The Yankees have arguably the best group of talent in the Florida Complex League and Dominican Summer League in all of baseball. The team is loaded on both the hitting and pitching side. This may not result in the best farm system in baseball today—there is so much uncertainty with players this young—but a few years from now, these kids will be approaching the bigs.
It’s a credit to the organization’s scouting and player development. Identifying talent in kids this young is not easy. The risk involved with projecting on these players is high, but the Yankees seem to have developed a great understanding of how these dudes can immediately fit into the org’s player development pipeline. Identifying talent that fits into your development infrastructure is no easy task, but the Yankees have set themselves apart from their peers when it comes to young, international talent.
On the pitching side, there are a few names. The most notable is Henry Lalane, a 19-year-old left-handed pitcher who stands six feet, seven inches. He was actually born in the Bronx but primarily lived in the Dominican Republic afterward, allowing him to sign with New York in 2021, just shy of his 17th birthday. Lalane is already touching 97 mph and has advanced feel for the strike zone.
The list of players with that build, age, and characteristics is short. The Eury Pérez comparison is hilarious because Eury is just a year older, but the strike zone feel and size combination isn’t far off. Lalane ranks eighth among FanGraphs’ top Yankees prospects and fourth on the Baseball Prospectus edition. BP called him the most exciting pitching prospect in the org since Luis Severino.
Lalane has the brightest future and biggest upside, but Carlos Lagrange, Chalniel Arias, Sabier Marte, and Jordarlin Mendoza were all featured in the Top 20 of either publication’s prospect list. To have this many young players already showing big league promise will benefit the team in multiple ways. But most relevant to today, it gives them reinforcements who are a year or so from replacing the several arms traded away in the Juan Soto deal. Or if a team is interested in arms who are further away from the minors (as in the 2021 Anthony Rizzo trade, for one example), they can also serve as trade chips. Either way, this a legitimate group of pitchers who could impact the Yankees or another team before long.
The hitting side is similar. We saw the kind of talent Jasson Domínguez brings to the table, and there is possibly more where that came from. Roderick Arias, Brando Mayea, Edgleen Perez, Engelth Urena, and Keiner Delgado all show promise at a young age. Arias and Mayea are the most famous of the group and show up highest on prospect lists, with both ranking in the Top 10 at BP and FG.
Arias is closest to the big leagues, looking like a future slick-fielding defensive shortstop with above-average bat speed. Depending on how fast his development moves next year, this is the player I most likely see being featured in a trade for an impact player. The Yankees’ decision on Gleyber Torres may also impact his future in pinstripes. Mayea is a sure-thing center fielder who makes a ton of contact. His offensive development is pending, but the skills are there for him to pop in 2024, his age-18 season.
The group after these features two talented catchers in Perez and Urena, and Delgado has promising tools with the bat and in the infield. The gist here is that the team is developing multiple different archetypes of players that have the potential to wear pinstripes or be flipped to another team to help the Yanks today.
Whatever group of these players make it to the bigs or get traded, it is remarkable that the Yankees have had so much success already in developing players at the lower levels. The baseball part is of course important, but it also signals a return to the Yankees establishing themselves as the leaders of developing Latino talent. This is an organization that has been rooted in Latin American history for a long time, especially in the ‘90s. It started with the presence of Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera. Then as the years went by, Alfonso Soriano, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Canó, Dellin Betances, and Luis Severino were All-Stars in this city. The rise of Jasson Domínguez and trade for Juan Soto will bring a new era, but having more in the pipeline cements this team’s connection to Latin culture for years to come.