Rule 5 Draft Recap: Yankees lose Garrett Whitlock, Kyle Holder, and Trevor Stephan

Don’t get too excited.

As expected, the Yankees lost a few prospects in today’s Rule 5 draft. Garrett Whitlock, Kyle Holder, and Trevor Stephan will start 2021 in new organizations, though there’s still the possibility that they will return to the Yankees before season’s end.

Boston, badly in need of any sort of pitching, took righty Garrett Whitlock with the 4th overall selection. Whitlock had Tommy John surgery mid-2019 but should be a full go come spring training. Perhaps he cracks a spot in the Red Sox rotation. The former 18th round pick in 2017 made 14 Double-A starts in 2019 and posted a 3.07 ERA and 3.14 FIP.

The Phillies grabbed shortstop Kyle Holder, the Yanks’ first round pick in 2016. Holder spent time at the Alternate Site this summer and now possibly could replace Didi Gregorius as the Phillies’ shortstop. He’s best known for his defensive chops at short.

Lastly, Cleveland selected righty Trevor Stephan. He was the Yanks’ third round selection in the 2017 amateur draft. Somewhat surprisingly, he wasn’t at the Alternate Site this summer as he seems prime for a big league relief gig soon. Granted, 2019 was a bit of a roller coaster for him. The year included a demotion from Double-A to High-A, but he did look better and returned to Trenton by the end of that season.

These three aren’t lost for good, so you know. They must stick in the big leagues for the entirety of the 2021 season, so all three could be back in the Yankees’ organization before too long.

The Yankees will also lose a few players in the minor league phase this afternoon. That said, the minor leaguers taken during this phase rarely are notable prospects. I’ll update this post if there are any surprises.

Meanwhile, because the Yankees have an open 40-man roster spot, the team could have made selection in today’s draft. But to no surprise, the organization passed. The Yanks haven’t made a pick in the Major League phase since 2011 (RHP Brad Meyers, Nationals).


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  1. The Original Drew

    Never forget that the Yankees drafted James Kaprilian and Kyler Holder in the 2015 draft. They passed up on a unknown guy named Walker Buhler.

    • Mungo

      Never forget that’s how baseball drafts work and you can play this same game with every team. Don’t torture yourself.

  2. MikeD

    Was sure Whitlock was going to be taken and I doubt he returns. The other two? They could be back, but I no loss if they’re not.

  3. Mungo

    I thought Holder would be snapped up last year. He immediately becomes one of the best defensive SS’s in MLB, and there were signs his bat was picking up at Trenton in 2019. That was before he even got a chance to hit against the jacked up MLB that’s now being used in AAA as well as the majors. Keep in mind that Girardi knows of Holder from his time with the Yankees. I wouldn’t be shocked if he sticks for the entire year with the Phillies if they’re cutting costs. He could be a two or three win player even with mediocre hitting. He could also serve as a utility player if they bring in another SS. Frankly, I was hoping Holder replaced Wade as the go-to defensive guy on the Yankees.

    Whitlock could be a painful loss if he develops as some projected. Not just because he was lost, but because he’ll be on the Red Sox pitching against the Yankees. Remember, rosters will be at least 26 in 2020, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they go with 28 again at the start. They could easily keep Whitlock, and then option him back to AAA in 2022 if he needs a bit more seasoning.

  4. chip56

    Holder’s glove is good enough that he should be able to stick with the Phillies as a bench player.
    The Red Sox are bad enough that Whitlock should be able to carve out a role in their pen.
    Stephan will probably come back.

    Yankees lost Ort, Wivins, Ruta, and Campero in the minor league phase and picked a LHP Matt Krook, from the Rays and RHP Reggie McClain from the Phillies. McClain has two years in the majors but is not any good. Krook is a big lefty who has no idea where the ball is going when it leaves his hand.

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