It’s prospect list season, and we all know that means: debate. Heading into the offseason, the discourse in the Yankees’ prospect world centered around the team’s struggles in player development. But from a performance and public side prospect analysis perspective, the argument didn’t have much merit. With Baseball Prospectus (BP), Baseball America (BA), and FanGraphs (FG) all releasing their league wide or Yankees-specific lists recently, confidence in the Yankees’ system is perhaps at an all-time high.
Even after a trade that sent the team’s top pitching prospect away, organizational depth is still robust. No matter which list you look at, there is consensus that the Yankees have likely big league starters in the upper minors. A similar trend can be seen on the position player side, but the opinions vary a little more. For this meta-analysis, I’ll lay out some of the most interesting trends in the organization’s public side prospect analyses, and also parse out some points of diversion. The table below provides a list of players who appeared in various top 100 lists, and their ranking.
Yankees Prospect Rankings
|FG Rank (FV)
|FG Rank (FV)
I’ve included FG’s future value ranks in here (full top 100 hasn’t released) instead of the organizational ranking because typically players with 50 or more future value have a floor in the high 70s on FG’s list. In other words, when the entire list does drop, expect to see at least six players there, which would be in line with BA’s rankings.
Speaking of BA, they came up with the highest ranking for any player in the Yankees’ system – putting Jasson Domínguez at No. 16. He had three 60 grades in his power, run, and arm — from what we’ve seen from Domínguez in his cup of coffee last year, that seems about right. On the contrary, FG and BP both have The Martian ranked under Spencer Jones. The bet on Jones comes from the upside potential. For a player that size, he is incredibly athletic. He hasn’t had any explosive performance in the minor leagues to-date, but the bet on his ability to impact the ball — regardless of launch angle distribution — was enough to catapult him above Domínguez on these two other lists.
The Domínguez-Jones debate has been interesting for the last year or so and will continue to be as their careers progress. Jones has risen up prospect rankings without the stat lines to show for it, and Domínguez performed quite well in the minors while only peaking at age 20. 2024 will be Jones’ age 23 season — Domínguez won’t be that age until his third year in MLB. However, the concern around Domínguez centers on his body and ability being maxed out, and Jones barely scratching the surface of what he can do, even if it’s not a guarantee. It’ll be very interesting to see how their careers play out in the next few seasons. In a perfect world, they’re teammates for a long time. I personally would take Domínguez due to his proven ability to make adjustments and improve mid-season at such a young age, but to each their own! Now let’s move onto the other interesting parts.
Austin Wells cracked BA’s top 100 and will likely fall somewhere in the upper 60s to low 70s on FG’s. Visually speaking, his swing is as smooth as can be. He even showed tangible improvement after being called up last year. In 19 games, he had a 97 wRC+ and .4 fWAR. Over a full season, that shake out to about a league average catcher. If the Yankees get that out of him, it’s a huge success. A lot of Wells’ future value depends on whether he can be a league average hitter while remaining behind the plate, but with Tanner Swanson on his side, it’s a decent bet to make. Wells can be the player to have the most time in the big leagues in 2024 of anybody in the Yankees’ farm system, assuming he stays healthy and holds onto at least a share of the starting job.
Next we have the two pitchers in Chase Hampton and Will Warren. Drew Thorpe’s success clouded how good these two pitchers were in 2024, as they combined for nearly 250 innings. Warren threw about 100 of those in Triple-A and Hampton threw over half of his in Double-A. Warren is likely to get the first shot at the big leagues, but Hampton likely has the more promising future due to his plus fastball shape. He sits in the mid-90s with above average ride and a nice uphill entry into the zone. His 12-6 curve and nasty slider — which both rank at 55 according to BA and FG — are plus offerings that help him get his whiffs. There is consensus with him as a future big league starter. Plus, there is still some upside left in his mechanics to get even more out of his heater. Then with Warren, he didn’t crack the 100 with BA and BP, but expect that script to flip with FG. His 50 future value and proximity to the big leagues is an important factor that will lead to a ranking in the 70s.
Lastly, let's talk about the Everson Pereira and Roderick Arias. They’re at opposite points in their prospect journeys. Pereira came into 2023 ranked well across these three lists but has seen himself drop off of BP and FG quite dramatically. His 40 future value is that of a fourth outfielder, but after seeing his performance in 2023, that even feels optimistic. He will start in Triple-A this year hoping to prove that his lack of contact during his cup of coffee was only a temporary trend. Arias, on the other hand, has seen a significant rise after a disappointing state-side debut in 2022 which was followed by a fantastic 2023. FG has him fourth overall in the system. That will probably put him somewhere in the 50s given his position and fielding prowess. His ranking of 68 at BA is very solid, and they are bullish on his rise in 2024.
Other players that have been highlighted through various pieces are Jorbit Vivas, Brando Mayea, Henry Lalane, and George Lombard Jr. These players, and the others who made top 100 lists, are proof that the team’s player development machine is in good standing. Yes, it’ll be crucial that some of these players show their skills with the big league club, but only time will tell. This year, that task will be left up to Wells, Warren, and Domínguez. But more importantly, these lists show player development to be a real strength for the club that can be utilized in multiple ways going forward.