Yankees Prospect Report: Late-game pandemonium, short-season affiliates continue to impress

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With the Yankees still struggling at the Major League level, the Minor League system suddenly has a larger importance for this organization’s success in the future. A lot of the names at the higher levels of MiLB are going to be tasked with helping this team navigate through the remainder of the 2023 season and at the start of the 2024 campaign. It was an eventful day for the farm system, as they kicked off their week of action, with the playoffs a little over a month away for these ballclubs.

The influx of newly-drafted prospects is providing some exciting baseball but also creates necessary promotions across the system to accommodate for roster size limitations. From the Dominican Summer League all the way up to Triple-A, there’s a lot to be excited about in today’s prospect report.

Yankees Continue to Shine in MiLB Short-Season Leagues

One of the Yankees’ most exciting young prospects is 2B/SS Keiner Delgado, who has continued to impress in his sophomore season with the organization. The switch-hitting infielder stands at 5’7 but has really added to the power aspect of his game, increasing his HR total from three across 52 games to eight across 44. He’s got remarkable plate discipline with much-improved contact abilities that have allowed him to dominate in his first season at the Florida Complex League.

He’s slashing .287/.400/.481 with a 132 wRC+, and after going 2-4 with a HR yesterday, the Yankees should consider promoting him to Single-A and finishing out the season with an even greater challenge. He’s once again walked more than he’s struck out, and with 28 steals this season, he’s flashing his incredible speed as well. This is an extremely well-rounded prospect, and while he’ll have to produce at higher levels of MiLB to gain notoriety, it’s surely an encouraging start.

2022 FCL standout Luis Serna went 2.2 IP with 1 ER and three strikeouts, taking the loss in the FCL Yankees’ 3-2 loss. While he’s struggled to follow up on a season in 2022 where he had a 22.4% K-BB% and 1.96 ERA with Florida, injuries have slowed his progression this year. It’s likely the Yankees still send him to Single-A in 2024, where we’ll get added data on his pitch arsenal and see if he can climb into High-A early.

17-year-old Gabriel Lara is having a great debut season at the Dominican Summer League, slashing .271/.399/.421 in 40 games with 26 walks to just 30 strikeouts. He went 2-5 with a walk and three runs, helping lead his squad to a 13-6 win. He’s a left-handed outfielder who’s become the NYY Bombers’ leadoff hitter, and if he follows this season up with a hot start to his age-18 season, the Yankees could send him stateside to the FCL sooner rather than later.

With the standout names of the DSL and FCL from yesterday’s action out of the way, let’s head into the full-season action.

Pitchers Grind Out Wins, Big Blasts Help Stage Dramatic Comebacks

In Single-A, the Tampa Tarpons were stunned when they allowed six unanswered runs over the final two frames to drop a game to the Daytona Tortugas. Every position player in the lineup reached base, and the offensive attack was led by four draft picks from the Yankees’ 2023 Draft. Roc Riggio went 1-3 with a walk and two runs as the leadoff hitter, Kiko Romero hit a triple and added two walks onto that, Coby Morales had three hits including a double, and UDFA Josh Moylan added a hit and two walks of his own.

Yorlin Calderon started the game, acting as an opener and allowing one run across 2.1 frames, striking out five and walking three in the process. As for their High-A affiliate in Hudson Valley, they grabbed a 4-2 win over the Brooklyn Cyclones thanks to a gritty start from Baron Stuart and HRs from Ben Cowles and the recently-promoted 21-year-old Jesus Rodriguez. He put up a 121 wRC+ in 84 games with the Tampa Tarpons, playing a lot of the corner infield while also catching. He’s now 8-20 since being promoted and has a 195 wRC+.

The Somerset Patriots continued their tear in the Eastern League, as they were guided by Chase Hampton’s strong start and some late-game heroics from Ben Rice. Hampton gave the Patriots six innings of three-run baseball with just two of those runs being earned, as he struck out six batters and rebounded from a four-start slump where he had a 6.43 ERA and 11.7% BB%. Jasson Dominguez would go 1-3 with a walk, RBI, and Run Scored, and fellow prospect standout Agustin Ramirez had a multi-hit day.

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Oct 26, 2022; Surprise, Arizona, USA; New York Yankees designated hitter Jasson Dominguez plays for the Mesa Solar Sox during an Arizona Fall League baseball game at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Caleb Durbin made his return to the Double-A lineup, hitting an RBI double and going 1-2 on the day. The biggest hit came off the bat of Ben Rice, who clubbed his eighth HR of the season down 3-2 to go up 4-3, with the bullpen closing the door for the win. Jack Neely gave Somerset two innings of scoreless baseball, striking out four batters and facing the minimum. The Yankees could look for late-season promotions to Triple-A, and Ben Rice is certainly deserving of such n honor.

In Triple-A, the Scranton Railriders got a solid outing from Will Warren, who struck out eight batters across five innings, allowing just two earned runs. They found themselves down 5-1 in the top of the eight before a 473-foot blast from Austin Wells made the game 5-2, his first HR at the Triple-A level. The RailRiders would go quietly into the top of the ninth, where they exploded for four runs, with one of the big bats in that inning being Oswald Peraza, who went 2-5 with a double and RBI. It was Ron Marinaccio who closed the door on Worchester, and they pull to 55-57 on the season.

It was an extremely exciting set of games for the Yankees MiLB affiliates, and there should be more excitement today as Clayton Beeter toes the slab in Triple-A, Yoendrys Gomez in Double-A, and recently-promoted Justin Lange makes his High-A debut against the Brooklyn Cyclones.

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