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.
Third base is the Yankees weakest position down on the farm now that Miguel Andujar has graduated to the major leagues. Many of the Yankees current third base crop will likely move across the diamond to first base or are more suited for utility roles as they move up the ladder.
At the top of this list is Jose Villa, a 20-year-old right-handed bat out of San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic.
The Yankees signed Villa on July 7, 2016, as an international free agent. He went on to make his professional debut in 2017 with the Dominican Summer League Yankees here he appeared in just 19 games. In 74 at-bats he hit .311/.407/.432 with a double, a triple, two home runs, and 13 RBIs while walking 10 times.
Villa started the 2018 season back in the DSL but was quickly promoted to the Gulf Coast League Yankees after getting eight hits in 16 at-bats. Three of those hits were triples, and he had five RBIs and a walk.
In the Gulf Coast League, Villa dominated, hitting .371/.397/.543 with eight doubles, three triples, two home runs and 21 RBIs.
Here is what our friends at 2080 Baseball had to say about Villa during his time in the Gulf Coast League in 2018.
Signed for just $10K during the 2016 J2 period, Villa looks like a bargain after a strong summer in the Gulf Coast League, slashing .380/.404/.570 through his first 100 at-bats. He’s an aggressive hitter that jumps on fastballs early in the count, showing hard line drive contact to the gaps from a compact swing. He should be able to grow into more over-the-fence power as the frame matures. Villa isn’t a physical specimen, nor does he have much of a carry tool. He’s the type of player that grows on you over time, taking good at-bats with feel to hit and the ability to control the barrel. Defensively, he has lined up on the corners (3B, 1B, LF) this summer. Villa is passable with the glove, though he’ll never provide enough value to ride defensive alone to a big-league role. More of a gut-feel type, the rosiest projection is an everyday player on the strength of pure hitting ability. Short of that, the contact ability and defensive versatility could make Villa a bench player.
The Yankees signed third baseman Nelson Gomez for $2.25 million as part of their big 2014 International Free Agent spending spree. At the time, Gomez was ranked as the second-best prospect in the IFA class by MLB.com and ranked sixth on Baseball America’s list.
Gomez made his professional debut during the 2015 season in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League. In 58 games, he hit .243/.350/.435 with nine doubles, a triple and 11 home runs. He drove in 55 runs and walked 34 times but struck out 66 times in 230 at-bats.
In 2016, he made his debut in the United States with the Gulf Coast League Yankees, but he struggled to hit. Over 54 games for the GCL Yankees, he hit just .194/.249/.403 with 11 doubles, a triple and nine home runs. In 54 games, he drove in 37 runners and walked just eight times.
He did hit better as the season went on, with just a .136 batting average in June, a .173 average in July and a .227 average in August.
Gomez appeared in just 27 games for the Short-Season Staten Island Yankees in 2017 after starting the season serving a five-game suspension for an incident from the 2016 season. The third baseman hit a minuscule .128/.269/.174 over 86 at-bats while striking out 37 times and hitting just one home run. Gomez walked 12 times and drove in five runs before leaving the team mid-season due to personal issues
The 2018 season was one of redemption for Nelson Gomez. He tied his career high in games played with 58 for the Pulaski Yankees, home runs with 11 and set a new career high with 14 doubles. In 221 at-bats he hit .213/.289/.425.
Nelson Gomez is the prototypical power prospect. He won’t hit for a high average, he will strike out a lot but will smash the ball. In 197 professional games, he already has 32 home runs and 127 RBIs. He has plus raw power with good bat speed and just needs to work on his pitch recognition and get more comfortable at the plate. As he develops through the minors, he needs to cut down on his strikeouts. Gomez is not extremely athletic, though he does possess good hands at third base. There is a chance as he further fills his body, he will have to move across the diamond to first.
Mandy Alvarez was drafted by the Yankees in the 17th round of the 2016 draft. The right-handed hitting third baseman went on to make his professional debut with the Staten Island Yankees where he hit .339/.364/.407 in 13 games.
He was quickly promoted to the Charleston RiverDogs where he hit .274/.289/.404 with 12 doubles and five home runs in 53 games.
Alvarez started the 2017 season back with the RiverDogs where he hit .261/.310/.328 in 35 games with eight doubles and 11 RBIs. He was promoted to High-A Tampa where he hit .228/.248/.275 in 41 games with five doubles, a triple and 10 RBIs.
He spent the majority of the 2018 season with the Trenton Thunder, where he hit .262/.314/.440 with 25 doubles, three triples, 11 home runs and 54 RBIs. He had a brief nine-game cameo with the Tampa Tarpons where he had just five hits in 27 at-bats. He also got his first all-star nod, representing the Trenton Thunder in the Eastern League All-Star Game.
Mandy Alvarez is an all-around solid player, he has a good arm and is a solid contact hitter. He doesn’t have one overwhelming tool but does a lot of things well to be considered a good all-around player in the organization. He is a natural third baseman, spending most of his time at the hot corner but also playing some first base and even 10 innings at second base.
The Yankees signed Andres Chaparro as an international free agent on July 2, 2015. He went on to make his professional debut in 2016 when he played in 50 games for the DSL Yankees. In 185 at-bats he hit .238/.329/.341 with nine doubles, five triples, and 26 RBIs.
In his second professional season, Chaparro made his stateside debut with the Pulaski Yankees. In the Appalachian League, he hit .237/.305/.414 with nine doubles and seven home runs.
In 2018, Chaparro was promoted to the Staten Island Yankees. He struggled throughout the season, hitting just .191/.249/.348 in 60 games with 11 doubles, seven home runs, and 20 RBIs.
Chaparro is a young bat-first prospect that has shown solid plate discipline and good bat speed. His power is average but is still growing. On the defensive side, he is an average-at-best third baseman with average arm strength and below average range.
Welfrin Mateo is more of a utility player than a true third baseman. Throughout his minor league career, he has played second base, shortstop, third base and even outfield. But this past season he played 32 out of 54 games at the hot corner.
Since he was signed as an international free agent on October 12, 2013, Mateo he has built a solid minor league career. In his first season in 2014 in the Dominican Summer League he hit .290/.391/.416 with 13 doubles, a triple, four home runs and 27 RBIs in 57 games.
Mateo returned to the DSL in 2015 where he hit .297/.387/.441 in 48 games with 18 doubles, two triples, two home runs, and 21 RBIs. He had a late-season cameo in the Gulf Coast League where he had just four hits in 18 at-bats over five games.
The 2016 season saw Mateo split hits time between the Pulaski Yankees and the Staten Island Yankees. In 47 games he hit .298/.323/.424 with seven doubles, three triples, two home runs, and 24 RBIs.
His 2017 season, he appeared in 32 games for the Staten Island Yankees hitting .256/.296/.300 with four doubles and 10 RBIs.
For the first part of the 2018 season, Mateo stayed in Tampa before reporting to Charleston to make his 2018 debut with the RiverDogs. In the South Atlantic League, he hit .233/.289/.324 with 10 doubles, three home runs, and 19 RBIs.
Mateo is a competent player, showing strong ability at the plate and average defense in the field. He is more of a slap hitter than a power guy. His primary tool is his versatility to fill in where ever he is needed on a specific day. The only two positions he has yet to play as a professional is first base and catcher.