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Yankees pitching prospects stand in the dugout prior to a Spring Training game (John Brophy/Pinstriped Prospects)

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Baby Bombers exceeding expectations in first week of Major League Spring Training

TAMPA, FL – A week of Yankees baseball has gone by already. Can you believe it?! It might be “only Spring Training”, but that means the regular season is only a few weeks away. Between the non-roster invitees and the prospects they plug in in the latter half of games, the farm system has shone brightly in the past week’s set of games. If you read our content on Pinstriped Prospects in any regularity, you should recognize all of these names. If not, stay tuned. A lot of these guys have something to prove to Yankee fans.

We’ve been fortunate to attend a few games so far this week and will contribute our own content where we can.

Saturday @ Phillies (Clearwater)

The Yankees used 8 minor league pitchers as relievers in the Spring opener in Clearwater, including 2 recently named to the MLB Pipeline 2023 Yankees Top 30 prospects list.

Randy Vasquez, who was recently ranked #14, allowed 2 earned runs on 6 hits and a walk with 1 strikeout in an inning of work vs. the defending NL champion Phillies. Richard Fitts, ranked 10th on the Pipeline list, closed things out for the Yankees and allowed a home run (1 H, 1 ER, 1 R) and struck out 1. Alex Mauricio and Long Island native Greg Weissert whirled 2 combined innings of no-hit ball. Mauricio struck out all 3 faced, while Weissert walked 1 and struck out 1.

Jasson Domínguez hit his first Spring homer in the 5th inning, a 420 ft. shot to LCF that had an exit velo of 109.7 MPH.

Everson Pereira, ranked #6 on Pipeline’s top 30 list, saved an extra-base hit in the 8th inning off of former Yankees prospect (albeit extremely briefly) Wendell Rijo with a diving save in RF.

Sunday SS vs. Braves (Tampa)

Yankees pitching prospect Clayton Beeter throws a pitch in a Spring Training game while T.J. Rumfield defends 1st Base (John Brophy/Pinstriped Prospects)

We were fortunate to have 2 of our staff at this game. The Yankees’ pitching staff only allowed 1 hit in this game, throwing a no-hitter through 6.2 IP. Will Warren allowed the lone hit in the 7th to Braves OF Sam Hilliard, a lazy line drive single to LF. Deivi Garcia looked exceptional in his Spring debut and threw 1 inning of no-hit ball.

Yankees pitching prospect Deivi Garcia throws a pitch in a Spring Training game (John Brophy/Pinstriped Prospects)

It’s an extremely brief appearance as Spring games usually go, but the hope is that Garcia’s issues have been quelled and that he’s going to have a solid 2023 season. If this is the case, he could easily slide into the bullpen for the Yankees given his AAA experience, but it would be safe to imagine that the Yankees would want to see more consistency before they make that move.

Yankees pitching prospect Clayton Beeter throws a pitch in a Spring Training game (John Brophy/Pinstriped Prospects)

#15 ranked prospect Clayton Beeter, acquired from the Dodgers for Joey Gallo, was the closer for the Yankees and was absolutely lights out.

Yankees catcher Jose Treviño hits a grand slam in a Spring Training game (John Brophy/Pinstriped Prospects)

The game was highlighted by the 1st inning grand slam by Jose Trevino, but the prospects held their own with offense. T.J. Rumfield hit a 2-RBI double in the 6th, scoring Trey Sweeney and Tyler Hardman, and Mickey Gasper scored Rumfield with a double in the next at bat.

Sunday SS @ Toronto (Dunedin)

A pair of prospects, Carlos Narváez and Jesus Bastidas hit back-to-back bombs in Dunedin, and neither have really gotten an awful lot of attention prior to this week. Both shots exceeded 107 MPH exit velocity, but only Narváez’s home run recorded a distance: 425 ft over the 400 ft. CF wall.

Andres Chaparro, who’s been very impressive in early looks in Spring Training, also hit a home run against Toronto. We also got a first look at 2022 2nd rounder Drew Thorpe, who previously hadn’t made a professional appearance. Thorpe recorded a hold, and only allowed 1 hit and 1 walk, striking out 1 in 2 innings of work.

