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Random Minor League Notes: 2021 Edition
9 months ago  ::  Feb 02, 2021 - 9:29AM #51
Posts: 15,901

Yankees News: Jasson Dominguez cracks another impressive list

They call him “The Martian,” despite not having played a professional game yet. New York Yankees star prospect Jasson Dominguez is one of the most exciting young players since names like Bo Jackson crossed your screen. Just recently, Dominguez was reaching an exit velocity of 108 mph, and just to remind you, he is only 17 years old.

Baseball America has him at number 33 in their top 100 prospect list, and yet again, he hasn’t played a professional game. The slugger contains all five tools, hitting, hitting for power, running, fielding, and throwing. His catapulting up the prospect list has been extremely exciting, especially since the Yankees signed him to a large international contract, which will keep him in their farm system for quite some time.

Dominguez has cracked another list, though, and this time it was curated by the MLB.

MLB.com ranked Yankees’ star Jasson Dominguez as the 8th best outfield prospect heading into the 2021 season.

Signed for $5.1 million out of the Dominican Republic in July 2019, Dominguez is the most hyped and tooled-up international prospect in recent years. He has the potential for well above-average tools across the board and possesses the advanced instincts and skills to make the most of them.

For all the hyperbole surrounding Dominguez — and, yes, we’ll mention yet again that he has been compared to outstanding baseball athletes such as Bo Jackson, Mickey Mantle, and Mike Trout — the fact remains that he has yet to play a pro game.

The expectation is that Dominguez will reach the MLB stage in the next few years, but until then, the Yankees will roll with a squad consisting of Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Clint Frazier, Giancarlo Stanton, and potential a free agent signing.

There is still hope that general manager Brian Cashman will bring back Brett Gardner on a one-year deal, but unless he’s willing to take a significant price cut, it is possible they move on from the veteran left fielder.

9 months ago  ::  Feb 02, 2021 - 4:30PM #52
Posts: 15,901

Yankees minor league coach Ryan Hunt talks with Pinstripe Alley

by: Dan Kelly SB Nation: Pinstripe Alley22m

One of the youngest coaches in the organization talks with Pinstripe Alley about his path to the Yankees.

Over the last several years, the Yankees have aggressively targeted talented coaches from the college ranks to work in their minor league system. These coaches have taken on the player development role for an organization known for its high ceiling but young talent. Ryan Hunt was hired by the organization after just one season of college coaching at the University of Charleston (W.V.). Ryan recently took the time to talk with Pinstripe Alley about a variety of topics including his path to the organization.

Hired at just 23-years-old, Ryan Hunt entered the Yankees system from a winning program at the Division II level. He was hired at the same time as the University of Charleston Head Coach he had played with and coached alongside, Andrew Wright. Wright has played a big role in Hunt’s development as a player and coach and is now the Director of Baseball Operations for the Yankees’ academy in the Dominican Republic.

“He’s the type of person who’s impact on your life spans more than one dimension,” Hunt said. “He extracts the best out of everyone around him, and he does so while impacting you personally and professionally. The college time period is a tipping point in many people’s lives, and he facilitated my growth in every regard. I was incredibly fortunate to spend four years with him at Charleston. And now, as he leads the Yankees’ baseball operation in the Dominican Republic, building upon the great work done by Mario Garza, I’m excited to see the development of the players who progress through our organization after spending valuable time at our academy.”

Prior to his senior year of college, Hunt knew he would be joining the coaching staff and pursued his MBA the following year. His transition to the professional ranks would come together in a much shorter time-frame.

“I was hired right after the college season... on June 19th and I was in Pulaski on June 24th,” Hunt said. “I was there the entire season, which was pretty cool because we had a fun group of guys. The coaching staff was great. My first game with the Yankees happened to be the first game for several of our draft picks including, [2019 first round pick] Anthony Volpe.”

Faced with the challenge of entering the professional ranks for the first time and coaching players who were nearly his own age, Hunt leaned on the experienced coordinators and coaches for guidance and advice.

“Across the board, I received an overwhelming welcoming from everybody inside the organization,” Hunt said. “It was humbling because, in a matter of days, I went from reading about these influential personalities in the world of player development in ‘The MVP Machine’ — guys like Dillon Lawson, Sam Briend, Desi Druschel — to joining the organization that had recently hired them. It soon became apparent that our Played Development department was filled with many other elite teachers and technicians. I’m grateful for the chance to work with, and learn from, Miguel Cairo in my first year with the organization. Having the opportunity to hear his perspective of the game, while soaking up the stories he shared from his successful career, will stick with me for years to come. Travis Chapman, who is now our acting infield coordinator, also went out of his way to help me early on.”

