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  • Cory Claus

Yankees top ten prospects right now

The Yankees and their minor league clubs are past the halfway point. That means we here at The Bomber Beat need to take a long look into the system to find out who are their top ten prospects right now. Who is up, who is down, and who is number one? It’s time to find out.

An unknown prospect at bat

The Yankees have some interesting prospects in the pipeline, especially at Double-A Somerset. Now that we’re here at the halfway point in the season, the preseason rankings no longer apply.

So we here at The Bomber Beat did a deep dive into the system to bring you the Yankees Top Ten prospects right now.

A word about the criteria we use. Production is more important than potential, which is why someone like Roderick Arias just missed the cut. He’s off to a great start in Rookie Ball, but he’s in Rookie Ball.

Sustained success is another important factor. Carlos Narvaez is having a heck of a campaign, but he’s performing a bit above his career numbers.

Finally, we considered how soon each player was likely to make an impact on the Yankees, either as a player or as a trade piece. That makes a relief pitcher about to graduate to The Show a lot more valuable than a potential front-line starter at Low-A Tampa.

Before we get started, a word about some names you won’t see. Oswald Peraza is a stud, but he’s past the prospect stage and already in the Bronx; otherwise, he’d be number one.

Estevan Florial is having a great year (.291/.388/.585 w/.973 OPS). He might be putting it all together, or proving he’s a Quadruple-A player. But since I already wrote an article about him that you can read here, I won’t repeat myself. Like Peraza, he’s no longer a prospect and not on this list.

Luis Gil might be the most promising pitcher in the system. But he’s been out from Tommy John surgery since last May. He’s due back any day, but that’s too late for this list. My guess is we’ll see him on it by the end of the year.

That takes us to the players who are eligible. But before we get to the Yankees' top ten prospects, we’ll start with the nine men who just missed the cut. Starting with…

Number 19. SP Clayton Beeter; Triple-A Scranton Rail-Riders

The 24-year-old righty looked like a sure-fire future relief pitcher just last year. He came over last year from the Dodgers and immediately got the Yankees' attention by striking out 129 batters in just 77 innings at Double-A Somerset. Plus, he only walked 46, which is well below the standard of a 2-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

His ERA of 4.56 and WHIP of 1.43 takes him out of serious consideration as a starter, but relief pitchers are still incredibly valuable.

Unfortunately, those numbers have gotten worse this year.

He started back with the Patriots, where he struck out just 76 in 60 innings pitched (IP). That’s still better than one per nine, but not nearly as impressive.

He was recently promoted to Scranton, where his numbers took another negative turn. It’s only been three games, but he’s already upside down, striking out only 13 in 15 IP. He’s also given up 8 walks.

If this trend continues, he’ll be off this list by September. For now, he’s barely hanging on.

Not so for our next two prospects, however, who happen to share a last name, starting with,

18. OF Willy Montero; Rookie Ball Florida Complex League (FCL)

This Montero is just about to turn 19, and he’s off to a good start. The righty is batting .308/.362/.442 so far this season, with two HR, six doubles and one triple. Add in his nine walks, and Willy’s posting an .804 OPS

That’s very promising. But it’s another aspect of his game that puts him on this list, namely, that he’s only struck out 23 times in 103 at-bats (ABs).

There are two things that turn top prospects into has-beens and never-weres: bad defense and too many strikeouts (SOs). You’ll be hearing more about that soon.

You have to be able to control the strike zone to be an impact player in the MLB. And while great hitters can get away with sub-par defense, they can’t be so error-prone that they can’t even field a position.

I bet I know the name Yankees fans are thinking about right now.

But we’ll skip that for now. Instead, remember Willy’s name and his great bat control through the zone. You should also keep the next man in mind, a player with similar numbers and a similar name:

17. SS/3B Hans Montero; FCL

The Yankees have found themselves with two 19-year-old righty Monteros, one for the outfield and one for the infield. My guess is the scouting department is desperately trying to find a 19-year-old Montero who can pitch.

