February 26, 2024

New York Yankees 2024 top 20 prospects: Jasson Domínguez leads the way


The Yankees’ complex-league team was one of the most stacked rosters of prospects scouts who covered that club had ever seen — bearing in mind, of course, that we’re talking about a bunch of teenagers who are more volatile than older prospects who’ve played at higher levels. It boosts a system that’s thinned out at the upper levels, heavy on outfielders and right-handed relievers but lacking elsewhere. With a little luck and health, though, that Florida Complex League Yankees squad might be one we talk about for years.

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GO DEEPER

Top 100 MLB prospects 2024: Keith Law’s rankings, with Jackson Holliday at No. 1

Yankees 2024 top 20 prospects

(Note: Seasonal ages as of July 1, 2024. Scouting grades are on the traditional 20-80 or 2-8 scouting scale.)

1. Jasson Domínguez, OF (2024 top 100 ranking: 21)

Bats: B | Throws: R | Height: 5-9 | Weight: 190 | Seasonal age in 2024: 21

Domínguez reached the majors last year, just four years removed from signing for a $5.1 million bonus and more hype than any Dominican amateur player since Miguel Sanó a decade earlier, only to have his season end prematurely when he needed Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow. Before that, however, he showed why he was so highly touted, with plenty of hard contact in the majors and Triple A, topping out around 110 mph and hammering fastballs of any velocity. He has outstanding bat speed and easy plus power, while he’s a 70 runner underway and looks like he’ll be a plus defender in center if he’s given the opportunity out there. He’s a true switch-hitter, although he’s better from the left side, with enough platoon split last year to at least bear watching. He’s improved his pitch recognition by leaps and bounds since he began his pro career in 2021, and while he reached the majors sooner than anyone expected, he wasn’t overmatched and his batted-ball data was even better than the stat line.

He’ll probably miss at least the first third of the 2024 season, maybe half, based on typical recovery times for position players after TJ surgeries, and perhaps that gives the Yankees cover to let him go mash in Triple A for a month before he returns to the majors. Once he’s healthy, he offers 20/20 upside with strong batting averages as well and the potential for plus defense in center or, if he loses any throwing strength, maybe 65-70 defense in left. The hype may have died down a bit but he looks like he’s going to be a star right on schedule.

2. Everson Pereira, OF (2024 top 100 ranking: 63)

Bats: R | Throws: R | Height: 5-11 | Weight: 190 | Seasonal age in 2024: 23

Pereira wasn’t ready for the majors last year, but that doesn’t dim his long-term outlook as a potential regular for someone, maybe as a center fielder who can get to 30 homers once his approach catches up with his tools. He has outstanding bat speed, producing a ton of hard contact, with a swing that should produce plus power over time and is very short to the ball but explosive once he begins, then with good loft in his finish for some big flies. He’s a 55 runner now with a plus arm and can play center field, although it’s possible that he’ll lose some speed as he finishes filling out and be pushed to a corner.

He struggled with offspeed recognition even in the minors, notably changeups, and that caused him further trouble in the big leagues, as did his habit of expanding the zone too quickly. The Juan Soto trade might be the best thing for him, as it’ll give him plenty of time in Triple A to work on his plan at the plate, laying off more of those pitches out of the zone and better identifying non-fastballs. There’s risk here but if he both stays up the middle and gets to his power peak, he’ll be an All-Star.

3. Roderick Arias, SS (2024 top 100 ranking: 98)

Bats: B | Throws: R | Height: 6-0 | Weight: 180 | Seasonal age in 2024: 19

The Yankees signed Arias in January of 2022 for a $4 million bonus, their largest bonus since they signed Jasson Domínguez in 2019 for $5.1 million, the largest the team has ever given to an international amateur free agent. Arias may not be from Mars, but he turned in a very strong stateside debut last year, hitting .267/.423/.505 in the Florida Complex League last year as an 18-year-old with a 22 percent strikeout rate, well below the league average of 27 percent. It’s outstanding bat speed for an 18-year-old, especially from the left side, where his hands go from 0 to 60 in a flash, although I worry that he’s got a bit of a grooved, uphill swing that’s going to prevent him from squaring up the ball as often as he should. He’s an easy plus runner who should stay at shortstop, with a plus arm that plays up even above that because he’s got such a quick transfer and release; there’s some question of whether his body will stay lithe enough for the position, although the consensus leans toward not just remaining at short but becoming an above-average one. He’s farther from the majors than some of the Yanks’ more famous prospects, but other than Domínguez he may offer the most upside between offense and defense of anyone in the system.

