In a surprise move, the New York Yankees have made a late addition to their Arizona Fall League roster, underrated pitching prospect Nestor Cortes.
Another of the New York Yankees top young players will be joining his fellow Baby Bombers on the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League this month, as the team announced they have added righthander Nestor Cortes to the roster.
Cortes had one of the most successful regular season campaigns of any Yankees pitching prospect in 2016, putting up a 1.53 ERA and 0.802 WHIP in 106 innings of work across four levels. He saw the most action for the Low-A Charleston Riverdogs, but also made six appearances for the High-A Tampa Yankees, as well as one-off cameos for Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre.
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This assignment to the Arizona Fall League is a major vote of confidence in Cortes by the organization and perhaps a sign that they will push him to Double-A to begin next year as long as everything goes well.
Selected in the 36th round of the 2013 June amateur draft, Cortes does not get a lot of love from scouts because of his unimpressive stuff. He’s not currently listed among MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 Yankees prospects despite his strong season, although as we saw with similar guys like Dietrich Enns, that can change if a pitcher sustains that run prevention success for long enough.
The 21-year-old righty’s fastball sits in the high-80’s/low-90’s and his three secondary offerings are not particularly exceptional. Most of his success comes from his ability to throw strikes and command all of his pitches within the zone.
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Finesse guys are always hard to project, so fans really just have to take a wait and see approach with Cortes. The Arizona Fall League will be his first extended taste of upper-minors competition, so it will be very interesting to see how he responds to the challenge.