This Montero, however, has earned a slightly higher place on this list because he has slightly better numbers: .306/.481/.520. His OPS is also higher at 1.001, with his four HRs, five doubles and two triples.

His control of the zone is even more impressive. His strikeouts are about the same at 24 in 98 at-bats. But he’s paired that with 27 walks. It’s a noticeable achievement to have more walks than strikeouts.

So noted.

It should also be noted that not a single member of the Yankees comes even close, which is not a put-down. The best player in baseball, Mike Trout, did it once in 2017 with 94 walks to 90 SOs. Most of the other years weren’t even close. This year he’s at 103 to 45.

If the Monteros were putting up these numbers at Double-A Somerset, they’d be one and two on this list. I get the feeling we won’t have to wait too long to see them try.

Which takes us to our next player, who’s already passed through Somerset:

16. SP Will Warren; Scranton Rail-Riders

The 24-year-old righty has shown some promise, but not enough to get anywhere near the top ten. Will looked like a cusp player headed in the right direction last year when he split his time between High-A Hudson Valley and Somerset. His ERA of 3.91 and WHIP of 1.25, to go with his 125 SOs in 129 IP, were all just average.

But his three-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio (42 BB) showed his command in the zone and proved promising. He seemed to follow up on that promise by pitching to a 2.45 ERA and still-too-high 1.30 WHIP when he started back in Double-A.

Then he was promoted to the Rail-Riders.

In 9 games, Will has pitched to a 4.74 ERA and only slightly worse 1.37 WHIP. He has struck out 39 in 34 innings, but he’s also walked 18.

Will is on this list because he wouldn’t be the first pitcher to need time to adjust to a new level. But his performance and history suggest it’s only possible he’ll stay a starter. It’s far more likely he becomes a bullpen piece or find a future that doesn’t include baseball. The next man up, on the other hand, looks like he’ll get a shot somewhere.

15. 1B/C Carlos Narvaez; Scranton Rail-Riders

Here we come to our first good bat with bad defense. At least at catcher.

First, the good news. The Yankees have fast-tracked Carlos this season because they believe he has a big-league bat. And they appear to be right, as he keeps getting better against better competition.

The now 24-year-old righty did well two years ago, hitting .253/.373/.391 with an OPS of .746. He also swatted nine home runs and nine doubles, which is okay. He slumped hard last year, however, when he moved up to High-A Hudson Valley (another reason he’s lower on this list), hitting just .194/.327/.383.

He did manage 11 HR and 12 doubles, but that’s not enough to offset hitting .194.

Carlos has spent 2023 splitting time between Somerset and Scranton. But this time, he got better when he got promoted. In sixteen games at Somerset, he hit .235/.350/.451 with two home runs and an OPS of .801.

Then he was promoted to the Rail-Riders.

In his 40 games at Scranton, Carlos has hit .278/.416/.459, good for an OPS of .874. That’s what happens when you knock out seven home runs and two doubles while walking 29 times.

However, Carlos has little chance of staying at catcher. He committed nine errors in just 64 games at the position last year, and nine more in 38 games this year. Needless to say, the Yanks are trying him at DH and first base. He has not committed an error at first so far, but it’s only been nine games.

His bat can play. If Carlos can make it work at first base, he’ll get a shot to play for someone, maybe even in the Bronx.

Our next prospect has an even better bat but plays even worse defense.

14. 3B/1B Andres Chaparro; Scranton-Railriders

This other 24-year-old righty has been belting the ball. He advanced three levels last year, starting at the FCL. He went to Tampa, then skipped Hudson Valley, and ended at Somerset.

His bat was ready.

Andres hit a sterling.296/.370/.592 with 20 homers and 17 doubles in 2022. That’s how you earn a sparkling .962 OPS.

