The Yankees have looked for talent in every part of the world and they are among the clubs mining the Bahamas for players.
“It is an emerging market with quality athletes,’’ international scouting director Donny Rowland said of the Bahamas. “There are major programs that train and develops (players), are active in showcase events and involved with Perfect Game.
“The players are getting developed and playing against good competition. It’s an emerging market.’’
One that produced D’Vaughn Knowles, a 6-foot-1, 161-pound righthanded-hitting outfielder from Nassau who signed a 2019 contract for $300,000 last July when he was 17. He trained at the International Elite program, but the island also has the Maximum Development Academy producing pro-caliber prospects.
“He is very athletic, plays center field, can run and throw and we like his swing,’’ Rowland said of Knowles, who was scouted by Rudy Gomez, Doug Skiles with Brady LaRuffa the point man in the talks.
Knowles’ twin brother D’Shaun Knowles signed with the Angels in 2017 and made his pro debut last year.
As for the developing market in the Bahamas and International Elite’s role in it, Rowland compared it to automobile shopping.
“It’s like buying the first model of a brand new car,’’ Rowland said. “The program has had success in getting players signed and creating a market.’’
Should Knowles make it to the big leagues one day with the Yankees, he wouldn’t be the first from the Bahamas to play for the club. Antoan Richardson, a speedy outfielder, appeared in 13 games for the 2014 Yankees and scored the game-winning run on Derek Jeter’s final hit in his last at-bat at Yankee Stadium.
— Top prospect Estevan Florial will miss time for the second straight year, this time thanks to a non-displaced fracture of his right wrist. Last season the center fielder played in just 84 games because of hamate surgery in the same wrist. Florial crashed into a wall on March 16 and injured the wrist when he went down on the warning track.
Florial hit .355 (11-for-31) with a home run and four RBIs in 13 big league spring training games.