While it is true that the Yankees’ system is filled with high-upside arms, there are some hitting prospects that may be on the verge of a breakout. Most of the high-end talent is in the low minors, where there are some exciting outfield prospects a couple of years away, but that may be worth the wait.
Here are five prime breakout candidates on the hitting side of things from the New York Yankees’ farm system:
A true burner, Brandon Lockridge is a toolsy outfield prospect who could take off with enough reps and improvements across the board. His speed has been assigned a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale, and he also has some raw power that the Yankees hope could develop into game power.
He is a fifth round selection in the 2018 Draft, and he already has a successful season in Charleston with a .251 batting average, 12 home runs and 22 stolen bases in 2019.
He is an adequate center fielder with a long way to go, but dripping with 20-30 (homers and stolen base) potential. He needs to dial down his aggressiveness in the plate, though, after striking out 140 times last year in the low minors.
Already one of the Yankees’ top prospects, and the most promising catcher in the system, Seigler didn’t have a good season in 2019. However, his profile screams breakout candidate: a contact-oriented batter with a compact, line-drive swing and an advanced approach, he figures to start mashing sooner rather than later.
Seigler, a first-round draft pick, may not have elite raw power, but he can hit close to .300 at the highest of levels and has enormous potential as a defensive catcher given his instincts, sheer athleticism and elite throwing arm.
He is also a highly disciplined hitter with almost as many walks as strikeouts. He will look to have a rebound season in 2020 and leave this year behind after hitting for a paltry .175 batting average
He may not look very athletic, but Canaan Smith can run, field a corner outfield position, and even steal a few bases. However, his best trait is his patience: he posted an OBP north of .400 last season and inflicted damage when he found his ideal pitch.
Now that he has mastered Class A (with a 154 wRC+, no less) he figures to start 2020 with the Tampa Tarpons, and he has the plate discipline and approach to succeed and accelerate his path to the majors in a couple of years.
Next year will be Smith’s age-21 season, so he still has time in his side. He may not be an All-Star, but he has the potential to be an everyday contributor if things break right.
A powerful switch-hitter, García will play the 2020 season while still a teenager (19.) While he has an obvious strikeout problem, he has immense power from either side of the plate, so much that if he ever masters the strike zone and shortens his swing, he could be a perennial 30-home run threat.
Listed at 6’5’’ and 204 lb., he has already lost a step. García can, however, remain an average glove in either outfield corner if he sets his mind into working diligently to keep himself in shape.
In six games at the Rookie level (Pulaski) in 2019, he batted .294 with an impressive on-base percentage of .417. However, he had nine strikeouts in 17 at-bats. If he cuts the whiffs down, he could find himself in Charleston to finish off the season, although that is a big leap to make. Will he be capable?
An athletic speedster, Josh Stowers had a good season this year with the Charleston RiverDogs, hitting .273 with a .386 OBP, seven round-trippers, and 35 steals. However, he may have some untapped potential.
Stowers’ batted ball profile is not that of the typical leadoff hitter, given that he had a 0.83 GB/FB ratio. He elevated the ball at a 41.2% rate, and 24.7% of his connections were line drives. More home runs could be on the way, who knows?
He was acquired in the Sonny Gray trade (well, in the subsequent deal with the Seattle Mariners, to be precise) and 2020 will be his age-23 season, so he will probably start with the Tampa Tarpons (Class A-advanced.) He is a slightly above-average center fielder with a weak arm, but at the plate, he is disciplined and talented enough to start a fast rise to the bigs.