Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, FanGraphs, and MLB Pipeline have all published their 2022 Yankees top prospect lists. FanGraphs (top 38) and MLB Pipeline (top 30) go deeper into the system, while Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus stick to a top 10 list (with mentions of others who missed the cut and would be top 30 guys anyway). Today, I’ll take a look at these lists and make note of a few things that caught my eye. Let’s get right to it.
The obvious choice at #1: Anthony Volpe
All four sites agreed that Volpe belongs at the top of the organization’s list, and for good reason. In spite of not being the toolsiest prospect in the organization, “Volpe might have had the most impressive all-around performance of any prospect in 2021” according to Baseball Prospectus’ Jeffrey Paternostro. No kidding: the 20 year-old shortstop hit .294/.423/.604 (170 wRC+) in 513 plate appearances in stints with Tampa (Single-A) and Hudson Valley (High-A).
It’s Wednesday, so let’s chat. There is no hot stove to speak of, there appears to be little to no progress on a new CBA, and the owners’ offer last week essentially quashed any hope for a timely spring training. Great fodder for a chat, huh? Let’s talk Yankees baseball anyway.
Today’s chat will get underway at noon eastern. The queue is open for questions in advance, so send them in beforehand if you wish.
If you missed today’s chat, the transcript is below:
Happy New Year, Views Crew. The lockout is well underway and the hot stove is by extension ice cold, but Hall of Fame discourse soldiers on despite the uncertainty surrounding the sport.
Balloting has officially ended, and results will be announced on January 25 for induction in July 2022. Of interest to Yankees fans, this year marks Alex Rodriguez’s first year on the ballot after his 2016 retirement. There have certainly been many thousands of words written by dozens of writers on the controversy of his candidacy, but as late in the game as it is I’m going to go on record and say that A-Rod should be a Hall of Famer. Going into this balloting season, I believed he may have an easier time than his steroid-tainted predecessors in convincing the writers, but as the winter has gone on I’m starting to have doubts.
It’s Monday, which means it’s time to answer your mailbag questions. We have a couple of good ones to answer this morning. As always, send your questions to viewsfrom314 [at] gmail [dot] com. We’ll pick our favorites to answer each week. Now, to this today’s edition:
Pitchers and catchers should be reporting about a month from now. Given where we’re at with the owner-induced lockout, I think we’ve got a snowflake’s chance in Hell–let alone a snowball’s–of that actually happening. But I’ll take an optimistic (perhaps too optimistic) look forward now to a time when the Yankees are playing games. Even with some holes that need to be filled–notably shortstop and first base–the Yankees have the opportunity to be a fairly deep team.
Before we examine that, though, it’s clear that the team does need to sign a full time shortstop. They don’t actually have one on the roster right now, given that they moved Gleyber Torres off the position by the end of the 2021 season. Hopefully, they go big and sign either Carlos Correa or Trevor Story to that position, rather than a stopgap, filler option. I won’t hold my breath on that, though. Regardless, there will be someone playing shortstop for the 2022 Yankees and that means that, including Torres and Urshela, the Yankees will have three players capable of playing short. They should lean on that to load manage and rest players whenever possible.
Torres, as mentioned, is now a second baseman again, meaning the Yankees have at least two legitimate players who can man the position, along with DJ LeMahieu. DJLM can also play a competent first and third, meaning the Yankees can be flexible with their lineups. Whether the Yankees roll with Luke Voit or re-sign Anthony Rizzo or go outside the org for help, LeMahieu can spell that player at first and give him a DH day, which trickles into the outfield depth.
Joey Gallo and Aaron Hicks can both actually play center field. Aaron Judge can fake it and play a good right field. Giancarlo Stanton didn’t turn into dust while playing in the OF in 2021. Being able to lean on all those facts should help the Yankees get platoon advantages, rest players, and keep hot bats in the lineup.
The Yankees always preach about wanting flexibility, athleticism, and depth. They more or less have it now. They just need it to be shored up with some acquisitions and then have the confidence to deploy it properly.