2019: Top 5 Shortstop Prospects

Welcome to top prospect month at Pinstriped Prospects.  Throughout this month we will be bringing you the top five prospects at each position, leading up to the release of our top 100 Yankees prospects list.

As we stated on the second base list, the Yankees are deep in the middle infield.  Many players on the second base list began their careers as shortstops, some players on the third base list too.

Trenton Thunder’s Kyle Holder in a game against the Hartford Yard Goats in Trenton on Wednesday, July 25, 2018. (Photo by Martin Griff)

Kyle Holder

Even with his injuries, Kyle Holder remains the top shortstop in the Yankees organization.  Holder is probably the best defensive infielder in the organization.

Holder was drafted in the first round of the 2015 draft.  He immediately made his professional debut with the Staten Island Yankees where he hit just .213/.273/.253 in 56 games with seven doubles, a triple and 12 RBIs.

He moved up to Class-A Charleston in 2016 where he hit .290/.323/.347 with 13 doubles, two triples, a home run, and 18 RBIs in 88 games.  It was in Charleston where he began to move around the field and played second base for the first time as a professional.

Holder was promoted to High-A Tampa for the 2017 season and played in a career-high 104 games, hitting .271/.317/.350 with 16 doubles, two triples, four home runs, and 44 RBIs.

His 2018 season did not start well, he fractured a vertebra in spring training and did not return to action until May.  He played at three different levels, only appearing in 48 total games.  Combined he hit just .257/.317/.350 with six doubles, a triple, and three home runs.

Holder was drafted as a glove-first player who was just starting to develop as a hitter.  Which was true, having been a two-sport player in college he never focused exclusively on baseball until he became a professional.  He has good speed and is a contact hitter that still is working to develop power.  Defensively, Holder is major league ready, but offensively he still has work to do.

Glendale Desert Dogs shortstop Thairo Estrada (90), of the New York Yankees organization, throws to first base during an Arizona Fall League game against the Mesa Solar Sox at Sloan Park on October 27, 2018 in Mesa, Arizona. Glendale defeated Mesa 7-6. (Zachary Lucy/Four Seam Images via AP)

Thairo Estrada

The Yankees signed Thairo Estrada as an international free agent on August 2, 2012.  He went on to make his professional debut in 2013 as a member of the Gulf Coast League Yankees where he hit .278/.350/.432 with 11 doubles, five triples, and two home runs in 50 games.

He was promoted to Short-Season A Staten Island for the 2014 season and hit well until a leg injury shortened his season. In 17 games he hit .271/.348/.288.  Before the season ended, he returned to action in the Gulf Coast League where he hit .273/.304/.364.

Estrada returned to Staten Island in 2015 and hit .267/.337/.309 with three doubles in 63 games.

He would be promoted to Class-A Charleston to start the 2016 season and excelled hitting .286/.324/.429 in 35 games with three doubles, a triple, and five home runs.  He was promoted to High-A Tampa mid-season and hit .292/.355/.375 in 83 games for the Tampa Yankees.  He hit 15 doubles, a triple, three home runs, and 30 RBIs.

His success in Tampa and Charleston in 2016 earned him a promotion to Double-A Trenton for the 2017 season.  In 122 games with the Thunder, he hit .301/.353/.392 with 19 doubles, four triples, six home runs, and 48 RBIs.

The 2018 season was a lost season for Estrada he only appeared in 18 regular season games after being shot in the hip in his home country of Venezuela.

Estrada is a versatile and reliable defender in the field, having the ability to play not just shortstop but second base and third base as well.  He has good range, quick hands, and a plus arm.  At the plate, he makes solid contract and has a good eye.  He is an average baserunner.

New York Yankees Oswald Peraza (5) during an Instructional League game against the Baltimore Orioles on September 23, 2017 at the Yankees Minor League Complex in Tampa, Florida. (Mike Janes/Four Seam Images via AP)

Oswald Peraza

Oswald Peraza was signed by the Yankees as an international free agent on July 2, 2016, and made his professional debut the following season.  His professional debut came with the Dominican Summer League Yankees where he hit .361/.467/.556 in 10 games.

He was promoted to the Gulf Coast League later in 2017 where he hit .266/.363/.332 in 48 games.  In 184 at-bats he hit 10 doubles, a triple and had 24 RBIs in total he had 13 doubles, three triples and 34 RBIs between two levels in his first professional season.

Peraza was assigned to the Pulaski Yankees for the 2018 season.  In the Appalachian League, he hit .250/.333/.321 in 46 games.  He hit just three doubles, two triples and had his first professional home run.  He had 10 multi-hit games, including one game where he went 4-for-4.

Oswald Peraza could soon be a lot higher on this list just for his defense alone.  He has shown above-average range at shortstop, good arm strength and hands.  He projects as being an above-average player on defense as he moves through the farm system.  At the plate, he does not project o have a lot of power, but he may not need it with his above-average speed.  He has good bat speed and still has a lot of potential with the stick.  Overall, he is a solid player that could explode on the Yankees prospect map in the near future.

Charleston RiverDogs Wilkerman Garcia against the Lakewood BlueClaws in Lakewood, NJ on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Photo by Martin Griff)

Wilkerman Garcia

The Yankees signed Wilkerman Garcia as an international free agent in 2014 as part of the big spending spree they had that year.  He made his professional debut in 2015 with the Dominican Summer League Yankees and the Gulf Coast League Yankees.  That year he hit .299/.414/.362 in 39 games between the two clubs.

In 2016 Garcia played in 54 games for the Pulaski Yankees, where he struggled.  HE hit just .198/.255/.284 with 10 doubles, three triples, and a home run.

He was promoted to Short-Season A Staten Island in 2017.  With Staten Island, he hit .222/.256/.295 with 10 doubles, three triples, a home run, and 20 RBIs in 67 games.

Garcia spent the 2018 season in Class-A Charleston where he hit .218/.274/.305 in 121 games.

Scouts rave about Garcia’s ability on the field.  He has shown solid foot movement in the field, smooth hands and a plus arm as a shortstop.  At the plate he is a has shown some promise as a switch-hitter that can use the entire field.  He has earned a lot praise from coaches for his makeup and work ethic.

GCL Yankees West shortstop Roberto Chirinos (32) throws to first base during a game against the GCL Yankees East on August 8, 2018 at Yankee Complex in Tampa, Florida. GCL Yankees West defeated GCL Yankees East 8-4. (Mike Janes/Four Seam Images via AP)

Roberto Chirinos

Roberto Chirinos is a relative newcomer to the Yankees organization; he was signed by them as an international free agent on July 2, 2017.

He made his professional debut in 2018 with the Dominican Summer League Yankees.  In the DSL he appeared in six games, hitting .346/.379/.577 with four doubles, a triple and four RBIs.

Chirinos was promoted to the Gulf Coast League Yankees.  In 41 games with the GCL Yankees, he hit .219/.274/.297 with six doubles, and two home runs while driving in 14 runs.

Defensively, Chirinos is one of the better players in the organization.  His arm is plus, and he has great instincts and quick hands.  At the plate, he makes hard contact, combined with good bat speed and a high energy style of play means he will potentially be a top prospect in the organization in the future.

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