Hunt arrived to coach a very talented Pulaski team that was already on its way to posting the best winning percentage of any team in the Yankees minor league system in 2019.

“It was an exciting and unique experience,” Hunt said. “Exciting in a sense that the players made my job incredibly fun on a daily basis. The group was talented, and they possessed quite a bit of upside on the field. They were starting to figure out how to be the captains of their careers and the drivers of their development. They could also, with ease, make your stomach hurt from laughing at their jokes and dancing in the clubhouse. The experience in Pulaski was unique as my first game in pinstripes was the 4th or 5th for the team. The situation felt similar to the transition time that medical personnel utilize between shifts where the individual clocking out is tasked with passing the baton to the staff member clocking in by effectively communicating where the patients are at on their health journeys, where they need to get to in the short-term, and how we plan on getting them there. As much as I was attempting to facilitate each player’s growth, the players themselves injected Red Bull into my veins and facilitated my growth.”

In addition to his defensive coaching duties, Hunt’s baserunning duties put him in touch with the Yankees new baserunning coordinator Matt Talarico. Talarico’s baserunning techniques gained notoriety when his teams at Wright State began compiling prolific stolen base numbers.

“Matt is one of the main contributors to the evolution of base running in the baseball community,” Hunt said. “The system he is instilling in the organization is rooted in the desire to score more runs while removing the risks typically associated with running the bases. We feel strongly that the current state of the game provides openings for our players to exploit. It really comes down to equipping players with the tools necessary to take advantage of these openings.”

As to what the system might look like for Yankees fans attending a minor league game?

“We are in year two of implementing his system,” Hunt said. “His system while its different than what traditional baserunning looks like in professional baseball its not too far off from what we’ve seen players like Rickey Henderson and other athletes do on the bases... His system is really designed to use the athleticism that our players have... so that we can hopefully get around the bases quicker and ultimately aid the offense.”

Prior to the 2020 minor league season being cancelled, a rule change was put in place for the lower minors that would have eliminated the left-handed “balk move” made famous by pitchers like Andy Pettitte over the years for picking runners off. The baserunning coaches took notice of the announcement and were very excited.

“We were all just sitting in the office, we had just come off the field and we saw the announcement of that rule,” Hunt said. “We were sitting there just salivating, saying this is just another opportunity for us to exploit and attack... Certainly its going to impact the landscape of baserunning and hopefully we can take advantage of that.”

When asked what prospect or prospects will stand out on the defensive side of the ball, Hunt named one of the Yankees who shot up the prospect ranking boards in 2019.

“I think we have quite a few candidates to answer that question on the defensive side of the ball,” Hunt said. “My mind instantly goes to Oswald Peraza, he was recently added to the 40-man. I think its going to be exciting for the rest of our organization to see Oswald and for our fans. We are really excited about what he can do defensively and the value he can provide as he continues to develop.”

When asked about a baserunner who has the potential to stand out in the near future, Hunt was very optimistic about the organizations outlook as a whole.

“On the baserunning side I wish I could give you a name or two,” said Hunt. “We’ve started to play around with it and see the results in inter-squads against ourselves, but are excited to see the early results in spring training 2021. We are really growing this thing from the ground up… and excited for guys like Jasson Dominguez to be able use his athleticism on the bases.”

Ryan Hunt has yet to receive his organizational assignment for this coming year. He expects to be continuing his work on defense and baserunning when the minor leagues return to action in the late-spring or early-summer.

9 months ago  ::  Feb 03, 2021 - 2:19PM #53
Posts: 15,901

Four prospects moving up on the Yankees’ farm

by: Dan Kelly SB Nation: Pinstripe Alley

January was a busy month for Brian Cashman and the Yankees. Multiple trades and free agent signings created turnover on the 40-man roster. With the additions to the major league roster, the Yankees have also subtracted from their prospect pool, moving on from four of the organizations top prospects ranked by MLB.com’s. Lets take a look at the new additions to the Yankees’ prospect list, and see where they are on their path to the Bronx.

