This is is it – the end of our series on the making of the SSTN Top 15 Yankee Prospects. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading and learning about what we all hope will be the next batch of Yankee stars. For our final installment, I’m going to get out of the way and let the other writers that participated tell you about how they determined their personal Top-3 ranking (I already wrote about my decision making process a couple of weeks ago). Without any further ado, here’s what our team had to say:
It feels like this year, the Yankees have a defined group in terms of their top three. Schmidt, Dominguez, and Garcia are far and away the best of the Bomber’s group. I decided to put Schmidt on top because I feel like he has the highest floor of the three players, while still having a tremendous ceiling. Case in point, Schmidt started his tenure as a Yankee rehabbing from Tommy John surgery after the 2016 draft. With only two seasons of professional ball, Schmidt has already reached Double-A, posting 134 strikeouts in 114 innings and only 34 walks. In addition, Schmidt’s strong mix of pitches puts him above his counterparts in the Bomber’s system.
Dominguez is tough to rank because most of his value is speculative. We have no statistics of his performance, only word of mouth. That being said, his potential skill set and the strong comparisons that he has drawn have put him near the top of the Yankees’ system. MLB Pipeline says that he has 30-30 potential, along with a strong ability to perform in all areas of the game. The outfielder even worked out at catcher for some teams, showcasing his unique athletic abilities.
Garcia’s stock has taken a bit of a dive after a superb 2018. His main issues come in his control as a starter, as he walked 54 batters in 111.1 innings last year. That was his worst walk rate since his 2016 season in rookie ball. He’s still the Yankees’ third-highest prospect because of his big arm and his strikeout ability. He’s struck out 416 batters in his 293.2 inning minor league career, including 165 Ks in 111.1 innings last season. He has a strong two-pitch mix, and has possibly the highest ceiling of any current Yankees’ prospect. Garcia’s questionable durability as a starter and control issues put him slightly below Schmidt and Dominguez.
1.) Clarke Schmidt RHP
I usually favor prospects who have elite level peripheral performance at AA or above. I was a big fan of Luis Severino, Jordan Montgomery and Mike Ford, for example. Right now, the Yankees really don’t have anyone like that in their system but Schmidt is as close as they have albeit with a very small sample size. After coming off Tommy John surgery, Schmidt pitched a very good 83 innings at high A with 9.81 K/9 and 3.41 BB/9. The walk rate is average but given the well documented issues that pitchers have with control after returning from Tommy John it’s actually pretty encouraging. He pitched 19 innings at AA with a 9 K/9 and only 1 walk. He supposedly has good but not great stuff but very good control.
2.) Miguel Yajure RHP
Yajure has very similar results to Schmidt with better control at High A. 128 innings, 8.6 K/9 and 1.97 BB/9. 11 innings at AA with 9.0 K/9 and 1.64 BB/9. I love that control. My issue with him is that he’s a bit thin at 6 foot 1 175 pounds. If he’s using his arm to generate speed, he could be more vulnerable to injury. Of course this is speculation but I had to pick him or Schmidt for #1 so that was the reason he went second.
3.) Jasson Dominguez OF
I didn’t really love any of the performance-based guys a ton below Schmidt and Yajure. King was my #4 but he’s 25 and doesn’t strike out as many people as I’d like to see. So I went with Dominguez because the Yankees like him enough to blow almost an entire year of bonus money on him. I will incorporate the massive hype machine on him by reference #LatinMikeTrout. Like all of these perfect physical specimen prospects, the issue will be if they can actually hit. Can they recognize pitches and adjust in a tenth of a second so that they don’t strike out 40% of the time. If he can, he’ll likely be very good or better. If not, he’ll be the next Dermis Garcia.
I chose Clarke Schmidt as the Yankees top prospect as in my mind, he’s the best combination of current and future value. You get the feeling he could hold down a spot in the rotation now if needed. The Yanks’ 2017 first round selection has three plus pitches, and seems to already know how to use them.
Deivi Garcia presents perhaps the best raw stuff from a pitcher in the organization, and may have an even higher upside than Schmidt should he harness it. Comparisons to his idol Pedro Martinez are of course premature, but that speaks to the elite tools he brings.
Finally, how can Jasson Dominguez not be in the top three? Check out scouting reports, YouTube videos, etc. and you see a special talent. Switch hitting. Five-tool. Seventeen years old. Yes, he’s just seventeen years old. Cue the ridiculous comparisons to Bryce Harper, Mickey Mantle, Mike Trout, etc. For every elite player though, there are plenty of hot prospects that don’t pan out. Let’s hope we see Jasson roaming the Yankee outfield in about 2024.
Choosing the top three Yankees prospects was actually the easiest part of this assignment for me. I believe the Yankees have three super -high end talents, Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt, and Jasson Dominguez.
Garcia is on the doorstep of the big leagues. He rose through the minors last year and might possibly have even been in the big league discussion if one more injury occurred. The Yankees did not want to rush him, and they didn’t. If there had been a full 2020 season (if there is even a season at all), he would have found his way to the Major Leagues. He has electric stuff and should be a force as a starting pitcher for some time.
Clarke Schmidt is healthy and also ready to contribute. This was to be the year that he dominated in Triple-A and got a taste of the big leagues as well. The Yankees have been very high on him and last year and in spring training this year he started to really show why. I see Schmidt as a rotation fixture as early as next year.
Jasson Dominguez is considered by many to be the best prospect in all of baseball. I had to put him in my top three. Had to. But, in spite of his obvious talent and upside, the kid has never played an inning of professional ball. I’d like him to be my #1! prospect, but we just don’t know what he can and will be. Because the world is so high on him, I had to put him at the top of my list, but because his upside is only speculation, I couldn’t rate him above Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt.
So, there you have it. Matthew and I threw a couple of curveballs into the mix by including Yajure and Medina into our Top-3 rankings, respectively, but most agree that Dominguez, Schmidt, and Garcia are the cream of the crop in the Yankee system. What I think this series shows is just how deep the Yankees’ system remains even with the graduation of multiple high-end prospects in recent seasons. The Yankee farm system remains well-stocked, and ready to help the Yankees for years to come.