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Why ZiPS has confidence in the Yankees’ top prospects

The Yankees earned high praise in ZiPS’ Top 100 prospects list.

MLB: All Star-Futures Game Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The ZiPS projections came out a while back, and my fellow Pinstripe Alley writer, Esteban Rivera, covered the bullet points on what Dan Szymborski’s model foresees for the defending AL East champs in 2023 here. This week, Dan came out with his top 100 prospects according to the ZiPS projection system, which has served him well for years.

Looking at a list solely based on a projection system is a unique exercise. There is obviously so much that goes into scouting that a projection system won’t pick up on, and no one is arguing to use it as the standard when judging a team’s farm system. But if nothing else, it is a nice change of pace, with a fresh unbiased look.

Here is a list of the Yankees’ prospects on the list, with a comparative look at their rankings on FanGraphs’ official Top 100, and something in particular, stands out.


Player ZiPS Ranking FG Ranking
Player ZiPS Ranking FG Ranking
Anthony Volpe 4 11
Jasson Domínguez 21 50
Oswald Peraza 26 40
Yoendrys Gómez 93 Unranked

Clealy, ZiPS has an extremely high regard for the top end of the Yankees’ farm system. Even in a scenario like this, the correlation of players from both lists is significant, with 63 prospects in FanGraphs’ top 100 appearing in the ZiPS list, but even acknowledging that fact, it speaks volumes that Volpe, Domínguez, and Peraza are all ranked well ahead of their standard place.

What do we make of this?

For starters, according to ZiPS, and probably a good portion of the Yankees’ fan base, the team would be best served rolling with Anthony Volpe as the starting shortstop come Opening Day. The projection system has him as the fourth-highest WAR (3.1), of the offense, and a vast improvement over Isiah Kiner-Falefa on basically every facet, even while accounting for his inexperience.

Scouts love Volpe for his tools, athleticism, and makeup, but he is ranked even higher here because when we look at his track record, Volpe has been a force, performing at every level. The fact that he’s done so after missing pro ball in 2020 due to the pandemic cancelling the minor league season is all the more impressive.

Volpe made a mockery out of Low- and High-A ball as a 20-year-old, putting up an ISO at or above .300 with roughly 250 plate appearances at each level. Then last season, the growth continued, as the shortstop showed very nice plate discipline with a 11.5-percent walk and 17.7-percent strikeout rate, in basically a full season at Double-A.

Jasson Domínguez is a very interesting case. The outfield prospect was basically labeled the second coming of Mickey Mantle at a very early age, and after struggling in his first year of pro ball, probably got faded more than he should’ve. He didn’t ask for that kind of hype but some in the industry cast him with derision anyway.

Domínguez has shown steady growth playing at a young age for every level over the last year plus, and the arrow is definitely pointing up for the recently turned 20-year-old out of the Dominican Republic.

Lastly comes Oswald Peraza, who flashed in a short stint with the big league club in 2021, and may not have one outstanding tool, but adds plus speed, plus defense, and a solid hit tool to be a very versatile piece.

Peraza really popped in 2021, combining for 17 bombs and 36 steals between High-A and Double-A, and although he didn’t wow at Triple-A last season, Peraza was still solid enough to show he was ready for the call-up. All three of these players have all the tools and the track record to indicate fruitful big-league careers in their future.

Shout out to Yoendrys Gómez for coming in at the back end of the list by the way.

The right-handed starter’s 2022 campaign was derailed by injuries (just like in 2021) and he should get his first full year at Double-A in 2023. He’s been on the 40-man roster since just before the 2020-21 offseason Rule 5 Draft, and the organization still has a measure of faith in him; now, we know that ZiPS likes Gómez as well.