With the loss of four ranked players, MLB Pipeline had to bump up four other talents. Several of these players have been ranked on the Yankees’ top prospect list in the past. Glenn Otto is one of those who was on the Yankees rankings prior to a blood clot in his pitching shoulder. Otto worked as a closer for Rice University in college, but his 6-foot-3, 240-pound frame had the Yankees envisioning a starter after they took him in the fifth round of the 2017 draft.

Otto comes armed with a plus fastball and a nasty 12-6 curveball. Holding him back is a below average changeup and poor control, as evidenced by his career 4.7 BB/9 rate. Two really good pitches and less than perfect control gives him a reliever profile long term, but it is likely that he gets a chance to start again this year in Double-A Somerset.

Despite losing three right-handed pitching prospects in the last few weeks, the Yankees system still has a number of very good arms. Otto last pitched at the High-A level, and he will likely be pitching alongside highly ranked prospects such as Luis Gil, Luis Medina and Alexander Vizcaino this coming season. He will have to show improved control and durability in order to remain as a starting rotation candidate moving forward.

The Yankees’ new 28th-ranked prospect is Brooks Kriske, who Yankees fans are likely familiar with based on his 2020 time with the big league club. Originally taken in the sixth round of the 2016 draft, Kriske went down with Tommy John Surgery shortly after joining the organization. He worked his way back beginning in 2018 and emerged as an outstanding relief option for Double-A Trenton on their way to the 2019 Eastern League title. Despite strong numbers, it was a surprise to many that he was added to the 40-man roster following the season.

Kriske struggled with his control at the major league level, walking seven in his four relief appearances. He did show an ability to miss bats by striking out 8 in that time frame as well. Despite his struggles at the major league level Kriske was drawing rave reviews from the alternate site where his fastball was touching 98 mph by the end of the season. The spin and riding characteristics of the fastball were compared to Chad Green’s. Kriske pairs his improving fastball with an outstanding splitter and an average slider that gives him three weapons to attack hitters with. He will likely be a regular piece of the Scranton Shuttle again this coming season as he has two minor league option years remaining.

Following Kriske on the MLB.com rankings is outfielder Josh Stowers. Stowers was a second-round draft pick by the Seattle Mariners in 2018 but was traded to the Yankees as part of the Sonny Gray deal. Stowers has slightly above average speed and put up a strong .273/.386/.400 line in Low-A Charleston while playing right field.

He has not shown an ability to consistently hit for power, and five of his seven home runs that season came during a 10-game stretch in May. Stowers’ high on-base rate allowed him to steal 35 bases, but he was also caught 16 times and he will have to improve his efficiency.

After playing in the Arizona Fall League in 2019, Stowers will likely start the 2021 season in High-A Hudson Valley or Double-A Somerset. The upper levels of the Yankees system is not stocked with high-ceiling outfield prospects, but Stowers will have to stay ahead of the pack. Behind him in the system is a strong group of promising outfielders that could be playing alongside of him in the near future.

One of those outfielders, Jake Sanford also joined the Yankees’ list of prospects with the recent moves. Sanford was the Yankees’ third-round draft pick in 2019. Originally from Canada, he could have played college volleyball in his home country but chose to pursue college baseball at McCook Community College in Nebraska. After two outstanding years there he moved to Western Kentucky and promptly won the first triple crown in Conference USA history as he slashed .398/.483/.805 with 22 HR.

Sanford has immense power from the left side of the plate, but is still considered a work in progress by many evaluators. He did not face elite competition or have a long season in high school and will benefit from every rep he gets as a professional. He has shown the ability to make adjustments during his time in college and also during first professional season with Short-Season A Staten Island. After a slow start he hit six home runs and five doubles in his last 23 games while putting up a 143 wRC+ in that stretch. He will have to improve on his 32.5 percent strikeout rate, but he is a very talented athlete who can quickly change a game with one swing while manning a corner outfield position. He will likely start the season in either Low-A or High-A.

The Yankees have seen their roster turn over in the last two weeks. As talented prospects leave, the depth of the system comes into focus with new names emerging. The Yankees’ farm is known for its depth, and these players have the ability to help the big league club if they reach their developmental ceiling.

