The New York Yankees announced today that they have acquired minor league 3B James Nelson and cash considerations from the Miami Marlins in exchange for LHP Stephen Tarpley.— New York Yankees (@Yankees) January 15, 2020
It didn’t take long for the Yankees to find a taker for left-handed reliever Stephen Tarpley. Just a few days after the team designated Tarpley for assignment in order to make room for Brett Gardner, Tarpley is off to the Marlins.
Tarpley, 26, was originally acquired from the Pirates in the Iván Nova back in 2016. He made his big league debut for the Yankees in 2018 and was pretty effective: in 9 innings, he struck out 13 and allowed just three runs. This year, however, Tarpley struggled. In 24 2/3 innings, he recorded a 6.93 ERA and 5.69 FIP.
The southpaw was an intriguing relief prospect considering his sky-high ground ball rates in the minors. However, the league’s new three-batter minimum rule probably will hinder his effectiveness going forward. He’s allowed a .460 wOBA against righties compared to a .235 against lefties in his brief big league career. Nonetheless, he should get an opportunity in the Marlins bullpen.
Nelson, a 22 year-old third baseman, was the Marlins’ 15th round pick back in 2016. He’s not on MLB Pipeline’s top-30 Miami prospects, but did get a brief mention in Fangraphs’ Marlins list:
Nelson is the most athletic of this [other prospects of note] group and has a body built for longevity but he hasn’t performed at all since his odd breakout, which we’re now several seasons removed from.
That breakout referenced was in 2017, when Nelson hit .309/.354/.456 (132 wRC+) in Single-A as a 19 year-old. But since then, he has a measly 66 wRC+ all in High-A. He was also Rule 5 eligible this winter, but obviously not selected. Clearly, he’s stalled out and not much a prospect at the moment, which is just about all the Yankees could have expected to get in this scenario.