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Josh Norris: Hello. Let’s chat about the Yankees.
- How do the Yankees view Estevan Florial these days? Does he have a chance of recapturing some of his prospect glory?
Josh Norris: They view him in much the same way they did last year, as an incredibly toolsy prospect who had valuable development time taken away from him because of injuries. They still believe in the ceiling but understand that there are flaws to be corrected. Of note, they say he hit 12 home runs at the alt-site.
Jay (New York):
- Some people say Dominguez’s body will be too blocky. Do you have concerns about his defense long-term?
Josh Norris: I’m going to cop out here and say that it’s incredibly hard to tell in a year when A) He did not get on the field in front of evaluators outside of a brief look before the shutdown B) He’s out of view to most everybody not in the organization unless it’s a clip on Instagram C)He’s 17 years old and it’s not easy to see how the body goes until he’s done growing.
Dave (Hastings on Hudson, Ny):
- Is there any concern in the Yankees organization that almost every position player prospect has now gone a full year without any competition? Amazingly, the Yankees did not choose the field and instructional league team for “Covid reasons” although every other team manage to do it. Are they planning a mini camp in the Spring prior to normal spring training? Are they at all concerned that these position players have been left to their own devices for one full year?
Josh Norris: Sure there are concerns, but they aren’t especially unique to the Yankees because plenty of teams had guys miss a full year due to COVID. I think they are at least planning to hold Dominican instructs, too. As for the mini-camp, I don’t know and I don’t think anybody can truly know until we see how COVID goes for the rest of the year and into next. There’s already talk that spring training will be affected, so a lot depends on where the virus goes what various municipalities are allowing in terms of groups of people, etc.
- Does this system have a chance to rise back up the organization rankings?
Josh Norris: If it does, it will only be because of other teams dropping this year because their various high-end prospects graduated and don’t count in the org rankings any more. Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt and Miguel Yajure made nice progress this year, none of them really altered their ceilings enough to warrant a move up the rankings on merit alone. The Yankees also had just three draft picks, so they won’t benefit from a particularly robust draft haul injecting life into the system in ways like the Tigers or Marlins might.
Frank (Staten Island):
- We seem to have put a ton of energy into the international market. Why is that?
Josh Norris: Because a lot of really good players come from the international market. Luis Severino and Gary Sanchez and Deivi Garcia have been nice finds there, and Miguel Yajure and Yoendrys Gomez and Alexander Vizcaino and Luis Medina and Roansy Contreras could each pay off in the coming years.
Jasson (Winter Ball):
- Where do you envision me starting in 2021, assuming it’s a normal year?
Josh Norris: I strongly doubt it will be a normal year, but if we suspend reality for a moment I’d say you probably begin the year in the Gulf Coast League for ExST before moving to low Class A (wherever that may be)
Dave (Hastings on Hudson New York):
- This is not strictly a Yankee question, but when do you think the new affiliations/leagues will be announced? To the best of your knowledge, does it seem likely that the Yankees will have their double a franchise in their High A Franchise in nearby New Jersey?
Josh Norris: I’d guess in a couple of weeks or so. Had heard forever that it was going to be at least until after the election for various reasons, but we’ve heard whispers that it should be around 11/15. As for the second part, I’m pretty sure at least their Double-A affiliate will be in NJ, not certain about High-A.
Dave (Hastings on Hudson, NY):
- What is behind the Yankees decisions to allow so many of their minor-league personnel to leave the organization entirely and go to work for Miami? Are we to believe that all of these instructors were inferior to the college and high school type instructors they are hiring now? Is there any concern within the organization that they have put all of their eggs in the “college” type instructor basket?
Josh Norris: Hard to say there’s any concern considering they haven’t had much time to really show what they can do yet, given the pandemic. A certain type of instructor is en vogue right now and has been a for a bit because of the success they’ve had in various orgs, so it’s not a huge surprise to see NYY go that way too.
Sean (Centreville, VA):
- It is a total information desert out there for any of the prospects that were not at the alternative site. Do you have any updates or info on the lower level guys and their progress? Specifically guys the Rule V that they have to protect this offseason.
Josh Norris: Not really other than to say they were mostly doing what they could considering the circumstances. If that means playing in an indy league like Josh Breaux did briefly, that’s one avenue. If it means working on stuff at home with video check-ins from various members of the org, that’s another. Some could pop up here and there with winter leagues, but it really is just a bad situation all around.
- could Austin Wells be a serviceable outfielder or is he destine for 1st base?
Josh Norris: There’s a split camp in that regard (he has experience at both OF and 1B) but obviously he should be given a chance to succeed at catcher, especially considering we’ll probably wind up with a TrackMan (HawkEye?) strike zone here at some point–much to my dismay–and framing will no longer be a skill.
- What do you make of the Yankees going catcher again in this draft and does it say anything about guys like Antonio Cabello or their first round pick last year?
Josh Norris: Not a thing, really. Most teams go with the player they believe is the best available and the Yankees have liked Wells for a long time (they drafted him out of HS too). Take the player you believe to be the most talented, regardless of position, and go from there.
Karl of Delawaare (Georgetown, Delaware):
- Where does former LSU player Josh Smith land in 2021? I don’t expect you will be able to tell the home team city due to the minor league reorganization, but you think he will be at low A, high A or AA. What do you see as his ceiling?
Josh Norris: I’d say given his college pedigree he probably winds up at High-A
- Great list. I have 1 Yankees question and 1 Mlb draft questions. Who of the Yankees prospects have the highest floor and ceiling? And when do the competence balance A and B picks get announced? Thanks brotha
Josh Norris: Highest ceiling is easily Jasson Dominguez on the hitting side and Luis Medina on the hitting side. Ezequiel Duran also has pretty darn good upside. Highest floor, maybe Deivi Garcia or Clarke Schmidt for pitchers (slight edge to Garcia here) and maybe guys like Austin Wells or Josh Smith as hitters.
Dave (Hastings on Hudson New York):
- When the Yankees announced their roster for the alternate site, I actually thought they were moving in the right direction by having quadruple a type of players that may come in handy to the big league team should injuries, or even Covid related disablements, come up. They chose those players over their position prospects, which most if not all of the other 29 organizations did not do. In retrospect, did the Yankees make a wise decision?
Josh Norris: Yes, they did. A great many of their position prospects are super young and would not have been much help to the big club in the case of injuries or COVID.
Sean (Centreville, VA):
- Volpe seems to have dropped quite a bit. Is it because there is less of a track record for him or are there other concerns?
Josh Norris: It’s hard to get a clear assessment of a guy like Volpe simply because his first season was kind of a wash because of the mononucleosis and then he just didn’t have a season this year. Guys like Yajure took a step forward (and got to the big leagues) and evaluators with other orgs were very bullish on guys like Yoendrys Gomez.
- It’s easy to dream on Kevin Alcantara. Was he close to the top 10? I know its hard to project someone so young with limited pro data but can you tell me anything on how he’s progressed this year? Any new development TE from instructs? Thanks for the chat!!
Josh Norris: I haven’t placed him yet, but lots of people liked him for sure. Obviously he hasn’t been able to do much this year because of the shutdown, but the Yankees say they want him to control the strike zone better once things get back to normal. That’s what he’s been working on over Zoom.
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware):
- Former 1st round shortstop Kyle Holder is inching towards the majors and I note that he is noted to be the best defensive infielder – is all of this enough to give him a major league roll, if only as utility guy?
Josh Norris: I do not expect Kyle Holder to have much of a role with the Yankees. He’s a really good defender but just doesn’t hit enough to fill anything other than maybe an emergency spot with NYY.