Back in the late winter and early spring of this year, the Pinstripe Alley editors and our resident prospect expert put their heads together and collaborated on a list of the top 10 Yankees prospects headed into the 2022 season.
From there, the writing staff chipped in and put pen to paper for an overview on each of the top 10, discussing how various publications viewed their potential, their strengths, their weaknesses, and their possible ETAs in the Bronx. To refresh your memory, take a look here.
With the first half of the big league season approaching a close and the Futures Game fast approaching, it’s a good time to take a look at how some of these future (hopefully) Yankees performed at various levels of the minor leagues so far this season.
No. 1 Anthony Volpe
No. 2 Jasson Domínguez
No. 3 Oswald Peraza
The top three names on the PSA list coming into this season were ones that almost universally showed up on every evaluator’s top prospects ranking heading into the season. The list was headed by Volpe, whose breakout 2021 campaign shot him up prospect rankings.
Volpe began 2022 at Double-A Somerset, a promotion from High-A Hudson Valley, where he spent 2021. Perhaps predictably, considering Volpe is three years younger than the average player at his level, he struggled to begin the season. But after a slow start, Volpe has heated up.
In June, Anthony Volpe slashed .298/.360/.538/.898 w 5 HR, 10 2B and 12-13 SB. In 11 games in July he slashed .325/.471/.600/1.071 w 2 HR, 5 2B, 10 BB, 5-6 SB. The Yankees top-prospect has been on fire for a while now. His average floated around .200 thru May, but he's up to .253— Matt Kardos (@mattkardos) July 15, 2022
As a result, Volpe is headed to the Futures Game with a more than respectable .812 OPS at Double-A, with 35 stolen bases in 39 attempts. And he’s not the only elite Yankee prospect headed to the Futures Game.
Domínguez, whose prospect hype has been as intense as any in recent memory, has also earned a second-straight invitation to the Futures Game. Back at Low-A Tampa, where he ended the 2021 season, The Martian has shown more patience and bat-to-ball skills at the dish, improving his BB% and K% while putting up a 138 wRC+.
The physical gifts are still unquestioned, with The Athletic recently highlighting his 70-grade raw power. The question they ask is whether the hit tool will continue to improve. And much like Volpe, Dominguez has been hot recently, so he may be on his way to helping answer that query.
Oswald Peraza, like the first two names on this list, started the season pretty cold. After a cup of coffee at Triple-A to finish 2021, Peraza began the 2022 season there and struggled at the dish. And while his slump lasted a while, he has come out of it. In his last 28 games headed into July 14th, Peraza hit .333 with a .987 OPS.
No. 4 Luis Gil
No. 5 Luis Medina
No. 8 Hayden Wesneski
Unfortunately for Gil, the fourth-ranked PSA prospect and the highest-heralded hurler, his 2022 season came to an abrupt and disappointing end in late May, with the young right-hander leaving a start at Triple-A. The eventual Tommy John diagnosis means that Gil is out of action for the foreseeable future.
Medina, meanwhile, has stayed healthy and mostly pitched to form in 2022. Medina, pitching at Double-A, has paired a high strikeout rate with a high walk rate. That squares with his top notch arm strength, superb breaking ball, and spotty command. Despite his tantalizing tools, time is ticking for Medina, who will be Rule 5-eligible in the offseason and whose name will almost certainly come up as the trade deadline approaches.
Wesneski, the lowest-rated of the three hurlers on the PSA list, has put together the best 2022 campaign so far, at the highest rate of competition. He actually took the mound for the Yankees in their spring opener this season, where his 60-grade slider (per FanGraphs) caught the attention of Pitching Ninja.
Hayden Wesneski, Sick 82mph Frisbee Slider.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 18, 2022
22" of horizontal break. pic.twitter.com/2hTbO0E9xG
From there, Wesneski has performed well at Triple-A (now joined by fellow esteemed arm Ken Waldichuk) and seems to be hitting his stride as the calendar gets deeper into July. In three starts so far this month, Wesneski has thrown 17 innings, allowing only 3 runs on 15 hits and 5 walks, while striking out 21.
More Baby Bombers
No. 6 Everson Pereira
No. 7 Trey Sweeney
No. 9 Austin Wells
No. 10 Alexander Vargas
Pereira and Wells both impressed enough in the first half of the season to earn promotions to Double-A, with Wells joining Somerset on July 5th and Pereira following on the 13th. Both prospects swung big sticks in the first half, and as a result, found themselves back with Volpe, with whom they played in 2021. There is no shortage of power in Pereira and Wells’, and with any luck they’ll smash baseballs at Somerset in the second half.
Yankees #4 prospect Austin Wells absolutely demolished his eighth homer of the year. pic.twitter.com/uRphGZxAzs— Eli Fishman (@elijfishman) June 30, 2022
Continuing a theme for some of these hitters, Sweeney began 2022 in a cold spell, but has adjusted as the season progressed and he has swung a hot bat in recent weeks. The Yankees’ first-round pick in last year’s Amateur Draft has adapted to his 2022 promotion to High-A ball. Since the calendar turned to July, he has drastically cut his strikeout rate, striking out only 15.4 percent of the time compared to 25.6 percent for the season as a whole, and punished opposing pitching, with a 170 wRC+ compared to a 106 writ large in 2022.
Rounding out the top 10, Vargas is the rare bat on this list who has consistently struggled at the plate this season. But that should perhaps not be a huge surprise considering FanGraphs summarized him as “unlikely to ever hit for power” but possessing the potential to “be a plus-plus defender at one of baseball’s most valuable positions” and 60-grade speed
Considering the 20-year old switch-hitter is over a year younger than his average peer at A-ball Tampa, the Yankees have lots of time to see if his bat can come close to catching up to his glove.
Notwithstanding Gil’s injury and Vargas’ struggles at the plate, the rest of PSA’s top 10 2022 prospects have at the very least held their own so far this season. With the trade deadline approaching and the Yankees seemingly in it to win it, who knows how many of them will remain with the organization once August rolls around. For those who do, many of them are beginning to really hit their stride, and the stretch run could have them stand out even more.