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The Top Prospects On The Yankees’ 40-Man Roster

by James Vlietstra

December 3, 2020

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For years, the minor league talent evaluators kept saying that the New York Yankees farm system had lots of high quality lottery tickets in the lowest minor league levels. Because they were so young, the organization was repeatedly ranked in the lower half. However, the years have ticked away and these players are no longer years away from contributing.

Last Friday, the Yankees added four players to their 40-man roster to protect them from next month’s Rule 5 Draft.

The roster is currently full, and of the 40 players, eleven of them are members of the Yankees top 30 prospect list, according to MLB Pipeline.

They are:

2. Clarke Schmidt RHP * 3. Deivi Garcia RHP * 4. Oswald Peraza SS 5. Luis Gil RHP 7. Estevan Florial OF * 8. Alexander Vizcaino RHP 9. Yoendrys Gomez RHP 11. Luis Medina RHP 12. Albert Abreu RHP * 15. Miguel Yajure RHP * 19. Roansy Contreras RHP * Made MLB debut in 2020

In addition to these players, Michael King made his MLB debut the last week of 2019. Brooks Kriske and Nick Nelson made their debuts in 2020. King and Nelson exceeded their rookie limit in 2020, but Kriske will still be considered a rookie in 2021. In total, that’s 12 players, 10 of which are pitchers that will be entering 2021 as possible rookies.

With that many potential rookies, the team will have lots of roster and payroll flexibility. The Yankees will be able to shuffle players from minor leagues to Major Leagues as needed. They also will not become free agents until 2026 at the earliest. This much team control will provide additional value to the prospects.

However, at this point, the Yankees have not signed any free agents. Because of how they are currently constructed, the players most vulnerable to being designated for assignment to make room for any incoming players are Mike Ford, Mike Tauchman, and Ben Heller.

It’s hard for me to believe that a World Series contender can go into the season with this many question marks, many of which have yet to play above Class -A. This tells me that trades are imminent. Miguel Andujar and Thairo Estrada would be starters on just about any other team. Packaged with a prospect or two, they should secure the bullpen depth that was missing since Tommy Kahnle went down to injury or they could fetch a starting pitcher to possibly the compliment to Gerrit Cole.

Prospect fatigue usually sets in once a player has been hyped up for 4-5 years. This is what happens when you sign 16-year-olds. The Yankees have a few players that fall into this category. We are now seeing that the Yankees’ patience may finally be paying off.

2021 will be a year in which several prospects potentially see substantial playing time. Regardless of the exact moves that are made, by this time next year, the Yankees prospect list will look completely different than it does today.

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