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Yankees Prospects: Single-A Charleston was stocked with high-ceiling talent

The class-A Charleston RiverDogs were loaded with top talent that saw eight of the Yankees’ top-30 prospects log significant time with the team this season.

New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The class-A Charleston RiverDogs were loaded with Yankees prospects this season. The team performed well, finishing 73-66 on the season and narrowly missing the playoff in both the first and second half of the season. Despite missing the playoffs, this team saw tremendous growth within its high ceiling pitching staff while receiving great production from solid prospects on the other side of the ball. Overall this team received significant contributions from eight of the Yankees’ top-30 prospects per MLB Pipeline.

Luis Gil: 21-years-old, right-handed pitcher

Gil struggled with command early in his career and reached full season ball for the first time this season. In 83 innings with Charleston this season, he struck out 112 batters while allowing only a .200 batting average. He allowed just one home run all year, which includes the 13 innings he pitched with High-A Tampa after a late-season promotion. Gil throws in the upper 90’s and has a very good changeup, but will need to improve his slider and improve his command if he would like to remain a starter at the higher levels of the minors.

Luis Medina: 20-years-old, right-handed pitcher

Nine starts into Medina’s season, it appeared that he had made no progress in terms of learning to control his arsenal of elite pitches. Through those early starts he had a 10.5 BB/9 rate and a 2.43 WHIP. That tenth start marked the beginning of a dramatic change in Medina’s trajectory for the remainder of the season, as he improved his rates to 3.8 BB/9 while increasing his strikeouts to 11.3 K/9. In addition, opponents hit a paltry .197 against him over his last 13 starts. Long known for his multiple plus pitches but also terrible control, Medina has begun to harness his talent, and could be one of the fastest risers in the system next season.

Alexander Vizcaino: 22-years-old, right-handed pitcher

Vizcaino jumped onto the radar of many scouts this season as his pitching arsenal advanced and he performed well against full-season competition. While his final 4.38 ERA and 1.31 WHIP do not jump off the screen, he did record a 10.0 K/9 while against a 3.0 BB/9 over 115 innings pitched. Vizcaino’s changeup caught the eyes of scouts and it plays off his mid-to-upper 90’s fastball that touched 100 mph this season. Vizcaino signed with the Yankees as a 19-year-old, so while he is a few years older than some of his counterparts here, he is still new to the Yankees system and moving fast up the ranks.

Roansy Contreras: 19-years-old, right-handed pitcher

Contreras struggled early in the season, posting a 4.57 ERA in the first half. He came back strong over his last 11 starts to post a 1.80 ERA and 0.77 WHIP. He is considered the most polished pitcher on the Charleston staff, using his mid-90’s fastball and pairing it well with an effective curveball and changeup.

Canaan Smith: 20-years-old, left fielder

The numbers say it all as Smith hit .307/.405/.465, good for a 154 wRC+ in the South Atlantic League this season. He walked 14% of the time and stole 16 bases in 20 attempts while finishing in the top six of the league in walks (1st), hits (2nd), on-base percentage (2nd), batting average (3rd), total bases (3rd), and slugging (6th). Smith can cover either corner outfield spot, but played almost exclusively in left-field as part of a talented Charleston outfield this season.

Josh Breaux: 21-years-old, catcher

Slowed by an elbow injury that cost him significant time this season, Breaux showed tremendous potential when we was on the field. In 199 at-bats this season, Breaux hit 13 home runs, on his way to slugging .518. Breaux only walked five times in his first 162 plate appearances this season, but then was able to walk 10 times in his last 54 plate appearances on the season.

Oswald Peraza: 19-years-old, shortstop

Scouts fell in love with what they saw in Peraza this season. He went from a relatively unheralded prospect to ranking on both the MLB Pipeline and Baseball America top-30 lists of Yankees prospects. He is credited with strong bat-to=ball skills, and finished hot, hitting .309/.399/.382 with a 135 wRC+ over his last 31 games.

Brandon Lockridge: 22-years-old, center fielder

Lockridge has the highest-graded single tool of any player on the MLB Pipeline top-30 Yankees prospect list with his 75-grade speed. This season, he showed some surprising power as he hit 12 home runs, matching his total from three seasons of college. On the season he finished fourth in the league in total bases, and third with 33 doubles. The Yankees are going to want Lockridge to refine his base-stealing ability, as despite his elite speed he was only 22 of 30 in stolen bases on the season.

Josh Stowers: 22-years-old, outfielder

Stowers has more than enough speed and range to play center, but played in right field this season because of Lockridge’s ability to hold down center field. On the season Stowers hit .273/.386/.400, good for a 135 wRC+. Stowers also stole 35 bases on the season, but needed 51 attempts to get there. Like Lockridge, he will have to improve his efficiency if he is going to fully capitalize on his speed.

Injuries plagued the Charleston roster this season, as they watched several other well-regarded prospects go down before they could contribute much. The Yankees’ second-round pick in the 2017 draft, right-handed pitcher Matt Sauer, went down to Tommy John surgery after two starts. In addition, 2018 first round pick Anthony Seigler saw his season start late after a leg injury, and then cut short after 30 games due to a fractured kneecap.

This is the final minor league recap for this season. Please check out the reviews of all the top prospect and team performances in our Yankees minor leagues and prospects section.