While we wait for the 2020 MLB season to get underway, it’s time to take a closer look at players who could one day be on opening day rosters. For the next month or two, we’ll be examining each team’s farm system, which will contain several prospects that will either one day be contributors for them, or could be used to acquire impact major leaguers.
Since we’ll be going in alphabetical order by city, our 19th farm system overview will be of the New York Yankees. We’ll rank their top ten prospects, discuss some of their other notable minor leaguers, and then analyze the overall state of the farm system.
#1: OF Jasson Dominguez
Height: 5’10” Weight: 190 lbs
Signed: July 2, 2019
Hit: 55 Power: 62.5 Field: 55 Arm: 60 Speed: 67.5
Overall Grade: 58.35
When you’re compared to some of the best baseball players in MLB history, such as Mike Trout and Mikey Mantle, it’s clear you’re a rare prospect. That’s precisely why the Yankees went all-in on sensational Dominican outfield prospect Jasson Dominguez, signing him to a massive $5.1 million bonus. Obviously, since the 17-year-old hasn’t played a game yet, we’ll need more data before anointing him as a surefire Hall of Fame, but in a few years, there’s no doubt in my mind that Dominguez will be the best prospect in baseball. Right now, he appears to be a generational five-tool talent; his swing is a beauty, and already has the natural loft that’ll allow him to tap into his raw power- he’s already a well-built and mature athlete. Plus, with his otherworldly athleticism and above-average arm strength, he’ll also be a gold-glove caliber defender, and honestly, he doesn’t have a weakness. I’m not sure that I’m ready to call him the next Trout, but by the time he turns 20, I expect Dominguez to be wrecking havoc in the majors to the tune of consistent 7+ WAR player. That’s an insane expectation, yet I believe it’s worthy for such a remarkable talent.
#2: OF Kevin Alcantara
Height: 6’6″ Height: 188 lbs
Signed: July 12, 2018
Hit: 50 Power: 55 Field: 57.5 Arm: 55 Speed: 60
Overall Grade: 54.575
Dominguez isn’t the first five-tool outfielder that the Yankees have signed from the Dominican Republic; in the previous international signing period, they landed impressive prospect Kevin Alcantara. With his impressive 6’6″ frame, the 17-year-old already has plenty of power, and one could only imagine what he’s capable of when he fills into his body. Plus, he’s simply a terrific athlete and a true center fielder, making him an all-around contributor. Sure, there are some possible swing and miss concerns, but he does show a good feel to hit, and over time, he’ll post high enough on-base percentages to complement his power and defense. Simply put, Alcantara’s upside is off the charts, to the point where I believe he could be George Springer, but with even better tools. A future outfield with him and Dominguez is going to be extremely fun to watch, and is one of the many reasons why Yankee fans should be ecstatic about their team’s future.
#3: SS Oswald Peraza
Height: 6’0″ Weight: 176 lbs
Signed: July 2, 2016
Hit: 57.5 Power: 45 Field: 60 Arm: 57.5 Speed: 60
Overall Grade: 54.5
At this point, it’s clear that the Yankees are just above the rest of the bunch in terms of signing international free agents. In 2016, they landed a huge haul of players, but the best of the bunch appears to be Oswald Peraza. The Venezuelan shortstop isn’t a very powerful hitter, but his contact skills are off the charts, and if he can improve his walk rate just a touch, he’ll provide plenty of value as a hitter. However, it’s the 19-year-old’s defense that really stands out. Not only does he have a strong arm and plenty of athleticism, but he is cited for being as smooth as it gets at shortstop, to the point where he figures to be a consistent threat to win a lot of Gold Gloves in the future. I wouldn’t say that Peraza is a prospect with a super high potential. Yet, his combination of defense and pure hitting ability give him an extremely high floor, and if he can tap into more power, he could be a superstar. He’s still very young, but he could end up filling a double play duo with fellow Venezuelan Gleyber Torres for years to come.
#4: RHP Osiel Rodriguez
Height: 6’2″ Weight: 210 lbs
Signed: July 29, 2018
Fastball: 60 Breaking Ball: 60 Third Pitch: 52.5 Command: 50
Overall Grade: 54.25
Not only did the Yankees get Alcantara as part of their 2018 signing class, but they also landed perhaps the best pitching prospect in that period as well. The Cuban pitcher has a very unorthodox delivery, which raises some questions about his durability- it’s a high effort delivery. Yet, at the same time, it’s extremely deceptive and he commands it well, especially with his elite three-pitch mix. His fastball and changeup are both above average, but it’s his breaking ball that should develop into his best pitch. The amount of sweep he gets on it is incredible, and with the way it complements his fastball, I have zero doubts about his ability to strike hitters out. Sure, he may. need some tweaks in his delivery in order for him to definitely be a starting pitcher. However, he’s only 18-years-old, and has as much upside as any pitcher his age. Personally, I believe he has all the makings of a frontline starting pitcher, though only time will tell- young international prospects are always difficult to predict.