4. Spencer Jones, OF (Just missed)

Bats: L | Throws: L | Height: 6-6 | Weight: 235 | Seasonal age in 2024: 23

I get it: The exit velocities are elite. Jones is very big and very strong and he very hits the ball very far. He struck out 29 percent of the time in High A as a 22-year-old who played three years in the SEC, moved up to Double A, and struck out 28 percent of the time in 17 games. You can beat him in the zone with velocity and with breaking stuff down, because his zone is huge and he doesn’t have the pitch recognition of an Aaron Judge — or even a Richie Sexson — to mitigate it.

If Jones figures that out, he might hit 40 bombs in a season in the majors while playing above-average defense in right field, and that’s a star. I think he’s going to have a very hard time doing that, despite being a good athlete — he was a two-way player in high school and a prospect as a pitcher before suffering an elbow injury as a senior — and by all accounts a smart player. The “base rate” here, how often guys built like Jones succeed, is very low.


George Lombard, Jr. comes from a baseball family. (Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today)

5. George Lombard, Jr., SS

Bats: R | Throws: R | Height: 6-3 | Weight: 190 | Seasonal age in 2024: 19

The Yankees’ 2023 first-round pick is a toolsy shortstop with great feel for the game, the son of the former Atlanta outfielder of the same name. He’s got a simple swing with the right angle in his finish to get to plus power in a few years, while he projects to stay at shortstop and end up a 55 or better there. There were concerns about his ability to hit good velocity as an amateur, although that didn’t show up in his brief stint in the minors after signing. Scouts praised his internal clock and instincts in the field and believe that’ll show up at the plate as well.

6. Chase Hampton, RHP

Bats: R | Throws: R | Height: 6-2 | Weight: 220 | Seasonal age in 2024: 22

Hampton has a kitchen-sink arsenal, working 94-95 mph with some ride up in the zone and two breaking balls that both might be plus. The slider (sweeper, whatever) at 85-87 has tight break and good tilt while he can use the true curveball to hitters on either side of the plate, at least in the minors. He’s got a cutter that doesn’t cut very much and I thought it was hurting his ability to spin the slider, while he barely uses his changeup and might need that to stay a starter long-term. It’s not a great delivery with a stiff landing and a long arm swing, making it harder to repeat, although to this point it hasn’t inhibited his strike-throwing. He looks like a back-end starter if he can hold up, maybe more if he ditches the cutter and develops a real change-of-pace pitch. Regardless, this is a great sixth-round pick, which is where the Yankees acquired him in 2022.

7. Keiner Delgado, 2B/SS

Bats: B | Throws: R | Height: 5-7 | Weight: 145 | Seasonal age in 2024: 20

Arias was the most famous guy on the Florida Complex League Yankees’ roster, but Delgado offered the best present hit tool, with the results to show it in a .293/.414/.485 line and more walks (36) than strikeouts (31). He’s a true switch-hitter with sneaky pop for such a fun-sized player, as he’s listed at 5-7, 145, and I hope for his sake he’s put on a few pounds since then. He’s got incredible feel to play the game, with smooth actions on defense and the sense that he’s always in control, giving him a chance to stick at short. If not, he’d be at least a 55 if he ends up at second, splitting time between the two spots. He’s small, but it’s plus run, plus hit, middle infield, and maybe a chance for 15+ homers. I’m in.

8. Austin Wells, C

Bats: L | Throws: R | Height: 6-2 | Weight: 220 | Seasonal age in 2024: 24

Wells is a below-average catcher who hits right-handed pitching well enough to be the strong side of a platoon, somewhere, maybe as a first baseman who occasionally catches. He’s had trouble with lefties since he reached Double A, but against right-handers he shows good ball/strike and pitch recognition and the ability to hit the ball hard enough for above-average or even plus power. Behind the plate, he’s got a below-average arm and glove, even though he’s improved since the Yankees took him in the first round in 2020. There’s a role for his unique mix of skills somewhere on a major-league bench.

