What to Expect
The Tampa Yankees are now the Tampa Tarpons, but the team isn’t exactly ripe with talent like years prior. These are kids further away from the big leagues, so this is more about their potential than their current talent level. The team is ripe with pitching, with a few outfielders in there as well. Don’t expect much from this roster until midseason promotions.
Position Players to Watch
Estevan Florial (OF) is on the verge of becoming the top prospect in the system, following an impressive showing in spring training. He is by far the best player on this roster, but he will have to work on his plate discipline before he can truly be considered the uber prospect he is supposed to be. He struck out 148 times last year, so (hopefully) he has nowhere to go but down.
Isiah Gilliam (OF) had something of a breakout season in Charleston last year, hitting 15 home runs with an .825 OPS. He has long been considered an interesting prospect, but his age made him more of a long-term project. Now at 21 years old, he is ready to prove that he deserves a spot among the best the system has to offer.
Carlos Vidal (OF) was long considered to be a top prospect in the making, but an injury-riddled 2016 season seems to have sunk those hopes. His 2017 was disappointing, so hopefully he can get back on track this year.
Pitchers to Watch
Albert Abreu (RHP) can hit 100 mph on his fastball, making him an intriguing weapon in either the rotation or the bullpen. Right now the Yankees will keep him in the rotation, but the 2018 season will likely be key to his fate. He underwent an appendectomy and missed spring training, so hopefully he can get into game shape before too long.
Jonathan Loaisiga (RHP) was a complete unknown until the Yankees placed him on the 40-Man Roster prior to the Rule 5 Draft. His career has been decimated by injuries, but the organization seem intrigued by his stuff enough to take a chance on him.
Freicer Perez (RHP) is six-foot-eight and can hit 100 mph on his fastball, making him someone to look out for in the coming years. Despite his size, he doesn’t seem to suffer from the same mechanical issues that sent Dellin Betances to the bullpen. The Yankees have been interested in his potential, but he will need to show results to keep himself moving through the system.
Trevor Stephan (RHP) was a third-round draft pick last year but has managed to stay healthy, unlike many in his class. He had a solid debut in Staten Island, but it should say something about his ability that the Yankees are allowing him to skip Low-A this year.