Bit of a trivia question off the top: who were the last two big-time Yankees prospects who weren’t overrated. Aaron Judge is quick to mind. Who else? Our best bet is to check the trades for guys who actualized for other organizations. Let’s see. Stanton was traded for Starlin Castro, Jose Devers and Jorge Guzman, so . . . no hits there. Still a pretty good trade for the fish considering Stanton’s inability to stay on the field. But that doesn’t matter to our purpose here: harvesting fantasy value on the Yankees’ farm, where this organization is loaded. It’s possible nobody markets their prospects better than New York. Whenever you hear flowery language about a Deivi Garcia or Jasson Dominguez type, keep that in mind. This front office schools its people well on speaking only in glowing terms when it comes to their minor league system. If a prospect writer’s primary process is checking in with team sources, they’ll probably wind up overrating young Yankees. Part of this effect is born from having a huge, hungry fan base. Part of it comes down to marketing. Part of it is simply the Yankees having a lot of money to invest in player development and acquisition and doing exactly that. All the historical caveats about their prospects apply, but even after some system-trimming deadline maneuvers, they’ve got an objectively impressive group at the moment. 

 

Format: Position Player | Age on 4/1/2022 | Highest level played | ETA

1. SS Anthony Volpe | 20 | A+ | 2023

Volpe hit 15 HR in just 55 games at High-A. Sure, Everson Pereira hit one fewer in half as many games, but the fantasy world believes Volpe belongs in the top ten, while Pereira remains something of a footnote because he popped late and Volpe popped early in the 2021 season. He hit 27 HR and stole 33 bases across 109 games at two levels, slashing .294/.423/.604 with 101 strikeouts and 78 walks. He was young for both levels (-1.3 and -2.9 years) but excelled on both sides of the ball and earned the hype he’ll get this winter thanks to a swing revision that includes a well-balanced leg kick and power to all fields.

 

2. OF Jasson Dominguez | 19 | A | 2024

I’ve been comparatively low on Dominguez from day one, but part of that is having a foot in the baseball card universe, where Dominguez’s 1st Bowman Chrome Autograph was selling for the cost of four Fernando Tatis Juniors before he ever set foot on an affiliated field, and it’s tough to shake such a look into the heart of the hype machine. Here’s a link to WonkaVision: Jasson Dominguez and the Search for Gold in Bowman if you’re interested in that kind of thing.

When other sites were putting 16-year-old Dominguez in their overall top tens, Razzball was pushing for CJ Abrams over him in that year’s first-year-player drafts. I share all this preamble because I think I’ll be the high mark on Dominguez by the time he’s in AAA–not because I’m going to fall in love with him between now and then but because I think the blowback from the early adopters will be fierce if he looks more human than Martian in 2022. I thought he did well this year, considering how long it had been since he’d played. An 18-year-old slashing .258/.346/.398 with a 105 wRC+ in 49 games in a full-season A league is impressive. 

 

3. SS Oswald Peraza | 21 | AAA | 2022

Timing is everything in life, and Peraza was ready to go when the bell sounded on the 2021 season, belting five home runs and swiping nine bases over his first 11 games in High-A, jump-starting a season that saw him play at three levels and set him up for a big-league opportunity in the late stages of 2022. A right handed hitter listed at 6’0” 165 lbs, Peraza gets power from the quality of his contact more than raw strength and could continue his upward arc in that department. It’s hard to know where that will ultimately settle, but it’s easy to put Peraza high on any prospect list.

 

4. OF Everson Pereira | 20 | A+ | 2023

A 6’0” 191 lb right handed hitter, Pereira enjoyed an incredible season in 2021, covering three levels in just 49 games and slashing .303/.398/.686 with 20 HR and 9 SB. He’ll almost certainly open 2022 in AA and has a realistic chance to be a big leaguer by the second half. Here’s a link to me swooning over him in Prospect News: Everson Pereira Punching up, Victor Robles Rebounding. It seems unreasonable to expect him to thrive right away in the upper levels because he just hasn’t played that much professional baseball due to injury in 2019 and reality in 2020, but the guy just kept hitting last year in search of a level that could challenge him.

 

5. 2B Oswaldo Cabrera | 23 | AAA | 2022

A switch-hitter who remade himself over the lost season, Cabrera now generates power from the ground up. He’s listed at 5’10” 145 lbs, which might be what he weighed when he signed at 16 but looks at least 30 pounds too light at the moment. Seems to me the prospect world has been slow to notice Cabrera’s 2021 season. He slashed .272/.330/.492 with 29 HR and 21 SB in 118 games across two levels, only nine of those happening at AAA, where he slashed .500/.583/1.133 with 5 HR. No typos there, friends. Cabrera hit five home runs over his first nine games at AAA. If he’d done so in May, he’d be a named guy by now, buoyed by the team’s hype machine and owned in every dynasty league. Makes for a smart target in supp drafts this winter.

