2023 International Reviews: New York Yankees
The Yankees have shown a willingness to bet big on a premium prospect in recent years, doing so with outfielder Jasson Dominguez ($5.1 million) and shortstop Roderick Arias ($4 million) in recent years, and it’s something they did again this year.
While Dominguez is one of the club’s best prospects, former Yankees international signings like shortstops Jorge Mateo (Orioles) and Ezequial Duran (Rangers) and middle infielder Thairo Estrada (Giants) are thriving this year at up-the-middle positions for other organizations.
Top Of The Class
Outfielder Brando Mayea signed with the Yankees for $4.35 million, the third-highest bonus for any player this year and the most for a Cuban prospect. It’s an exciting balance of athleticism, tools and hitting ability from a player who can play a premium position. At 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, Mayea has a compact, efficient swing from the right side with a knack for barreling the ball consistently against live pitching. He has a good track record of game performance as an amateur with a mature offensive approach and good plate coverage. Mayea isn’t a hulking slugger, but he will show home run power both in batting practice and in games with exit velocities up to 108 mph, though it’s his pure hitting ability that stands out the most. As Mayea got stronger, his speed also improved to become a plus-plus tool. Between his speed, defensive instincts in center field and an arm that grades out at least plus, Mayea has the attributes to be a high-end defensive outfielder as well.
Names To Know
Jerson Alejandro, RHP, Dominican Republic: Alejandro signed for $409,000 and developed into one of the elite pitching prospects in the class. He’s 6-foot-6, 255 pounds at 17 with the power stuff to match his frame coming from a sound delivery with efficient arm action. He pitches in the low-to-mid 90s, reaching 98 mph on a high-spin fastball that could eventually reach triple digits. Alejandro complements his fastball with a changeup that flashes plus with upside for more with its lively tailing action and tumble. He throws a curveball as well that has average potential. It’s a high-upside starter look between his stuff, mechanics and ability to throw all of his pitches for strikes.
Richard Meran, OF, Dominican Republic: Meran, 16, signed for $100,000 with a good blend of hitting ability and a chance to stick at a premium position. He has an athletic frame (6 feet, 165 pounds) and has hit well in games, using a sound, compact righthanded swing with good bat path. He stings the ball well for a young hitter with his lean build, generating quality contact with the bat speed for his power to tick up. He moves around well in center field and has a fringe-average arm.
Gabriel Terrero, 2B, Dominican Republic: Terrero worked out for clubs at shortstop but will develop on the other side of the infield, projecting as a switch-hitting, offensive-minded second baseman with speed. It’s a small build (5-foot-7, 170 pounds) at 17, but he performed well in games as an amateur with a lot of contact and line drives across the field. Power probably won’t be a big part of Terrero’s game, but his plus-plus speed gives him a standout tool to go with his hitting ability. Terrero signed for $100,000.
The Yankees signed Dominican center fielder Gabriel Lara, who immediately became one of the fastest players in professional baseball, for $30,000. The lower bonus could have been because of his smaller size—he’s 5-foot-8, 160 pounds—but he’s an 80 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale. That speed translates to excellent range in center field. He’s a lefty with a slasher stroke and some occasional sneaky pop for his size.