The Yankees added two players till their already large class of 21 non-roster invitees to Spring Training on the day camp officially opened. The team announced lefty Phillip Diehl and righty Trevor Stephan would also be invited to camp.
It seems both players are thought of highly by the Yankees staff, as Diehl was brought in to throw rehab batting practice to Aaron Judge and Stephan was ranked as the seventh-best Yankees prospect by the end of 2018.
Diehl was a 27th-round pick out of Louisiana Tech in the 2016 draft, and began the 2018 season with Class-A Advanced Tampa. He pitched to a 3.14 ERA (1.57 FIP) in 25 games (48⅔ innings) for the Tarpons, and found himself promoted to Double-A Trenton. With the Thunder, he pitched to a 1.35 ERA (3.48 FIP) in 14 outings. He was then assigned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for the International League playoffs, where he did not allow a run in two outings (1⅔ innings).
Diehl is a three-pitch pitcher, with a fastball, slider and changeup. He has been an effective reliever in the Yankees system.
Stephan was the Yankees’ third-round pick in 2017 from Arkansas, and followed a similar trajectory to Diehl in the system this year. After a strong start in Tampa (1.98 ERA in seven starts), Stephan was promoted to Double-A Trenton where he fell back to earth. His 93.8% strand-rate did not follow him from Tampa (dropped to 69.0%), and his ERA ballooned to 4.54 in 17 Eastern League starts.
Stephan is also a three-pitch pitcher, with a fastball, slider/cutter and changeup. The Yankees will continue to use him in the rotation, and hope he can use his Double-A experience to continue his development in his age-23 season.
With Diehl and Stephan in the mix, the Yankees now have 63 players in camp. They have been assigned Nos. 82 and 81, respectively. Thirty-four of those 63 players are pitchers with these two now officially on the team.