9. Will Warren, RHP

Bats: R | Throws: R | Height: 6-2 | Weight: 175 | Seasonal age in 2024: 25

Warren’s got a plus sweepy-slider and sits 93-94 mph on the four-seamer and sinker, the former missing quite a few bats while the latter generates a lot of groundballs, as it should. (If a sinker doesn’t get the ball on the ground, what is it? A stinker?) He doesn’t have a pitch for lefties beyond a below-average changeup, giving up a .253/.457/.445 line to them between Double A and Triple A. He also walks too many guys thanks to a high-effort delivery with some head-whack and a stiff landing. I think it’s straight relief, but I know some teams love Warren, in part because of the shapes of his slider and curve.

10. John Cruz, OF

Bats: L | Throws: L | Height: 6-3 | Weight: 171 | Seasonal age in 2024: 18

Cruz played in the FCL last year at age 17 and tied for second in the league in homers with 10, behind a 23-year-old on the Phillies’ club. Signed for a meager bonus of $75,000 in 2022, Cruz is a physical kid with real power to back up that stat line, but he’s more power than hit right now, with a long swing that’s going to produce some swing-and-miss as he moves up the ladder. He did hit .294/.376/.531 with just a 22 percent strikeout rate last year, even though he didn’t turn 18 until three days after the FCL season ended. He’s played all over the outfield but doesn’t have the speed for center, so he’ll probably end up in right. There’s middle-of-the-order potential here, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he either started the year in extended or struggled in Low A given how young he is and where his approach is right now.

11. Henry Lalane, LHP

Bats: L | Throws: L | Height: 6-7 | Weight: 210 | Seasonal age in 2024: 20

Born in the Bronx, Lalane signed as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2021 and made his stateside debut last summer, facing 88 batters over eight appearances in the FCL, where he struck out 34 and walked just four. He’s all of 6-7 and touches 97 mph with good extension out front, but what’s most interesting is how easy the delivery is for a young kid of that size with so little experience. He can spin a short, tight slider, and over time should be very hard on left-handed hitters. It’s a long-term play with mid-rotation potential and even higher upside.

12. Brando Mayea, OF

Bats: R | Throws: R | Height: 5-11 | Weight: 175 | Seasonal age in 2024: 18

The Yankees gave the Cuban-born Mayea the third-largest bonus in the 2023 international free agent class, $4.35 million, after which he had a solid debut in the Dominican Summer League, hitting .276/.382/.400 with just a 16 percent strikeout rate (league average is 22 percent). He’s got a loose, easy swing that can get a little long in the back, but you can easily project plus power here in five or six years. Right now he’s a center fielder and a plus runner, with enough arm for right field if he slows down as he matures. The Yankees have been on a roll internationally and it looks like they might have another future star here, with the risk you associate with any 18-year-old who hasn’t played in the U.S. yet.

13. Carlos Lagrange, RHP

Bats: R | Throws: R | Height: 6-7 | Weight: 195 | Seasonal age in 2024: 21

Lagrange is 6-7, like Lalane, and throws even harder, up to 100 mph with a slider that drops right off the table, with a pretty good delivery and a generally good feel for the strike zone even with an 11 percent walk rate last year. It’s not a ton of effort for that velocity, so there’s reason to believe he’ll cut the walks down with more experience. His changeup is his worst pitch, as he doesn’t have that sort of feel to throw anything soft, so there’s some chance he goes to the bullpen, although now I might be mistaken.

14. Jared Serna, IF

Bats: R | Throws: R | Height: 5-6 | Weight: 168 | Seasonal age in 2024: 22

Serna is here to help balance out all the 6-7 guys, as the Mexican second baseman comes in at just 5-6 — but he can really hit, and if he finds a position he might have a good run in the majors. He’s not a shortstop, having split time between there and second base in pro ball and for Jalisco this past winter, lacking the arm or the range, and might not be average at second. He can run and has more power than you’d expect for his size, so his bat would profile at a bunch of positions. It’ll be worth finding one that sticks.


Brock Selvidge threw 127 2/3 innings last season. (Mike Janes / Four Seam Images via Associated Press)

15. Brock Selvidge, LHP

Bats: R | Throws: L | Height: 6-3 | Weight: 205 | Seasonal age in 2024: 21

Selvidge has just average stuff, topping out at 93 mph with a slider and cutter that run into each other, yet he pitched well at both levels of A-ball because he throws all of them for strikes. It’s a long arm action with some hard fall-off to the third base side and he really needs a changeup to start. There’s projection here, though, and if the stuff ticks up without any loss of control or command, he could end up a back-end guy.

