Pulaski is the last step of the rookie leagues for Yankees prospects before reaching the A-Ball level. This season, the Pulaski Yankees boast an outfield that has as much raw talent and great potential as any unit in the Yankees’ minor league system. Antonio Cabello, on the heels of a big 2018 season where he led the Gulf Coast League in OPS, has received plenty of attention. Beyond Cabello, there is a ton of talent in the same Pulaski outfield with the potential to break out this season.
Ryder Green was the Yankees’ third-round pick in 2018 and is currently ranked as the Yankees 23rd-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. The Yankees showed how much they thought of his ability by signing him to an amount well over the allotted signing bonus to keep him from attending the college baseball powerhouse that is Vanderbilt University.
Green’s best attribute is plus bat speed that helps him generate tremendous power, and scouts feel that he has a high offensive ceiling. Early this season, Green is hitting over .300, and has already recorded a cycle. Green played the majority of his games in center field last season during his professional debut, but has moved to the corners as many scouts had predicted when he was drafted. He has a strong throwing arm that allows him to play either corner outfield position. The biggest concern with Green is his ability to make contact, as he struck out at a high rate in his professional debut. Through the first seven games of this season he has controlled his strikeouts, but time will tell if he has made significant progress in this area.
Anthony Garcia can turn heads just walking onto the field. Standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 204 lbs when signing with the Yankees at 16, he has added at least another inch and about 30 lbs over his first professional season. Garcia played a few games in the Dominican Summer League last season before being promoted to the more advanced Gulf Coast League when that league opened in mid-June. He started to tap into his power potential in leading the league with 10 home runs in 44 games.
More exciting for Yankees fans who might try to project a prospect playing in Yankee Stadium is that eight of his home runs came from the left side of the plate where he had much better numbers on the season. Scouts have already pegged him with 70-grade raw power from both sides of the plate, and expect him to easily grow that tool into a maximum-rated 80 tool. Even more so than Green, Garcia’s ability to limit strikeouts will dictate how far and fast he moves through the system. He struck out over 40% of the time last season, and that number will have to decrease dramatically if Garcia is able to turn his raw power into consistent game power, and compete with more advanced pitching.
The fourth member of the outfield is less heralded, as he was not a big-time prospect when signed and continues to fly under the radar. Madison Santos signed with the Yankees as an 18 year-old in January 2018. Santos showed his skill immediately, playing 43 games for the Yankees in the Dominican Summer League and hitting .314/.409/.547. He fell a few at-bats short of qualifying for the league leaderboards, but his .956 OPS would have been sixth in the DSL. He also showed that he could steadily make solid contact by only striking out 17% of the time, while walking in 13% of his plate appearances.
When Santos skipped over the Gulf Coast League and was placed on a roster full of big-name prospects, some thought he might be relegated to the role of a bench player with only sporadic playing time, but that hasn’t been the case so far. Santos is getting consistent playing time, and even been slotted into the cleanup slot in the lineup at times.
Pulaski’s outfield is deep, talented, and still very young. All four members of the outfield have the ability produce big numbers, and raise the expectations of what they might become down the road. They are a long way from the majors, but for now, the Yankees’ system is stocked with exciting prospects on the grass.