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Three Yankees prospects poised for a breakout

As the short-season minor league games get underway, Staten Island, Pulaski and the Gulf Coast League Yankees affiliates have young talent poised for a breakout season.

New York Yankees v Washington Nationals Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

June is shaping up to be a big month for the Yankees farm system. Two of the top six organizational prospects— Estevan Florial and Anthony Seigler—recently made their season debuts after battling injuries early on. Seven more of the Yankees’ top 30 prospects per MLB Pipeline will be hitting the field for the first time as the various short-season leagues begin action. Short-Season A Staten Island Yankees opened the season Friday night, while the Rookie Advanced Pulaski Yankees, and the two Gulf Coast Yankees teams begin play between now and June 24th. On rosters loaded with talented youngsters, several players stand out as having the talent and opportunity to establish themselves among the very best prospects in the system.

In late 2017, the Yankees set aside a sizable portion of their international signing pool with hopes of landing Shohei Ohtani. Once Ohtani shunned the Yankees, the organization worked quickly to lock up several high profile prospects, including catcher Antonio Cabello. A solid a prospect in his own right, Cabello ranked ninth on MLB Pipeline’s top international prospects for the 2017 signing period. Once he signed with the Yankees they immediately moved him to the outfield to take advantage of his impressive speed, and his bat that was far ahead of his catching game.

While still raw as an outfielder, his offensive output generated a lot of attention among scouts and fans last season. Cabello led the Gulf Coast League with a .981 OPS, reaching base multiple times in 26 of his 40 games. Unfortunately his season ended about a week early when he injured his shoulder diving for a ball. Cabello quickly resumed playing again during spring training, and will likely start the new season with Pulaski.

Everson Pereira is another talent inside the Yankee system primed for a breakout campaign. Ranked higher than Cabello in the 2017 signing class, Pereira has been moved more aggressively to higher levels by the Yankees. He is a natural center fielder universally regarded for his solid defensive instincts and skills. The Yankees were so impressed by his play during extended spring training in 2018, they had Pereira skip over the usual entry level Dominican Summer League and Gulf Coast League.

Instead, he played his entire season with the Rookie Advanced Pulaski Yankees. While Pereira did not put up the impressive statistics that Cabello did, he did slash .263/.322/.389 and proved he can compete well against the higher level of competition. This season the Yankees continue to show their high regard for Pereira by assigning him to Staten Island’s roster.

When the 2019 Dominican Summer League roster came out, there was one name that was conspicuously absent: Osiel Rodriguez. Considered by many as the top pitching prospect from the 2018 international signing class, Rodriguez has an impressive arm that has the Yankees dreaming big in regards to his future. The Cuban born Rodriguez excelled in the 15U Cuban national league leading the league in ERA as a 14 year old. Internationally, he helped lead his Cuban team to a gold medal at the 15U World Cup in Japan.

As the international signing period approached, Rodriguez—already six-foot-two and 210 pounds—increased his velocity, topping out at 97 mph. He worked through game action between 91-95 mph with his fastball. While others in his signing class may throw harder, Rodriguez’s ability to command multiple pitches while maintaining his elite velocity makes him a prospect to keep an eye on.

The short season leagues will feature many of the best Yankees prospects. Antonio Cabello, Everson Pereira and Osiel Rodriguez are three strong candidates. They could launch themselves into the discussion as the best prospects in the Yankees system, and may emerge among the best in all of baseball.