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Five potential breakout Yankees prospects for 2022

These young ‘outsiders’ are talented enough to make several Yankees’ top 10 lists at the end of the 2022 campaign.

New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

The Yankees’ farm system is not quite at its best, but it’s very good and deep. There are lots of pitchers and high-upside middle infielders, but since baseball always makes some room for potential surprises and breakthrough performers, we will mention the five prospects currently not on the team’s top 10 who could make that list at the end of 2022.

Newly-signed Roderick Arias is likely to immediately pop into the top 10 whenever evaluators and specialized sites update their lists, so he wasn’t considered for this particular exercise.

Alexander Vargas, SS

Alexander Vargas is one of many shortstop prospects in the Yankees’ system, but few players possess his athleticism. That’s precisely the quality that gives him a high ceiling and a fair chance to reach it with patience and hard work.

As long as Vargas can keep adding game power, he could sneak in the Yankees’ top 10 prospects list by the end of the year. The switch-hitter was good in the Florida Complex League in 2021, hitting .273/.362/.393 with three homers, 17 stolen bases and a 105 wRC+ in 147 plate appearances.

He did that as a 19-year old, as he just turned 20 in October. His defense is already very, very good at a premium position, so adding some power will likely be the difference between being a solid MLB contributor and a star. He is definitely one to watch.

Beck Way, P

The 22-year-old Beck Way is expected to open the season in High-A, after dominating in Low-A (2.68 ERA and 10.34 K/9, albeit with a 5.55 BB/9 in 47 innings) but struggling in 16.1 frames with the Renegades (7.71 ERA).

He has a big fastball with some ride that he can get all the way up to 97 mph, plus a very projectable frame. His changeup is better than his slider when it comes to secondaries, but it’s clear that he has some swing and miss in his game.

Improving his control and command will likely define his future role, as there is some reliever risk here. Still, he remains an upside arm to watch and he could easily climb up the prospects ladder.

Anthony García, OF

Anthony García is the ultimate three true outcomes hitter. Between two levels (the rookie-level Florida Complex League and Low-A), he slashed .306/.444/.678, with 14 home runs in just 39 games. However, it came at the expense of a 32.6 percent strikeout rate.

He did draw walks at a 20.2 percent rate, so there is definitely something to work with here. His 36.8 percent strikeout rate in full-season ball (Low-A Tampa) is definitely worrisome, but if he can find a way to cut it and make more consistent contact, García could take off.

Here is FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen evaluation of García in his recent Yankees’ prospect list, where he ranked him 21st: “A 6-foot-6, switch-hitting leviathan, if Garcia doesn’t have 80 raw power now, he will in the next few years. He is still sushi raw, but there are maybe two or three other switch hitters on the planet with this kind of power (Garcia, Oneil Cruz, Elly De La Cruz).” He could be an exciting one.

Randy Vásquez, P

Randy Vásquez was 20th in both FanGraphs’ and MLB’s 2021 list, as we wait for the 2022 report. Here is a glimpse of his stuff, per MLB: “Vasquez has one of the best curveballs in the system, featuring power (78-82 mph) and depth produced by spin rates that repeatedly top 3100 rpm. He imparts plenty of spin on his four-seam fastball as well, which has improved from 88-90 mph when he signed to sitting at 93-94 mph and peaking at 96. His changeup has good action but often is too firm in the upper 80s and he has difficulty throwing it for strikes.”

The Yankees’ spin king had an excellent 2021, with a 2.52 ERA in 107.1 innings between three levels: Low-A, High-A, and Double-A. He also struck out 130 hitters, and while he wasn’t quite as sharp in Somerset (4.22 ERA, 4.08 FIP in 21.1 frames) as he was in A-ball, he has plenty of promise and could break through in 2022.

Antonio Gómez, C

The 20-year-old Antonio Gómez has become famous on Yankees Twitter because of his frequent posts about how much he loves being a part of the organization, which is cool. But he backs up his feelings with enormous talent, especially throwing the ball: he has an 80-grade arm and an extremely quick pop time. He is also fluid behind the plate, even if he is not the best athlete.

Scouts and evaluators, like Longenhagen, think his swing is geared for power. In 2021, he was solid in the Florida Complex League (.305/.416/.474 with a 141 wRC+ in 29 games) but struggled in Low-A (.197/.310/.328 with an 80 wRC+ in 17 games). He could definitely break out in 2022, though.