He hasn’t done quite as spectacularly this year, hitting .250/.337/.484. But he has continued to deliver extra-base hits at a prodigious level with 18 homers, 17 doubles, and 2 triples. Plus, he’s only struck out 80 times in 320 ABs (25%).

Most teams want a bat like that in their lineup. But they might not want his glove in the field. This year, Andres has committed 8 errors in 48 games at third, and 3 errors in 31 games at first.

Now I’ll say that name you were all thinking of earlier: Miguel Andujar.

I was a huge proponent of Andujar’s as he came up. But that’s because I didn’t pay enough attention to his defense. Lesson learned.

There’s still hope Andres can master first base. But my experience is that if by the age of 24, a player isn’t already playing decent defense, they have little chance of improving enough to be MLB quality.

But I could be wrong. With his bat, Andres is likely to get a shot to hit somewhere. I’m just not sure it’s going to be with the Yankees, or that it should be.

13. SP Richard Fitts; Double-A Somerset Patriots

Most starting pitchers in the minors go on to be relievers in The Show, and Fitts fits that profile.

Last year the 23-year-old righty posted a 3.70 ERA and .098 WHIP, the latter being much more impressive. For those who don’t know, a WHIP of 1.00 is considered excellent. Gerrit Cole, the starter in this year’s All-Star game, has a WHIP of 1.089, for example.

But Fittsy also struck out 131 batters in only 112 innings while walking only 20. That’s the profile of a great reliever.

And it’s a profile he’s currently posing for at Somerset, where his WHIP (1.17) has caught up to his ERA (3.72). However, he has still struck out 101 in 94 innings while issuing just 23 walks. We’ll see how he does when he gets to Scranton, but right now, Mr. Fitts looks like he fits in well with the Yankees' plans for the bullpen.

We’re getting to more and more intriguing prospects here at the fringes of the Yankees' top ten prospects. Our next man up has an excellent chance of playing either for the Yankees or being a major trade piece this year.

12. C Ben Rortvedt; Scranton Rail-Riders

Technically, Ben is not a prospect. He passed prospect status two years ago when he played 39 games for the Twinkies. But he’s in the minors, and Yankees fans haven’t seen much of him, so I’m including him here.

Originally drafted by the Twins in the second round of the 2016 MLB Draft, Rortvedt is a square-jawed, muscular backstop whose defense-first mindset and no-nonsense demeanor have prompted comparisons to a young Joe Girardi.

That sounds good.

Even better is that it seems as if Ben’s offense is catching up to his defense. He’s not a big power hitter, with only six home runs and eight doubles. These would be more impressive in a younger player, but by 25, he’s probably showing all the power he has.

And that’s okay because Big Ben is more of a contact hitter. He’s having a heck of a good year, hitting .287/.402/.513 over his 32 games, with 17 SOs. That’s good enough for an excellent OPS of .915.

Ben’s defense alone makes him major-league-ready. He’d already be up with most teams. But if he can hit anywhere close to how he’s hitting with the Rail-Riders, he’s either going to be up this year with the Yankees or traded for a very valuable return piece.

This guy can play. As I said in this article, I’d prefer to see the team trade Kyle Higashioka, but either way, Ben is on his way to the majors.

Almost there now! There’s only one man left between us and the Yankees top ten.

11. SS Roderick Arias; FCL

Roderick is already on many Top Ten Yankees lists. But while the 18-year-old switch-hitting short-stop is an exciting young player, he’s only 18, and he’s only in the FCL. That puts him outside our top ten.

But it’s easy to see why so many are excited. He’s off to a great start, hitting .274/.426/.526, with a .953 OPS. Roderick earned that excellent OPS by hitting six home runs, two doubles, and two triples in only 95 AB. And he’s only struck out 25 times.

Also, just as we discounted Big Ben’s power because of his age, we have to elevate Roderick’s because of his. Players don’t generally develop all their power until they’re 23 or 24, which makes his already existent power so much more promising.

