The Yankees used the comp pick they received for trading Sonny Gray to draft a different pitcher from a Midwest school in Sikkema. Law notes Sikkema can get up to 96 with his fastball and that he confuses hitters with both location and his delivery. MLB Pipeline isn’t a huge fan of Sikkema’s build or delivery, but they do say his stuff plays up because of that deception. We haven’t heard much about Sikkema since he was drafted, and such a high review from Keith Law has me excited to watch him this year. If all goes well, he could be a fast riser as a college drafted pitcher.
The love for Oswald Peraza continues. Law ranks him 7th overall in the Yankees system and MLB Pipeline puts him at #4. Reports indicate Peraza is a good defender and although the bat has some questions, there is potential. Personally, guys who are great at defense but have a questionable bat aren’t very exciting to me. Sure defense is valuable, especially at an up the middle position, but for a player to become a future regular or All-Star caliber player, you need a good bat. Peraza already reached A Ball as a teenager, so there is optimism and room for him to grow. He’s just a little unexciting for a top 5 prospect in my opinion.
Disagreement on Gil
With every pitcher, the discrepancy in prospect ranking seems to rely on whether each person thinks the player can remain a starter or not. Law ranks Gil 14th in the system citing his lack of off-speed pitches as a reason he will likely end up in the bullpen. MLB Pipeline thinks Gil’s slider and changeup are both slightly above average which bodes well for his future. That optimism is also why the rank him 5th. Gil has always been a personal favorite because he has the hardest fastball in the system and because he was acquired for nothing more than Jake Cave of all people.
Keith Law ranks the Yankees as the 6th best farm system in all of baseball. Here is his blurb about them:
The Yankees have clearly figured out some things on the development side, especially finding ways to help pitchers throw harder or throw higher-quality pitches (like boosting spin rates), and have also stayed active on the international side. Their Latin American contingent helmed one of the most lauded groups of short-season prospects I found during the process of assembling these rankings, with teams already asking for some of their GCL kids in trade talks. They’ve also got pitching coming, headlined by a risky first-round pick who’s worked out extremely well so far in Clarke Schmidt.
I love hearing about the team figuring out things developmentally. For years we watched top prospects flame out and see the Yankees not develop a starting caliber pitcher until Luis Severino. Improving prospect velocity and spin rate has been a huge part of the system turnaround with pitchers and it clearly helps Law believe in some of the Yankee prospects. It is also encouraging that other teams are asking the Yankees about lower level prospects in trades. That speaks volumes about the team’s ability to find talent and show developmental progress. I remember when David Price was originally traded from Tampa Bay to Detroit for Willy Adames people were confused because he was so young, and Dombrowski said people did not realize how talented he was. Adames was a 3 WAR player last year, and that sentiment reminds me of how teams may be viewing the Yankees young prospects. That bodes well either for their future development or as trade bait to acquire an impact player at the deadline.
Baseball America, on the other hand, ranks the Yankees as the 17th best system in baseball claiming that after the top 3, the system is all about upside. Law is high on that upside whereas BA describes it as high-variance and far from the big leagues. Those lower level prospect making leaps this year will determine the farm system status for years to come.
The #1 team according to Law is the Tampa Bay Rays. He mentions they have strong pitching prospects as well as middle-infield depth including top prospect Wander Franco. The Rays are clearly the 2nd best team in the AL East right now, and it is clear this battle will continue on for the next few years. The Blue Jays rank 7th, and that doesn’t include the promotions of Vlad Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, and Bo Bichette. With a little pitching the Blue Jays can easily threaten for the AL East in the next few years. The Orioles and Red Sox come in at 24th and 25th respectively. That is certainly a bad sign for a rebuilding Orioles team and the Red Sox who decided trading Mookie Betts was in their best interests for some reason.
Overall it looks like the Yankees system is in a good place with a ton of room to grow over the next few years. And just as the current core starts to age, hopefully those current high-upside teenagers will be ready to take over and help the Yankees maintain success over the next decade.