The clock is ticking on the Yankees’ front office. Friday is the deadline for the team to protect Rule 5 draft eligible prospects by adding them to the team’s 40-man roster. Doing so will be a tad more challenging this season because the 40-man is currently full, so we could be in for a handful of roster moves over the next 48 hours.
Pinstriped Prospects has the list of all minor leaguers in the organization who are draft eligible. Today, I’ll briefly touch on a bunch of prospects who deserve the most consideration for a roster spot. I’ve included their position, age, highest level reached, and MLB Pipeline ranking if applicable. One final note before getting into the prospect snapshots: pitching prospect Randy Vasquez is not eligible, as we found out Monday.
Oswald Peraza has not been traded. He was scratched from Somerset’s lineup due to a personal family matter per Eli Fishman on Twitter
The Athletic’s Keith Law was in Somerset this weekend to watch the Patriots and he has notes onHayden Wesneski, Oswald Peraza, and Dermis Garcia. It’s behind a paywall, so here’s the skinny: Wesneski has reliever risk, Peraza has strong hands and power, and Garcia remains as committed to three true outcomes as anyone.
Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
The RailRiders lost this one 7-4 to Rochester despite another home run from Hoy Park, his 2nd in 2 days. They are now 45-23 on the year.
Starting Pitcher: RHP Deivi García: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 1 K – 58% strikes…has 38 walks in just 53 innings. Really struggling this year.
No relief: RHP Nick Nelson: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 1 K – 54% strikes…nice to know he’s not getting it done in AAA either I guess
In relief: RHP Adam Warren: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K – 72% strikes…has a 2.67 ERA in 33.2 IP in AAA, wonder if he could get called back up sometime
In relief: RHP Brooks Kriske: 1.0 IP, zeroes, 1 K – 43% strikes…effectively wild as they say
In Relief: RHP Nick Green: 1.0 IP, zeroes, 1 BB, 1 K – 47% strikes
Hoy Parks One: DH Hoy Park: 1-3, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 BB – see video below of Park’s 2nd straight day with a homer
Yankees fans everywhere exhaled a collective sigh of relief on the morning of January 15. On that day, which will hopefully not live in infamy, represented the end of a too-long tango between the team’s front office and DJ LeMahieu, when the 32-year-old re-signed for 6-years and $90 million. The idea of an offense without LeMahieu – who led the team in batting average, on-base percentage, wRC+, and WAR over the last two years – was the baseball equivalent of existential dread, so the news of his return may well have been the best possible news for Yankees fans this off-season.
LeMahieu’s excellence in pinstripes cannot be overstated, either. He’s 12th in the majors in fWAR since the beginning of 2019, sandwiched between Ronald Acuña Jr. and JT Realtmuto. His 146 wRC+ is 10th, just behind reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger. And his .336 batting average, passé as it may be, is the best in the business. LeMahieu has been nothing short of elite in pinstripes, and I can’t wait to see what he’ll do next.
Speaking of, let’s check-in on the projection systems:
.295/.360/.450 (122 DRC+)
.306/.357/.463 (117 wRC+)
.294/.353/.453 (114 wRC+)
All three projection systems are essentially splitting the difference between LeMahieu’s last season in Colorado (87 wRC+) and his first season in the Bronx (135 wRC+), and I’m not all that surprised. After all, he’s 32 and has more than four times as many plate appearances in Colorado. And, given that 2020 was heavily abbreviated, his back-to-back career years involve just 871 PA. I would be at least a bit disappointed in any of those lines – though, all three would be rock solid.
Friday is the deadline for teams to add minor leaguers to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5 draft (for other key offseason dates, be sure to check out our offseason calendar). As of this writing, the Yankees have four open slots available. They could open up another spot or two via trade in the coming days, but at the same time, the organization may not feel the need to protect more than four players.
For a full list of draft eligible minor leaguers, head over to Pinstriped Prospects. I’ll briefly profile a few of the notable players the Yankees have to consider protecting.
Oswald Peraza | SS | 20 y/o | Single-A | 4th-best team prospect per MLB Pipeline
Peraza’s minor league numbers don’t jump off the page, but he has a good contact-oriented approach, plenty of speed, and is projected to stick at shortstop. It’s hard to imagine him sticking in the majors next year, but his prospect status makes it risky to expose him. I wonder if the Yankees are still scarred from losing catcher Luis Torrens, who was at the same level and age when the Padres drafted and stashed him.
Alexander Vizcaino | RHP | 23 y/o | High-A | 8th | 2020 Player Pool
Vizcaino was an older J2 signing in 2016 but has impressed in the minors. He can touch triple-digits with his fastball and has a plus changeup to boot. Clearly, the Yankees like the righty quite a bit because he spent this summer in Scranton. Even though he’s pitched exclusively as a starter over the past couple of minor league seasons, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him hold his own in a big league bullpen next season. I expect the Yankees to add him the 40-man this week.