Earlier this morning, Major League Baseball announced the Arizona Fall League rosters for 2021. Like everyone else, the Yankees are sending several young players to Arizona. This season, the Yankees’ prospects will don the colors of the Surprise Saguaros. Dan will have more on these prospects later in the week, but here’s the quick rundown on which minor leaguers will be in The Grand Canyon State.
Two of the eight Baby Bombers headed to Arizona appear on the team’s Top 30 prospects list per MLB Pipeline. Austin Wells, the Yankees’ sixth-best prospect, is undoubtedly the headliner of the cadre headed to fall ball. The 22-year-old catcher was drafted 28th overall by New York in 2020 and split his 2021 campaign between Low-A Tampa and High-A Hudson Valley.
By the time the season ended, the back of Wells’ baseball card featured 16 homers, a .390 OBP, and an .867 OPS. His wRC+ at both levels was above 130; it’s unclear if he’ll stick behind the plate, but the bat has serious potential.
Missed the Austin Wells HR (thank you, person who decided to manhandle my camera and point it into the dugout for half the game), but here's the long single he hit that nearly left the yard. #Yankees pic.twitter.com/2dkjYcTfQg— Josh Norris (@jnorris427) September 3, 2021
Another well-regarded prospect in the mix is 23-year-old outfielder Elijah Dunham. Ranked No. 24 in the system by the same group, the undrafted free agent from 2020 also spent the season split between Low-A and High-A ball, where he hit 13 home runs, stole 28 bases, and compiled an .825 OPS.
Other Baby Bombers joining Dunham and Wells in the AFL will be:
- RHP Blaine Abeyta (Low-A)
- RHP Harold Cortijo (Low-A)
- RHP Zach Greene (Double-A)
- RHP Tanner Myatt (Low-A; was on IL)
- LHP Clay Aguilar (Low-A)
- 1B/3B Andres Chaparro (High-A; .849 OPS in 101 G between A-ball levels)
The current contingent of Yankees has an opportunity to build on the club’s tradition of success at the AFL. Three current or former Yankees have departed fall baseball with the AFL Most Valuable Player award. Eric Duncan in 2005, Greg Bird in 2014, and Gleyber Torres in 2016 all collected the accolade. Hopefully one of this year’s crop of prospects can follow in their footsteps.
While the Yankees’ season is ignominiously ended too soon, Yankees fans still have something to cheer for as a new batch of Baby Bombers continue their climb to The Show with a stop at the AFL.