Cue the Darth Vader music: here comes the evil empire.
Only problem with that is the current Collective Bargaining Agreement makes the Yankees seem like a force for good in the game. Brian Cashman’s clever management of an enormous budget makes the never-Tankees a sustainable monster.
Side note: it’s not just greed that keeps owners from spending. Talent-acquisition penalties and revenue sharing connected to the luxury tax keeps owners from spending.
According to Bryan Hoch of mlb.com: “Since Cole received a qualifying offer, the Astros will receive a pick after Competitive Balance Round B, and the Yankees will lose their second-and fifth-highest selections, as well as $1 million from their international bonus pool for the upcoming signing period. Houston’s pick, at the moment, is No. 74 overall, though that will most likely change with subsequent signings/compensations.”
You won’t see this discussed or even reported very often in the conversation about Cole’s contract. The younger brother of Fernando Tatis Jr., Elijah, just signed with the White Sox for $400,000. Their dad thinks he has the best power in the family. So the Yankees forfeit two-point-five Tatis brothers here, just because they wanted to pay a great player a lot of money.
They also lose the money associated with those second-and fifth-highest selections, so they lose some wiggle room to go over-slot to land a promising prospect with a college commitment, along with the actual players they’d have picked.
We may not think much about this stuff, but I guarantee the teams do. The idea of spending money and then winning certainly appeals to these guys, especially the hyper-rich. More winning means more money. That’s what good capitalists want. But the reality of cutting a big check to your rivals along with all the other penny pinchers in the owner’s club has to feel like all the reason needed to treat the luxury tax threshold as a salary cap. I mean just imagine scoring the Astros a free draft pick and sending their owner a million dollars after they knocked you out of the playoffs. There’s really no such thing as a “free” agent in this scenario. Truly incredible stuff.
1. OF Jasson Dominguez | 16 | NA | 2024
We might be reaching a moment where more will be written about Jasson Dominguez before his first professional at bat than any amateur international signing in baseball history. Some of that is thanks to Acuña, Soto and Wander. Some is thanks to the Yankees. Some to the ever expanding girth of the fantasy echo chamber. But probably the biggest factor is Dominguez himself, an Achilles-level physical elite who’s ceiling is purely hypothetical at this point. He’s building consensus to be the top pick in this winter’s first-year-player drafts. In fact, he went 3rd overall among all prospects in a start-up, 20-team draft I’m doing now.
2. RHP Clarke Schmidt | 24 | AA | Mid 2020
3. RHP Deivi Garcia | 20 | AAA | Mid 2020
Clarke Schmidt seems a bit underrated for fantasy purposes. He’s a first-round pick who’s been excellent since returning from Tommy John surgery, and he finished 2019 with three dominant turns in AA in which he walked one guy and allowed one home run in 19 innings. He’ll probably head back there to begin the season but might not have much use for the minors anymore and will be knocking on New York’s clubhouse door by June.
We should see Deivi Garcia in the big apple this summer. The Gerrit Cole signing makes it more likely Garcia debuts as a reliever than as a starter, but that shouldn’t necessarily sentence him to a bullpen career path. On the other hand, his pitch mix seems like a great fit for short-burst dominance, and the Yankees love relievers as much as anyone, even Cleveland.
4. RHP Luis Medina | 20 | A+ | Late 2021
5. RHP Miguel Yajure | 22 | AA | Mid 2021
I almost grouped Luis Medina with Schmidt and Garcia because his topside is more enticing than both, but he’s got a long way to go from walking 15.7 percent of the single A batters he faced to finding the command required to thrive against the best bats on the planet.
Miguel Yajure might have a little less juice, but his command has been impeccable thus far. Not only has he all but eliminated walks, but he also erases the home run ball, having surrendered just five in 138.2 innings last year. In most organizations, he might be in line for some big league starts in 2020.
6. OF Canaan Smith | 21 | A | 2022
7. 2B Ezequiel Duran | 20 | A- | 2023
8. SS Josh Smith | 22 | A- | 2022
9. RHP Luis Gil | 21 | A+ | Late 2021
Canaan Smith is not his brother’s keeper. He’s too busy killing fastballs to all fields. He’s tough to project because he’s a rotund kind of thick, and a few more biscuits for breakfast could cause problems. Flip side, he finds a dynamite health regimen and unlocks unforeseen twitch and speed, pairing athleticism with a strong plate approach to make Smith a top-shelf prospect.
Safe to say I was a little early on Ezequiel Duran, who I added across my leagues in the Spring of 2018. That season was awful for Duran, whose 48 wRC+ in Rookie ball is among the worst lines I’ve seen for a premium prospect. 2019 brought a 143 wRC+, and though that loses some shine because he was repeating the level, it breathed big dreams back into Duran’s plus power, plus speed profile.
A second round pick in 2019, Josh Smith hit the ground running in Low A, posting a 177 wRC+ across 33 games—tops in the system. He doesn’t have a ton of power, but his plate approach looks good enough to carry even an average talent, and Smith is better than that.
Luis Gil has strikeout stuff powered by his fastball and slider, but his command is spotty at best. That and his high-effort delivery give him the look of a back-end bullpen piece—a profile that’s gaining value all the time.
10. SS Alexander Vargas | 18 | R | 2024
10.5 OF Kevin Alcantara | 18 | R | 2024
In a rich 2018 international class, Alexander Vargas was less decorated than the prospect porn that is 6’6” Kevin Alcantara, but Vargas showed a well-rounded skill set and more than enough glove to stay on the dirt. Both kids are more a dream deferred than destined for greatness, but they are great low-cost fliers heading into 2020.
Thanks for reading! Hope you can meet me and Wander in Tampa Bay this Sunday!