Yankees prospects to keep a close eye on at every Minor League level

April 4th, 2024

Hal Steinbrenner frequently speaks about observing his organization from a vantage point of 30,000 feet, a partial nod to his licensed training as a pilot.

That also applies to his regular perch atop a watchtower at the Yankees’ Minor League complex, where the club’s managing general partner has become deeply familiar with the prospects who occupy the four practice fields at ground level.

When Steinbrenner agreed to move eight players in trades for Juan Soto and Alex Verdugo, he acknowledged that was a steep price to pay the Padres and Red Sox, respectively. Steinbrenner believed those moves would improve the Yankees’ big league roster. Just as important, he knew more talent was on the way.

“Everybody seemed to want guys like [No. 8 prospect Will] Warren and [No. 4 prospect Chase] Hampton, and I just wasn’t willing to part with them,” Steinbrenner said recently. “I’m going to be very hesitant to give up the kind of guys like Warren, Hampton and [No. 2 prospect] Spencer Jones that have been asked about a lot.”

That gives the Yankees -- and their fans -- plenty of important players to monitor at the Minor League levels this season.

Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders

Player to watch: OF Everson Pereira (Yankees No. 6 prospect)
Pereira figures to be a mainstay in the RailRiders’ outfield. He struggled in a brief taste of the big leagues last September, batting .151 (14-for-93), but the Yankees continue to believe in his talent and will be watching closely to see if he makes the necessary swing-decision adjustments to advance. Pereira was signed for $1.5 million out of Venezuela in 2017.

Pitcher to watch: Warren
Warren opened eyes all spring, with manager Aaron Boone saying he expects the right-hander to help at the big league level. The 24-year-old will be looking to build on a strong 2023 campaign in which he went a combined 10-4 with a 3.35 ERA in 27 games (25 starts) at the Double-A and Triple-A levels.

Other top prospects: RHP Clayton Beeter (No. 14), 2B/3B Jorbit Vivas (No. 16), RHP Yoendrys Gómez (No. 18)

Double-A Somerset Patriots
Opening Day:
Friday, 6:35 p.m. ET vs. Richmond

Player to watch: OF Jones (MLB No. 81 overall prospect)
Jones won the James P. Dawson Award, indicative of the top rookie in Yankees Spring Training, after hitting .444 (8-for-18) in 13 games. The 22-year-old Jones appears poised to carry that performance over into his return to the Double-A level, where he played 17 games last season. Lauded as a left-handed version of Aaron Judge, Jones is on a fast track toward the Bronx, where he may appear as soon as this year.

Pitcher to watch: Brock Selvidge (Yankees No. 11 prospect)
Selvidge impressed in the Spring Breakout game last month, striking out eight over four scoreless innings against a squad of Blue Jays top prospects. Selvidge is a 6-foot-3 left-hander whose best pitch is an 85 to 89 mph cutter that he picked up last year at Single-A Tampa, where he posted a 3.38 ERA in 15 games (14 starts). Selvidge -- who idolizes Andy Pettitte -- also features a 92 to 95 mph fastball, a low 80s slider and a low 80s changeup.

Other top prospects: Hampton (MLB No. 89), C/1B Ben Rice (Yankees No. 13), C Agustín Ramírez (No. 22), RHP Zach Messinger (No. 23), RHP Trystan Vrieling (No. 24), RHP Jack Neely (No. 26), 3B Tyler Hardman (No. 27), RHP Danny Watson (No. 29)

High-A Hudson Valley Renegades
Opening Day:
Friday, 7:35 p.m. ET at Bowling Green

Player to watch: 2B/SS Jared Serna (No. 20)
Serna returns to the High-A level after finishing his 2023 season there. He was selected as a Single-A Florida State League postseason All-Star after batting .283/.350/.483 with 19 homers in 95 games at that level; in 27 games at High-A, he hit .287/.350/.389 but didn’t homer in 108 at-bats. The 5-foot-6 second baseman possesses raw power and impacts the ball well, adding plus speed and an aggressive mindset on the bases.

Pitcher to watch: LHP Kyle Carr (No. 12)
Carr is set to make his pro debut this season after being selected in the third round of the 2023 MLB Draft. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound left-hander was the top junior college prospect in the Draft after going 12-1 with a 2.31 ERA for Palomar (Calif.) JC, where he struck out 111 batters against 19 walks in 78 innings. Carr features a 91 to 95 mph fastball, a solid low-80s sweeper and an upper-80s changeup.

Other top prospects: 2B Roc Riggio (No. 19), OF Anthony Hall (No. 28), RHP Justin Lange (No. 30)

Single-A Tampa Tarpons
Opening Day:
April 5, 7:05 p.m. ET at Fort Myers

Player to watch: SS George Lombard Jr. (No. 7)
Lombard will score his first taste of full-season experience after impressing with several cameos during big league Spring Training, where he flashed a mature approach far beyond his 18 years. The Yanks’ first-round pick in the 2023 MLB Draft, Lombard carries a big-league pedigree -- his father, George Lombard, played outfield in the Majors and is the Tigers’ bench coach. Lombard already uses the whole field with plus raw power, and he’s expected to add muscle to his 6-foot-2, 190-pound frame.

Pitcher to watch: RHP Cade Smith (No. 25)
Smith is set to make his pro debut after being selected in the sixth round of the 2023 MLB Draft. Smith was Mississippi State’s ace over the past two seasons, where he featured a quick arm and a relatively clean delivery. Smith’s best pitch is an 83 to 85 mph slider. The right-hander also throws a 92 to 94 mph fastball, a decent 78 to 82 mph curveball and a mid-80s changeup that scouts say will need work.

Other top prospects: SS Roderick Arias (MLB No. 83, Yankees No. 3)