Yeah, I’m excited, too.

But some of you might be wondering why he’s so much higher than the Monteros. Here’s where pedigree pays off. Just look at how describes him:

MLB Pipeline's No. 1 prospect in the 2022 international class, Arias signed for $4 million out of the Dominican Republic. He may have the best all-around collection of tools among the Yankees' stockpile of shortstops, though he'll need time to develop.
Beyond his offensive upside, Arias has exciting all-around ability. He has run the 60-yard dash in 6.5 seconds, should be at least a plus runner even after he fills out his 6-foot-2 frame and is aggressive on the bases. With his quickness, instincts, smooth actions and a plus-plus arm, he's a no-doubt shortstop.

Roderick is clearly knocking at the door for a promotion. Now, finally, here are the players who’ve walked through it.

The Yankees Top Ten Prospects

10. OF Jasson Dominguez; Somerset Patriots

Jasson is the player who really proves the pre-season rankings are already out of date. MLB has him at number one, while Baseball America has him two behind the very deserving Oswald Peraza.

But Dominguez has not justified those ratings so far this season. He’s still a great-looking player, and I believe he can still be a superstar power hitter, but his numbers are a bit down.

Last year, Jasson hit .273/.376/.461 across two levels, ending at Somerset. The switch hitter belted out 16 home runs, 23 doubles, and seven triples in 451 AB. That’s a lot of power for a 19-year-old.

His strikeouts were a little high at 128, but it still all added up to an .837 OPS.

His postseason was a mixed bag as he was a stud in the playoffs, but a dud in the Arizona Fall League. He hit only .159/.250/.217 in the desert, but here’s how he finished his championship season for Somerset:

Before the first inning ended, The Martian was 2-for-2 with a moonshot and three RBIs. By the fourth, the second-ranked Yankees prospect had lifted another home run into orbit, and by the end of the game, he had amassed a career-high six RBIs. Domínguez finished with three knocks -- homering from both sides of the plate -- and a pair of walks.

Now that’s promising.

He’s struggled this year, however, in his first full season at Double-A. The power is still there, with twelve home runs, eight doubles, and two triples in 296 AB. But Jasson is hitting just .220/.358/.383 with a .741 OPS so far.

Plus, his strikeouts are up. His 99 on the season put him at 33%; that’s too many. Just ask Estevan Florial.

But again, he’s only 20. Remember that Roderick is 19, and he’s playing all the way down in the FCL. So Jasson has plenty of time to get better. Which he seems to be doing, as he only hit three home runs in June, then put up four in his last four games.

The bigger issue for Mr. Dominguez is his defense. He had seven errors last year, and, while he’s only got one this year, there have been plenty of reports of his not looking very good in the field.

One Yankees fan (sorry, man, I forgot your handle!) even noted in a recent FanSided game thread that his dad was at the game that very night and watched Dominguez make two really bad plays. That might not be an official scouting report, but anyone who watches enough baseball knows bad plays when they see them.

The man has a big-league power bat, that’s for sure.

And he’s young enough to become a better fielder or be moved to first base. My money is on him getting good enough to man a corner outfield spot. But until he makes a major improvement, he can’t move up in these prospect rankings.

Defense isn’t a problem for our next player, though.

9. SS Trey Sweeney; Somerset Patriots

There are a lot of players with a lot of potential down at Double-A, but few have a higher upside than Trey Sweeney.

The 23-year-old left-handed hitter is a decent shortstop, but the team will likely try him at third. The Yankees might envision an infield of the underperforming Volpe at second, the slick-fielding stud Peraza at short, and Sweeney at third.

We might see that play out sooner rather than later. agrees, saying

Sweeney has some deceptive athleticism and has worked to improve his speed, which has gone from below average in college to average as a pro to solid once he gets underway. He swiped 31 bases in 34 attempts last year and also showed improved range at shortstop, where he's an average defender. He'll still probably move to third base in the future, and his bat, reliable hands and solid arm strength all will fit nicely at the hot corner.

