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New York Yankees

It’s a year later and the Yankees minor league system continues to be one of the younger systems in the game.  Jasson Dominguez is still a teenager and is the top talent in the system.  Granted, we are buying into the hype as we are still waiting on his stat line to appear. With his feel to hit and speed, we also like Oswald Peraza a lot and have ranked him accordingly.

Leading the pitchers is Clarke Schmidt and Deivi Garcia.  We like Schmidt a lot and believe he has a chance to start for the Yankees in 2021.  While Garcia had six great starts for the Yankees in 2020, we still believe that he moves into the bullpen given his size and lack of a plus fastball.

Prospect Quick Shot

  • Top Prospect: Jasson Dominguez
  • Biggest Mover: Clarke Schmidt
  • Emerging Prospect: Canaan Smith

1. Jasson Dominguez (OF)

  • Highest Level:  DNP ETA: 2024 Fantasy Ceiling:  First-round draft pick
  • Tools Summary: Tool-box with a swing that looks like it will work.

We aggressively ranked Jasson Dominguez last year and we were anxious to see if our ranking was accurate, or what many people told us – crazy!  Unfortunately, Covid interfered with the season and we still don’t have a box score on Dominguez.  So, we are still going on hype and the two people I was able to talk to who saw him in a showcase.  To review, he has double-plus speed, plus bat speed with a chance for plus, if not double-plus in-game power.  He also has a plus arm.  Will he hit?  The two I spoke to thought he would.  I know it’s all hype but if he’s even 80% of what I’ve been told, he could be a stud fantasy performer.

2. Clarke Schmidt (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  Majors ETA: 2020 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 40 SP
  • Tools Summary: Plus arsenal with the ability to throw strikes.

Clarke Schmidt got the call to the Big Leagues in September, pitching 6.1 innings of 7.71 ERA ball.  Yeah, it wasn’t great.  But, and there’s always a but… The stuff looked GREAT!  His fastball sat 95 MPH with a high active spin rate of 2,485 and the slider had an active spin rate of 3,085, which is elite.  He only threw his change-up 11 times but it looked very good.  It’s plus stuff and despite not throwing a lot of strikes, he has always been able to throw strikes in the minor leagues.  I wish he were taller (6-feet-1), but the overall profile points to at least a mid-rotation starter, if not more.

3. Deivi Garcia (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  MajorsETA: 2020 Fantasy Ceiling:  Closer
  • Tools Summary: Undersized at 5-foot-9 but with great secondary stuff.  The Yankees are still developing him as a starter, I see him as a bullpen arm.

I still have Deivi Garcia listed as a Closer as his fantasy ceiling.  I know that seems strange when he got six starts in 2020, winning three of those starts and pitching well.  He struck out 8.6 per nine and only walked 1.6 per nine.  His ERA was 4.98 but his FIP was 4.15.  That’s good.  So, what’s the problem.  Well, he’s still 5-foot-9 and his stuff and his fastball is only an average pitch.  His curve and slider though are very good and I believe once he moves to the bullpen, the fastball velo will tick up and his height will be neutralized; meaning obvious durability and home run issues.  Look, I could be wrong, but that’s the way I see it.

4. Oswald Peraza (SS)

  • Highest Level:  DNP ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 15 SS
  • Tools Summary: A chance for a plus hit tool with above-average speed.  There is utility role risk but if he continues to hit, he could get full-time at-bats at the highest level.

Oswald Peraza is athletic with solid bat speed and great bat-to-ball skills.  The swing is geared towards contact, so it’s currently more doubles than home run power.  However, as he matures and adds loft to the swing, low double-digit home runs are possible.  He’s also a plus runner stealing 23 bases in 2019 across two levels. He has the tools to be a full-time regular in the big leagues.

5. Roansy Contreras (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 45 SP
  • Tools Summary: Undersized, fastball/change-up pitcher that is moving up lists quickly

Roansy Contreras has the makings of a solid arsenal that begins with a fastball that sits 93 to 94 MPH with a high spin rate.  His best secondary pitch is his change-up and hitters just do not pick it up well.  As a fastball/change-up pitcher, Contreras should continue to put up solid numbers in the minor leagues and will likely have early success in the Majors.  Whether his ceiling is a number 2/3 starter or 3/4 will depend on the development of his curveball.  For now, we will split the difference and put his ceiling as a number three.

6. Austin Wells (C)

  • Highest Level:  DNP ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 15 catcher
  • Tools Summary: Offensive-oriented catcher

The Yankees selected Austin Wells with the 27th overall pick last June.  He was a draft-eligible sophomore and did nothing but hit in his 56 games at the University of Arizona.  He slashed .353/.462/.552 with 7 home runs and 6 stolen bases.  He also walked more than he struck out.  He’s still raw behind the plate and there is a non-zero chance that he eventually gets moved.  But, the Yankees believe in the bat, and based on what he did in college, he could be an interesting acquisition in a Dynasty League.

7. Canaan Smith (OF)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site ETA: 2022-23 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 45 OF
  • Tools Summary: Intriguing power-speed profile that is starting to open eyes.

