The Yankees’ farm system is so loaded they field two Gulf Coast League teams. Both featured some pretty exciting prospects for Yankees fans to follow. Records and statistics only paint a fraction of the story in the GCL. The most important factor is development. If the teams win, they win, but that is not the priority here.
The Yankees field an East and West squad, with the West featuring the higher profile prospects. Antonio Cabello, Anthony Garcia, and Anthony Seigler led the West squad to a 25-27 record. Cabello slashed .321/.426/.555 to solidify himself as one of the top position players in the system. His .981 OPS led the league. Garcia, a 6’5″247-pound switch-hitter, led the GCL with 10 HR, showing plus game power.
Roberto Chirinos, signed for $900,000 during the July 2, 2017 period, struggled in his first taste of pro ball. The Venezuelan SS slashed .219/.274/.297 while struggling to make routine plays at the position. However, I said stats only paint part of the picture. Chirinos is an athlete. He is raw at the plate, struggling to pick up spin while trying to pull everything. He flashes plus bat speed with gap power. The power should translate into 10-15 HR at peak. Defensively, Chirinos has good range with a quick release. The arm is strong and can stick on the left side of the infield. He flashed the ability to make the spectacular while struggling to make the routine.
On the mound, the Yankees struggled. However, that was to be expected with their best teenage prospects assigned to Pulaski and Staten Island. Carlos Rodriguez led the West with 44 strikeouts in 44.1 IP. Deivi Diaz struck out 38 in 33.1. Diaz is an undersized lefty that has a good feel for his curveball and change-up. The fastball sits 85-88. He is one of the few pitchers in camp that flashed the potential for command of three pitches.
The most promising arms though were on the East squad. Juan Then was the best pitcher in camp. The young right-hander threw 50 IP, allowing a .210 average and led the GCL with a 0.98 WHIP. He struck out 42 while walking 11. Clarke Schmidt also rehabbed for most of the GCL, throwing 15 IP between both squads. Another pitcher that should be on the radar of Yankee fans is Anderson Munoz. He is a smaller guy but has a fast arm. His fastball sits 93-95 mph, and he flashes the ability to spin a breaking ball. Munoz’s biggest issue is strikes. He walked 26 hitters in 36.1 IP. He also hit seven guys. Welcome to the GCL! When Munoz is on, he has a chance to be nasty. He had a 10 inning stretch, allowing five walks and 14 strikeouts and one earned run.
For the East, who went 19-25, Jose Villa and 2018 3rd round pick, Ryder Green were the most promising offensive prospects. Green struggled, hitting just .203 but has a strong, athletic build with projection. He will need to improve pitch recognition and his hit tool to unlock his game power and reach his ceiling. Still, he is a fun guy to watch. Villa came out of nowhere, slashing .371/.397/.543.
Next up for the young guys is the annual Fall Instructional League. With the addition of 23 newly signed players, the Yankees depth continues to be their biggest asset.