In the past week, three of the major prospect ranking publications have released their top 100 for the 2020 season. While we all eagerly await the start of spring training and “grown men throwing balls” as Scott would say, reading about who’s coming next is my baseball version of catnip for the next month.
The hype is beginning to get out of control. The 16-year old international signee has not yet played a single game stateside, yet he is a consensus top 50 prospect. That is absolutely unheard of, yet every report is glowing and I haven’t heard anyone say he should be lower. The talent this kid has is insane – BA reports he has reached exit velocities of 108 mph which is some serious bat speed for anyone, let alone a 16 year old kid. The BA report also says, “The Yankees describe Dominguez as a player who might be constructed with by taking the best tools from other players throughout their system and molding them into a single player. His power, speed and athleticism rank among the best in the organization, which gives him the highest ceiling in a system filled with young, high-upside prospects.”
Both MLB and BA rank 2017 first rounder Clarke Schmidt as the top pitching prospect in the system over Deivi Garcia. BA rates Schmidt’s fastball, changeup, and curveball all as above average to plus pitches, which is probably why gets the nod as the top pitcher in the system. Garcia is known for a strong fastball and wipeout curveball which MLB Pipeline rates as the best curveball in the minor leagues.
My guess is BA and MLB Pipeline are less sold on Deivi’s other pitches – a slider and changeup – which sours them a bit on Deivi. The difference between two and three plus pitches is what separates relievers from starters. If Deivi can hone a third pitch I expect him to rise up the ranks by midseason. BP, on the other hand, already believes Garcia is the best pitcher in the system and actually has him ranked above Jasson Dominguez. BP tends to focus on upside over projectability which explains their ranking. And I would be remiss if I didn’t leave you with some beautiful Deivi futures game video
BA also released their toolsiest prospect rankings, and the Yankees represent very well on these lists. Righty Luis Medina is the third toolsiest pitcher in the minors, behind only Jesus Luzardo and Sixto Sanchez. BA rates Medina’s fastball as an 80 and his curveball as a 70 on the 20-80 scale. This classification makes him the only pitcher in the minors with 2 pitches grade 70 or better. On the position player side, Jasson Dominguez (who else?) ranks as the 2nd toolsiest hitter in baseball behind only Luis Robert. And, Dominguez is the only position player with all 5 tools (hitting, power, run, field, arm) grade 60 or higher.
4. Who are some other guys?
In addition to the top 100, BA and BP released their “almost” top 100 guys. BA lists Roansy Contreras, Luis Gil, Luis Medina, and Oswald Peraza as guys in the next 50. For more on BA’s list and prospects in general, check out the excellent interview with Ben Badler on this week’s Bronx Pinstipes Show! In their “just missed” section, BP mentioned Albert Abreu who came over in the Brian McCann trade.
5. Which teams are going to be good?
The only teams with more than 5 top 100 prospects were the Rays, Dodgers, Twins, and Padres. The first three of these teams all made the postseason last year, and look poised to do well for the next few years. Prospects such as Wander Franco, the consensus #1 overall prospect, will help the Rays maintain competitiveness despite a low payroll which will be the divisional challenge for years to come. The Dodgers are on the brink of winning the World Series, and can either promote top guys to supplement their roster or use them as trade bait to acquire someone like Mookie Betts. The Twins have a sneaky good team and system. Look for them to remain competitive in the AL Central. And lastly the Padres could make the leap any one of these years which could finally make the NL West interesting.
After being shut out on the BA top 100 list last year, it is awesome to see 3 guys make it this year. The key to any competitive window is to continue promoting guys from the farm to supplement the core roster especially as players become more expensive through arbitration and free agency. After promoting all their position player prospects in the past few years (Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres), the next wave of promotions will likely be pitchers such as Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt. They can be used to bolster the backend of the rotation or help out in the bullpen. Anyway you think about it, the Yankees are absolutely stacked for this year and have some intriguing guys down on the farm who can help out.