#5: OF Estevan Florial
Height: 6’1″ Weight: 185 lbs
Signed: March 19, 2016
Hit: 42.5 Power: 52.5 Field: 55 Arm: 72.5 Speed: 62.5
Overall Grade: 53.55
Injuries are an unfortunate part of baseball, but unfortunately for young prospects, they can really stunt their development. That’s the case with Estevan Florial, who has suffered a hamate bone injury and wrist injury over the past two seasons. That, combined with strikeout concerns, have hurt his stock, though still, I’m a fan of the 22-year-old’s abilities. With a super lofty swing, he’s built for the short porch at Yankee Stadium, though at some point, he’ll need to start tapping into that power; he’s not exactly a player with pure hitting skills. Defensively, Florial is a terrific athlete with as strong as of an arm as there is in the minors, so in essence, he has the upside to be a high-end four tool player. I’m still confident that he’ll gain a better feel for hitting with more playing time, considering how much time he’s lost due to injuries, but still, he’s a boom-or-bust prospect, and at 22-years-old, he’s running out of time. He’ll most likely have to be in High-A for a third straight season, and this go around, there will be a lot of pressure on him to finally translate his tools into on-field productivity.
#6: RHP Roansy Contreras
Height: 6’0″ Weight: 175 lbs
Signed: July 2, 2016
Fastball: 60 Breaking Ball: 55 Third Pitch: 50 Command: 50
Overall Grade: 53.25
Ranked as just the 19th best prospect in the Yankees’ system by MLB Pipeline, it’s safe to say that Roansy Contreras is going under the radar. However, within a year, he could very well be as highly considered of others as he is on this list. Still just 20-years-old, the Dominican right-hander possesses a mid-90s fastball with strong spin rates, and with more breaking ball and changeup consistency, he should be able to improve upon his strikeout rate (7.69 K/9). Yet, it’s the development of his command that is really eye-popping, as he has constantly posted terrific walk rates so far in the minors, and he is cited for being advanced given his age. Obviously, since last season (132.1 IP) was the first time Contreras topped 63.1 innings in a season, he’ll need more experience, especially since he pitched the whole season at Single-A last season. Still, the tools are there for him to him to build upon his 2019 success should he be promoted to a higher level, and if he continues upon this trajectory, he’s a player that other teams will covet heavily in trades.
#7: RHP Deivi Garcia
Height: 5’9″ Weight: 163 lbs
Signed: July 2, 2105
Fastball: 57.5 Breaking Ball: 65 Third Pitch: 52.5 Command: 47.5
Overall Grade: 53.125
Sticking with Dominican pitching prospects, Deivi Garcia is generating a lot of hype at the moment, as he could play a big role in the Yankees’ World Series push this upcoming season. However, will he deliver on those high expectations? With a mid 90s fastball that plays up due to its late life, combined with a devastating breaking ball with incredible spin, he should continue to strike batters out at a tremendous clip, especially since he already has a solid changeup. Unfortunately, his control has lagged behind, as his walk rate continues to sit above 4.00 per nine, and given his size and high-effort delivery, he may end up being a reliever. If he can be a long-term starter, however, his value will be much higher, as a #3 starter is usually more valuable than a high-end reliever; the Yankees ought to continue to develop Garcia into a starting pitcher, and even if he’s a Robbie Ray type, then that’ll be a successful outcome. He’s another prospect with an incredibly high ceiling, and I’m excited to see if he can make his big league debut this season.