Sweeney, though, already has the power numbers to play in the Bronx. Last year, he hit 16 hrs and 19 doubles, while he’s already blasted 12 home runs and 15 doubles this year.

But he still needs to improve his overall numbers. His line across High-A and Double-A last year was .240/.349/.413 with a .763 OPS. He’s followed that up still at Somerset by hitting .245/.363/.425.

His power numbers should have propelled his OPS higher than .788, but he’s just not hitting enough.

That’s still a very good OPS, though. Plus, his strikeout ratio is in great shape. He whiffed 118 times in 433 AB in 2022, while he’s missed 71 times in 311 chances this year (23%). Not to mention that the Yankees have every reason to believe Sweeney can hit for a higher average since he batted .382/.522/.712 during his final year in college.

Trey’s already on his way to the majors. But if he can figure out the hole in his swing and hit the ball a bit closer to how he did before, he could vault to the top of this list.

But for now, he’s behind another man who already looks like he’ll get a shot at the majors, and soon.

8. C Austin Wells; Somerset Patriots

Wells is a complete package at the plate, hitting for average and power while also drawing a healthy amount of walks. A left-handed hitter, he recognizes pitches and controls the strike zone, consistently producing hard contact to all fields. He creates plus raw power with his combination of strength and bat speed, and he taps into it by regularly driving the ball in the air.

The only question was whether or not his defense would be good enough. Well, Wells has worked on that, and the work is paying off

While he'll never win a Gold Glove, he has worked diligently to improve his receiving and throwing. He's still fringy in both regards but cut his passed balls from 16 in 2021 to four last season while raising his caught-stealing rate from 13 to 25 percent.

Last year, across three levels, the just-turned 24-year-old lefty hit .277/.385/.512. He also belted 20 homers while striking out 90 times in 336 AB, good for 27%. That all added up to an OPS of .897; wow.

His numbers this year aren’t quite so gaudy, which is why he’s lower on this list. He was injured for the start of the season but has been back long enough to log 62 games, all but five back at Somerset.

He’s managed to put up better than decent numbers in that time, hitting .246/.332/.459. That, along with his eleven home runs and fourteen doubles, have helped him earn a .791 OPS.

That’s still a very good number, especially for a lefty-hitting catcher. But it is 100 points below his showing last year. However, he is showing signs of being the more consistent hitter the Yankees think he is, hitting safely in 9 out of 13 games in July.

Wells looks like a man marching toward the majors. And I would be thrilled to see an offensive-minded catcher come up. I respect that the Yankees have seemed to favor defense over offense on the roster, but someone has to be able to hit the damn ball.

The state of the current team bears out this need.

But they need help everywhere, which brings us to the first of three pitchers among the Yankees top ten prospects.

7. SP Drew Thorpe; High-A Hudson Valley Renegades

The right-handed Thorpe is only 22, only at High-A, and only in his first year of pro ball. But he’s already showing off his impressive control and command in the zone.

Everywhere you look, you find great numbers for Drew. That's especially true since he skipped Tampa and went right to High-A. He’s pitching to an ERA of 2.27 and a WHIP of 1.062. The man has also struck out 111 batters in only 91 innings.

That’s impressive enough, even though it’s only been fifteen games. And it gets better: Thorpe has only walked 30 men.

These numbers are not outliers. Last year in college, he struck out 149 in 104 IP and walked only 25. The year before, he set down 104 in 90 IP while walking 38.

Teams have to worry that players will put up worse numbers in the pros than in college for obvious reasons, but Thorpe seems to have gotten better. We’ll have to see how he does once he gets to Somerset, but if his performance stays as it is, the battle for the top spot on this list is going to be intense.

That takes care of the third pitcher on this list, so let’s not waste any time and get to the second.

