JP Sears *, LHP, NYY

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Yankees have another arm…

Video courtesy of Pinstriped Prospects
  • Born: February 19, 1996
  • B/T: Right/Left
  • 5’11”, 180-lbs
  • Drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 2017 MLB June Amateur Draft from The Citadel (Charleston, SC)

The Numbers

His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:

Out of college, JP Sears began in the bullpen before moving — some of the time — into the starting rotation in 2018. Even in 2021, he split his Double-A time between the pen and starting. It was when he reached Triple-A that he was a starter all the time.

And what a nice year he had! He’s always had good control, but his strikeout rate wasn’t the best. But in 2021 he showed real progress. A solid green 2021 for Mr. Sears.

Breaking it down, we see not only was this not an illusion of his being part of the time in the Double-A pen, he actually got better as he moved to Triple-A. His walk rate was reigned in, his strikeouts continued, and he just plain got hard to hit in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (batters managed only .215 against him in his 10 starts there). And he averaged more than 5 IP per start, so he was facing lineups multiple times.

Looks pretty even to me. He really dominated righties in Triple-A, without also giving up too many walks.

The Scouts

Warnings

He’ll be 26 before the 2022 season begins.

The scouts ignore him (‘what, another Yankees arm? Boring.’)

Conclusion

Sears threw harder this season (part of why his strikeouts jumped). He can throw just over 93 mph, which as a LHP is fine. He throws a flat fastball up in the zone, and he throws a nice slider to righties, and he has a workable changeup. That’s why he’s been starting recently: he’s got the chops to do it.

So after dominating AAA in 2021 for 10 starts, it’s almost certain we will see JP Sears in the majors in 2022, and yes, probably playing for some NL Central team after the Yankees trade him. I mean, where are the Yankees going to fit him on their roster, other than an injury fill-in spot start here and there? No, this is just the sort of arm that will go to Pittsburgh or Cincinnati and have back-end of the rotation success.

He has little left to prove in the minors, and his age agrees that he’s ready for a shot. The scouts hardly notice him, but that doesn’t mean you have to remain ignorant of his skills too. That’s no way to go through life, son.

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