Feels oddly fated that the Yankees land right behind the Red Sox in the sequence I’ve chosen: alphabetically, division by division. It’s more than Babe Ruth and Bucky Dent linking the legacies of these organizations. It’s the Razz Prospect Rundown now, too!
Okay, enough hilarity. Baseball’s all business in the AL East. Everywhere, really. If I start writing in this thought space at all, I’ll lose my shizz over the hyper-capitalist, negotiating-table Designated Hizzer shizz that’s shizzing all over the off-season.
I spelled “hizzer” that way because I couldn’t say “Designated Hitter shizz that’s shizzing” when I read the sentence back to myself.
Like, my tongue would refuse to make the sounds so matter how hard I focused.
I was saying “designated hizzer shizz” when I tried to read the whole sentence.
And I liked it.
Let’s do the prospect thing.
Format: Position Player | Age on 4/1/2021 | Highest level played | ETA
1. OF Jasson Dominguez | 17 | NA | 2024
The most ballyhooed international amateur in recent memory, Dominguez is as physically developed as any ballplayer I’ve ever seen. Dude is so ripped his proportions look like a Picasso painting. His body makes more sense via cubism than in instagram videos. He’s also fast enough to play centerfield and steal some bags, with some scouts tagging him with 60-grade speed. The swing is fast and still flexible at the moment, but any more muscle could topple that, making Dominguez a precarious case for fantasy. The eye test returns excitement with hints of aging-based trepidation, but the price represents only optimism at the moment. If his first season-long stat lines are loud, he’ll leap into conversations for best overall prospect in baseball.
2. RHP Deivi Garcia | 21 | MLB | 2020
Garcia’s MLB debut went more or less how you’d expect in terms of ups and downs. He’s got outstanding stuff, featuring a dynamite curveball with above average changeup and slider, but his fastball can be kind of an issue mostly because he’s 5’9” so he doesn’t get the angle or extension enjoyed by most elite arms. He makes up for it with sequencing and off-speed command, but the overall topside could be limited and his durability will be in question until Garcia proves it at the highest level for a few seasons.
3. RHP Clarke Schmidt | 25 | MLB | 2020
Schmidt’s hard stuff works side-to-side, and that’s not ideal in today’s game when the strike zone has more give top-to-bottom, and hitters try to lay off anything they can’t barrel. It’s also not ideal in that his curveball is more vertical and doesn’t tunnel all that well with his fastball or changeup. The repertoire is so swervy that Schmidt had little trouble with minor leaguers but got pretty tuned up in his three-game cup of coffee (7.11 BB/9, 7.11 ERA). It was just 6.1 innings, so who cares, you know? Well, I guess I kind of do. History has taught us to be skeptical any time a Yankee first-round pick suddenly leaps up everyone’s prospect lists after. Schmidt is a rare case, however, having been selected 17th overall in 2017 despite having Tommy John surgery just one month before the draft. New York clearly loves what it has here, and while I have no doubt that’s part of his prospect stock boom–Yankee-based sources waxing exotic about Schmidt’s stuff to anyone who’ll listen–it doesn’t diminish what Schmidt has shown on the field. I do think one video of a during-practice strikeout should not boost a pitcher’s stock, as it did when Schmidt erased Giancarlo Stanton last year, but that’s what you get sometimes with Yankees.
4. RHP Miguel Yajure | 23 | MLB | Mid 2021
If you’ve been around a while, you know I like Miguel Yajure’s chances to be a solid fantasy starter. It might happen in 2021, but the 2020 shutdown messed with everyone’s innings to such an extent that I don’t know what to think, honestly. I suspect nobody feels very confident in their read on how 2020 impacts pitching, but prospects seem especially vulnerable to me. Yajure has the advantage of being at the training site all season and then getting a look in the show, but he still only threw seven innings of in-game, real-life baseball. Tough to jump from seven to 100 or so, one would think. Or maybe not. We’re certainly going to know more about how the human arm responds to intermittent downtime a few years from now, and Yajure might be one of the case studies. His command of four pitches and sturdy, balanced base suggest he could be an innings eater long-term, so he could also perhaps make a big innings jump better than some of his peers in the short-term. On the other hand, he looked pretty easy to spot from the box. By which I mean his low-effort delivery didn’t hide the ball/release particularly well, so he’ll have to be tunneling and commanding all his offerings consistently to be effective. He’d benefit from a few months at AA and AAA.
5. C Austin Wells | 21 | NCAA | 2023
A first-round pick this summer, Austin Wells was among my favorite bats in the draft.
Here’s how Hobbs explained it in his Top 25 College Prospects to Target in Dynasty Leagues:
“Wells has spent the last two seasons in Arizona and has exhibited a lot of maturity as a hitter during his short time with the Wildcats. Over 277 career at bats, he’s walked more times (63) than he’s struck out (57) while slashing .357/.476/.560 with seven home runs. Although he blasted just five long balls in 2019, that came with 27 total extra base hits. He has power to all fields (55-grade) and although that has translated to more of a gap-to-gap type of hitting profile to this point, there’s still room for growth. The hit tool is at 55 as well, the bat speed is a plus and the hands are pretty explosive to and through the ball. Many question Wells’ future home defensively, as he comes with a 40-grade arm and 45-grade glove, so he may be more of a first baseman or corner outfield guy in professional ball.”
6. RHP Luis Medina | 21 | A+ | Late 2021
Three plus pitches (fastball, curveball, change) power Medina’s arsenal, which can leave hitters feeling funky cold when he’s on his game. He’s got intense upside if he learns how to repeat his delivery and max out his command. With a 6.48 BB/9 in his last full season at A ball, he’s got a ways to go, but he did improve throughout that 2019 season and makes a fun buy in dynasty leagues. If he does post a nice command season in 2021, he’ll be among the game’s best pitching prospects and very tough to acquire via trade.
7. SS Alexander Vargas | 19 | R | 2024
Vargas stole 13 bases without getting caught across 40 games in the Gulf Coast League, where he was 2.5 years younger than the league average age. High steak totals are not rare in rookie ball, but even good runners tend to get caught a lot as they learn the timing. Vargas didn’t hit well in that stateside debut (86 wRC+), but he did manage the plate, earning an 8.1/12.7 BB/K rate, an indicator of his great hands and plus hit tool. I’m a big fan of Vargas at his current perceived value, which is borderline free in most dynasty leagues.
8. SS Oswald Peraza | 20 | A | 2023
You could copy and paste much of the Vargas blurb here. Peraza pairs great hands and plate control with plus speed. He hasn’t accessed much power yet, and I think the topside/baseline athleticism is just a little less than that of Vargas, but Peraza is a high probability middle infielder with a plus hit tool who should carve out some sort of big league career.
9. OF Kevin Alcantara | 19 | R | 2024
The only guy on this list with upside comparable to Wonderboy (Dominguez), Alcantara stands 6’6” and weighs about as much as my two-year-old daughter. That’s not fair. He weighs at least as much as Tristan McKenzie. He needs to add some good weight, make more contact at the plate and add coordination in the outfield, but the physical skills here are enticing. He’s been working to find a swing that works in game, and the hip-snap explosion Alcantara generates gives him 30 home run topside if he can sync up his hands, base and eyes.
10. 2B Ezequiel Duran | 21 | A- | 2023
A quick-twitch sparkplug who’s incredibly fun to watch, Duran brings a very fantasy friendly blend of power and speed. He strikes out a bit too much, 27.8 percent across 277 plate appearances in Low A, but he makes such regularly loud contact and generates consistent enough loft that it might not hold him back.
PS: Here’s last year’s list if you’re curious.
Thanks for reading!
I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.