Minor league spring training games begin tomorrow! Can’t you tell I am excited for it? This year I am back in Tampa to lead the Pinstriped Prospects coverage of the annual exhibitions at the Yankees Player Development and Scouting Complex. There are many prospects I look forward to seeing in games and practices this year, some I may be seeing in person for the first time, others have impressed me last year that I want to see how they have developed.
Ezequiel Duran – Second Baseman
Ezequiel Duran is the one player I came away from spring training 2018 thoroughly impressed by. He showed average fielding and strong hitting while I was in Tamp last year, combine that with exit velocities that were in the 110s at such a young age. He struggled in his first state-side trip last season, but he skipped the complex levels completely to face off against more advanced competition in the Appalachian League. It is my hope to see him in Staten Island in 2019, but I want to get an extended look at him this spring.
Anderson Munoz – Right-Handed Pitcher
Anderson Munoz is a right-handed pitcher the Yankees signed in April 2018 after the Minnesota Twins released him. He made his professional debut with the Gulf Coast League and struggled, going 1-5 with a 5.20 ERA. But this undersized pitcher made some big strides in the instructional league and went on to pitch in the Venezuelan Winter League against some higher-level competition.
I am looking forward to getting the chance to see him in person for the first time. A video is great, but nothing compares to being able to evaluate a player in the flesh. He was on my list of sleeper pitching prospects to watch, and he is one I can’t wait to see in live games.
Canaan Smith – Outfielder
Canaan Smith is a young power hitter with a good eye at the plate that struggled in 2018 but when I saw him in Tampa last spring, and in Staten Island, he never failed to hit the ball hard. He spent this offseason working on his conditioning and is poised for a breakout. Smith has the potential to be one of the top power hitters in the system and is not afraid to put the work in to get better. I cannot wait to see the progress he made in slimming down and refining his approach at the plate to take advantage of his power.
Anthony Seigler – Catcher
What can I say about 2018 first round pick Anthony Seigler? What I have seen on video and heard from scouts and people in the industry has been great. That is one reason why I am looking forward to seeing him live for the first time this spring. He is a prospect that despite being young could start the season in full-season ball. He won’t turn 20 until June 20 and only played in 24 games last season due to being shut down for concussion protocol, so there is still a chance, he will stay behind in Tampa for extended spring training. Either way, this spring will be the first chance I get to watch him play in person.
Josh Breaux – Catcher
Catcher Josh Breaux is the final person on this list. I had the chance to watch Breaux during the 2018 season with the Staten Island Yankees where he was impressive with the bat. However, he wasn’t as impressive behind the plate. I tend to give new draftee catchers the benefit of the doubt, especially high school or junior college guys like Breaux. It was the first-time catching guys with extremely high velocities so that could be a contributing factor to the struggles he had. With that in mind, I want to see how he looks defensively this spring,; I expect big things from Breaux.