9 months ago  ::  Feb 05, 2021 - 9:46AM #54
Posts: 15,901

Top 47 Prospects: New York Yankees

by: Eric Longenhagen FanGraphs

Rk ▾NameAgeHighest LevelPositionETAFV
1 Jasson Dominguez 18.0 R CF 2025 50
2 Deivi Garcia 21.7 MLB SP 2021 50
3 Oswald Peraza 20.6 A SS 2022 50
4 Clarke Schmidt 25.0 MLB SP 2021 50
5 Alexander Vargas 19.3 R SS 2023 50
6 Luis Medina 21.8 A+ MIRP 2021 50
7 Kevin Alcantara 18.6 R CF 2024 50
8 Ezequiel Duran 21.7 A- 2B 2023 50
9 Yoendrys Gomez 21.3 A SP 2022 45+
10 Antonio Gomez 19.2 R C 2024 45+
11 Alexander Vizcaino 23.7 A+ SIRP 2021 45
12 Austin Wells 21.6 R RF 2023 45
13 Luis Gil 22.7 A+ SIRP 2021 45
14 Anthony Volpe 19.8 R SS 2024 45
15 T.J. Sikkema 22.5 A- SP 2023 40+
16 Oswaldo Cabrera 21.9 A+ 2B 2021 40+
17 Everson Pereira 19.8 A- CF 2022 40+
18 Josh Smith 23.5 A- 2B 2023 40
19 Ryder Green 20.8 R RF 2023 40
20 Anthony Seigler 21.6 A C 2023 40
21 Beck Way 21.5 R RHP 2024 40
22 Antonio Cabello 20.3 R CF 2022 40
23 Matt Sauer 22.0 A SP 2022 40
24 Josh Breaux 23.3 A C 2022 40
25 Nicio Rodriguez 21.4 R SIRP 2022 40
26 Anthony Garcia 20.4 R RF 2023 40
27 Denny Larrondo 18.7 R SP 2024 40
28 Trevor Hauver 22.2 R 2B 2023 40
29 Marcos Cabrera 19.3 R 3B 2023 40
30 Estevan Florial 23.2 MLB CF 2021 35+
31 Dayro Perez 19.0 R SS 2023 35+
32 Albert Abreu 25.4 MLB SIRP 2021 35+
33 Brooks Kriske 27.0 MLB SIRP 2021 35+
34 Alfredo Garcia 21.5 A SIRP 2021 35+
35 Brandon Lockridge 23.9 A CF 2022 35+
36 Glenn Otto 24.9 A+ SIRP 2022 35+
37 Raimfer Salinas 20.1 R CF 2023 35+
38 Osiel Rodriguez 19.2 R SP 2023 35+
39 Alan Mejia 19.5 R CF 2023 35+
40 Randy Vasquez 22.3 R MIRP 2022 35+
41 Yoljeldriz Diaz 19.6 R SP 2023 35+
42 Roberto Chirinos 20.4 R SS 2022 35+
43 Jake Agnos 22.7 A- MIRP 2023 35+
44 Ken Waldichuk 23.1 R MIRP 2023 35+
45 Chris Gittens 27.0 AA 1B 2021 35+
46 Nelson L Alvarez 22.7 R SIRP 2023 35+
47 Madison Santos 21.4 R CF 2023 35+

9 months ago  ::  Feb 05, 2021 - 12:34PM #55
Posts: 15,901

Oswald Peraza’s Power Grows Despite Lost Season

by: Brendan Kuty Baseball America

The 20-year-old shortstop used the down time to improve his pitch recognition and attack angle.

The sound coming off Oswald Peraza’s bat had already widened the eyes of scouts, who couldn’t believe he was hitting the ball so hard for someone so young.

And now that it’s happening with greater frequency, the Yankees are even more excited in their hope that he could man shortstop in the Bronx in the not-so-distant future. In fact, don’t even call it hope.

“We believe he could do that,” Yankees hitting coordinator Dillon Lawson said.

The 20-year-old Peraza, who signed out of Venezuela in 2016, didn’t let the lost minor league season derail his development. He has worked steadily to improve his most impressive skill—his pop.

“A big focus for him has just been keeping the ball off the ground and seeing as many breaking balls as possible,” Lawson said of Peraza, whose exit velocity has touched 110 mph.

That’s special since it’s approximately the average maximum exit velo among major leaguers.

The Yankees added Peraza to the 40-man roster in November to shield him from the Rule 5 draft. That's a huge vote of confidence for a player who hasn’t played above Low-A Charleston, where he hit .273/.348/.333 with two home runs in 46 games in 2019.

Yet the Yankees were comfortable making the move because they tracked his work while he stayed in Orlando when spring training shut down in March due to the coronavirus. All Venezuelan players were stranded in the U.S. until the offseason when the country opened its borders.