6. SP Chase Hampton; Somerset Patriots

Not everyone would agree with putting Hampton above Thorpe. MLB has Hampton ranked 24th and Thorpe 6th. But they’re looking at upside, while we’re looking at the likelihood of impacting the Boys in the Bronx, and how soon.

Hampton seems less likely to be a starter in The Show, which favors Thorpe being ranked above him. Last year in college, Chase pitched to a 4.29 ERA with a bloated WHIP of 1.394.

He started strong, however, this year at Hudson Valley, putting up an ERA and WHIP of 2.68 and 1.000, respectively.

Then he was promoted to Somerset, where he took a step back.

His ERA rose to 3.90, while his WHIP climbed to 1.120. Those aren’t terrible numbers, but they don’t scream ace, either. He does have time to improve, but his history from college doesn’t make that seem likely.

But it is Hampton’s gaudy strikeout numbers that put him above Thorpe: Chase has struck out 110 in just 74 IP. And, like Thorpe, his strikeout-to-walk ratio is also stellar, with a mere 25 free passes. That’s similar to and an improvement of his numbers last year, when he struck out 72 in 56 innings.

Thorpe clearly has a higher upside. But Chase looks like he’ll get to the Bronx before him as the next big thing out of the bullpen.

5. OF Spencer Jones; Hudson Valley Renegades

Jones really highlights what it means to be a prospect. The man is athletic, large, and swings a mighty bat. His defense is solid if unspectacular, with only three errors in 61 games in the field. His numbers beyond that are a mixed bag, however.

For instance, he does have a very good history. He hit .370/.460/.644 in 2022 across 61 games for Vanderbilt, then followed that up also last year by hitting .325/.411/.494 at Low-A Tampa. In both cases, his OPS was above .900 (1.103/.905).

And the power is real. He belted out 12 home runs and 21 doubles for Vandy at the age of 21. This year, Spencer already has 11 home runs, 20 doubles, and 4 triples. Some of those doubles and triples are likely to move over to the home run column in the next couple of years.

The concerns are real, as well, though. He’s definitely taken a step back from his overall line.

This season across 73 games, some at DH, he’s still hitting a respectable .267/.342/.476. That’s a fine line for a power-hitting corner outfielder. But it is a step back. The same is true of his OPS: .818 is very good, but it’s nowhere near the .900s.

The big concern, of course, is his strikeouts. was concerned about just that, writing about their third-ranked Yankees prospect,

Jones features impressive strength and leverage in his towering 6-foot-6 frame, and he also generates plenty of bat speed and makes a lot of hard contact from the left side of the plate. His size does result in a naturally long left-handed swing that leads to strikeouts, and he uses the opposite field almost too much. Because he rarely turns on pitches, some scouts wonder if he'll be able to handle quality velocity on the inner half as he rises through the Minors.

That supposition appears to be coming true. Last year at Tampa, he struck out only 18 times in 83 AB. That was consistent with his college numbers. Those numbers have gone way up this year, though, with Jones striking out 102 times in 296 AB.

That’s 34%, and that’s not acceptable at any level.

Still, Spencer has enough going for him to warrant being number five on this list. One, he’s only 22. And while his strikeouts are up, his history suggests he might be able to figure it out. Two, he hits lefthanded, and a team like the Yankees might forgive a lot of sins for a homegrown left-handed power hitter.

Not at 34%, but if he can cut that down to 28 or 30%, it might be enough for him to wear the pinstripes. Anthony Rizzo is currently striking out at a 25% clip, and he hasn’t hit a home run since before June started. So, yeah, the Yankees could use some power from the left-hand side.

And Spencer Jones might be the one to provide it.

4. C Agustin Ramirez; Hudson Valley Renegades

While Jones’ future is still a mystery, Agustin Ramirez’s future seems pretty clear.