#8: RHP Clarke Schmidt
Height: 6’1″ Weight: 200 lbs
Drafted: 16th Overall- 2017
Fastball: 57.5 Breaking Ball: 55 Third Pitch: 55 Command: 50
Overall Grade: 53.125
Finally, we get to talk about a Yankees prospect that isn’t an international signing! Had Clarke Schmidt not needed to undergo Tommy John surgery, he likely would’ve been a top-ten pick in the 2017 MLB draft. Alas, he slipped to the Yankees at pick #16, where he’s proven to be a steal. The 24-year-old was able to pitch 82.1 innings between High-A and Double-A, and with a sub 3.00 xFIP and strong peripherals (9.65 K/9, 2.74 BB/9), it’s safe to say that he’s making up for being behind in his development. Relying on a sinker is always risky, but Schmidt uses his well to induce plenty of ground balls, and he complements it well with an above-average breaking ball and changeup. Plus, with his command progressing well, he doesn’t have a major flaw, and if he can be in the majors by his age 25 season, the Yankees ought to be more than satisfied. He may not have the upside that Garcia or Rodriguez have, but he’s a good bet to be a long-term middle of the rotation starter for New York.
#9: C Anthony Siegler
Height: 6’0″ Weight: 200 lbs
Drafted: 23rd Overall- 2018
Hit: 55 Power: 45 Field: 55 Arm: 62.5 Speed: 47.5
Overall Grade: 53.1
We’ve seen plenty of switch-hitters in professional baseball, but a switch hitter AND switch thrower? Those prototypes are extremely rare to come by, especially as a catcher. However, Anthony Seigler brings a lot more to the table than just his ambidextrousness. He’s very athletic for a catcher, and has gold-glove potential with a cannon of an arm. As a hitter, he’s essentially the exact opposite of Gary Sanchez, as he has a sound approach at the plate and makes plenty of contact, but has below-average power. Now, he’s been cited for leveraging his power better than he was prior to the draft, but still, it’ll be the 20-year-old’s ability to get on base and be a standout defender that’ll make him one of the best young catchers in the MLB. It’s a position that is very tough to find a long-term answer for, and as Sanchez gets more expensive, New York won’t have to feel obligated to pay him- Seigler’s ability to contribute on both sides of the ball is very tantalizing.
#10: OF Everson Pereira
Height: 6’0″ Weight: 191 lbs
Signed: July 2, 2107
Hit: 52.5 Power: 47.5 Field: 57.5 Arm: 55 Speed: 57.5
Overall Grade: 53.1
There isn’t any better way to cap off the Yankees’ top-ten prospect than with their ANOTHER international signing. Everson Periera isn’t as projectable and doesn’t have the upside that some of the other outfielders in this farm system have, but when it’s all said and done, he’s very likely to be an 3 WAR everyday outfielder, which is valuable. He’s cited as being advanced both with his feel to hit and with his defense, so although he has had lackluster production and hasn’t been able to stay healthy, he’ll have a high floor because of it. Right now, he’s more of a doubles hitter than someone who is poised to hit 20+ home runs, which places more pressure on his on-base skills, which need refinement; he’s not a “sure thing” and will need a lot of development. However, considering the injuries he’s dealt with, it would be silly to disregard his talent this early into his professional career, and since he’s just 18-years-old, he has plenty of time to get back on track. With a full season at Low-A, I’m expecting Periera to show why he was generating a lot of prospect buzz prior to the 2019 season.
Best of the Rest
- Luis Gill’s 100 MPH fastball and high-spin breaking ball is a very exciting combination, and at this point, he simply needs to prove his improvement with his command last season wasn’t a fluke.
- Luis Medina has an absolutely electric pitching arsenal, but his walk rates so far have been staggering, and that’s not a complement.
- Anthony Cabello appears to have excellent contact skills, but he’s yet to show it in terms of production. Although he’s an outfielder right now, there is a chance, given his build, that he could even be converted to catcher.
- Anthony Volpe was the Yankees’ first-round pick in the 2019 MLB draft, and although he’s a plus defender at shortstop with good contact ability, but his lack of power is concerning.
- Alexander Vargas only weighs 150 pounds and has non-existent power, but he’s very athletic with strong defense at shortstop, while he also displays nice contact skills.
Farm System Overview
The Yankees may very well be the favorites to win the AL Pennant, but what should scare the rest of the MLB is how strong their farm system is. They don’t need any prospects to come up and contribute right now, given how deep they are, but when some of their core players get more expensive, they’ll need cheaper replacements. Luckily for them, the farm system is stacked with young, high upside prospects, which is a result of how much of a presence they consistently have in the international market. Dominguez should be the game’s top prospect in a couple years, but between prospects like Alcantara, Peraza, and Rodriguez, there is a lot of depth, and I don’t expect them to slow down anytime soon; sure they’ll never have a high draft pick, but their success in the international market has set this team up for sustainable long-term success.