Lawson said two the organization’s hitting coaches—Casey Dykes and Selwyn Langaigne—particularly kept tabs on Peraza, whom the Yankees signed for $175,000.

“He’s a guy who has exceptional bat-to-ball skills,” said Lawson, who lauded Peraza’s “low maintenance, easy-to-deal-with” personality.

Peraza also played six games in the Venezuelan League this winter, going 4-for-16 with a double, four walks and six strikeouts. The average age in the league was almost 28 years old.

“He has the makings of a big leaguer—and a big leaguer in New York, which in my opinion is a harder thing to be,” Lawson said.


The Yankees’ organizational hitting philosophy is rooted in a simple mantra: “Hit strikes hard.”

“You could put it on a T-shirt,” Lawson said.

Easy enough, right? But there's more to it than that.

“When we swing at strikes, we make more consistent contact,” Lawson said. “When we make more consistent contact, we hit the ball harder. And when we hit the ball harder, we want it to go over the infield.”

Lawson called it the “North Star” for his hitters.

“They’ve got a lot of stuff going on in their lives,” he said. “A lot of distractions. But ‘hit strikes hard’ is a very simple, memorable phrase that can at least be a guiding force.”

9 months ago  ::  Feb 06, 2021 - 11:12AM #56
Posts: 15,901

Looking at the future of the Yankees’ catchers

by: Tom Krosnowski SB Nation: Pinstripe Alley

Gary Sánchez has long been a question mark for the Yankees. First there were health questions. Then, it was his defense. Now, Sánchez is coming off a terrible offensive season, and is seemingly on his last straw as the Yankees’ starting catcher, having been benched in the 2020 playoffs.

In between those questions, Sánchez has been one of the most productive offensive catchers in baseball. But, if he can’t access that potential for a second straight year, it won’t outweigh his other limitations. Even though the Yankees have team control until 2023, it is very safe to say that 2021 is Sánchez’s make-or-break year at age-28.

I’ve long been a staunch supporter of Sánchez. In 2020, though, he gave the Yankees neither the offense nor the defense they need from a starting MLB catcher. If the team was to let him go, who could even potentially take his place?

First of all, Kyle Higashioka is probably not a realistic option. His climb through 10 years in the minors to becoming a viable MLB catcher is inspiring, and he’s a well-liked teammate. But he’s also entering his age-31 season, is a career .186 hitter, and is more of an average defensive catcher than a true standout. Even still, Austin Romine was a good backup for the Yankees, but faltered as a starter for the Tigers. Some guys just don’t have the profile to start every day, and Higashioka’s free-swinging ways are nice a couple times a week, but probably not every day.

The Yankees don't have too many other immediate options at catcher right now. Rob Brantly is the new Erik Kratz, and Max McDowell and Donny Sands appear to be minor league depth. For this season, the Yankees are pretty much forced to give Sánchez one last go, with Higashioka as a safety net.

Should the Yankees decide to move on from Sánchez next season (or especially in 2023), there are suddenly some intriguing options. Four of the Yankees’ top-25 prospects per FanGraphs are catchers, and MLB Pipeline even ranks one of them as high as sixth on the team’s prospect list. Austin Wells, Anthony Siegler, Josh Breaux and Antonio Gomez could represent the next generation of Yankees catchers.

Each of these prospects represents a different kind of player. Wells is the highest-rated of the quartet according to MLB Pipeline, but FanGraphs actually lists him as a right fielder. Wells is probably the best hitter of the group, but he has enough defensive questions (but also the versatility) that he may end up at first base or a corner outfield spot in the pros. Whereas Sánchez really wouldn’t profile well in the outfield, Wells could become a Kyle Schwarber-type. He might be the most likely of the group here to actually make it to the bigs, but his final position is still up in the air. Hitting shouldn’t be a concern with him if all goes well.

Anthony Siegler, on the other hand, is the opposite of Wells. Also a first-round pick, Siegler has a 60-grade arm and is extremely athletic behind the plate. Not only a switch-hitter, he was also a switch-pitcher in his younger days. The question with Siegler is how well he’ll hit, especially after a stint at Low-A Charleston where he hit just .175 in an admittedly-small sample of 30 games.

