RHP, Wellington Cacares: Signed just this year, this one has the look of a Donny Rowland 'sleeper' special. Forget for a moment that he posted a solid 3.91 ERA with a four to one strikeout to walk ratio in the Dominican Summer League in his debut season this year, it's the tremendous upside he has that can't be overlooked. A former position player, Cacares has been pitching for less than a year and he made the jump all the way to Instructional League in the United States already. Now that's impressive!
He sits 92-95 mph and tops out at 97 mph already, and he does so with advanced control, especially for somebody so new to pitching. Throw in a quality changeup too, he has some young Chance Adams-like qualities that are hard to ignore. There is still much to be taught with the breaking ball in particular but don't sleep on the upside because it's clearly there. At 20 years old he's a bit older than most first-year International hurlers but then again he isn't like most first-year pitchers either stuff-wise or control-wise.
RHP, Juan De Paula: This acquisition is so new that De Paula is still listed with the AZL Mariners on the official minor league baseball web site. Acquired on August 31st [along with Jio Orozco] from Seattle in the late-season Ben Gamel trade, De Paula's Yankee experience has been limited to just Instructional League camp thus far but already the 19-year old fits the current Pinstripes pitching mode; 92-95 mph power arm who throws strikes and has one solid secondary pitch [curveball in this instance] already.
He can really spin the curveball and the power isn't just there now but there's even some hope for more as he fills out his 6-foot-3, 165 pound frame. The changeup is still relatively new, however, and that will be a developmental focus for the foreseeable future. There's legitimate starting potential given his current skill set and upside galore if things begin to click. This August deadline deal are the types of trades the Yankees should be making more of in the coming years..
RHP, Nick Green: The proverbial 'throw in' in the Carlos Beltran-Dillon Tate swap in July, this former 2014 seventh round pick out of community college brings some significant upside to the Yankees. Like a lot of the other names here, he sits 92-95 mph with his fastball but unlike the others here he brings a ton of movement with his fastball. It cuts and it sinks, and in fact in many regards it acts like a power slider given its natural movement. The end results is a ton of ground balls and that means he should get better results the higher he climbs where the defenses behind him get better.
He's not just a power "sinking" fastball hurler either though, he has a quality curveball too that shows a lot of hard spin. He's learned how to control the movement too and now throws a ton of strikes. The changeup is easily his third pitch though and that remains his developmental mantra for now. It showed some fade during Instructional League camp and he'll just need to learn to stay consistent with it. Should that changeup come around, however, he has the ceiling to be more than a mere 'throw in'.
RHP, Nick Nelson: This year's fourth round pick had an inauspicious professional debut season in Pulaski, posting a solid 3.38 ERA but walking more batters  than innings pitched [21.1]. The numbers on paper are rather dreadful from that capacity but a look into the reason for the numbers reveals much; this is a pitcher who gets a ton of movement on his plus fastball that he just needs to learn how to control it better. Stuff-wise, he can be downright wicked, sitting anywhere from 92-96 mph with his heater and that's coming from a former position player.
Throw in a quality breaking ball and a changeup that by all reports is coming extremely quickly, one that shows big time bottom and fade, so much so that it acts like a power splitter, Nelson can be electric. The Yankees took away his two-seamer during Instructs to work on controlling his fastball better and the results were quite good. If he can stay healthy and get the necessary innings under his belt to continue his development then he could be one of the top pitching prospects someday. The talent is there to be an impact arm.
RHP, Jio Orozco: This one slipped by most pundits [along with Juan De Paula] simply because of when the transaction happened. Acquired from the Mariners on August 31st in the Ben Gamel trade, the former 14th round pick out of high school in 2014 brings one of the better combinations of now stuff, current pitch-ability, and long-term projection. He, like current former Mariner farmhand Juan De Paula, sits comfortably in the 92-95 mph range, shows an advanced curveball, and is an excellent strike-thrower at a very young age.
Where he differs from De Paula is he has a really good feel for a changeup already. In fact, it already grades out as big league average by all reports and has room to grow. He's an even better long-term starting candidate at this point with middle of the rotation or better upside. Acquiring arms like this [and DePaula] for players like Gamel should be a focus for the organization going forward.
RHP, Freicer Perez: A year ago we listed Perez [in the photo above] as a pitcher ready to emerge from the Dominican Summer League and all he did was bypass the rookie levels entirely in his first taste of the United States this year and move right into the New York Penn League, thanks in most part to the strength of his natural strike-throwing ways. Sitting more in the 90-92 mph range in his debut season last year, he began sitting 95 mph in Staten Island after adding 25 pounds to his 6-foot-8 frame last offseason.
It's not just about the velocity, however. He also has solid secondary pitches too for somebody so new to pitching. The Yankees have been trying to teach him to be a bit more effortless throwing his secondary pitches, especially with his curveball, so he can maintain the same arm slot as his heater. He pitched just in simulated games during Instructs to work on that and the results were very encouraging. Considering the changeup is already a quality pitch and he can add even more bulk to his still skinny frame to potentially throw even harder down the road [he sat 96-98 mph at Instructs], he could be a monster in the making. A year from now he could blossom into one of the top pitching prospects in a pitching-rich farm system.
RHP, Alex Vizcaino: Like Wellington Cacares, this is another one that has the look of a Donny Rowland 'sleeper' special. Signed back in May out of the Dominican Republic, Vizcaino had a solid professional debut season in the Dominican Summer League this year, posting a 4.89 ERA. While the numbers were okay, not great, it's the stuff behind the numbers that has turned a collective head inside the Yankees organization.
Like many of the names here, he already sits 92-95 mph but more than the sheer velocity is his combination of advanced mechanics and potential room to fill out is still slender frame that lead many to believe there is still some untapped power coming. Throw in what is by all accounts a plus changeup already, a true "wipeout" pitch, he's got some serious upside. Like Cacares the breaking ball is going to be a focal point in the coming years but should that pitch develop anywhere near the current state of his fastball-changeup combination and the Yankees could have something special on their hands.
RHP, Taylor Widener: This year's 12th round pick is perhaps the helium prospect among the younger arms for the Yankees. The former University of South Carolina reliever and spot starter made a quick name for himself in his professional debut season this year by posting a combined 0.47 ERA between short-season Staten Island and low-A Charleston, striking out 59 in just 38.1 innings coming mostly out of the bullpen.
The Yankees began stretching him out by season's end, however, and that rotation transition continued at Instructional League. With a plus fastball that sits 94-97 mph with relative ease and a power 80-84 mph slider that acts more like a short curveball, and standing just 6-foot-0, there are obvious comparisons to Chance Adams. And like Adams the early reports on Widener's developing changeup after his first Instructs are extremely encouraging; big deception, big fade, and picking it up quickly. There's a ton of stuff here and like Adams he has the chance to move quickly given his superb strike-throwing ways.