Yankees ship prospect Keiner Delgado to Pirates to complete Brubaker deal

The prospect of the New York Yankees, Keiner Delgado.

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In a notable swap, the Yankees send infielder Keiner Delgado to the Pirates as the final piece in the JT Brubaker trade, solidifying an ongoing exchange between the two franchises. Delgado’s transition from the Bronx to Pittsburgh marks a significant chapter in this transaction, as confirmed by both clubs. Notably, Delgado’s absence from the Yankees’ 40-man roster streamlines the process, sparing him the necessity of immediate roster placement upon joining the Pirates.

What happened?

Last month’s deal initially saw the Pirates dispatching right-handed pitcher Brubaker to the Yankees, complemented by international bonus pool space, in exchange for a future player, now revealed to be Delgado. Brubaker, currently convalescing from Tommy John surgery, has yet to take the mound for the Yankees, residing on the 60-day injured list since his acquisition.

Hailing from Venezuela, the 20-year-old Keiner Delgado entered the Yankees’ fold in 2021 as an international amateur prospect. His inaugural foray into professional baseball commenced in the Dominican Summer League during 2022, where he amassed 238 plate appearances across 52 games. Impressively, Delgado demonstrated a discerning eye at the plate, boasting a remarkable 24.4% walk rate juxtaposed with a modest 11.8% strikeout rate. Despite launching a mere three home runs, his slash line of .310/.504/.506 resulted in an imposing wRC+ of 178, coupled with an impressive 34 stolen bases.

Transitioning to the Complex League last season, Delgado sustained his disciplined approach, tallying a 15.1% walk rate against a 13% strikeout rate over 239 plate appearances. His power production surged, doubling his home run count to eight while maintaining a commendable batting line of .293/.414/.485, along with an additional 36 stolen bases. On the defensive front, Delgado showcased versatility, logging innings at second base, third base, and shortstop.

Heading into the 2024 campaign, Delgado garnered recognition within the Yankees’ farm system, earning rankings as the 22nd prospect by Baseball America, number 20 by MLB Pipeline, and 22nd by FanGraphs. Of note, Keith Law of The Athletic bestowed particular praise upon Delgado, positioning him as high as 7th in his assessments. Law commended Delgado’s proficiency as a switch-hitter and hinted at his potential to thrive defensively, possibly even as a fixture at shortstop, contrasting with alternative projections that foresee a future at second base or in a utility role.

Transitioning to the Pirates’ organization, Delgado assumes the mantle of a long-term investment, characterized by his youth and absence from full-season ball. With eligibility for the Rule 5 draft looming post the 2025 season, Delgado represents a developmental project for the Pirates as they seek to cultivate his burgeoning talent within their system.

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