had just undergone Tommy John surgery when the Yankees traded him, and he has yet to pitch this year, last appearing in a game in 2016. Kaprelian flashed an upper 90’s heater with a wipeout slider with the Yankees, but at this point it’s anyone’s guess when (if?) Kaprelian will ever make the majors. He has elite talent, but has hardly had a chance to use it.

On the whole, the cadre of prospects the Yankees shipped out last year looks worse than it did at the time. Mateo and Fowler’s value has probably dropped due to shaky performance, while Kaprelian’s stock has either held steady or fallen as he’s recovered from surgery. Rutherford may be the one prospect who’s stock has probably leveled off since being shipped out.

So while the fact that Kahnle and Gray have received demotions this year may look ugly, the Yankees’ trade partners in those deals haven’t exactly made out like bandits either. If anything, the Yankees’ trades from last year go to show that for all the analysis and “Winner and Losers” breakdowns we go through each trade season, there are simply tons of different directions a trade can take, especially when dealing with high variance prospects. Cashman and Co. are sharp, but to some extent, every transaction they make is a bit of a roll of the dice.