With the exception of the existence of Jasson Dominguez, the Yankees’ farm system is known for its deep collection of high-octane arms more than anything else. We’ve already profiled a few of their high-upside hurlers, such as Albert Abreu and Luis Gil. We’ll roll along today with yet another right-hander to dream on, Yoendrys Gomez.
Gomez doesn’t generate the prospect buzz that former or current top-100 names like Abreu or Deivi García and Clarke Schmidt do, but he’s an interesting member of the team’s system in his own right. For a low-profile, $60K international signing from 2016, Gomez has done very well for himself thus far.
2019 Stats (Low-A and High-A): 56.1 IP, 3.99 ERA, 1.296 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 8.6 H/9
Prospect Rankings (Yankees System): 8 (MLB.com), 9 (FanGraphs)
The 21-year-old didn’t pitch in 2020, but is still generally considered one of the Yankees’ ten best prospects. He raised his stock quite a bit in 2019, when he added velocity and reportedly reshaped his fastball. While FanGraphs reported before 2019 that Gomez could sit low-to-mid 90s and cut and sink his fastball, Gomez now relies on a pure power heater. He can touch the upper 90s and ride the pitch up in the zone from his 6-foot-3 frame.
When Gomez showed up to rookie ball with that hard, spinning heater, he overmatched the other teenagers that mostly populated the circuit, running a 2.12 ERA at the level. The Yankees aggressively promoted him to Single-A Charleston, where he struggled as one of the youngest pitchers in the league, allowing 19 runs in 26.2 innings.
Gomez made a brief cameo in camp this spring before being optioned back down to High-A Tampa. He’ll have to build on his gains in stuff two years ago and convert them into more impressive numbers against tougher competition. A solid timeline should see Gomez hitting Double-A sometime this year, where he’ll be tested to see if his improved velocity can get advanced hitters out.
He will have every chance to pass that test. Prior to adding a few ticks on his fastball, Gomez still ranked among the Yankees’ 30 or so best prospects, on the strength of what some scouts called his feel for the game. Both FanGraphs and MLB Pipeline project Gomez to develop average or better control, though it’s not quite average at present, and praise his ability to repeat a clean delivery.
Gomez also sports a solid-to-plus curveball that should give batters in the upper minors fits:
Gomez sports a developing changeup to round out his arsenal. That pitch could be one of the more important factors in his development this upcoming year, as an average or better third pitch will help him navigate lineups, and give him a strong counter against left-handed batters.
As with any of the Yankees’ more advanced pitching prospects, there’s some ambiguity about where Gomez will end up role-wise. Young pitchers with velocity to spare and plus breakers can see their timelines accelerated by a callup to the big-league bullpen. However, having yet to pitch above Single-A, it’s unlikely we see Gomez in the bigs this year. At the moment, he’s still firmly a starter, and will have a chance to build up as one.
The situation may change in 2022 or 2023, if Gomez progresses and it looks as though he could quickly help the relief corps in the majors, but given his pitch mix, prototypical frame, and smooth delivery, Gomez should get every shot at sticking as a starter. If Gomez can consolidate his gains from a couple years ago and continue to refine his third pitch and his control, he’ll keep rising in the Yankees’ system. He might not be the flashiest name at the top of the farm, but Gomez has about as good a chance as any to move on up the ranks this year.