The Yankees selected Tennessee native Ryder Green with their third-round selection in the 2018 draft. With a solid commitment to be a two-way player at Division-I powerhouse Vanderbilt, the Yankees offered Green an over-slot bonus and convinced him to join the professional ranks.
Green struggled during his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League that summer, striking out over 36 percent of the time. However, he bounced back during his second season in 2019, becoming a key contributor on a very talented Rookie-Advanced Pulaski club that had the highest winning percentage of any Yankees minor league affiliate. After a year on the sidelines, Green enters 2021 looking to build off his last season and launch his trajectory towards the majors.
2019 Stats (Rookie-Advanced Pulaski): 254 PA, .262/.343/.444, 8 HR, 28 RBI, 26.4 K%, 9.8 BB%
Prospect Ranking (Yankees System): 25 (MLB.com), 20 (FanGraphs), 29 (Baseball America)
Green has consistently displayed well above-average raw power since high school, and it continues to be his highest-rated tool. Scouts have worried about his plate discipline, which created a tendency to strike out too much and was on full display during his professional debut.
Ahead of the 2019 season, Green refined his approach and lowered his strikeout rate by 10 percent from his professional debut while facing higher level pitchers. Green showed overall good plate discipline with his willingness to take a walk.
Another skill that Green excelled at in 2019 was stealing bases. That year, he swiped 10 bags, placing him in the top 10 of the Appalachian League. The Yankees brought in minor league base running coordinator Matt Talarico at the tail end of the 2019 season to improve this skill across the system. With his level of athleticism, Green is a prime candidate to benefit from a renewed focus on running and a system that is more open to stealing bags.
While most scouts think that Green is going to be a corner outfielder in the long run, he has displayed enough speed and instincts to play center field at times early in his pro career. Scouting reports are spilt on his ability to sufficiently cover center at an average to above-average level, but he has the potential to be an above-average corner outfielder moving forward.
After reaching 93 mph with his fastball in high school, Green could have joined the pitching staff at Vanderbilt had he chosen to go to college. That elite arm strength is one of the reasons that scouts often peg him as a long term right fielder.
This coming season, Green will likely start with Low-A Tampa as he climbs into full-season ball. While the final roster has yet to be announced, there is a good chance that the Tarpons’ roster will be one of the Yankees’ deepest in terms of prospect talent. Despite showing the ability to man center, it is likely that Green will once again move to the corners, as players with more distinct center field profiles arrive in Low-A, such as Kevin Alcantara, Raimfer Salinas, and potentially Jasson Dominguez.
The Yankees will be looking for Green to maintain or lower his strikeout rate even further this coming season. The jump to Low-A will involve facing better pitchers who can exploit holes in his game. Green’s power potential is immense, but the question remains if he can fully tap into it during games.
With an elite outfield arm, the potential to steal bases and provide top-of-the-line power, Ryder Green could be known as one of the more dynamic players in the Yankees system by the end of 2021. Can he consistently bring the power he displays in batting practice into game action? If so, then he is definitely a prospect to watch in 2021.