16. Clayton Beeter, RHP

Bats: R | Throws: R | Height: 6-2 | Weight: 220 | Seasonal age in 2024: 25

Beeter has an absolute hammer curveball and a very hard fastball that’s pin-straight, making him the rare beast of a Three True Outcomes pitcher — 45 percent of the batters he faced homered, struck out, or walked, and he landed in the top 10 in the minors in total strikeouts and walks. I say just put him in the bullpen and let him throw as hard as he can in short bursts.

17. Jorbit Vivas, 2B/3B

Bats: L | Throws: R | Height: 5-10 | Weight: 171 | Seasonal age in 2024: 23

Vivas rarely strikes out, almost never misses a fastball, and has no power. If he could play shortstop, I’d say he was a utility infielder, but he’s limited to second or third and that’s not an easy player to carry on your roster right now. The Yankees acquired him in the trade that sent Trey Sweeney to the Dodgers for Victor González.

18. Brendan Beck, RHP

Bats: R | Throws: R | Height: 6-6 | Weight: 205 | Seasonal age in 2024: 25

Beck was the Yankees’ second-round pick in 2021 out of Stanford but he underwent Tommy John surgery that offseason, making his pro debut in 2023 and pitching very well into Low A. His fastball is light at 88-92 mph but it has good ride and his three secondary pitches at least flash average. I don’t love the delivery with its stab in back, but he’s thrown strikes in the past and in his brief time in 2023. If the velocity ticks up a little more as he gets further from the surgery, he’s got some fourth starter potential.

19. Kyle Carr, LHP

Bats: L | Throws: L | Height: 6-1 | Weight: 175 | Seasonal age in 2024: 22

Carr was the Yanks’ second pick in the 2023 draft, coming in the third round, from two-year Palomar College in California. He comes from a high three-quarter slot with a fastball that touches 95-96 mph and has a sweepy slider, with both pitches flashing plus. He’s also an excellent athlete. Right now it’s a reliever look with just the two pitches and the lack of track record. He’s an athletic lefty with starter ingredients and that’s hard to pass up.

20. Ben Rice, C

Bats: L | Throws: R | Height: 6-1 | Weight: 215 | Seasonal age in 2024: 25

A darling of statline scouts, Rice hit .327/.401/.648 in 48 games in Double A, his highest level in pro ball, as a 24-year-old. He’s nominally a catcher but not good enough to stay there, so he’s either a first baseman or a DH, and his swing gets very uphill, which better pitchers will be able to exploit. He is very strong and he’s left-handed, so he might have a spot as a platoon bat who covers first and serves as the second or third catcher.

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GO DEEPER

MLB 2024 farm system rankings: Keith Law ranks all 30 teams, Orioles are new No. 1

Others of note

Trystan Vrieling missed the season with a fractured elbow but was healthy in the Arizona Fall League, working 90-93 mph with a four-pitch mix of 45s and nothing to miss bats.

• Right-hander Luis Serna was ranked sixth in the system last year but missed a big chunk of 2023 with a shoulder issue and wasn’t the same when he did return in mid-June, throwing one to three innings just once a week. Let’s hope he’s back to 100 percent in March.

• Right-hander Cade Smith was the Yankees sixth-round pick in 2023, working 94-95 mph with a plus slider but walking nearly 15 percent of batters he faced at Mississippi State as a starter. I’d stick him in the pen and let it eat.

2024 impact

Domínguez should be back in the majors at some point after he finishes rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, although I’m fine with them giving him more time in Triple A. Wells, Hampton and Warren should all see some time in the majors, with Hampton the best bet for some positive value. I know Wells is at least a nominal contender for the starting catcher role, but I just don’t see the defense being there.

The fallen

Trey Sweeney was the Yankees’ first-round pick in 2021 but hasn’t hit anywhere near expectations since then, with a .252/.367/.411 line as a 23-year-old in Double A last year. The Yankees dumped him on the Dodgers in the deal that brought back Vivas and Victor Rodríguez.

Sleeper

I love the FCL group the Yankees had, but Mayea probably has the best chance of any of their non-top 100 prospects of exploding onto the list next year.

(Top photo of Jasson Domínguez: Rich Schultz / Getty Images)





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