2022 New York Yankees Top 5 Prospectsby Carter LaCorte January 26, 2022 0 comments
It’s a new year, and baseball’s biggest fanbase is sad again. The New York Yankees had a year as disappointing as it gets for them in 2021. They just barely made the wild card game, then lost to the Boston Red Sox of all teams. Losing to Boston in the playoffs might be worse than not even making it. With the entire lineup, outside of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, taking a step back, the future is on most people’s minds. Luckily, the best Yankees prospects in a very long time are developing in the minors.
The system looked dried up following the 2019 season. But after a lost minor league year in 2020, Yankees prospects came back ready, becoming arguably the most-improved farm in baseball for 2021. The developmental team is strong, so this progress should continue into this year.
Make sure to check out all of our other Top Prospect Articles.
1. Anthony Volpe, Shortstop
Drafted 30th overall out of a New Jersey High School in 2019, Volpe was nothing out of the ordinary, except that he was a hometown kid. That seemingly proved to be true when his professional career started with a rookie ball OPS slightly over .700. Whatever he did since then has worked. He blasted back onto the scene in 2021, splitting time between Single-A Tampa and High-A Hudson Valley.
Volpe was one of the minor league’s best players last year, as he hit 27 home runs with 33 stolen bases, a .294 average, and a 1.027 OPS as a 20-year-old, much younger than the average age for his level. Volpe was so impressive, that he may have taken the Yankees out of the serious running for top free agent shortstops Carlos Correa or Trevor Story following the lockout’s end. Of course, that wouldn’t be good for the franchise but does show Volpe’s talent. He has shot up the prospect ranking, becoming a top-20 prospect in all of baseball by most ranking systems.
2. Jasson Dominguez, Center Fielder
There was no way that Dominguez would live up to the hype in his first season. Compared to every player from Mickey Mantle to Mike Trout to Jesus, Dominguez spent most of his time at Single-A and was unimpressive. He hit five home runs with nine stolen bases, a .744 OPS, and 67 strikeouts in 49 games. For a player as hyped up as he was, this was not good to see.
Still, Dominguez won’t even turn 19 for another two weeks. Also, that is an incredibly small sample size. The raw talent that everyone who has ever seen him boasts about is not fake. It will shine through at some point. Give Dominguez some time.
3. Luis Gil, Right-Handed Pitcher
Gil’s electric first taste of MLB action propels him up this list. In six starts, he posted a 3.07 ERA with 38 strikeouts in 29.1 innings. His biggest issues also shined in this time, as Gil allowed 19 walks. His control problem is what has always hindered him, even though Gil has an elite fastball and slider.
It would be shocking to see the walks ever get fully under control, but Gil can be an effective starting pitcher even if they are high. However, his 5.8 BB/8 from the short 2021 stint is too much. So is the 5.3 BB/9 over his minor league career. So, he is still a work in progress.
4. Oswald Peraza, Shortstop
Peraza was added to the taxi squad and the 40-man roster in 2021, although was never actually added to the big league roster. His strong glove means that he could move Volpe over to another position like third base in the future. Peraza’s stock grew tremendously this past season thanks to an offensive breakout.
He reached AAA, although most of the year was spent with Hudson Valley and AA Somerset. Between the three levels, Peraza swiped 38 bags with 18 home runs, a .297 average, and an OPS of .834. At the age of 21, these numbers are incredibly impressive mostly at a level higher than Volpe. If both reach their full potential, then the Yankees could have another Judge-and-Gleyber Torres-like duo on their hands (please refer to only 2019).
5. Luis Medina, Right-Handed Pitcher
You might as well copy-paste the Gil section right here. Both Gil and Medina are around the same age, with electric stuff, and a horrible control issue. Medina, who was in the MLB future’s game last summer, somehow has a career BB/9 HIGHER than Gil. At 6.3 over five minor league seasons, Medina has handicapped himself.
Thanks to the rest of his skillset, Medina still managed to put up good numbers for Hudson Valley and Somerset. He had a 3.39 ERA with 133 strikeouts in 106.1 innings. Whatever Gil does in the majors in 2022 would be a good model for Medina in the future.
What Does the Future Hold?
Not only do the Yankees have high-end players like Volpe and Dominguez, but there is depth as well. Catcher Austin Wells might as well be listed as a first baseman or DH at this point, but he can hit. Clarke Schmidt and Deivi Garcia, the top-two pitching prospects entering 2021, both had lost seasons in 2021 and are looking to rebound. In Garcia’s case, he was healthy, but one of the worst pitchers in professional baseball. That needs to correct itself. The list of talent has grown even deeper recently, with two shortstops; 2021 first-round pick Trey Sweeney and recent international free agent signee Roderick Arias have joined the mix.
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