A Minor Review of 2018: New York Yankees by Marc Hulet March 25, 2019 Welcome back to my annual off-season series that has a quick-and-dirty review of all 30 minor league systems around baseball. This feature began way back in 2008. If you had been perusing this series at the end of 2017, you would have read: The Sleeper: Jonathan Loaisiga, RHP: Signed way back in 2012 (by the Giants), injuries have decimated Loasiga’s career to date with just 35 innings thrown in the last four years. However, he has outstanding control and a mid-90s fastball with two secondary offerings that project as better than average down the line. I can’t see him being a starter long-term given the injury history and his slight frame but he could make an excellent (and quick-moving) reliever for the Yankees. Now on to the new stuff: First Taste of The Show: Gleyber Torres, 2B: Torres needed less than 70 games above A-ball to prove to the Yankees that he was MLB ready. He wasn’t the best rookie hitter on the club (that goes to Miguel Andujar) but the former Cubs prospect was younger and also showed a better all-around game. With that said, there is still room for growth as he struck out 25% of the time while hitting for more power than expected (11 home runs was his previous high). Even if the swing-and-miss tendencies continue (I don’t think they will), Torres has produced 10-12% walk rates in the minors so he’ll like increase his on-base rate as he settles in at the big league level. Defensively, he’s a fine second baseman who can play shortstop when needed. The Draft Pick: Anthony Seigler, C: The Yankees were known to be very high on Seigler so it wasn’t a surprise to see the club nab him in the first round of the 2018 draft. A very athletic catcher, he can hit and throw both ways, making him a bit of a sideshow to go along with his obvious, more traditional skills. Seigler also has a reputation for having a strong approach at the plate for a teenager and that was on display in pro ball with a BB-K of 14-12 in 24 games. He doesn’t have a ton of home-run pop right now but the Yankees seem to have magic beans that turn even the more modest hitters into prolific home-run hitters (The launching pad home park also helps). Because he’s a little more advanced behind the plate than a lot of young players his age, Seigler may jump up to full-season ball this spring. The Riser: Deivi Garcia, RHP: Garcia won’t turn 20 until May but he’s already had a taste of Double-A and should return to that level to begin 2019. He missed time due to injury but moved swiftly through the system nonetheless after opening the year in Low-A ball. Garcia is often around the plate and his excellent curveball baffled hitters in the lower minors. He also keeps hitters honest with his fastball, which can reach the mid-90s despite a modest frame. Even though he’s young, I wouldn’t be shocked if Garcia made it to the Majors in 2019, especially if he breaks in as a reliever where he won’t have to worry about polishing the third pitch. The Fallen: Luis Medina, RHP: Medina is already well known amongst hardcore Yankees fans for his ability to hit 100-102 mph with his heater but all the arm strength in the world isn’t going to help you if you can’t throw strikes. And that was the young pitcher’s issue in 2018 when he posted a K-BB ratio of 47-46 in 36 innings. The thing about Medina is that he could throttle back his fastball to the 92-95 mph range and still be a good pitcher given how promising his other two offerings (a curveball and a changeup) are right now. Just 19, Medina has lots of time to figure things out. The 2019 Sleeper: Josh Stowers, OF: The Yankees needed 40-man roster flexibility and they looked for that during their off-season trades. One of the players coming back to the Yankees was Stowers, a 2018 second-round pick of the Mariners. The young outfielder had a solid debut after a decent college career. He stole 20 bases in 58 pro games while also showing gap pop and a willingness to take a walk. There was also some swing-and-miss to his game. Stowers had a solid pro debut so it will be interesting to see how he acclimates to full-season ball in 2019 as some see a solid future regular while others see more of a fourth outfielder. The 2019 Lottery Ticket: Yoendrys Gomez, RHP: The Yankees are loaded with promising, young arms and Gomez is no exception. He has a good pitcher’s frame with room to add good weight but it also looks like his legs have gotten stronger since last season which could show up with increased velocity. With that said, his heater is already in the low 90s and was hitting 93-94 mph last year. He throws a curveball that shows promise but I wonder if his arm slot and quick arm action might favor a slider. Either way, he’s an interesting pitching prospect and might be a little more advanced than he gets credit for.