The final punctuation mark was put on Chris Stewart‘s Yankee career yesterday when the Pirates completed their PTBNL part of the trade. There’s been no announcement yet from YES on when Stewart’s “Yankeeography” will air next year, but when it does it’ll be sure to include a brief mention of Kyle Haynes, the A-ball relief pitcher who was sent to the Yankees for Stewart. Normally players to be named later are nothing more than organizational filler, guys destined to float around aimlessly on MiL rosters or make phantom DL trips when roster moves need to be made to accommodate higher value prospects. That doesn’t seem like that’s the case with Haynes, at least not according to his early career numbers.
Before we get to those, a quick little background on Haynes for the uninformed. He’s 22 years old, he’s a righty, and he’s decent size at 6’2″/190. He was drafted in the 20th round of the 2012 draft out of VCU, where he worked primarily as a starter, but has pitched almost entirely out of the bullpen in his A-ball career. He boasts a 3-pitch mix of low-90s fastball, slider, and change. None of the pitches register as super plus or anything like that, but they’re plenty good enough to get swings and misses regularly. In 110 career innings across Low-A and High-A, Haynes has struck out 117 batters.
Those strikeouts are the first part of a statistical profile that has more than 1 highlight. This past season, Haynes pitched 83.1 innings for Pittsburgh’s High-A affiliate in 41 appearances with a 2.38 ERA/2.68 FIP and 85 K. 33 of Haynes’ appearances were out of the bullpen, but he was moved into the rotation late in the year and in 8 starts he allowed just 9 earned runs in 40.1 IP (2.01 ERA). He also gave up only 1 HR in 2013, the only HR he’s allowed in his professional career, and it’s worth mentioning that he has closing experience. Haynes saved 8 games in Low-A in 2012 and started 2013 as his team’s closer before eventually having his role shifted to the rotation.
The only negative thing you can say about Haynes is that he walks too many guys: 10 in 26.2 IP in 2012 and 36 this past season. That lack of command is probably the major contributing factor to his PTBNL status, especially when paired with stuff that doesn’t dazzle. But when you have the ability to miss bats that Haynes has displayed so far in his career, you can keep the ball in the yard, and you’ve shown all kinds of role flexibility, there’s value there and this is a good get for the Yankees. At best they get a player who could develop into a reliable low-leverage reliever down the road. At worst they’ve got a somewhat polished pitcher who can more than adequately serve the stereotypical organizational filler role. I’ll take that for Chris Stewart any day.
Now if they can pull off another deal like this for Ichiro, I’d really be impressed.
(Photo courtesy of Sam Santilli/Stafford County Sun)