Josh Breaux is probably the farthest along of the Yankees’ catching prospects, but is the least polished. Breaux has been compared to Sánchez, of all players, for his raw power and questionable defense. Also like Sánchez, his arm is his greatest defensive attribute. Breaux was also at Charleston in 2019, but slashed an impressive .271/.324/.518 with 13 homers and 49 RBI in 51 games.

Finally, there’s the youngest of the bunch, Antonio Gomez. Gomez is the highest-ranked catcher in the system according to FanGraphs, and a big reason why is his 80-grade arm, the highest possible rating given to a player. Gomez acquainted himself well in rookie ball in 2019, hitting .288 in a tiny 15-game sample. MLB Pipeline says he’s had a recorded pop time as low as 1.8 seconds, and has good receiving skills. But, only-19 years-old, Gomez may not be ready until 2023 or 2024 at the earliest.

The Yankees can solve this problem if Sánchez bounces back with a successful 2021 season. If he doesn’t, perhaps Breaux or Siegler could be ready to step in. Wells will probably will be moved defensively, but the real potential lies with Gomez. Sánchez’s contract expires before the 2023 season. If he can give the Yankees two more years, by then, it’s possible that Gomez is ready for a longer look.

Although the team can ill-afford another down year from Sánchez right now, the Yankees have quietly assembled a stockpile of catching depth that gives them plenty of options for the future.

9 months ago  ::  Feb 07, 2021 - 9:37AM #57
Posts: 15,901

NJ.com | Randy Miller: The Yankees have a new Double-A affiliate for the 2021 minor league season, provided we have one. The Somerset Patriots will take the field in May, and owner Steve Kalafer tells the story of how the formerly-independent club came to be, and their journey into the Yankee fold.

Baseball America | Ben Badler: The Yankees made one of their expected IFA signings yesterday, officially inking Fidel Montero out of the Dominican Republic. He becomes the second Montero signed by the club this winter, as shortstop Hans Montero (no relation) was nabbed in January.

9 months ago  ::  Feb 07, 2021 - 9:38AM #58
Posts: 15,901

New York Daily News | Bill Madden: While the plan for now seems to be a standard 162-game 2021 season, deep rifts between MLB’s owners and players have only festered throughout the winter. The most recent development has been a lack of concern, in the players’ eyes, for health and safety protocols as the league prepares for a second year of baseball in a pandemic. As the U.S. grieves another 3,500 deaths from COVID-19 on Saturday, the Players Association is bringing forth criticism of any plan of action for keeping on-field talent safe and healthy. This is but one more grievance between the two sides ahead of the CBA expiration in December that could put 2022 in jeopardy.

MLB.com | David Adler: After the Dodgers signed Trevor Bauer, all of the big-name free agents for this winter have a home. There are still potential value signings to be had, with former Yankee James Paxton still available, and the once-rumored Taijuan Walker also without a team. The Yankees have been quiet since signing Darren O’Day, but if they wanted to make one final addition to the roster, there are names out there that could help.

9 months ago  ::  Feb 07, 2021 - 2:17PM #59
Posts: 15,901

All indications are these three Yankees prospects will put up big numbers in 2021! t.co/PgmTL5F99d

These three top Yankees prospects will make moves in the system in 2021.

First, let’s acknowledge the bad: the Yankees’ farm system hasn’t been this bleak since before the team’s midseason sell-off spree in 2016.

Only three Yankees appeared in any “top 100 prospects” list this offseason, and they were the same three candidates you’ve become extremely accustomed to reading about during The Year Without Minor League Baseball: righties Clarke Schmidt and Deivi Garcia, who both appeared in MLB action this past season, and Jasson Dominguez, the wunderkind who hasn’t done anything stateside yet, and just turned 18 on Sunday.

Here’s the good news, though. There’s still plenty of upside yet to be uncovered or realized in the team’s farm system, and the Bombers owe some of that discontent to the fact that ’20 featured no low-level competition of any kind. If you hadn’t already proven yourself enough to gain access to the Alternate Site, then you were entirely out of luck. Enjoy your crudely-fashioned private gyms!

Some of the Yankees’ clear fast-risers have gotten plenty of hype this offseason; others are still hiding in the shadows of the 10-20 spots on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 prospects list. Some of this team’s possible breakout candidates already rank in the team’s top 10, but their ceilings are much, much higher than their current expectations.

We’re most excited to see Dominguez operate this season, but these three prospects also seem poised to take big steps towards their ultimate ceilings.

3. Kevin Alcantara

Could Kevin Alcantara be among the Yankees’ next great young outfielders?

