For most Yankees, this spring training hasn’t seemed to be any different than spring training in the past; workouts, games, exhibition games, all of it is just a chance to get prepared and in shape for the upcoming season. But for others, spring training has become a chance to impress the front office and even try to play their way onto a roster spot for Opening Day.
It comes without a doubt to say that some of the most impressive performances this spring have come from the Yankees’ core of top prospects within their organization. For the front office and fans, this spring training has almost given a glimpse of what the future holds for the Yankees’ roster, maybe even as soon as this upcoming season.
Highlighting the future of the Yankees’ organization and moving his way up the prospect rankings is MLB’s No. 5 prospect and the Yankees No. 1 prospect, shortstop Anthony Volpe. Volpe played a majority in AA last season and played around 20 games up in AAA towards the end of the season, where he performed well. Volpe has the pure-hitting approach at the plate, and his right handed swing can be a suitable option for the Yankees to place him atop the lineup when he is eventually called up. So far, Volpe has showcased an impressive glove at shortstop, and would clearly be the best option for the Yankees moving forward in the future. In 30 ABs, Volpe has a slash line of .333/.459/.667, with 2 home urns and 3 RBIs, and four doubles on top of that.
However, the question is whether the Yankees will put Volpe on the Opening Day roster. From what he’s shown off so far in spring training, it seems pretty clear that the obvious answer should be “yes”, but they seem reluctant to do so based on his lack of AAA experience. Manager Aaron Boone commented on Volpe’s performance so far this spring, “I think he’s capable of being a big league shortstop. He’s going to play in the middle of the diamond and have a long career.”
On Anthony Volpe’s performance, owner Hal Steinbrenner said “He obviously is having a great spring. Anything’s possible. He has certainly showed, at least on this Spring Training stage, that he can handle it and play well and do a lot of different things. Look, we’re always concerned about our Minor League players: Are they truly ready? Because this is not New York, and this is not the regular season. So we’ll have to see. It’ll be a long discussion, which I’ll be a part of. We’ve still got two weeks to go.”
Although the Yankees seem hesitant to call up Volpe ahead of Opening Day on March 30th, they should still turn to another one of their young prospects to play shortstop: Oswald Peraza. When September call ups rolled around last season, we got a small sample size of what Peraza could provide to this lineup. But with a sure-to-be Opening Day roster spot, Peraza will most likely be able to show off more of his power as he becomes more acclimated to playing in the big leagues.
Peraza may not be having the head-turning spring training like his fellow counterpart, Anthony Volpe, but his name is still worth mentioning especially after Hal Steinbrenner commented on the future of the Yankees’ roster by saying he believes that Peraza along with Volpe are going to be the “middle infield for many years to come”.
Come Opening Day, Peraza is sure to be the starting shortstop for the Yankees and should most definitely own that spot over Isaiah Kiner-Falefa—who should earn a spot as a utility man on the bench— or any other player who could play shortstop. Right now, the job should be Peraza’s to lose, no doubt. Last season during his time in the majors, Peraza slashed .306/.404/.429 in September, and even earned a spot on the ALCS roster in the postseason.
His bat speed and the amount of power he’s displayed in the minors hasn’t been seen in the majors yet as he focused on a more contact oriented approach within his first month. Peraza’s speed and baserunning ability has also been made known, he succeeded on 82% of his stolen base attempts last season, stealing 33 bases in the minors and 2 in the majors.
One of the youngest and upcoming prospects for the Yankees’ future is none other than Jasson Dominguez, also known as “The Martian”. Currently, he is the No. 2 ranked prospect within the Yankees’ organization and No. 47 on MLB’s Top 100 prospects. Last season, Dominguez played in both Single-A and AA at age 19. The switch hitter was most recently assigned to minor league camp after performing well in spring training, posting a slash line of .455/.520/1.045 in 22 at bats.
Dominguez will most likely start the season off in AA, but it’s safe to say that his performance in spring training won’t go unnoticed and he has grabbed the attention of the front office, especially Aaron Boone, “I’ve been impressed with how at ease he is, how much he seems to enjoy the game and enjoy his teammates. It looks to me like in the batter’s box, the game is moving slow for him.” Dominguez has made progress within the past year by controlling the strike zone better and being able to drive the ball up in the air, increasing his launch angle.
It’s still likely that we could see Dominguez this season, they may look to take a similar approach with him as they did with Peraza last year. There’s a chance he could be called up mid season sometime after the deadline based on how much he is able to develop after being reassigned to minor league camp.
It’s only spring training, but based on what we’re seeing with the Yankees’ current prospects, the future sure seems to look bright in terms of the future of the Yankees’ roster.