Yankees Acquire Pitching Prospect Zack Littell from Mariners
Zack Littell in 2014 with the Rookie League Pulaski Mariners, now like him, affiliated with the Yankees. Photo Credit: Matt Bell Photography on Flickr
Since being hired as the team’s general manager, Jerry Dipoto has been a busy man. With a team built to win now yet absent of several winning pieces, he’s been active in the trade market to find the right pieces to his Seattle Mariners puzzle.
Brian Cashman is experiencing something different (and brand new) as the brains behind the New York Yankees, who are conducting a rebuild faster than an Aroldis Chapman fastball. Last season around this time, they traded reliever Justin Wilson to the Detroit Tigers for two pitching prospects.
Their latest move is not so different. The Yankees have traded 25-year-old reliever James Pazos to the Seattle Mariners for pitching prospect Zack Littell.
Pazos has found some Major League work as a lefty specialist in both 2015 and 2016. He has amassed 8.1 innings pitched in 18 appearances for the Yankees. In his MLB career thus far, he has a struggled to the tune of a 5.40 ERA and 1.68 WHIP.
However, his Minor League numbers indicate a far more positive outlook. In five Minor League seasons his ERA is a shiny 2.30 in a healthy 215.1 innings. He has struck out 243 batters in New York’s farm system and achieved 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings.
The Yankees add another promising arm to a rapidly expanding organization. Zack Littell was an 11th round pick in 2013 out of Eastern Alamance High School in Haw River in the small town of Haw River, North Carolina. The recently turned 21-year-old stands 6 foot 3, 190 pounds and toes the rubber left foot first throwing right-handed.
Littell has spent four years as a Mariners farm hand, and, just like any prospect should, he has gotten better each year.
At age 17 his pro debut ERA was a lofty 5.94. At age 18, it was 4.42. At 19, 3.91. At age 20 he started to dominate hitters and advanced from low-A Clinton to High-A Bakersfield. He ended the season with a sparkling 2.51 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. He threw 165.2 innings in 2016, a career high by over 50 innings.
Littell is a very young arm, but the results indicate a prospect on the rise, literally rising with formulaic progression across the board.
The Mariners get a left-handed bullpen option they see progressing to a better seat in the Safeco Field bullpen in the immediate future. The Yankees get a high upside arm and continue to stockpile assets into a farm system that has quickly become one of the premiere groups in baseball.