Only three New York Yankees prospects cracked Baseball America’s Top 100. This is a bigger red flag than some may realize.
New York Yankees fans took note Monday with the release of Baseball America‘s preseason Top 100 prospects list. It features three Yankees players: outfielder Jasson Dominguez (33) and pitchers Deivi Garcia (55) and Clarke Schmidt (64).
Already, it’s a shock Baseball America picked these three. Garcia and Schmidt both made their MLB debuts last season. Garcia performed well over a small handful of starts and even pitched an inning in the playoffs. Schmidt, meanwhile, was rawer than his strong spring training seemed.
Jasson Dominguez has potential, but hasn’t even played in a game yet. Simply put, the New York Yankees’ farm system isn’t the blue ribbon-winner it may have once been.
In fact, let’s take a look at Dominguez, Garcia, and Schmidt, and then the state of the Yankees’ farm as a whole.
At just 21 years old, Garcia is quite the wunderkind. He turned more than a few heads when he rocketed through three levels of the minor league system in 2019. Though he ran into a wall of sorts, he still fanned 165 hitters in 111.1 innings.
Garcia then debuted last summer during the pandemic-shortened season, and there were indeed some flashes of brilliance. Yet, hitters still took advantage of his inexperience.
And what does this have to do with Garcia’s spot on Baseball America’s list? First, it’s not as though he’s an ace in the making. He showed good control of his pitches in 2020, but averaged 3.8 BB/9 in the minors. Furthermore, his place on the Opening Day roster isn’t quite guaranteed.
Maybe Deivi Garcia is an ace in the making. Maybe he’ll move to the bullpen and become a successful closer. Whatever the New York Yankees decide to do with him, he still has some kinks that need ironing out. Given the state of the team’s pitching, Brian Cashman is probably crossing his fingers that Garcia becomes a successful rotation arm.
Oh, how we all fell in love with Schmidt last spring. Even I had a red hot take at his successful spring training and said he should be considered for the rotation.
Now, you recall what I’ve said about knowing how to pitch instead of simply throw. Clarke Schmidt is a perfect example of this. He has the fastball and slider down, but not a third pitch to really fool hitters. Throw in that Schmidt debuted last year despite just 19 innings thrown above A-ball, and he was easily more Ricky Vaughn than he was Steve Nebraska.
Let’s call it what it is. Clarke Schmidt was rushed to the majors in 2020. The 7.11 ERA in just 6.1 innings in just three games proves that. He may be “hungrier than ever,” according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, but he absolutely needs more time in the minors.
Maybe the day will come when Schmidt can be a reliable arm a spot or two behind Gerrit Cole in the New York Yankees’ rotation. Still, with his 25th birthday next month, his “prospect” status could soon be up in the air.
The key to assessing Jasson Dominguez’s ceiling is simple: you can’t.
He isn’t even 18 years old yet, but Dominguez has already earned the nickname “The Martian” for a reason. He’s a switch-hitting teenager with five-tool potential, especially as an outfielder. Sure enough, the idea of such a talent has the Yankees’ front office salivating.
So, when can we expect to see Dominguez make his long-awaited New York Yankees debut? Well, that’s hard to say. He’s still just 17, so at least two years in the minors can be expected. If the hype and athleticism are real, he would be quite the rookie sensation.
But here’s the rub. For all of the hype and fanfare, Dominguez has yet to play a single professional game in the Yankees system. And yet, he’s already drawing comparison to Mickey Mantle and Mike Trout.
This isn’t to say that Jasson Dominguez has bust written all over him. He has lots of talent and is exciting to watch. But without his in-game experience, how is it that he’s being ranked so highly?
My main takeaway is as follows: the New York Yankees’ minor league system was ranked 22nd in the majors last year, and now we know why. If Schmidt, Garcia, and Dominguez are the prospects who crack the Top 100, then the state of the farm system is more serious than it seems.
Look at it this way. If Baseball America thinks the Yankees’ best prospects are someone who hasn’t played yet, an older rookie pitcher, and a young arm with high upside but no clear role, that’s a problem.
Okay, sure, the Yankees have a deep team, but we saw how that depth was tested last year. That awful 5-15 stretch with a skeleton crew roster gave us a front-row seat as to how barren the minor league system may soon be.
Estevan Florial has a high ceiling. So do Luis Gil and Roansy Contreras. Austin Wells’ bat is a marvel to see.
But those players are all at least a couple of years away, and the prospects who are ready must still adjust accordingly before hitting their strides in the majors.
Because if not, the New York Yankees might need to get creative with limited farm assets.