Agustin is a more high-average guy and less of a power-hitter. Last year, at the age of 20, Agustin slashed .304/.386/.506. He paired that with six home runs and fourteen doubles in his 168 ABs, for a grand OPS of .892.

Plus, he showed real control of the zone by only striking out 31 times.

This year has shown the same promise. He played the first 56 games at Tampa, where he hit .245/.384/.397. He also posted a very solid .780 OPS, in part due to his seven homers and seven doubles.

And while that’s a step back, he made his prospects as a prospect more intriguing when he was promoted to High-A. It’s only been 13 games, but he’s posted a slash of .407/.439/.685 and an OPS of 1.124. That might not last, but it does show he’s not overwhelmed by superior talent.

Especially when you throw in his 49 SO in 241 at-bats across the two levels.

Agustin is never going to be a big power hitter, although the righty has hit two homers and nine doubles. But he knows how to control the strike zone.

The big worry for him is his defense. Fortunately, that aspect of his game is trending in the right direction. Ramirez had five errors in 20 games in the FCL two years ago, then followed that up last year with nine errors in 31 games; ouch. That’s the reason he stayed in the FCL for another year.

This year, though, has seen a marked improvement. He has still committed six errors in 54 games, but that’s a much better rate. If the 21-year-old keeps improving his game, he’s going to get some serious playing time at the major league level.

That brings us to our top three Yankees prospects.

3. 2B Jared Serna; Low-A Tampa Tarpons

You know that if a player all the way down in Low-A is so high on this list, he’s got to be good.

Enter Jared Serna.

His debut was delayed due to the pandemic, but he’s shown great power and great bat control ever since. He was 19 when he finally joined the organization, but he still batted .247/.397/.458 with an .855 OPS across two levels. And while his six home runs and eleven doubles in 168 AB were promising, his 39 SOs were proof of his bat control.

Serna has followed that up by delivering on that promise. He has spent most of this season at the still ripe-young age of 20, yet he’s slashed .290/.351/.510 in his first full season at Tampa.

More importantly, his power has already arrived. In 335 AB, Jared has hit 18 homers and 18 doubles. And he’s kept his strikeouts low, with only 62 for the season so far. That’s just 19%. His power and bat control make him an almost can’t-miss prospect.

As long as the team doesn’t try to play him at shortstop.

Serna committed three errors at 2nd last year in 40 games, which isn’t egregious. He’s followed that up with one error in 38 games this year, which is more than acceptable. But that was at second.

For some reason, the Yankees decided to try him at short this year. The results were disastrous. Jared committed eight errors in 33 games, a position I assume he will never play again. But as long as the Yanks leave him where he is, their second baseman of the future might already be rising.

[NOTE: To all you Yankees fans wondering what would happen to Volpe if Serna really does arrive instead of Sweeney, I think the team would put Volpe at short, Peraza at third, and Serna at second.]

There are only two spots left, just enough for our third and final pitcher.

2. SP Yoendrys Gomez; Somerset Patriots

The Yankees have had a hard time developing front-end starters.

We all thought Luis Severino was a future ace. Now we don’t know what the hell he is. Domingo German came out of nowhere looking like he might become a force in the rotation, but he’s far too mercurial: a perfect game one day, a blowout the next. And does anyone even remember Chance Adams?

Clarke Schmidt is starting to deliver, but a few good games do not make him a number one or two we can count on.

Next up for his shot is Yoendrys Gomez. And man, does he look good.

Yoendrys moved up from Rookie Ball to Somerset last year at the age of 22, skipping Tampa altogether. By season’s end, he’d put up an ERA of 2.49 with a WHIP of 1.17 over 15 games and 47 innings. He paired that with 49 strikeouts and only 18 walks.

And he’s only gotten better this year. In his 25 innings across nine games, he’s put up a minuscule ERA of 1.44. His WHIP is only down a little at 1.160, while his strikeouts are very similar at 28.

