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The Yankees’ first-half minor league All-Stars

As the minor league season reaches the midpoint, these prospects have been the standout performers.

MiLB: APR 27 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at Worcester Red Sox
Estevan Florial
Photo by Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the Single-A and Double-A levels finishing up the first halves of their seasons this week and the minor league All-Star games coming along early next month, it’s time to think about this season’s standouts. Based on their 2023 performances, here’s what a team of the Yankees’ organization All-Stars would look like.

Catcher: Austin Wells (Double-A)

Agustin Ramirez is quietly having a strong season on offense, and his numbers look similar to Wells’ in many respects, but the 2020 first-rounder gets the slightest of edges for his 10 homers and the fact that he’s doing it at Double-A. Wells also leads all catchers in the system with an .813 OPS and has at least earned praise from no less than Carlos Rodón for his poise behind the plate.

First base: Spencer Henson (High-A)

It is a toss-up between T.J. Rumfield and Henson for this nod, and perhaps Rumfield’s recent power streak gives him an edge. But Henson has been a consistently productive presence in the middle of the Hudson Valley order as players have been promoted (Aaron Palensky, Caleb Durbin), gotten hurt (Ben Rice), or cooled off at the plate (Alexander Vargas). His 124 wRC+ has him ninth in the organization among full-season hitters.

Second base: Jared Serna (Low-A)

At 5-foot-6, Serna is one of the smaller everyday players in the organization, but he’s been one of the best hitters. He’s tied for the system lead in RBI in with 44, he’s third in homers with 13, and he trails only Palensky in wRC+ at 143. With a slash line of .309/.372/.527 and a strikeout rate of 16.7 percent, there is nowhere to find fault in Serna’s performance.

Shortstop: Oswald Peraza (Triple-A)

He’s only played in 34 games, but Peraza has out-homered every other shortstop in the system. Having gone deep 11 times is impressive enough, but considering that his slash line is .292/.360/.563, he’s stolen 11 bases, and he continues to play excellent defense, and there’s not a better choice as the first half’s top performer at short.

Third base: Tyler Hardman (Double-A)

Andrés Chaparro has similar numbers, but he has played almost half of his games at first base and has also slumped a bit after a hot start. Hardman is fourth in the Eastern League with 13 home runs, a total which leads the Patriots, and his .825 OPS puts him in the league’s top 20. He is the closest thing the Yankees have to an everyday prospect at third base.

Outfield: Aaron Palensky (High-A, Double-A)

Not many would have predicted the prospect with the loudest performance of the first half of the season to be Palensky, but he has been dominant in 168 at-bats. Between Hudson Valley and Somerset, he’s at .333/.447/.690 for the year, with 14 home runs, 42 RBI, 43 runs scored, and 14 steals. He’s squarely in the conversation for the Minor League Player of the Year.

Outfield: Estevan Florial (Triple-A)

Florial has already put up a good season’s worth of numbers in only 218 at-bats. His 18 home runs are a career-high, and his .389 on-base percentage represents a level he hasn’t reached since he was in the Dominican Summer League in 2015. He’s had trouble establishing himself in the big leagues, but Florial has been a force to be reckoned with in Triple-A.

Outfield: Spencer Jones (High-A)

Jones has done what the Yankees hoped he would do in his first full season. Last year’s top draft pick is leading the organization in doubles and triples, he’s second in steals, and he is one of nine players in the system with double-digit home runs. Jones is also in the top five in OPS and wRC+ among Yankee farmhands.

Utility: Jesus Rodriguez (Low-A)

Rodriguez has played 2 games in left, 12 games at first, 23 at third base, and 10 behind the plate. While moving around so much defensively, his 137 wRC+ has him fourth in the organization for anyone playing above the rookie leagues. He’s slashing .310/.395/.458 and has seven steals to boot.

Starting pitcher: Clayton Beeter (Triple-A)

Beeter looked great after coming over in the Joey Gallo trade with the Dodgers last year, and he’s only gotten better in 2023. His 2.08 ERA leads the organization, and he’s punched out 76 in 60.2 innings pitched while letting up only 44 hits. He’s pushing his way toward Triple-A with each outing.

Starting pitcher: Drew Thorpe (High-A)

There was hope that Thorpe would come out and dominate in Hudson Valley on his way to Double-A by the end of this season, and that’s what he’s been doing. He hasn’t allowed a run to cross the plate in June, and he’s now 6-1 with a 2.64 ERA on the year. His 79 K’s trail only Chase Hampton in the organization.

Starting pitcher: Chase Hampton (High-A, Double-A)

There are several evaluators now calling Hampton the top pitching prospect in the Yankees’ system, and his performance this year makes it difficult to argue with that opinion. His 85 strikeouts have come in only 53 innings, and he now sports a 2.72 ERA between Hudson Valley and Somerset. Hampton has walked only 16 and allowed a mere 35 hits.

Starting pitcher: Zach Messinger (High-A)

Perhaps overshadowed by his teammates, Messinger has been no less impressive. His 2.44 ERA is second only to Beeter in the organization, and he’s been setting down hitters via the strikeout at a rate of 29.2 percent at Hudson Valley.

Starting pitcher: Juan Carela (High-A)

In a Hudson Valley rotation full of prospects, Carela is using 2023 to make a name for himself. He’s third in the organization in K percentage, and those strikeouts have been piling up of late. Carela has struck out 10 in each of his last three starts, and his 3.04 ERA is fifth in the system among starters.

Releiver: Matt Krook (Triple-A)

Krook’s season has been uneven, with some time missed due to injury and a couple of promotions to New York, but his numbers at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre indicate how difficult he has been to hit when on the mound. A strikeout rate of 45.5 percent and only seven hits allowed back up an ERA of 1.47 for the lefty.

Reliever: Danny Watson (High-A, Double-A)

Jack Neely and teammate Bailey Dees have put up similarly excellent numbers this year for playoff-bound Hudson Valley, but Watson, a third Renegade, was electric enough to get promoted to Double-A. The combined ERA of 1.15 and 42 strikeouts in 31.1 innings speak to the right-hander’s dominance.