 

6. RHP Luis Gil | 23 | MLB | 2021

I thought the 6’2” 185 lb fireballer might look like a fish out of water when Gil got plucked from AAA with a 4.81 ERA, but he threw six shutout innings in his debut against Baltimore, allowing one walk, then five shutout innings against Seattle, allowing two walks, then 4.2 shutout innings against Boston, allowing four walks. Got kind of ugly after that. Seven walks against Toronto, allowing one hit but three runs. Maybe I should have laid this out differently, but at some point that’s just a game log, and I’m trying to point out the trend of diminishing control, which lines up with his entire baseball life to this point. He has always walked about 15 percent of opposing hitters. That dog won’t hunt for a starting pitcher in the AL Beast. If he can find a way to spot his pitches, his fastball jumps barrels atop the zone, and his slider is an easy plus pitch, maybe double-plus, but he doesn’t trust his changeup, and he probably shouldn’t. All in all, he looks like a solid but volatile starter with considerable but distant upside or a dominant reliever as soon as yesterday.

 

7. C Austin Wells | 22 | A+ | 2023 

The only stank in the soup so far is a 32.4 percent strikeout rate across 38 games in High-A, but aside from that, all’s well on the Austin Wells front. The 2020 first round pick (28th overall), Wells is a stocky left handed hitter at 6’2” 228 lbs who employs a short stroke that helped him slash .264/.390/.476 in 2021. He’s fleeter afoot than the typical catcher, as evidenced in his 16/16 season in 103 games across two levels. Might have a position switch in his future if the club decides to set the bat free, but that might only happen as a domino effect of the club acquiring an established long-term catcher.

 

8. OF Brandon Lockridge | AA | 25 | 2022

Was considered a relative certainty to play some kind of big league role entering 2021 thanks to extreme speed and defense, but then something happened in AA. The 6’1” 185 lb right handed hitter had suddenly learned to synchronize the leg strength that made him so fast into his hips and explode through his swing. Could’ve been just that flash of lightning, full-blown-flow type of thing that happens to people dedicating their life to a craft. Perhaps he’ll never recapture that magic, but in 43 games at AA, Lockridge slashed .328/.382/.557 with 10 HR and 13 SB. He also struck out 30.4 percent of the time, quite the jump from the 19.9 he’d posted in 32 games at High-A, but that’s what happens when you suddenly start swinging your with all you have. It’s hard to explain how difficult it is to truly swing with everything you’ve got. Even harder to learn. Might be a blip, but if a guy with this kind of speed and defense suddenly brings plus in-game power, we’re looking at a big league regular.

 

9. SS Trey Sweeney | 21 | A | 2025

A 6’4” 200 lb left handed hitter, Sweeney isn’t the most natural looking shortstop, but he gets the job done, and he’s got a shot to stay at the position. Even if not, he can likely hang at third, and his bat would play there. In 29 games with Low A Tampa, Sweeney slashed .245/.357/.518 with 6 HR, 3 SB, 29 strikeouts and 18 walks. He played his college ball with Eastern Illinois of the Ohio Valley Conference, so we’ve yet to see him exposed to elite pitching across an extended stretch of games.

 

10. RHP Clarke Schmidt | 26 | MLB | 2020

Schmidt is the poster boy for overrated Yankees. Several fantasy sites put him in the top 50 due to one solid season in 2019–a season in which Schmidt had a 1.31 WHIP in High-A. Why did fantasy writers suddenly push him onto our dynasty rosters where he likely remains in your league today? I honestly don’t know. Schmidt pitches side-to-side and has struggled to stay healthy throughout this career. He probably hasn’t earned this spot, but he’s on the brink of a third big-league stint in 2022 and could finally settle in at the level.

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.

18 Comments
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Bret
Bret
8 months ago

Was Randy Vasquez close to making this list?

Dan
Dan
8 months ago

Thanks for another great write up! I’d love your perspective on a trade I’m pondering in a 30 team H2H points dynasty.

I trade Oneil Cruz and 1st round fypd (19th overall pick)for Jesus Luzardo and Ethan Small.

Young pitching is at a premium and I currently have Javier Baez – though I’m very high on Cruz long term.

Current staff is: Darvish, Ryu, Skubal, Greinke, Houser.. so the younger arms would help thread the needle.

Your thoughts are much appreciated!

Dan
Dan
Reply to  The Itch
8 months ago

Thanks! Appreciate the insight. Would swapping Joe Ryan for Luzardo sway it more even for you?

TC
TC
8 months ago

Would you deal JRod and Luciano to get Luis Robert in a forever keeper? No salary details or anything involved.

junior56
junior56
8 months ago

Hi Itch

Thanks for the write up!

I have 3 picks in the first 2 rounds 7,9,21 of a FYP draft coming up for a 16 team Dynasty league. 1st Round too early to think about taking Sweeney? Whats your opinion of Kyle Manzardo as a hitting prospect?

junior56
junior56
Reply to  The Itch
8 months ago

Mainly FYP but can pick up anyone on the wavier wire, and Doval is available as well had Joey Wiemer.

junior56
junior56
Reply to  The Itch
8 months ago

Thanks for the list, Itch. Pickups are frozen till after the draft.

Philip
Philip
8 months ago

It would seem Volpe would make a good sell high this coming spring. What kind of peak performance do you envision for him?

Thanks, Itch!

bobbyt0805
bobbyt0805
8 months ago

At those salaries, In OttoNeu, all but Oneal, NOT Nelson, Cruz should be cut for the spring FA draft. Maybe keep $7 Adell. The other cuts are cold.

kcc26
kcc26
8 months ago

also love this series, thanks for doing them!

which side do you like in ottoneu:

$14 kelenic
$7 skubal
$7 adell

$24 moncada
$6 o’neill cruz

i feel like he probably cuts moncada anyway here. but i am flush with outfielders and in need of INF. also intrigued by cruz. thanks!