Yankees Top 10 Prospects Countdown: No. 7 Roderick Arias

New York Yankees
Dec 7, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Yankees logo during the MLB winter meetings at Gaylord Opryland Resort . Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

It’s prospects season! The New York Yankees have a sneaky deep farm system that has a lot of big-bodied pitchers and players in toolsy positions. Here at Empire Sports Media, we will be ranking the top 10 prospects on the Bombers starting in late January and finishing in early February.

The New York Yankees were able to secure the top international prospect of the 2022 signing period: shortstop Roderick Arias. The young Dominican, full of exciting tools that could make him a star later down the road, committed his future to the Bombers in exchange for a $4 million signing bonus.

In 2022, Arias made his debut in the Dominican Summer League, but while he did put up a 113 wRC+, he slashed .194/.379/.370 with a 33 percent strikeout rate and missed the first month with a wrist ailment. Despite the propensity for strikeouts, you could see some of his tools: considerable power for a middle infielder, game-changing speed and athleticism, and excellent defense.

His 2023 in the Florida Complex League was much, much better. He started the year fully healthy and hit .267/.423/.505 with six dingers and 17 stolen bases in 27 games, but then he suffered a broken right thumb. The Yankees hope he can start the 2024 campaign without restrictions, but his starting level is a mystery. The most likely scenario has him starting in Tampa, in Single-A, and then they will go from there.

The Yankees have a potential 30-30 guy in Arias

Despite his young age (19 years old), Arias has an idea of what to do in an at-bat. Here is what MLB Pipeline had to say about him after ranking him 86th in their top 100 prospects list:

“The switch-hitting Arias works counts looking for pitches to drive and has the bat speed and developing strength to punish them when he gets them. He has a pull-happy mentality and did a much better job of making hard contact and lifting balls in the air during his second pro season than he did in his first. It’s a power-over-hit approach that could produce 25 or more homers per season once he’s fully developed.”

For a middle infielder with solid defense, 25-homer power is definitely enticing. It’s something that the Yankees are surely happy about. He is also a plus runner who could steal 25 or 30 bases annually because he also has the desire and aggressiveness on the basepaths.

If there is something to worry about here, it’s his ability to hit, and that includes bat-to-ball skills. Eric Longenhagen calls his hit tool “below average” in his top 36 Yankees prospects writeup and also explains that since his left-handed swing is designed to hit low balls, he can be “vulnerable to rise-and-run heaters in the top half of the zone.”

Still, with a couple of season’s worth of reps, these are things he can polish eventually. In the end, Longenhagen compares him to New York Mets’ prospect Ronny Mauricio, “a big-framed, switch-hitting shortstop with power and strikeouts.” That’s definitely not a bad prospect to have.

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