Spring Training games have begun, and last night we all “saw” Gerrit Cole’s New York Yankees preseason debut. Because it’s still spring training, that means it’s still #ProspectSZN and outlets are releasing their top prospects for the 2020 season.
A few weeks ago, I covered the Yankees top prospects according to Baseball Prospectus, Baseball America, and MLB Pipeline. You can find that article here. Fellow nerd Frank Marco gave you plenty of takeaways from FanGraphs top prospects list which you can find here.
We’re coming up on the last of the prospect lists, and yesterday we got the release of Keith Law’s Top 100. Formerly of ESPN, Law moved to The Athletic this season which means I can finally read everything he writes 😊 It also means I can share some takeaways from his Top 100 Prospect List.
Three Yankee prospects made the list, and it’s the three you would expect: Clarke Schmidt, Deivi Garcia, and Jasson Dominguez. I’ll give a little detail about what KLaw said about each one (limited because paywall) and then go into some overall takeaways.
#51 Clarke Schmidt
Law is the only outlet to rank Schmidt as the top prospect in the Yankees system. Others disagree between Deivi and Jasson, but here Law is hyping up Clarke Schmidt which is awesome. Difference of opinion is good with prospect lists, and maybe it just means all three of them will be awesome. Law mentions Schmidt “misses bats” with his fastball which approaches 95mph and backs it up with a good slurvy-slider. He thinks Schmidt has No. 4 starter floor with No. 3 starter upside. With all the pitching injuries a No. 3 starter would be incredibly valuable.
#67 Deivi Garcia
First, the good news: Deivi can throw any of his four pitches in any count and use them to get swings and misses. To me, a guy with four quality pitches is a good starter and would be a great starter with command. And therein lies the problem with Garcia. Law notes he struggles with command and that could hold him back. The other thing that keeps Deivi from ranking higher is his size and emphasis on using his upper body in his delivery. That type of max-effort doesn’t bode well for future injuries or remaining a starter. Law does not say Garcia’s future is in the bullpen but does mention he could succeed in short bursts.
#99 Jasson Dominguez
The good news: Aaron Judge’s number is 99. Also, Law affirms with every other report has said: Jasson is built and has more hype than any Latin American prospect since Wander Franco who ranks #1 on every list. From reading Keith Law over the years, I know he has a strong preference to rank prospects after he has seen them live in person. And from this report, it sounds like he has not yet seen The Martian in action, which explains a low ranking and minimal scouting information. Hopefully, Jasson plays a bunch stateside this season and we find him near the top of prospect rankings next year.
It seems like Schmidt has overtaken Deivi as the #1 pitching prospect in the system. Baseball Prospectus is the only ranking site which rates Deivi higher. Baseball America, MLB Pipeline, and KLaw all prefer Schmidt, though not by that much. I guess the concerns about Deivi’s size, command and longevity pose a risk and we won’t know for a few years how he will fare in the majors.
Command is one of the last pitching skills to develop, so I am still optimistic about Garcia’s long-term outlook. He struggled with walks in his brief cameo at AAA last season, and that is the number to watch for Deivi this year whether he’s in AAA or MLB. The stuff is there and he has 4 pitches to throw, so once he learns command he could easily be a No. 2 starter if not an ace. Schmidt is a bit of a safer prospect, other than the Tommy John in his past, and I am excited to watch him throughout Spring Training and hopefully in the show this year.
This was the lowest ranking of Jasson so far, and in a way that encourages me. You just don’t see 16-year-olds with minimal game action get ranked on prospect lists let alone in the Top 50. Yet here we are, and even at #99, Law notes the incredible tools. Jasson basically needs to learn the ins and outs of the game – pitch recognition, maintaining elite speed, and route running. Those are more the mental aspect of the game and that is what will determine if Jasson can truly live up to his nickname of The Martian.