But he’s not without concerns. First is that his walks are way up. Last year, he only walked 18 while he struck out those 49. That’s risen this year to 16 against his 28 Ks.

However, it’s not unusual for a 22-year-old to have some struggles, especially after his rapid rise last year. He has time to figure it out and the pedigree to say he will. And even with that, he’s still very close to the two-to-one ratio scouts look for.

The bigger issue is his durability. As noted above, he only worked 47 innings last year. This year, as you see, he’s at 25 innings…in nine starts. And he’s never pitched more than three innings in a game.

Clearly, the Yanks are taking it slow with young Yoendrys after the issues he had with his ulnar collateral ligament in 2021. The good news there is that the problem was solved with an internal brace as opposed to needing any kind of reconstructive surgery.

Pitchers are the hardest players to predict.

Yoendrys, though, seems destined to pitch in New York. If the Yankees believe he can be a front-line pitcher, they’ll start to build him up next year. He could even pitch out of the pen at the big league level late in 2024, ala Michael King.

King has already put up 51 innings, and the season is far from over. Taking that role would allow Yoendrys a chance to build up his innings while not overtaxing him in any one game. And it would give him more time to get healthy and strong.

Maybe he stays in the pen, though. That's okay. But if he can handle more innings by the end of next year, the Yanks could have a true front-line starter in Gomez.

All of which brings us to the Yankees' top prospect right now. My guess is you’ve already guessed who it is, so, without further ado…

Yankees Number One Prospect Right Now: OF Everson Pereira; Scranton Rail-Riders

Pereira has risen through the ranks with great promise. But he’s one of the rare few who’s managed to improve his skills as he’s climbed through the system. And now he’s number one.

Last year, still just 21, Pereira hit .277/.350/.469 with 14 hrs, 17 doubles, and 9 big triples. That’s how you end up with an .819 OPS. Throw in his 21 stolen bases and you’ve got the picture of an all-around star.

And he’s been even better this year. Everson spent the first 46 games of the season back at Somerset, where he slashed .291/.362/.546, with an OPS of .908. To get that, he hit ten home runs, ten doubles, and a triple.

Now that’s what I’m talking about.

Then he got promoted to Scranton…where his numbers actually went up. It’s only been nine games, but he’s made the most of them. Pereira is hitting .359/.405/.513, which includes his one home run and three doubles.

That puts his OPS at .918. And he’s just 22.

He is striking out more than he should, though. Last year he went down swinging 124 times in 401 ABs, a 30% clip. Like his other numbers, his strikeouts have also gone up this year to 54 in 165 ABs, a 32% rate.

Normally, that might eliminate a player. But not Pereira. His other numbers more than offset his strikeouts, in part because he is only 22. Plus, he wouldn’t be the first player to lower his strikeout rate at the major league level.

For proof of that, look no further than Aaron Judge. He struck out 208 times in 542 AB in 2017, his first full year. By 2022, he’d cut that down to 175 in 570 AB, a still very high 30%. But it didn’t stop him from winning the MVP.

A player has to have a lot of skills to offset those kinds of numbers. Judge does, and so does Pereira. Now, Everson is not the hitter Judge is, but he profiles as a top-of-the-order bat. And a plus defender.

Everson has spent most of his time playing centerfield, but as predicts, he’ll likely move to a corner outfield spot. Guess what? The Yankees are in desperate need of a left fielder. Make no mistake, though: Pereira is a smooth criminal in the outfield, stealing base hits and robbing home runs.

The man brings a lot to the table.

And I think he’s going to be setting the table–or maybe even clearing it–for the Yankees this year. It might happen in July, it might happen in August, or it might happen in September. But it’s going to happen.

He’s just too good not to play him. So good, in fact, he’s the Yankees' number-one prospect right now.

Okay, Yankees fans. We’ve made our case, now it’s your turn. Take to the comments section and let us know what you think. I’ve made my case, now you make yours. Then let’s hope the players on this list make theirs, and soon.


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