Over the past month, Pinstripe Alley has provided previews for numerous Yankees prospects heading into the 2021 season. The Yankees system remains deep on hitters with the potential to impact the franchise in some way. Lets take a look at some of the position players in the system who could break out in 2021.
The Yankees selected Arizona State University’s Trevor Hauver in the third round of the 2020 draft. After playing the outfield in college, the Yankees announced him as a second baseman and have shown every intention of developing him in the infield, where he played in high school. It is worth noting that Arizona State had three infielders drafted in last season’s five round draft, including two in the first round.
Hauver was an offensive force for the Sun Devils over his last two seasons, posting a 1.007 as a sophomore and then besting it with a 1.189 in his COVID shortened junior campaign. After failing to hit a home run as a freshman, the left handed hitter blasted 17 in his final 74 college games. Hauver will start the season with Low-A Tampa, forming an outstanding double play combination with the team’s 2019 first round selection, Anthony Volpe.
Jacob Sanford, another past third round selection, will also be part of the Low-A Tampa Tarpons to start this coming season. The Canadian prospect developed from a JUCO walk-on to winning the Conference USA triple crown in junior season.
After being drafted, he started slowly while playing for Short-Season A Staten Island but picked it down the stretch. He found his stroke in August, producing a 143 wRC+ and pounding six home runs in his last 23 games. The lefty-hitting corner outfielder has massive raw power and potential to improve entering 2021.
While Sanford’s raw power is impressive, the prospect considered by many to have the biggest power in the Yankees system is Anthony Garcia. Garcia led the Gulf Coast League in home runs as a 17-year-old, but also comes with an alarmingly high strikeout rate. A leg injury cost him all but six games during the 2019 season when he was assigned to Rookie-Advanced Pulaski. Coming off nearly two full seasons on the sidelines, Garcia is starting the season in extended spring training.
Also starting this season in extended spring training is infielder Roberto Chirinos, one of the top prospects signed from the 2017 international free agency class. He is a talented shortstop, but started to see action in a utility role as he has crossed paths with other highly-ranked shortstops in the Yankees system. In his last month with Rookie-Advanced Pulaski in 2019 he turned on the offense, posting a 133 wRC+. Known for his cannon of an arm, he could profile as a future third baseman in a system that does not have many players manning the hot corner in their top-prospect rankings.
One third baseman who could gain more attention this coming season is Andres Chaparro. He is coming off a season with Short-Season A Staten Island where he slashed .246/.366/.322. He made big gains in his plate discipline in 2019, increasing his walk rate seven percent while decreasing his strikeout rate by over eight percent. The next goal for the now 22-year-old will be to generate more power and try to pair his impressive on-base percentage with more extra-base hits. He will begin the season with Low-A Tampa.
A group of players will begin the season at Double-A Somerset after finishing strong at the High-A level in 2019. Catcher Donny Sands earned praise from Yankees minor league hitting coach Joe Migliaccio for his improvement during the 2019 season. Migliaccio also stated in a recent interview that Sands led Yankees’ minor leaguers in home runs this spring. Outfielder Pablo Olivares and shortstop Diego Castillo are two more players who dramatically improved as the 2019 season went on and have earned their promotions to the Double-A level.
Two of the Yankees top international signings from this January will be making their professional debuts later this summer. Middle infielder Hans Montero received the largest signing bonus handed out by the Yankees this past year. Some scouts see him as a future second baseman while others feel he has the tools and athletic ability to remain at shortstop. He has not been assigned to a team yet and will likely start the season in the Dominican Summer League or Gulf Coast League.
Joining him will be outfielder Fidel Montero — no relation — who also signed with the Yankees in mid-January. From the time the Yankees reached a verbal agreement with Fidel until he signed, reports were that he made tremendous physical and developmental gains. The gains were large enough that when COVID-related scouting restrictions were lifted and other teams saw him in action for the first time in nearly a year, several attempted to swoop in and poach him before he could finish signing with the Yankees. Luckily for the Yankees they landed him, and FanGraphs was impressed enough with their scouting reports that they now rank him as the Yankees 17th best prospect.
After a year on the sidelines, many of the Yankees’ top prospects will hit the fields this week for their first official games since September 2019. The rosters are out and the Yankees will now be looking for the hitters inside their system to start taking the next steps towards the major leagues.