SSTN Top 15 Yankee Prospects
Will Jasson be #1? Find Out Below! Photos Courtesy of the New York Yankees
Since its launch at the end of 2017, SSTN has devoted a significant number of posts to Yankee prospects. Most recently, Ethan Semendinger did an outstanding series of afternoon posts dedicated to the prospects that made MLB.com’s Top-30 Yankee prospects. However, despite all of the information we’ve posted on the blog about the next wave of Yankee stars, SSTN has never done its own rankings. That changes today. Today, we are unveiling the official SSTN Top 15 Yankee Prospects.
However, our discussion of Yankee prospects does not end today – far from it. We will devote much of the month of May to discussions about our Top 15 Prospect rankings. Following today’s post, all of our writers who participated in generating our rankings will be posting articles discussing aspects of their individual rankings every Monday and Wednesday at 10:00 AM EST throughout the month of May. This series has taken a lot of work and research, but we hope that you will enjoy it. Without any further ado, let’s get to the methodology and results.
Each of our participating writers were asked to generate their own individual Top 15 prospect rankings for the Yankees’ farm system. Each vote for a player was provided a vote total. For instance, a player ranked #1 was awarded 15 points, while a player ranked #15 on the list was awarded 1 point. Once all writers responded, point totals were tallied and sorted in order from most points to least. The players with 15 highest point totals at the end of the process have been named to our ranking of Top 15 Yankee Prospects. Writers compiled their rankings based on extensive research of scouting reports, statistics, and in some cases personal observation.
However, I also asked our writers to provide 2 Honorable Mentions (Paul and Ethan Semendinger each provided 3 Honorable Mentions, but as Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor respectively, I’ll let it slide!). The Honorable Mentions list did not factor in to the Top 15 rankings. That said, this was an opportunity for each writer to provide recognition to a Yankee prospect who didn’t fit into their Top 15 Prospect rankings, but either just missed being included on their list, or who the writer felt is undervalued or under-discussed in prospect conversations. Each writer’s Honorable Mentions will be part of the posts that will be coming as part of this series throughout the month.
OK, I’ve gone on far enough. Let’s get to the meat and potatoes – it’s time to talk about the players! Below, here are each writer’s individual prospect rankings (click the image to enlarge):
Click To Enlarge
As you can see, we all generally agree on the top 3 or 4 prospects in the Yankee system. We may not have them in the same order, and one of us grouped another controversial player in the same class as the top of the Yankee system, but we all broadly believe that Clarke Schmidt, Deivi Garcia, and Jasson Dominguez are the cream of the crop in the Yankee system. That’s not exactly surprising. However, it is fascinating to note just how much variance there is in prospect rankings thereafter. This is indicative of the fact that the Yankee system is very deep, but ranking prospects forced all of us to balance likely performance floors with loud raw tools that require significant honing to realize in games. As you can see from the above list, there are players ranked highly on some of our writers’ lists that are left un-ranked on others’ lists. And that’s OK! Those differences will be explained in due time.
Despite the differences, most of the same players make appearances either in the Top 15 rankings or in the Honorable Mentions, with a few exceptions.
The Guys Who Just Missed
Based on our rankings, three players just missed inclusion in the Top 15 ranking, and will be included here as the SSTN Honorable Mention Prospects. Their names, and a link to Ethan Semendinger’s post on each player is listed below:
Honorable Mention 1 – Mike King, RHP (Link)
Honorable Mention 2 – Canaan Smith (Link)
Honorable Mention 3 – T.J. Sikkema (Link)
The SSTN Top 15 Yankee Prospects
OK, here’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the results. Below, you will find a chart showing complete results that includes every player ranked by our writers. We’ll talk about each guy a bit more after we list the results (click the photo to enlarge).
The SSTN Top 15 Prospect Rankings Results (Click To Enlarge)
Below, here is the Top 15 Prospects list with a short overview of each prospect. Clicking on the player’s name will send you to the full write-up Ethan wrote over the preceding month.
Clarke Schmidt is one of the fastest rising prospects in the Yankee system. At this time last year, Schmidt likely would have struggled to squeak into the Top 10 of our prospect rankings. Full recovery from surgery, refinement of his mechanics, and dominant performance has led to Schmidt racing through the minors. Schmidt was even considered an option in the Yankee rotation with his early performance in Yankee camp during Spring Training. Schmidt has a good fastball, hammer curve, and workable change-up.
I’m sure that I don’t need to tell anyone about guy that has been nicknamed, “The Martian.” Quite simply, Dominguez is the most hyped prospect Yankee fans have seen in a long time. Dominguez hasn’t played a single professional game yet, but his tools are the loudest in the system. Dominguez is the very rare player who has a shot at being a 5-tool player. That term is used far too often in typical conversation, but it is correctly referred to when talking about Dominguez. Dominguez is built like a football player, and fans are anxious to see Dominguez’s first games.
Deivi Garcia is on the cusp of playing in MLB games. Another pitcher who rose quickly through the Yankee minor league system, Garcia has a fastball that he mixes in from 91-96 MPH while using an excellent, high-spin curveball and emerging slider to attack hitters. Garcia struggled some after a mid-season promotion to AAA, and is slight in size, but the stuff and control are enough to start.
Perhaps the biggest surprise on our list, Yajure is another fast-rising Yankee prospect. Yajure has three average-to-above-average pitches of which he shows good control and command. Yajure is rising both due to his minor league performance and his fastball velocity, which is trending upwards from 89-92 MPH to 92-95 MPH. Yajure is a much more exciting prospect if his velocity gains hold.
