We started with the prospects working on their last chance. Then, we pivoted to the youngsters who have played well, but more likely to be traded.
Not these Yankees prospects we’re about to discuss. Their donning the pinstripes is inevitable. Some might even call it destiny. One way or another, even if another team offers Brian Cashman the moon and more, this crop of future Yankees isn’t going anywhere.
IF Trey Sweeney (age 22). If we’re being completely honest, Sweeney is probably straddling the border between being a trade chip and untouchable. He was drafted as a shortstop and the Yankees are set there. He’s played all of his minor league games at shortstop. Why have the Yankees kept him?
Looking at reports on New York’s No. 6 prospect per MLB.com, it sounds like the 6-foot-4 Sweeney could switch positions as soon as this season. Some view his strong arm as a good fit at third base.
It’s important to note that the Yankees currently don’t seem to have a plan for third base beyond Josh Donaldson playing out his contract this season. Oswald Peraza can switch, but doesn’t project as a big bat. Sweeney and his lefty bat, however, hit .241 with 16 home runs and a .763 OPS between High-A and Double-A last year. That’s enough to keep him for at least one more year.
OF Spencer Jones (21). Jones was drafted last summer and so the Yankees are still learning who he is as a player. Yet, his being a 6-foot-7 power-hitting outfielder meant immediate Aaron Judge comparisons, so it’s hard to see New York parting with him anytime soon.
The lefty-swinging Jones played in just 25 minor league games after the draft, but he hit .344 with four home runs and a .962 OPS. He can consistently barrel balls for high exit velocities, vital in today’s analytics-driven game. But again, it’s still too early to determine his path.
Maybe he stays in the outfield and takes over in right when it’s time for Judge to take more at-bats at DH. He played first base at Vandy too, so maybe he succeeds Rizzo in a couple of years. Either way, the Yankees really seem to like Jones and what his lefty swing can do in Yankee Stadium.
SS Oswald Peraza (22). Peraza debuted with the big league club in September and early returns look promising. He hit .306 with a home run and .832 OPS in just 18 games. As of now, he’s probably the favorite to win the Opening Day shortstop’s job out of spring training.
It’s a golden opportunity for Peraza to show his improved hitting last year was no mirage. He hit a modest .259 at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but with a career-high 19 home runs. Peraza can also play second base in an emergency and may even see some reps at third this spring.
And yet because of another prospect we’ll discuss soon, Peraza’s Yankees future isn’t 100% clear. But for now, even as the Yankees hope to add more, he isn’t going anywhere.
OF Jason Dominguez (19). Dominguez was almost traded for Luis Castillo last season, but it’s safe to say his future in pinstripes looks secure again. The wunderkind outfielder broke out across three minor league levels in 2022, batting .273 with 16 homers, 59 RBI, and even 37 steals. There’s room for improvement too, given Dominguez’s 24.1% strikeout rate (K%).
And even now, the strikeouts aren’t too big a worry for Dominguez, who projects as a center fielder. He’s not even 20 years old and will start the year at Double-A Somerset and then hopefully onto Scranton. Maybe he’ll also take some reps as a corner outfielder.
One thing is certain. Jasson Dominguez will be in Yankee Stadium soon, maybe even this year.
SS Anthony Volpe (21). The man, the myth, the local legend who is also the Yankees’ current No. 1 prospect. Volpe overcame a slow start last year to hit 21 home runs with 65 RBI and an eye-popping 50 steals at Double and Triple-A. Now, he might be a dark horse candidate to be the Opening Day shortstop.
This is the moment the Yankees and their fans have anticipated. Volpe has the speed, the glove, and the bat for both average and power. He can downplay the Derek Jeter comparisons all he wants. Not to knock Didi Gregorius and Gleyber Torres’ popularity, but there’s been a deep void at short ever since the Captain retired. Volpe will fill that void, and maybe as soon as this year.
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