Yankees say goodbye to three prospects for Andrew Benintendi

As the Yankees welcome in newly added outfielder Andrew Benintendi, they’ll have to say goodbye to three of their pitching prospects. 

The Bronx Bombers made the first big splash in the lead up to the Aug. 2 MLB trade deadline by acquiring Benintendi from the Royals on Wednesday night. In exchange, they dealt right-handed pitchers Chandler Champlain and Beck Way, as well as lefty T.J. Sikkema.

Sikkema headlines the pack as the Yankees’ No. 19 overall prospect, though much of his promising career has been derailed by injuries.

The former first-round pick turned heads at Missouri, where he quickly established himself as one of the best pitchers in the SEC. Sikkema led the conference with a 1.32 ERA as a junior in 2019 and would soon after be drafted by the Yankees later that year.

Then-Staten Island Yankees pitcher T.J. Sikkema (28) looks on during a game in 2019.
AP/Tomasso DeRosa

Sikkema’s time in New York got off to a poor start, however, when the 2020 minor league season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was later forced to miss all of 2021 while recovering from shoulder and elbow injuries. 

The 23-year-old has produced solid numbers for the Hudson Valley Renegades — the Yankees’ high-A affiliate — when able to stay on the field in 2022, boasting a 1-1 record and 2.48 ERA over 10 starts.

Way sits a couple of spots below Sikkema, his Hudson Valley teammate, on the Yankees’ prospect list at No. 21. In 72 ⅓ innings pitched for the Renegades, the 2020 fourth-round pick posted a 3.73 ERA alongside 80 strikeouts.

According to ESPN Insider Kiley McDaniel, the 22-year-old righty was the best prospect of the Royals’ haul.

“Beck is the prize here. I saw him this spring and he flashed mid-rotation potential,” McDaniel said of Way. “Champlain and Sikkema are more backend starter types with a relief option if it doesn’t work.”

Champlain, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the ninth round of last year’s draft. While pitching at Low-A Tampa, he was 2-5 with a 4.30 ERA and 94 strikeouts over 15 starts and a relief outing.

Chandler Champlain talks to reporters at the Yankees' training facility in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 9, 2022.
Chandler Champlain talks to reporters at the Yankees’ training facility in Tampa, Florida, in February.
John Roca

The Royals announced Sikkema and Way will be designated to High-A Quad Cities, while Champlain will head to Low-A Columbia.

As for Benintendi and the Yankees, the All-Star and former Gold Glover will likely make his debut this week for the club as they take on Kansas City, his former club, in a four-game series beginning Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.

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