The only New York Yankees prospect in the All-Star Futures Game is right-handed pitcher Rafael De Paula. De Paula is in the Yankees High-A Tampa affiliate of the organization and pitched a scoreless bottom of the fifth for the World Team in the Futures Game.
He started off facing the Minnesota Twins phenom, Byron Buxton, and struck him out with an outside fastball on a 3-2 count. He proceeded to get out of a somewhat dicey inning, letting up a single and hitting a batter before a groundout and a long fly-out to end the inning with men on first and third.
De Paula is not one of the Yankees’ best-known prospects, but he is a young 22 year-old pitcher with a mid-90s fastball who made his United States debut this year. He was signed in 2010 but had issues with the MLB verifying his identity and was suspended for a year.
De Paula may have promise, but the fact that this is the only Yankee in the futures game is troubling. It’s no secret that the Yankees are not a young team, and there are some highly touted prospects that don’t seem to be working out. Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances come to mind. Their names have been circling in the water-cooler talk of young guns that should be making steps toward the big leagues. Betances had trouble with command and Banuelos has been sidelined since he needed to undergo Tommy John surgery.
Being in the Futures Game does not mean that a player will be a so-called “home run”, but it is a nice thing to put on a resume and gives fans something to look forward to. The fact that De Paula is the only Yankee on either side’s roster is a little disheartening, especially with the age of the team and what seems like never-ending injuries with no one to call up for reinforcements.