After a long layoff, the Low-A Tampa Tarpons did not wait very long to put results on the board. A quartet of high draft picks from the 2019 and 2020 drafts have sparked the offense to a ridiculous 65 runs in the team’s first four games. While it is impossible to expect those type of results to continue, the talent at the top of the lineup should be able to lead the team to big numbers for the entire 2021 season.
As the 2021 season kicked off word started to trickle out that the Yankees were very impressed with the minor league spring training performance of 2019 first-round pick Anthony Volpe. Coming into camp stronger than when the Yankees last saw him, scouts were impressed with his efficient swing and how he impacted the ball. They also believe more than ever that he has the instincts and physical tools to stick at shortstop long-term.
Spring training is one thing, but the early results are very promising as Volpe has smashed four doubles and a triple at leadoff for the Tarpons, while also stealing four bases in the early going. While Volpe will certainly cool down a little from his .412/.583/.765 pace, the Yankees have every reason to believe that he will remain an offensive force throughout the season.
Immediately following Volpe in the lineup for the first four games is the Yankees’ 2020 first-round pick, Austin Wells. Wells was invited to the Yankees major league spring training this season, where he saw limited action before continuing on to minor league camp. Known as a bat-first catcher, it is no surprise that he has put up some solid numbers out of the gate.
In four games, Wells has an .891 OPS with a pair of doubles and a home run. He has also walked five times, demonstrating the plate discipline that saw him walk more than he struck out during his Division I college career. The Yankees should learn a lot about Wells’ ability to stick behind the plate this season, but there are very few people who do not think he will hit.
Nobody in baseball has been as hot as Trevor Hauver. The Yankees’ third-round pick in 2020 has come out of the gate swinging, slashing an .800/.824/2.100 with four homers and a double through three games. The lefty-swinging second baseman improved every season while in college, picking up his power after not launching any long balls as a freshman.
While there is obviously no way that Hauver will maintain that pace, he has a solid college pedigree and was able to hit against good Division I and Cape Cod League competition during his time there. The year-by-year increases in power show that he has continued to get stronger and refine his swing over time. Hauver has all the tool and background to continue hitting at the Class-A level.
The last member of the Tarpons’ hot-hitting quartet is the Yankees’ 2019 third-round pick, Jake Sanford. The powerful lefty has yet to tap into his power but is making steady contact and has the potential to be an impact bat. After walking on to a Junior College team, he earned his way onto a Division I roster and won the Conference USA triple crown in his draft year.
Despite that production in college, many evaluators still consider Sanford a very raw talent with still developing skills on the baseball diamond. Sanford is in the discussion for having some of the best raw power in the Yankees system and the extra-base hits are expected to come. Right now, he is making steady contact with 8 singles in 15 at-bats (.533). The Yankees would have been justified pushing Sanford to High-A Hudson Valley this season after he played for Short Season-A Staten Island in 2019.
While the top of the Tampa lineup is impressive, it has been far from a four-man show. Center fielder Pat DeMarco, third baseman Andres Chaparro, and first baseman Spencer Henson have had big moments so far for Tampa. It is also worth noting that the Yankees have more talent on the way to this club. The team’s top prospect, Jasson Dominguez, is just down the street at the Yankees’ minor league facility, and other ranked prospects such as Kevin Alcantara and Ryder Green could reach this level soon.
The Tampa Tarpons have an explosive offense that is kickstarted by some of the best prospects in the system. Due to their elite prospect pedigree, this team is easily capable of putting up big offensive numbers day-in and day-out — just maybe not 16.2 runs per game, as amusing as that would be. This talented group could soon be joined by even more exciting prospects, giving this squad more offensive firepower.