Baseball America recently released its top-30 organizational prospects for every team in baseball. As part of their update to the prospect rankings, they also have gathered the opinions of scouts and evaluators to determine what prospects have the best tools for 15 categories. Lets take a look at some of the prospects who are standing out for their excellence in one or more skills inside the Yankees system.
It is no surprise that the Yankees top prospect in the eyes of Baseball America, Jasson Dominguez, is well represented on the list. What is a little surprising is that they feel that they have seen enough of Jasson Dominguez before he has played an official game to rank him as having the best tools in the system for three separate categories.
The listing labels Dominguez as the best athlete in the system, as well as having the best outfield arm. Dominguez who has still yet to play an official game for the Yankees was also rated as the best defensive outfielder in the system. Since signing with the Yankees Dominguez has received praise for his physical tools and mental makeup. It is one more affirmation of what scouts are seeing that they list him as the best defensive outfielder with so little game action under his belt.
After struggling through the 2018 season, Canaan Smith authored a major turn around in 2019 while playing for the Class-A Charleston RiverDogs. Smith’s offensive breakout was recognized by the managers of the South-Atlantic League, voting him as both the best batting prospect and the most exciting player from the league this past season.
Baseball America listed Smith as the Yankees best prospect in terms of hitting for average, to go along with the best strike-zone discipline. To earn those distinctions in the eyes of evaluators Smith slashed .307/.405/.465 on the season.
His incredible plate discipline was a trait that drew the Yankees to Smith, as he ranked ninth in the national record books for walks in a single high-school season during his senior year. That performance was enough for the Yankees to use their fourth-round pick on him in 2017.
While Jasson Dominguez dominated the outfield defensive categories, there was a split on the infield. Kyle Holder, who has long carried the reputation as one of the top defensive shortstops around was recognized as the best defensive infielder in the system. Holder has already seen action in several spring training games this season, and should be a regular fixture with the squad throughout the Grapefruit League season. Rising shortstop prospect Oswald Peraza — who caught the eye of scouts inside and out of the Yankees organization this past year — is credited with having the best arm of any Yankees infielder.
On the pitching side there is a wide array of arms recognized for having the best pitch in the system. All the names mentioned such as Luis Medina, Clarke Schmidt, Deivi Garcia, Alexander Vizcaino and Miguel Yajure have already pitched this spring for the Yankees. Their presence with the big league club during spring training is a promising sign as these talented young arms are graduating to the upper levels of the minors and could find themselves in the Bronx soon.
Deivi Garcia only added his slider during the 2019 season, and is still credited with having the best one in the system. More known for his high-spin rate curveball heading into 2019, the Yankees and Garcia decided to add a slider to his arsenal of pitches, and the scouts seem to love the pitch that helped him rise to the brink of the major leagues while registering a 13.3 K/9 rate.
Long touted as having multiple plus pitches, Luis Medina’s fastball ranks as the best in the Yankees system. This past season he averaged 98 mph with the pitch, and touched 101. Medina also has a 32 percent swing and miss rate at fastballs that were in the strike zone, over double the average rate for his peers. Medina, now a member of the 40-man roster has a chance to move quickly through the system if his control which improved dramatically over the last half of the season continues to hold.
The Yankees system provided the team with plenty of support in 2019, and is positioned to do just that again this coming season. Many of the pitchers with the best individual pitches and control in the system are knocking on the door to the majors. At the same time the best young position players being recognized for their upside and skill, may be a few seasons away.