top of page
file.jpg
  • Writer's pictureAndy Singer

Analyzing Fangraphs' Top-100 Prospects

By Andy Singer

February 17th, 2024


Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The last of the major top-100 prospects lists has been published, with Fangraphs releasing their 2024 Top-100 Prospects list and write-up earlier this week. On a lot of levels, Fangraphs' write-up is the most comprehensive prospect evaluation available to baseball fans on the internet for free. To get the type of depth Fangraphs provides, you typically need to have a subscription to something like The Athletic to read Keith Law, or one of Baseball Prospectus or Baseball America. So needless to say, I have been excitedly waiting for Fangraphs to post their list and write-ups, as Eric Longenhagen is one of the best prospect evaluators writing on the internet.


The 2024 list was very surprising on a lot of levels with regard to how Yankees' prospects faired, with some good, indifferent, and even some misses, in my humble estimation. The list is also giving me some food for thought. I thought it made sense to analyze some of those surprises. 6 prospects made Fangraphs' Top-100 list:


  • Spencer Jones (15)

  • Austin Wells (47)

  • Jasson Dominguez (53)

  • Roderick Arias (70)

  • Chase Hampton (82)

  • Will Warren (99)


That's a significantly better turnout than I expected, and the list is littered with Yankees' prospects at nearly every tier on the list. The Yankees certainly had as much presence in the Top-100 as any other team, which was both a mild surprise and reassuring. The Yankees have dealt a ton of prospect depth over the last 2 years, yet the top of the system appears primed to produce big league talent. Of the guys on the list, 5 out of the 6 have all either played in the upper minors already or have gotten cups of coffee at the Major League level. That's pretty fantastic! Most of these guys are not low-level lottery tickets that require a lot of projection to imagine being productive big leaguers.


I was also shocked by Spencer Jones' ranking. I haven't done the digging yet, but Jones is nowhere near the Top-15 on any other major prospect ranking list. Jones' upside is huge, about that almost everyone agrees. Fangraphs certainly believes there is a much higher probability that Jones gets there. I haven't been quite as bullish, as I believe that Jones will require a lot more development than is typical of someone who has already reached AA. The upside is there as a left-handed hitting centerfielder who can also hit 40+ homes per year, but his body is so big, with such a large strike zone to cover, I really fear that strikeout issues will continue to haunt him and blunt his projection. His body is so big that it is also difficult to project him maintaining enough speed and mobility to remain in centerfield long term. However, the point Fangraphs makes that I likely haven't given enough credence is that Jones has not played anywhere close to as much baseball as most players his age due to injuries early on in his college career and the pandemic. He has more projection than a player typical of his age, so maybe I've been a bit harsh. Being the #15 prospect in the game is pretty excellent, even if I think it's a bit aggressive.


I was likewise surprised by Austin Wells' ranking. Clearly, Fangraphs has become a believer that his defense will be good enough to start behind the plate with consistency eventually. If that's true, then this ranking makes perfect sense. I, like Fangraphs, believe in Wells' bat; I remain skeptical of his work behind the plate, though his work ethic is clearly excellent back there, so I think he has more of a chance to force his way to below-average defense back there than I thought a year ago.


This won't come as a shock to any of you, but I don't agree with Fangraphs' ranking for Dominguez. In fact, I think if you flipped Dominguez and Jones on this list, you'd come closer to the right rankings. Ranking services are split on Dominguez; he either appears in the 15-22 range on Top-100 lists or in the 40-55 range. Fangraphs makes the assumption that bothers me most when evaluating Dominguez: they make the mistake of worrying about his body type. Dominguez is built like an NFL running back; the idea that guys like that slow down terribly even in their 20s is an outdated take in the modern world. Just look at the NFL, where running backs maintain their top-end speed for years even after taking a beating. I don't think there should be concern that Dominguez's athleticism will back-up prematurely. He also has the same thing working in his favor as Spencer Jones: the guy hasn't played a lot of baseball due to his International status and the pandemic. The difference is that Dominguez is significantly younger than Jones, so it's really difficult to not say there is projection left in his bat and defensive actions in the outfield. Fangraphs doesn't agree, but even great minds can agree to disagree. I side much more closely with the publications (like Keith Law and Baseball America) that believe Dominguez is one of the inner-circle best prospects in the sport.


Hampton and Warren are both close to where I would rank them, and it should give Yankees' fans worried about the rotation some relief. Both Hampton and Warren are better than all of the pitching prospects the Yankees have traded away in recent memory save for Drew Thorpe. I have worries about Warren starting long-term, but he has proven that he can have success over 130 innings, so maybe he can be a 5-6 inning starter with below-average command. It's exciting to feel decent about Yankee pitching prospects again!


Arias is pure projection, but Fangraphs believes in his talent level. The real test comes this season, as Arias will likely play full-season ball for the first time, where we'll see how his big tools play against more polished talent. I like Arias a lot, but 70 seemed a bit higher than I would have expected. It's making me think that maybe I'm a bit low on Arias.


