The Yankees’ four minor league affiliates have produced some outstanding results early in the 2021 season. All of the teams enter the seventh week of the season with at least a share of first place in their given division. Soon, three more teams will get their chance to produce results on the field. While dates have been rumored for some time, the news officially broke this week about the timeline for the Gulf Coast League (GCL) and Dominican Summer League (DSL). As those leagues commence play, some of the Yankees’ most promising prospects will finally embark on their 2021 campaigns — and hopefully, a successful climb to the majors over the course of the coming years.
The GCL will begin action on June 28th and run through September 18th. While this had been previously reported, it had not yet been announced that the Yankees would only field one GCL team. For several years prior to 2020, the Yankees fielded two GCL teams along with two short-season teams, and it was widely assumed that many of those players would fall into the two GCL teams this season.
Editor’s note: The links attached to prospect names below go to our season preview posts on them. They’re well worth your time!
The one GCL team will be in competition with its fellow pinstriped affiliates for fielding the most ranked prospects of any Yankees farm team. Top prospect Jasson Dominguez will likely be joined by other highly regarded prospects Alexander Vargas, Antonio Gomez, Kevin Alcantara, and Raimfer Salinas.
Checking in with OF Jasson Dominguez at Extended Spring Training pic.twitter.com/dMD9oU7iji— NYYPlayerDev (@NYYPlayerDev) May 12, 2021
Also in the mix are Everson Pereira, Ryder Green, and Anthony Garcia, but all three of those players have already appeared in levels above the GCL and could be candidates for a move to Low-A Tampa at the end of extended spring training.
The volume of quality outfielders floating around the Yankees’ minor league facility right now indicates that some players could be heading to the DSL even after playing stateside in 2019. Dominguez, Alcantara, Salinas and Pereira are all center fielders with the tools to remain at the most challenging outfield position long term. It is not likely that any of these talented players will be moved down, but other players in the mix very well could.
On the pitching side, the Yankees and their fans should be getting their first look in 2021 at highly touted prospects such as Osiel Rodriguez, Jose Chambuco, and Denny Larrondo. Chambuco in particular fanned 66 batters in just 50 innings as a 17-year-old in 2019.
Meanwhile, the DSL will start up a little later on July 12th and run until October 2nd. The Yankees’ decision to run two DSL teams is interesting based on the makeup of their recent international signing classes. The Yankees went all-in on Dominguez in 2019, spending almost all of their original bonus allotment on the highly-touted wunderkind. After some trades, the Yankees acquired more bonus space but were still limited in the number of quality players they could sign.
In 2020, the Yankees also started with one of the lowest bonus pools in baseball after forfeiting $1 million of bonus pool space to sign Gerrit Cole, who had refused Houston’s qualifying offer. That limitation shrunk the number of notable players that the team could acquire.
Nonetheless, two notable prospects from the recent signing class likely to debut in the DSL are Hans Montero and Fidel Montero (no relation). The two position players both flashed talent in the Dominican Republic, and Hans Montero was considered the No. 23-ranked international prospect entering 2021 per Baseball America. The Yankees have also recently been signing a handful of players that will certainly be used to fill out the rosters of the lower levels.
The lowest levels of the minor leagues are preparing to kick off in the coming weeks. While a big wave of highly regarded prospects is set to hit the field, there is also the chance that many unknown prospects will take advantage of the opportunity to make a name for themselves. With all the Yankees teams in action, the player development system that has been revamped over the last few years will be on full display for all to see and judge.