Drafted in the fourth round of the 2017 MLB Draft, Canaan Smith really came into his own in 2019.  He slashed .307/.405/.465 in 124 games in Low-A with 11 home runs and 16 stolen bases.  He also controlled the strike zone well by posting a strikeout rate of 20% and a walk rate of 14%.  There’s a lot to lie hear, particularly from a fantasy standpoint.  Let’s see how he does next season as he’ll likely end the season in the upper minors.

8. Ezequiel Duran (2B)

  • Highest Level:  DNP ETA: 2023-24 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 15 2B
  • Tools Summary: Solid tools across the board but needs to cut down on his strikeouts.

Ezequiel Duran opened eyes by slugging nearly .500 in the New York Penn League in 2019 including leading the league with 13 bombs.  Strong, athletic with great bat speed, Duran was also able to steal 11 out of 14 bases.  Unfortunately, he struck out 28% of the time and that is the area of focus for the 21-year-old.

9. Luis Gil (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site ETA: 2022-23 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 45 SP or closer
  • Tools Summary: Athletic pitcher who can hit triple-digits.  His arsenal and delivery might point to a bullpen role, but regardless, the arm is special.

Luis Gil was originally signed by the Twins but joined the Yankees in a small trade for Jake Cave in 2018.  He has a big fastball that can tough triple-digits but he doesn’t always know where it’s going.  In 207 innings in the minor leagues, he’s walked over 5 per nine. He’s also struck out over 11 per nine.  The secondary pitches continue to get better but might not ever be good enough to start.  I expect the Yankees to eventually move him to the bullpen and focus on his fastball-slider and hope that he can eventually have a role as a high-leveraged reliever.

10. Alexander Vizcaino (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site ETA: 2021-22 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 45 SP
  • Tools Summary: Athletic with the makings of a quality arsenal

I got great reports from the Alternate Site on Alexander Vizcaino last season.  He’s 6-foot-2 and only 160 pounds, but he has a fastball that sits 93 to 95 MPH with a plus change-up that is his primary out-pitch.  He worked extensively on his slider over the summer and the reports I had were encouraging.  If it all comes together, the upside is a mid-rotation starter.

11. TJ Sikkema (LHP)

  • Highest Level:  DNP ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 50 SP
  • Tools Summary: Solid stuff

TJ Sikkema was drafted in the supplemental first round of the 2019 Draft.  He has good stuff with a fastball that will scrape the mid-90s and above-average secondary pitches.  The delivery is simple and clean and can repeat his delivery and throw strikes.  It’s a nice all-around arsenal but without any true double-plus pitch and therefore I put his ceiling as a number four, or perhaps number three starter.

12. Alexander Vargas (SS)

  • Highest Level:  DNP ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 15 SS with risk
  • Tools Summary: Toolsy Cuban émigré that had a good 2020 Instructional League

Alexander Vargas was signed by the Yankees in 2018 and had a nice debut in 2019.  He showed an advanced approach at the plate with nice bat speed.  He also is at least a 60 runner and should be a disrupter on the base paths.  Even with the missed 2020 season, Vargas only turned 19 in October.  For me, he’s an interesting flier in a Dynasty League as the tools are alluring and it looks like he can hit.

13. Estevan Florial (OF)

  • Highest Level:  High-A ETA: 2021-22 Fantasy Ceiling:  Streaming OF but the tools are still alluring
  • Tools Summary: Power and speed but his inability to make contact is a problem.

Estevan Florial got a random call-up in August playing in one game and going 1 for 3.  While it was a surprise call-up, I’ve downshifted on Florial over the years as I just don’t think he’ll make enough contact to be a full-time regular.  The foot speed and the bat speed are impressive, but unless he can make better contact which stems from his inability to hit breaking pitches, I just don’t think he’s a full-time regular.

14. Luis Medina (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site ETA: 2022-23 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 45 SP or Closer with risk
  • Tools Summary: Big-time arsenal with a 100 MPH fastball.  The problem is he doesn’t always know where it’s going

Luis Medina can show dominant stuff and did so in 2019 when he struck out over 11 per nine in 20 starts.  Now, he doesn’t always know where it’s going as he loses his release point and can be wild. He’s not a big kid at 6-foot-1 but his strong lower-half should allow him to stay a starter.  But, it’s about control.  If the delivery improves, then he stays a starter.  If not, then he moves to the bullpen with a good chance to see save opportunities.  For fantasy managers, it could be a win-win situation.

15. Anthony Volpe (SS)

  • Highest Level:  DNP ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling:  Middle Infielder
  • Tools Summary: Light on tools but should be able to hit.

The Yankees selected Anthony Volpe in the first round last June from the great state of New Jersey and Delbarton Prep in Morristown. In talking with evaluators, he’s not the most toolsy of players but has a mature approach and makes solid contact.   He struggled in his debut hitting only .215 but he walked a ton, posting a .349 OBP.  I’m not sure I would be targeting him in a Dynasty League, but if his hit tool pans out as advertised, he might be able to profile as a middle infielder in a fantasy league.

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