SSTN Top 15 Yankee Prospects: General Impressions of the System
We’re winding down our series on the SSTN Top 15 Yankee Prospects. We have talked a fair amount at this point about the methodology behind our selections, and our writers have shared many of their justifications for their selections. When you spend time discussing specific prospects, it is important to take a step back and look at the entire system in context. As we come to the end of this series this week (you’ll hear from the rest of the prospect gang on Wednesday), I wanted to stop and discuss where the Yankees’ farm system is today.
The High Minors (AA and Above)
The Yankees have significant prospect depth in the high minors for the first time in a long time. Looking at our Top 15 Prospects list, all of the Yankees’ best prospects in the upper minors are pitchers. Check it out (our ranking for each prospect is included in parentheses):
Clarke Schmidt (SSTN #1)
Deivi Garcia (SSTN #3)
Miguel Yajure (SSTN #4)
Albert Abreu (SSTN #13)
Mike King (SSTN Honorable Mention #1)
For a team that has had significant concerns throughout its pitching staff (since…2010?), the Yankees actually have a reasonable amount of depth in the high minors that could help the Yankees fill holes and contribute on a regular basis within the next year or so.
Schmidt, Garcia, and King are all knocking at the door of the Major Leagues, and can be expected to make the jump sooner rather than later. While King profiles more as a back-of-the-rotation swing arm (a valuable guy to have around when injuries strike), both Garcia and Schmidt profile either as mid-rotation cogs (or better!) or as guys who can be used creatively in longer stretches out of the bullpen or as openers. Yajure and Abreu have a little further to go with their development, but both are likely a year or less away from being viable Major League contributors either in the rotation in Yajure’s case, or as a high octane arm out of the bullpen in Abreu’s case.
As great as things look for pitching in the high minors, it is important to take this good news with a grain of salt. As good as I personally feel about this collection of prospects, all of these guys need more seasoning in the minors before jumping into the heat of a World Series run. While there would be some good performances, I think that each of these guys would struggle if they were over-exposed too early. All would need to have their innings managed and would need to be used creatively to get the most out of their skills in the near-term. Mid-term, it is impressive to see what talent the Yankees will be able to throw out on the mound in short order.
Low Minors (A+ and Below)
You may have noticed that among our list of top prospects who are a hop, skip, and a jump from Major League action, not one was a position player. Normally, that would be a concern, but the Yankees have so much position player depth between veterans and young players who have graduated from prospect lists that even good position player prospects in the upper minors would be blocked except in exceptional circumstances on the Yankees. Realistically, the Yankees are at least 2-3 years from needing significant contributions from their farm system to feed the big league roster. Remember, the current core of the team are all graduates from the last generation of Yankee top prospects – Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Gleyber Torres all populated lists like these for years prior to forming one of the best position player core’s in the Major Leagues. Here’s how the SSTN Top 15 Prospects list shakes out for the Low Minors:
Jasson Dominguez, OF (SSTN #2)
Luis Gil, P (SSTN #5)
Oswald Peraza, SS (SSTN #6)
Estevan Florial, OF (SSTN #7)
Ezequiel Duran, 2B (SSTN #8)
Luis Medina, P (SSTN #9)
Yoendrys Gomez, P (SSTN #10)
Kevin Alcantara, OF (SSTN #11)
Alexander Vargas, SS (SSTN #12)
Anthony Volpe, SS (SSTN #14)
Alexander Vizcaino, P (SSTN #15)
Canaan Smith, OF (SSTN Honorable Mention #2)
TJ Sikkema, P (SSTN Honorable Mention #3)
Here, we see a much better balance of position player and pitching talent. Each of the pitchers on this list are lottery tickets to some extent. Aside from Sikkema, all of the pitchers on this list are guys who have big fastballs and varying degrees of secondary offerings and control/command. Some of these pitchers might very well be part of the next great Yankee run, but their futures are generally more volatile than the pitchers who advanced to the high minors.
On the position player side, you will note that their are a lot of good athletes. The Yankee system has an abundance of up-the-middle talent with tools to match. Smith, Duran, and Volpe are the outliers in this group in that they don’t have any athletic tools that pops off the page, but they have other skill sets that make them excellent prospects. Smith and Duran have bats that will likely help propel them through the minor leagues, while Volpe has a combination of average tools across the board combined with a make-up that will hopefully help him maximize his tools as he climbs the minors.
The Yankees are extremely well-balanced as a farm system as it stands today. While they may not have the best farm system in baseball, they have built a sustainable farm system that will help supply the Major League team for the foreseeable future.
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