Teens Who Rake Part II: Young Yankees
The New York Yankees made massive splashes this summer, acquiring multiple top-50 prospects and really filling out the top-end of their system. Even without those headline moves, their farm system was considered one of the deepest in baseball, due in large part to the five names on this list. They’ve handled all five aggressively this year, rolling out one of the youngest lineups in the Appalachian League (Advanced Rookie ball) on a daily basis. It’s worth noting that the average player in the league was over 21, and all these prospects are still teenagers. Depending on the depth of your league, there’s a chance all five of these guys were drafted in their respective classes, but there’s also a chance they aren’t even on your league’s radar. It’s one of the struggles of writing about deep dynasty prospects, because one league’s “deep” is another league’s kiddie pool. Regardless, these are some high-upside names worth keeping an eye on.
Estevan Florial, CF, New York Yankees
Despite turning 19 later this week, Florial has already played two games in the Florida State League (High-A). It’s interesting that the organization wanted him to see that level of baseball this early — where he was nearly five years younger than the average player — especially after he didn’t exactly flourish in the Appalachian League. He hit .225/.315/.364 in 60 games for the Pulaski Yankees, with an interesting double-digit walk rate, 7 home runs, and 10 steals on 12 attempts. Listed at 6-foot-1 / 185 pounds, the Haitian-native hits left-handed and throws right. He’s served primarily as a centerfielder, but he’s also spent time in right field. He also struck out nearly 30 percent this year, adding even more risk to the profile. All things considered, he’s young, the organization has challenged him mightily, and he’s shown an interesting blend of patience, power, and speed. If you’re looking for lottery tickets, there are worse gambles than Florial.
Leonardo Molina, CF, New York Yankees
Molina’s numbers aren’t quite as exciting as dynasty owners might hope. After posting a solid yet unremarkable .246/.318/.440 for the Pulaski, he earned a promotion to A-Ball. The near-.200 ISO and seven home runs are intriguing, but he struggled to hit above the Mendoza line after the promotion, and saw his ISO cut in half while the strikeouts increased. Molina’s also the oldest player on this list, having turned 19 at this year’s trade deadline, but his 6-foot-2-and-potentially-still-growing frame are what makes him intriguing. He’ll likely start 2017 back in the Sally League, and it’ll be interesting to see if there’s noticeable development from the Dominican centerfielder.
Dermis Garcia, 3B, New York Yankees
Listed at 6-foot-3 / 200 lbs, Garcia is enormous for a nearly-19-year-old third baseman. The recipient of a $3 million bonus in 2014, the former shortstop might outgrow the infield altogether. He’s another kid the Yankees handled aggressively, and whom responded with a batting average hovering around .200; however, Garcia hit 13 home runs in under 60 games for Pulaski. He complemented his noteworthy .247 ISO with a predictable high-walk, high-strikeout profile. I can’t blame Appy League pitchers for wanting to pitch around the imposing Dominican slugger, but he struck out in over a third of his plate appearances. At this point, he’s a more of a 40-grade prospect with a reasonable ceiling of a three-true-outcome right-handed bench bat. But not only do chicks dig the long ball, so do owners in your dynasty league. Garcia makes for an interesting throw-in candidate during trade discussions, and as of today, I wouldn’t mind being on either side of a trade including him.
Oswaldo Cabrera, 2B/SS, New York Yankees
Speaking of young Yankees who’ve moved quickly, Cabrera made his pro debut and saw three levels this year all as a 17-year-old. The undersized right-handed Venezuelan split time between shortstop and second base, and hit a ridiculous .441 in 19 games in the Dominican Summer League (DSL). He carried that over into a seven-game stint in the Gulf Coast League (GCL) where his numbers somehow improved — to .455/.471/.818. Cabrera finally settled back down to Earth in the Appalachian League, but still hit a more-than-respectable .240/.305/.333 as one of the youngest players in the league. Due to lack of projectable ceiling, he’s probably more of a watchlist kind of guy in the majority of leagues, but he’s not one you should forget about this offseason.
Wilkerman Garcia, SS, New York Yankees
Maybe this specific installment of ‘Teens Who Rake’ should’ve been titled ‘Teen Yankees Who Hit Okay Despite Aggressive Assignments’, but I ran it by our Investor Relations department and they wouldn’t sign off on it. Wilkerman is not only the second Garcia on this list, but also the second player to hit under .200 this season. Regardless, the reports on his glove are good enough to project as a shortstop for now and he has a loose right-handed swing, a package which the Yankees felt comfortable playing all year in Pulaski. While he didn’t hit a ton, at least he kept the strikeouts in check at 18 percent. And considering a shoulder injury kept Wilkerman sidelined for the start of the season and may have affected his performance upon return, reading too much into his 2016 may be a mistake. Garcia was considered near the top of the 2014 international free agent class, and while the results haven’t exactly jumped off the page, there’s still a potential big league shortstop with some power projection if you dream on him.
Miguel Flames, 1B, New York Yankees
It’s not pronounced the way you think, but that doesn’t make it any less cool. Another member of that 2014 class, Flames is a big-bodied first baseman with some bat-to-ball ability. He spent 2016 in the GCL as an 18-year-old and posted a reasonable .263/.310/.338 triple-slash with a walk rate of just five percent, but an eye-catching nine percent strikeout rate. Based on size alone, you’d expect some additional development in the power department from the million-dollar bonus baby out of the Dominican Republic. It’s a low-probability profile, but if you’re playing coin slots, sometimes it’s best to bet on the prospect with the noteworthy name.