By all accounts, Brian Cashman and the Yankees’ front office staff have built arguably the strongest farm system in baseball. Thanks to shrewd trades, solid drafts, and international acquisitions, the system is flush with talent. Yankees prospects currently occupy seven spots on MLB Pipelines’ Top-100 list. With the talent in place and the ability to develop them, the question is how will the club utilize their assets?
Three Purposes of a Prospect
Each day scouts around baseball look to uncover what they hope will be the next major leaguer. The truth of the matter is not all prospects will pan out and reach their projections. Bernie Pleskoff has written that all prospects serve several purposes for an organization.
Players that reach the major leagues provide a significant return on a team’s investment. Players such as Derek Jeter, come up through a team’s farm system and become the face of a franchise. In Jeter’s case, he provided the Yankees with two decades of performance and a Hall of Fame career.
Another example is of course catcher Gary Sanchez, who came up and announced his presence immediately, allowing them to trade Brian McCann to the Houston Astros. With the McCann trade, the Yankees added two powerful right-handed pitching prospects—Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman—to an already stout system. And, as an added bonus, they were able to clear some payroll as they attempt to get under the luxury tax.
Here are five players that are likely to make their future Major League debuts in the Bronx: Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier, James Kaprelian, Justus Sheffield and Blake Rutherford.
Once a team has reached the position of a legitimate contender, moves will need to be made to strengthen the Major League roster. Not all of their prospects will play in the pinstripes, nor will they all reach the major leagues. Cashman will deal from his strong farm system to strengthen the big league club when they are ready for a World Series run.
The most glaring need is starting pitching, but the price for acquiring pitching is quite steep. Look no further than the Chris Sale and Andrew Miller trades. In both instances, the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians paid a king’s ransom to acquire star pitching.
The prospect most likely to make their major league debut wearing a different uniform: Jorge Mateo.
Filling Out Minor League Rosters
Just as important as filling a big league roster, is filling out the rosters of each minor league affiliate. These players may make a few major league appearances, be traded, be career minor leaguers or become coaches and managers.
The Yankees’ farm system is loaded with talent of all types and now they are tasked with developing each of these prospects into productive players. There’s a young base to build from with Didi Gregorious, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Aaron Judge and Luis Severino. There are questions yet to be answered. Who will ultimately stay and be a part of the next World Series team? Who will be traded? Time will tell.