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What position group is the strongest in the Yankees system?

The Yankees have built their minor league system up the middle, but is shortstop or center field the stronger position group in the minor league system?

MILB: AUG 06 FCL Tigers at FCL Yankees Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Over the last few years, the Yankees have made a concerted effort to build their farm system up the middle. They have used high draft picks and big parts of their international bonus pool to bring in talented young players with high ceilings. Now six of the Yankees’ top-seven prospects according to play either shortstop or center field, making those by far the best position groups in the Yankees’ system. As the minor league season approaches it’s conclusion, what group is the best in the system?

The shortstop contingent is led by the Yankees’ top overall prospect, Anthony Volpe. After a short professional debut following the 2019 draft, Volpe put in a ton of work during the pandemic-canceled season to improve his game. He exploded in 2021 and by the middle of the season was considered by virtually all scouts as not only the team's best prospect, but one of the best in all of baseball.

Next up is Oswald Peraza, who recently made his major league debut, and after a slow first couple of games looks to be finding his stride with the bat and glove. He should see plenty of playing time moving forward, but will likely retain his prospect status through the end of the season. Peraza was the Yankees’ number two prospect heading into the season but after a slow start at the Triple-A level he was bumped down to the third spot in’s mid-season rankings.

In his last 52 minor league games Peraza hit .316/.382/.560 with 14 home runs and 22 stolen bases. He clearly turned a corner against Triple-A pitching and has long been known for his strong throwing arm and defense up the middle.

Rounding out the shortstop contingent is the Yankees’ first-round pick from 2021, Trey Sweeney. He has yet to put a full season of offensive numbers, but has played well since the beginning of June, and turned it up another notch over his last 19 games where he hit .300/.443/.486. It is still questionable if Sweeney will remain at shortstop in the long term or move to another position, but he has remained up the middle into the upper levels of the minors. ranks Sweeney as the Yankees’ sixth-best prospect.

The Yankees’ center field prospects are led by 19-year-old Jasson Domínguez. The Yankees’ top international prospect signing in 2019 finally made his professional debut in 2021 playing in the Florida Complex League and with Low-A Tampa. While some scouts and fans soured on him as he failed to live up to the unreasonable expectations that surrounded his signing, he has bounced back in a big way in 2022.

After a terrible start to the season, Domínguez picked it up by the end of April and then took it to another level in mid-May. Over his last 84 games he has hit .288/.408/.458, with nine home runs. He has also dramatically reduced his strikeout rate from 2021 and has been impressive across the board. While the power in terms of extra-base hits has not fully shown up yet, Domínguez routinely records big time exit velocities while being tracked by StatCast in the Florida State League.

A few years prior to the Yankees signing Domínguez, they used one of their top international bonuses to sign Everson Pereira. Pereira’s tools impressed numerous scouts and he earned an advanced assignment for a 17-year-old in 2018 during his professional debut, but the numbers did not jump off the page early on. That changed in 2021 as Pereira put up massive power numbers after getting a late start to the season, needing just 188 at-bats to hit 20 home runs while climbing to the High-A level.

While the power has not been as dynamic this season, Pereira has climbed to the Double-A level and has a .937 OPS over his last 54 games. He has the speed and ability to man center field.

In the most recent MLB draft the Yankees selected Vanderbilt outfielder Spencer Jones. Jones was a corner outfielder in college due to playing alongside perhaps the best defensive center fielder in the college ranks, but he immediately moved to center field upon joining the organization. Jones’ bat did not skip a beat as he joined the pro ranks, hitting .940 OPS as a professional while providing some of the hardest hit balls in the Yankees minor league system this year already. He is expected to move quickly through the lower levels of the minors.

When we line the positions up against each other it is an interesting look. The two highest ceilings likely belong to Domínguez and Jones due to their potential to be a combination of dynamic power and strong on-base skills. Both will have to show that they can continue to do it at the higher levels of the minor leagues, while getting to the power in game action more often.

Anthony Volpe is considered the surest thing among all the Yankees prospects to contribute at the major league level. Peraza’s defense and ability to impact the ball also give him a floor of a major league contributor for a long time, and a ceiling of much more.

The Yankees have built their farm system up the middle in recent years. The results are showing at the top of the prospect’s list as many of the team’s top young players are either shortstops or center fielders. Both groups boast high ceiling players who have the potential to help the Yankees in both the short and long term. It looks to me like the shortstops are more likely to contribute at the MLB level while the center fielders could have the bigger impact in the long run, if they can reach their ceiling. What do you think?