2021-22 International Reviews: New York Yankees
In the 2022 Prospect Handbook, the Yankees have 12 of their international signings ranked among their Top 30 prospects, led by shortstop Oswald Peraza and outfielder Jasson Dominguez. But Yankees international signings are scattered throughout other organizations' farm systems. Righthanders Roansy Contreras and Miguel Yajure, and infielders Diego Castillo and Maikol Escotto on the Pirates, center fielder Kevin Alcantara with the Cubs, righthander Elvis Peguero with the Angels, shortstop Jose Devers with the Marlins and middle infielder Ezequiel Duran with the Rangers are all Top 30 prospects originally signed by the Yankees.
That's in addition to their international signings in other organizations who graduated in recent years like Cardinals righthander Giovanny Gallegos, Giants infielder Thairo Estrada, Orioles shortstop Jorge Mateo, Pirates utilityman Hoy Park, and relievers Domingo Acevedo (Athletics) and Anderson Severino (White Sox).
Top Of The Class
For some scouts, Dominican shortstop Roderick Arias was the best player available in this signing class. Arias is a well-rounded shortstop with a balance of tools, skills and athleticism at a premium position. With a lean, athletic frame, Arias has good bat speed and a sweet swing that's compact and adjustable from both sides of the plate. As an amateur, he showed the ability to recognize spin well for his age and hit well against live pitching. He makes hard contact, producing exit velocities up to 105 mph with a tick more power from the right side and a chance to grow into above-average power as he fills out. His plus speed could slow a tick as he gets bigger, but he projects to stick at shortstop with the hands and footwork for the position. He finishes plays with his best tool, an arm that conservatively draws plus-plus grades and might be an 80 tool.
Names To Know
Enyer Ureña, C, Dominican Republic: Ureña converted to catching a little less than two years ago, so he's still more offensive-oriented, but there's a lot to like in terms of his ability to hit in games and connect for power, with exit velocities already touching 106 mph. The transition behind the plate looks like it should stick, with Ureña showing a solid-average arm and a chance to develop into an average defender.
Louis Pierre, OF, Haiti: Pierre was similar in situation and similar as a player to outfielder Estevan Florial, with a big price tag early on that ended up dropping later in the process. He was a plus-plus runner, with that speed backing up a tick to still be plus, with an easy swing to go with an above-average arm and good defensive instincts in center field.
Gian Cruz, OF, Dominican Republic: Cruz is a 6-foot-3 lefthanded hitter with above-average speed and a chance to stay in center field. If his speed backs up as he fills out, he has the power (with exit velocities up to 105 mph) and a plus arm to head to right field as well.
Most of the Yankees' bonus pool money went toward signing Arias, but the Yankees have shown a knack for scouting and developing pitching prospects at lower prices. One pitcher to watch is Omar Gonzalez, a righthander from Panama who has stood out for his performance and pitchability while playing in national tournaments. He's a strike-thrower with a projectable 6-foot-3 frame to add to a fastball that's already up to 93 mph. Between his delivery, strike-throwing and three-pitch mix, Gonzalez has a starter profile, showing good rotation on his breaking ball and feel for his changeup as well.
At 5-foot-10, Yordy Luciano doesn't stand out physically and is a relatively older signing at 20, but the Dominican righthander has innate feel to spin the baseball. He has a high-spin fastball that has been up to 95 mph and elite rotation on his curveball with spin rates that have been north of 3,000 rpm.