With spring training getting closer with every passing day, the New York Yankees are gearing up for several position battles that will determine starting jobs in 2023. Notably, shortstop, third base, and left field are all up for grabs, which puts several prospects in a position of leverage.
Obviously, Oswaldo Cabrera and Oswald Peraza expect to land two of those starting gigs. Several youngsters are fighting for an opportunity who could shine in spring training and justify being elevated at some point during the regular season.
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Three prospects that could shine for the Yankees during spring training:
1.) Anthony Volpe
Management has already told Anthony Volpe that he will have a prime opportunity to steal the starting shortstop job away from Peraza. Volpe played in 132 games last year between Double-A Somerset and Triple-A Scranton. In Somerset, he played 110 games, enjoying 422 at-bats, recording 106 hits, a .251 batting average, .348 OBP, and .820 OPS, including 18 homers and 60 RBIs with 44 stolen bases.
In other words, Volpe was tremendous with Somerset, progressively getting better as the season developed. However, his numbers dipped a bit with Scranton, which was expected, despite starting his tenure recording a hit in six consecutive games. Volpe went on to go through a bit of a cold stretch but showcased he could hit at that level, and his talents quickly translated to better opposition.
While I don’t expect Volpe to land the starting shortstop job immediately, he may make a strong argument to be elevated this year.
2.) Jhony Brito
One of the Yankees’ more underrated pitching prospects is Jhony Brito. At 24 years old, Brito spent 42 innings with Somerset and 70.2 innings with Scranton last year. In Triple-A, he tallied a 3.31 ERA, 6.75 strikeouts per nine, 0.64 home runs per nine, 75.6% left-on-base rate, 54.4% ground-ball rate, and 4.63 xFIP.
Brito is an incredibly talented pitcher with the longevity to be a starter but also great value out of the bullpen. As the team’s No. 10 ranked prospect, Brito is considered a workhorse that utilizes a change-up, breaking ball, and sinker.
Brito could be a solid piece in the bullpen this upcoming season with his array of pitches and steady development.
3.) Everson Pereira
Another player, the Yankees, are extremely high on is Everson Pereira, the team’s No. 5 ranked prospect at 21 years old. The 6-foot, 191-pound outfielder spent 2022 in Double-A. He hit .283 with a .341 OBP, five homers, 13 RBIs, and a 128 wRC+. His strikeout rate is slightly elevated at 30.1%, so getting his chase rate down should translate to more walks and a higher on-base percentage.
Considering Pereira still got on base at about a 34% clip with a strikeout right at 30.1% is quite impressive. When he does make contact, it is usually adequate and puts the ball in play. Hosting an impressive power/speed combination, he has the tools to play most of the defensive outfield positions. He seems like a better trade candidate than a future starter since the Yankees are high on Jasson Dominguez, but I wouldn’t rule out Pereira from having a great spring training performance.