If Baseball America’s on a fast-riser, than it’s probably time for the rest of us to get on helium alert.

Alcantara, currently ranked 13th on MLB Pipeline’s list and still just 18 years old like Dominguez, is “built like a young Dexter Fowler” (per MLB) and boasts a well-balanced set of tools, earning a grade of 50 or higher in every evaluated scouting metric. Hitting, running, fielding, power, arm…yes, all advanced at a young age, and with only a GCL summer’s worth of development under his belt.

Alcantara aspires to join a Yankees outfield already filled with giants like Aaron Judge and (occasionally) Giancarlo Stanton, and his massive 6-6 frame would fit right into an eventual crew of behemoths. His size is evident in his violent swing, which fans can expect to be refined as he develops and fills out.

This year, having lost a crucial year of growth, expect Alcantara to begin work in the GCL, and potentially move to Low-A Tampa after proving his readiness. By the end of the year, though, you should expect to hear a lot more of his name, and he’ll be a consensus top-10 talent when 2022 rolls around.

2. Oswald Peraza

Yes, he’s the Yankees’ No. 4 prospect, but he should soar much higher.

The Yankees’ pitching plan for 2021 involves tossing nine options at the wall, hoping five or six stick, and praying there’s a clear-cut No. 2 by October.

Whether you agree with it or not, it should be fairly easy to see a world where both Schmidt and Garcia have pitched too many innings at the big league level to qualify for any prospect lists this time next year.

Dominguez, pending pure foolishness, will be the team’s clear-cut No. 1 prospect and most projectable commodity. But the No. 2 spot is right there for the taking, and Peraza could earn that distinction if his power develops as anticipated during this calendar year, which will likely be spent vacillating between Tampa and High-A Hudson Valley.

Peraza’s often been the forgotten talent towards the top of the Yankees’ farm system — but not by the big boys like Baseball America, who could foresee his insertion at shortstop if Gleyber Torres struggles in the years to come, instead of a high-dollar infield addition.

Refreshingly, all reports indicate Peraza used his time off to refine the skills that will be most important to his development; respectfully, the Yankees will never hand their infield keys to an all-glove, no-hit option. Those days are long gone. Every Yankee on the diamond has to mash, to some degree.

The last time we saw Peraza in 2019, he cracked full-season ball by the end of the campaign, logging 46 games at Single-A Charleston and hitting .273 with a .348 OBP, displaying an advanced feel and comfort for the level. The next time we see him, he’ll be two years older and will bring a plan of powerful attack to the table, thanks to his longer-than-ever offseason of launch angle development.

15-20 homers at Hudson Valley isn’t unreasonable.

1. Luis Medina

Everybody’s talking about the Yankees’ highest-ceiling pitching weapon.

“Luis Medina might have the highest ceiling of any Yankees pitching prospect” might be the most overused line of the next several months.

But based on the evidence we have from this offseason, it seems that the toolsy Medina might’ve finally put everything together pitching for Team Dominican Republic in the Serie Del Caribe; he also earned Puerto Rican Winter League’s Pitcher of the Year award.

So why is Medina due for a breakout when we’re already entering 2021 at the height of his hype? Quite frankly, the righty has been…straight-up bad during his minor-league career.

In 2019, Medina uncorked two nasty starts at High-A Tampa (10.2 innings, 12 whiffs, 0.84 ERA), but largely got shelled at Low-A Charleston, posting a 6.00 ERA while racking up the strikeouts (115 in 93 innings pitched). The main problem in an extremely problematic season were the walks — Medina gave 67 batters a free trip to first base during that campaign.

The lanky righty spent all of 2020 at the team’s Alternate Site, being mentored by reliever Fernando Abad in an attempt to harness his unfair changeup and 100 MPH fastball into an arsenal that nicks the corners enough to thrive at higher levels.

Based on what we’ve seen all winter long, he’s far closer to reaching his ceiling, which might be a high-leverage reliever but could be a legitimate ace. The ceiling is the roof for Medina, who’s going to be a top-five talent in the system next year if all goes as expected.

9 months ago  ::  Feb 10, 2021 - 11:15AM #60
Posts: 15,901

No Yankees prospect worked harder in the shutdown than Anthony Volpe, according to the team's top hitting instructor. Here's how Volpe, a Jersey native, is wowing the club he grew up rooting for: t.co/tdimHya8El

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