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Yankees prospects are turning heads in the Arizona Fall League

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The Yankees outfield prospect is among the top offensive performers so far in the 2021 AFL.

2021 Arizona Fall League Headshots Photo by Michael Gonzales/MLB Photos via Getty Images

With the official minor league season over, a number of Yankees prospects are continuing play in the Arizona Fall League and around the various winters leagues that have started up. Let’s check in on the progress that Yankees prospects are making in their various leagues.

Yankees prospects in the Arizona Fall League are playing for the Surprise Saguaros alongside a mix of prospects from the Royals, Reds, Rangers and Nationals. The team’s 12-3 record is best the AFL and they have a four game lead in the AFL West division.

The Yankees’ 24th-ranked prospect per MLB.com, Elijah Dunham has put on a show so far and is catching the attention of evaluators in the desert. He is currently hitting .395/.540/.711, with 2 HR, 4 2B and a triple in his first 11 games of the season. He also is a perfect seven for seven in stolen base attempts. Dunham has struck out just two times in 50 plate appearances this season and is locked in after getting his timing down in the early going.

Also heating up this week was Andres Chaparro, who has gone seven for his last 14 after starting the AFL campaign just 1 for 18. He made some very loud contact in a 4-4 outing last Monday that included a home run and a 111 mph hit that bounced hard enough off the wall that he was held to a single. The corner infielder is making loud contact, and along with Dunham seems to be improving his stock in the early part of the AFL. He has always displayed a good eye at the plate and currently has a .368 OBP.

After being the AFL hitter of the week in the previous week, Austin Wells cooled off this week, but was still a productive player for the Saguaros. He scored three runs last Monday and then knocked in four RBI in another win on Wednesday.

On the pitching side, right-hander Zach Greene has now pitched 4.1 scoreless innings, allowing just three singles so far. He has six strikeouts and no walks so far this fall. Greene was not the only pitcher from the Yankees who stood out this past week as Blane Abeyta also had a his best outing of the fall league, tossing 2.1 perfect innings with three strikeouts in Friday’s game. He was credited with the win in the Saguaros’ 10-9 victory. Greene and Abeyta combined for 3.1 perfect innings in a game where the team allowed nine runs and no other pitcher used escaped unscathed.

Tanner Myatt had an up and down week, as he recorded his first save of the fall early in the week, but also had a blown save during Thursday’s game that saw him record just one out and throw two wild pitches in the span of six batters faced. Also struggling this week, pitcher Clay Aguilar gave up five earned runs in his only inning of work, and Harold Cortijo game up a run in his only appearance of the week.

Beyond the Arizona Fall League, baseball has picked up for most of the winter leagues as well. Dermis Garcia, who led Yankees minor leaguers with 31 home runs this past season, is playing in the Dominican Winter league with Gigantes del Cibao. Garcia previously played for the team in the 2019-2020 winter.

Infield prospect Robert Chirinos continued his strong play for Caribes de Anzoátegui, as he has six hits through his first four games. Chirinos is playing mostly at second base so far in the winter league season, but has also found himself playing in left field late in games. Signed as a shortstop, Chirinos has played three infield positions for the Yankees, making this his first official game action in the outfield.

A pair of players who were with Double-A Somerset during the season are also playing in the Venezuelan league right now. Catcher Jason Lopez and pitcher Kevin Gadea are both looking to improve their game this offseason in Venezuela.

Jared Serna, who played for the Yankees in the Dominican Summer League this past year, is currently playing well for Charros de Jalisco in the Mexican Pacific Winter League. Serna stole 24 bases in 28 attempts during the season, and recently turned heads with a 3-5 performance that included a home run and two doubles.

The Arizona Fall League has long been a chance for prospects to take the next step and really break out in the eyes of scouts who frequent the prospect heavy environment. In addition to the league in Arizona, baseball is picking up in numerous countries where it will be carried on throughout the winter. In each of these leagues Yankees prospects are also hoping to get the experience that will help them take the next step in their professional career.