While we (im)patiently wait for the Yankees to begin their postseason, and the chase for World Series championship No. 28, there are Yankee farmhands who are still honing their craft. The Arizona Fall League began play on October 3rd, and among those toiling in the desert are a number of Yankee youngsters, headlined by “The Martian” Jasson Domínguez.
For a primer on who the Yankees sent to Arizona, check out this piece by our own Jake Devin. Once you’ve done that, without further ado, here is a rundown of how the opening week of fall ball went for those representing New York.
Let’s start with Domínguez, whose torrid stretch run after promotion to Double-A has him almost certainly on the verge of ascending to lofty prospect rankings next season. Through four games, his bat has yet to find its rhythm at 2-for-11. But Domínguez is showing a keen eye, with four walks, and he has tacked two stolen bases onto his stat line as well. Although the base hits are not falling in bunches, the youngster’s swing looks like it is in fine form.
The most impressive opening week for a Yankee prospect certainly belongs to third baseman Tyler Hardman. The 2021 fifth-round pick is off to a torrid start. He went 8-for-16 at the plate with a home run for the Mesa Solar Sox. Going 4-for-5 with five runs scored and three runs batted in, as he did on October 5th, certainly doesn’t hurt. Hardman’s start is in line with FanGraphs’ expectations for him, as they described him as a bat-only player shortly after the Yankees drafted him. Hopefully he continues to rake in his time in the desert.
The final Yankee position player at the Fall League is first baseman T.J Rumfield. A week in, he is 3-for-11 but, like Domínguez, is taking his walks, resulting in a gaudy .429 OBP. He has also made the most of his opportunities with men on base, knocking in five runs in the opening week of action. Rumfield, who FanGraphs says possesses “big power and bat speed,” could be one to watch as he gets more reps this fall.
On the mound, the Yankees did not send any elite organizational arms. Through one week, right-hander Leam Mendez has acquitted himself well in the early going. Mendez has appeared in two games so far, throwing a total of 3.1 innings, allowing only one run. That run was a solo home run surrendered to Heston Kjerstad, the Orioles’ No. 9 prospect. Otherwise, he’s been almost spotless.
The rest of the young arms the Yankees sent to Arizona did not cover themselves in glory, though the sample sizes are ridiculously small and the offensive environment seems pretty robust. Nelson L. Alvarez (six earned runs in 1.2 innings), Yorlin Calderon (three earned runs in 1.2 innings), and Shaine McNeely (three earned runs in two innings) have all been touched up. They’ll have plenty of time ahead to improve.
The Yankees have had three farmhands walk away from the Arizona Fall League with the Most Valuable Player Award (Eric Duncan in 2005, Greg Bird in 2014, and Gleyber Torres in 2016). Maybe one of this year’s youngsters can replicate the feat. With several weeks remaining, anything is possible.