The Yankees system has some very promising prospects and lots of depth but no “can’t miss, impact talent”… at least not yet. There are definitely some candidates to earn that tag by the end of 2019.
1. Jonathan Loaisiga | RHP | AAA —> Back in January, I picked Loaisiga as the biggest sleeper in the Yankees system. He made me look good by rising from obscurity, zooming through the minors and even reaching the big leagues. He has the chance to develop three plus offerings but the knock on him is his lack of physicality. And sure enough, he was hurt in 2018 not long after making his MLB debut. If he can hold up as a starter, Loaisiga has No. 2 starter potential. If not, he might end up as a high-leverage reliever.
2. Justus Sheffield | LHP | AAA —> Sheffield is another smallish pitcher but he’s stronger and more athletic than the pitcher above him. He also has a solid fastball-slider combination but the changeup needs a fair bit of polish to become an average offering. Sheffield also struggles with his control at times and I’ve heard that he could stand to be more mature. He gets a solid number of ground-ball outs to go with a health number of strikeouts. I see No. 3/4 starter potential here and he should be ready to pitch out of the Yankees starting rotation in 2019.
3. Estevan Florial | OF | A+ —> Loaded with tools and athleticism, Florial has a high ceiling but he also has some speed bumps to overcome. The main concern is that he swings and misses too much for someone with modest in-game power. He needs to sit back more and wait for a hitter’s pitch in a good area. I’d also like to see him use his speed on the base paths more, and really focus on becoming a plus runner. Defensively, he has a chance to be very good with great range and a strong arm. I could see him starting 2019 back in high-A ball in hopes of dominating the competition.
4. Deivi Garcia | RHP | AA —> Another smaller hurler, I have even more concerns about Garcia sticking in the starting rotation than I did with Loaisiga. Garcia also lacks that reliable third offering that his teammate has. Still, he can hit the mid-90s with his heater and shows flashes of potentially having a plus-plus curveball down the line. He has the ceiling of a No. 3 starter if he can hold up to a starter’s workload. If not, there is high-leverage potential here as a reliever.
5. Everson Pereira | OF | R —> A fast, athletic player, Pereira may very well be able to make the Majors on his ability to run and play defence alone. Toss in the potential for a solid bat and you have a very good prospect. Pereira, 17, has a strong idea at the plate for his age but he needs to tone down his aggressiveness and continue to use the whole field. He has the potential to hit double-digit homers with some added muscle but that might play away from his natural strengths. He may very well make his full-season ball debut in 2019 at the age of 19.
6. Matt Sauer | RHP | SS —> I continue to like the slow-moving Sauer more than most. He has a promising fastball-slider combination and shows enough with the raw changeup to see average potential. He is big, strong and athletic so there could be more MPHs in the tank, and he has a chance to develop into an innings-eater, mid-rotation starter. Despite an unconventional delivery, he throws strikes. Improved command should help him gobble up more strikeouts.
7. Roansy Contreras | RHP | A —> The Yankees have clearly discovered the latest market inefficiency… and made a run on hard-throwing, short pitchers. Contreras, 19, had a solid year while jumping from short-season ball to full-season ball towards the end of the summer. He showed the ability to miss bats with his fastball-curveball combo but he also occasionally struggled with the long ball and needs to get better downward plane on his offerings. He’s raw but also has the athleticism to help him stick as a starter.
8. Antonio Cabello | OF | R —> Cabello had an excellent debut in rookie ball in 2018 as a 17-year-old player. He hit more than .300 and showed excellent patience at the plate, even though he struck out too much. His performance was even more impressive considering that he was learning a new position to take advantage of his above-average speed and solid athleticism (moving from catcher to the outfield). He’s raw but promising.
9. Albert Abreu | RHP | AA —> Abreu has all the raw ingredients to be a stud hurler but he’s missed valuable development time while struggling through a litany of unrelated injuries. When healthy, he has a fastball that can tickle triple digits and the makings of three average-or-better offerings. If he continues to struggle with his health, it might make sense to move him to the bullpen where he could potentially throw two or three high-octane innings. If he comes to spring looking good, Abreu has a shot at a double-A assignment.
10. Domingo Acevedo | RHP | AA —> An absolute monster on the mound at 6-7, 250 pounds, Acevedo has likely been miscast as a starter in the minors. I’d like to see him shift to the bullpen now to take advantage of his 100+ mph heat and potentially-above-average changeup. His breaking ball remains a work in progress. He’s lost some valuable development time over the past few years due to a variety of ailments.
Anthony Seigler | C | R —> Seigler was selected 23rd overall in 2018 and had a solid debut while showing an excellent eye at the plate (BB-K of 14-12). Despite the success, there are still questions about just how good of a hitter he’ll be… and young catchers can break your hearts very quickly. Defensively, though, Seigler is very sound and has the makings of an above-average defender; he’s even athletic enough to play other positions.
Garrett Whitlock | RHP | A+ —> Whitlock was a steal in the 17th round of the 2017 draft. He has shown the ability to miss some bats due to excellent movement on his offerings and induces a ton of ground balls, which obviously helps to keep the ball in the park. He doesn’t have elite zip on his heater but it can range up to the mid-90s when he flips from the two-seamer to the four-seamer. I see No. 4 starter potential here.
Michael King | RHP | AAA —> Like Whitlock, King is less about power and more about pitchability, which helped him zoom up from A-ball to triple-A. He has above-average command and control, as well strong ground-ball numbers, but he lacks a reliable offering to go with his low-90s heater, which generates lots of movement. If he cannot find a second plus offering to go with the fastball, King could end up in the bullpen.
Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.