5.) Luis Gil, RHP
Gil is another exciting Yankee pitching prospect with huge stuff. Gil was acquired in the Jake Cave trade, and immediately added velocity (as Yankee pitchers are apt to do). Gil sits in the high-90s with his fastball, touching 100 MPH with some frequency. Reports on his off-speed stuff is mixed, but many scouts note that the slider will flash better-than-average, and that the change-up might yet be usable. With some command, Gil can become a rotation piece, but even without it, has enough stuff to be a devastating bullpen arm.
Peraza is another fast-riser in the Yankee system. Peraza shows beautiful actions defensively at SS with good arm strength. Peraza also was moved very quickly through the low minors in 2019, reaching Low-A Charleston at just 19 years old. Peraza is still developing physically, but doesn’t swing on a plane that indicates significant power is coming. Peraza does show feel for the strike zone and a knack for making good contact. If the offense plays at the upper levels of the minors, Peraza could be the real deal at short.
Estevan Florial seems like he’s been around forever. Florial has lost most of the past two seasons to injuries and under-performance. However, many of attributes that made scouts drool before remain. Florial has good speed and a good arm, and certainly enough defensive skills to stick in CF. Florial struggles with pitch recognition, and two lost years at the plate won’t help that, but when he connects, Florial can do damage at the plate.
Scouting reports of Duran’s defense up the middle are mixed. Some scouts rave about his defense at 2B enough that they’ve recommended that the Yankees at least try Duran at SS, while others think that Duran is below-average defensively at 2B and may be homeless defensively long-term. What everyone agrees on is that Duran can hit. Duran shows line drive power to all fields and plus exit velocities. Some Yankee observers see a little Rob Refsnyder in his profile, but Duran can impact the baseball in a way that Refsnyder couldn’t.
9.) Luis Medina, RHP
Medina is likely one of the most divisive prospects on this list. Some think that Medina is a future ace. Others think that Medina is unlikely to ever put it all together enough to pitch in the Majors. What isn’t in doubt is Medina’s pure stuff – it’s the best of anyone in the Yankee system. Medina sits in the high-90s, touching 100 MPH (stop me if you’ve heard that before). However, Medina combines that with a knockout breaking ball and an excellent change-up. The issue is control. Medina has consistently shown issues finding the same zip code as the strike zone, but indications are that Medina is improving. Medina had his best stretch as a pro in the 2nd half of last season, and looked good at Spring Training. Medina is the player most likely to have a significant change in ranking once baseball games are played again.
10.) Yoendrys Gomez, RHP
Gomez is yet another Yankee pitching prospect who has gained significant velocity since signing, putting him on the prospect map. Gomez has three workable pitches, including a 92-95 MPH fastball that he is beginning to show some ability to command both inside and outside the strike zone. Not bad for someone who was picked up for $50,000 as an International Free Agent just a few years ago.
11.) Kevin Alcantara, OF
Alcantara is still a very raw prospect, but he has big tools as the best prospect that has emerged from the Yankees’ haul in the 2018 international signing period. Alcantara has good defensive tools, and has a chance to stick as a CF, although his body may fill out to the point that CF isn’t his best fit in the outfield. Alcantara reportedly produces plus exit velocity with the bat. He is a classic boom-or-bust prospect.
12.) Alexander Vargas, SS
Vargas is a defector from Cuba who can really pick it defensively at SS. Vargas excellent actions with his hands and feet, and despite his diminutive appearance, shows surprising pop with the bat. Another boom-or-bust prospect, Vargas’ defensive chops are enough to make him one of the more exciting prospects in the system if the bat comes around.
13.) Albert Abreu, RHP
Originally acquired in the trade that sent Brian McCann to the Astros following the 2017 season, many Yankee fans and observers are suffering from prospect fatigue when talking about Abreu. Despite that and some injuries, Abreu retains the tantalizing stuff that made him an interesting prospect in 2017. Abreu has good velocity and a wicked breaking ball that was on display in Spring Training this year. Abreu may have lost too much time to injuries to reasonably expect him to gain enough command to start, but he could be a high-leverage reliever.
14.) Anthony Volpe, SS
Anthony Volpe was the Yankees’ first round draft pick in the first year player draft in 2019. Draft picks straight out of high school have a lot of volatility, and we don’t have a lot of data from his first pro appearances, but Volpe has good tools that should allow him to stick at SS. He has average range, good actions at SS, and enough arm to play the position. Volpe’s trajectory is dependent on his ability to hit. Most scouts think Volpe will hit, but we’ll see what happens when he plays some minor league games.
Vizcaino was another inexpensive IFA signing who added significant velocity once he matriculated into the Yankees’ program. Vizcaino has a huge fastball and a hammer curve, but has not yet shown consistent feel for a change-up. If Vizcaino can add a reliable third pitch, he has the upside of a mid-rotation arm. If he doesn’t, he is still likely a good bullpen option at the Major League level.
The SSTN writers have spoken, and the results are very interesting. We all have wildly different opinions on a few Yankee prospects, namely Luis Medina, Estevan Florial, MIguel Yajure, Ezequiel Duran, and Anthony Volpe. Generally, we all like a lot of the Yankees’ high-risk arms – the velocity and stuff is just too much for most of us to ignore, but we obviously differ on which of those arms are likeliest to breakthrough in the coming years. All of us love Schmidt, Dominguez, and Garcia. Many of us also think highly of some guys who didn’t make the cumulative SSTN rankings.
In the coming days, you will read a lot about how we generated our lists individually, and our rationale for the way in which we ranked particular players (obviously, I have some explaining to do). We will continue this series on Wednesday, May 6th at 10:00 AM EST, and we hope you enjoy it!
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