Overall, Fangraphs' list should lead one to believe that the Yankee farm system is in good shape. There is still talent in the high minors, and though this list doesn't cover it, there is a bevy of talent playing in Complex and Rookie leagues. If the Yankees get even a fraction of the insane talent down there to translate to full-season ball, the Yankees will have significant presence on this list in the years to come. Rumors of the demise of the Yankee farm system have been greatly exaggerated.

10 Comments


Alan B.
Alan B.
Feb 17

I was pleasantly surprised by most of the rankings for the organization. I've maintained that the Yankees organization has been a #10-12 system for the last couple of years, just based on the overall talent depth. Don't forget that since 2021, 5 guys no longer in the organization (Thorpe, Waldichuk, Conteras, Alcantara, & Duran) either stayed on or got on the top 100 list too. Now is some of the coaching methods would change to better prepare these guys to be productive major leaguers I'd really be happy. I am never surprised though at the lower than expected rankings of any one of the NYY prospects, outside of Jesus Montero - he was an absolute beast all the way thro…

Like

mikemarinelli54
Feb 17

Pretty much with you, Andy.

With his showing in last years’ cameo paired with the initial hype, Dominguez must be considered “inner circle” quality. Was he knocked down because of the injury?

I’m in the “high on Jones” camp, however. As long he comps as Judge 2.0, an admittedly tall order (pun intended), he projects a lofty ceiling. Remember, AJ was a strike out machine through even his early MLB years. The power/speed combination Jones possess is rare. At his size, he is the elephant in the room that cannot be ignored.

Wells is the most intriguing. He is getting some well deserved love, finally. If indeed he is a genuine left handed power hitting catcher with at least adequate…

Like

Melfman1
Melfman1
Feb 17

I think the optimism is warranted regarding the Yankee farmhands. 6 guys in the top 100 is pretty impressive, especially after having traded another two away (Alcantara for Rizzo and now Thorpe for Soto). Plus guys like Volpe and Peraza just graduated from last year’s list.


I, for one, am not expecting either Dominguez or Jones to be MVP caliber players (though I’d love it if they were). My hope is just that they become solid, productive every day starters, something that this team has sorely missed since our last dynasty era. Home-grown players like Jeter, Bernie, Posada, Mariano, Pettitte allow an organization to save a few dollars along the way. That way, they can afford to lure a s…


Like
Alan B.
Alan B.
Feb 18
Replying to

One point. Alcantara never got out of rookie ball until he was traded to the Cubs, and he was in the organization for the 2018-19 minor league seasons too. Waldichuk was traded in the Montas deal while we was, if I remember correctly, somewhere around #71 on the Top 100.

Like

fuster
Feb 17

indeed the rankings are cause for optimism.


given two hot prospects for the outfield, and given the presence of Judge, the Yankees should be in good shape if only one of Dominguez and Jones pan out.


just as interesting and hope-inducing is the thought of Arias taking over at shortstop and pushing Volpe to the other side of second base.

Like
Alan B.
Alan B.
Feb 18
Replying to

I hope you're right that Lombard would be moved off SS (I'm not picky about the position) and not impede Arias's development.

Like

Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
Feb 17

Oh baby! I love when articles get me excited about the team.


This quote from Andy is my (and everyone's) hope:


"I side much more closely with the publications (like Keith Law and Baseball America) that believe Dominguez is one of the inner-circle best prospects in the sport."


Let's hope!

Like
dr sem.png

Start Spreading the News is the place for some of the very best analysis and insight focusing primarily on the New York Yankees.

(Please note that we are not affiliated with the Yankees and that the news, perspectives, and ideas are entirely our own.)

blog+image+2.jpeg

Have a question for the Weekly Mailbag?

Click below or e-mail:

SSTNReaderMail@gmail.com

SSTN is proudly affiliated with Wilson Sporting Goods! Check out our press release here, and support us by using the affiliate links below:

587611.jpg
583250.jpg
Scattering the Ashes.jpeg

"Scattering The Ashes has all the feels. Paul Russell Semendinger's debut novel taps into every emotion. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll reexamine those relationships that give your life meaning." — Don Burke, writer at The New York Post

The Least Among Them.png

"This charming and meticulously researched book will remind you of baseball’s power to change and enrich lives far beyond the diamond."

—Jonathan Eig, New York Times best-selling author of Luckiest Man, Opening Day, and Ali: A Life

From Compton to the Bronx.jpg

"A young man from Compton rises to the highest levels of baseball greatness.

Considered one of the classiest baseball players ever, this is Roy White's story, but it's also the story of a unique period in baseball history when the Yankees fell from grace and regained glory and the country dealt with societal changes in many ways."

foco-yankees.png

We are excited to announce our new sponsorship with FOCO for all officially licensed goods!

FOCO Featured:
carlos rodon bobblehead foco.jpg
bottom of page