 

Monday vs. Detroit (Tampa)

Monday’s minor league showcase didn’t have a lot of homegrown arms on display as the Yankees primarily leaned towards their offseason acquisitions with Ian Hamilton, James Norwood and Tanner Tully throwing solid innings. 2022 6th round selection Chase Hampton made his pro debut and earned a save after allowing a hit and a walk without allowing a run. Fellow 2022 draftee and 2022 Tampa Tarpons OF, Tayler Aguilar, hit a blooper into the RF corner to score Domínguez and Westbrook.

Tuesday @ Tampa Bay (WWOS/Orlando)

There was no TV coverage vs. the Rays in Disney World (that’s a wild sentence to read, isn’t it?), but Rays radio did broadcast from the Braves’ former Spring home.

The game is a forgettable one, with the Rays shutting out the Baby Bombers 12-0. Of the Major League squad, Torres & Trevino made the trip and the rest of the lineup consisted of Minor Leaguers. The Yankees only recorded 5 singles in the game, 3 of which were by prospects.

Sean Boyle made the start for the Yankees and allowed 2 ER on 2 H, with 2 BB & 3 K. Boyle gave up a 2-run HR to Luke Raley. Matt Krook pitched 2 innings of 1 hit, 1 walk ball, striking out 3 batters. Tyler Danish, who the Yankees picked up in the offseason, gave up 4 singles and 2 walks, allowing 4 runs to score without recording an out. After Danish was replaced by Kaleb Cowart, a recently converted utility player turned pitcher, Cowart gave up a 3-run shot to Jonathan Aranda. Sean Hermann allowed 2 ER on 5 H with 1 BB in a 0.2 IP appearance, and Alex Mauricio closed out the 8th for him, striking out the only batter faced.

Weds. vs. Nationals (Tampa)

The Yankees obviously see some serious potential in Carlos Narváez to have invited him to MLB Spring Training, and Narvy proved what he could add to the Yankees roster to close out the game on Wednesday.

But we’re getting too far ahead. The starting lineup on Weds. was our first look at a potential lineup once the season starts in a few weeks. LeMahieu, Judge, Rizzo, Stanton, Donaldson, Bader, Hicks, Higashioka, IKF with German on the bump. That’s a good lineup. But we like the lineup that came a few innings later: Volpe, Florial, Oswaldo, Bauers, Chaparro, Calhoun, Domínguez, Narváez, Westbrook.

Of the pitchers that took the mound, Yoendrys Gómez was the only prospect that threw. Gómez allowed 1 ER on 2 H, striking 2 batters out.

Volpe showed off more of his defensive talent at 2B and SS and is proving a strong case to Boone to sit IKF and have one of the two prospects contending for the SS role make the Opening Day roster.

Thurs. @ Pittsburgh SS (Bradenton)

On only the 5th pitch of the game, the Yankees took an early lead, courtesy of this 394-foot home run to left center by Anthony Volpe.

Another prospect trying to earn his way onto the Major League roster is Estevan Florial. Florial doubled then stole 3rd base in the 3rd inning of the game in Bradenton. Florial has been batting under .200 in the first week of Spring Training, but hopefully things turn around for him.

Everson Pereira hit this double off of the RF wall to set up a major event in a few at bats.

Jesus Bastidas and Brandon Lockridge later walked, loading up the bases for Andres Chaparro who only needed 4 pitches to find the right one to loft into the LF seats. Chaparro has impressed many early in Spring Training.

Friday vs Detroit SS (Tampa)

Friday’s Spring Training game had an attendance of 9,125 (John Brophy/Pinstriped Prospects)

This game wasn’t televised, and I was fortunate to have been in attendance as a fan and to get some game action out on Twitter.

Even though they’re on the Major League club now, Judge and Higashioka are always known as homegrown prospects to us.

The game started off with a strike out by LeMahieu, but Judge nearly missed a home run with this double off of the LF wall.

The prospects didn’t start to come in until the latter parts of the game, and Spencer Jones showed off his speed with this single. I timed Jones at a sub-4 second LHH-to-1B run, which is double-plus speed.

Deivi Garcia closed things out for the Yankees, pitching in the 8th and 9th innings. Garcia allowed 1 ER on 2 H with 1 BB and 3 K through 2 IP.

 

Looking at these performances, I put out a Twitter poll to see what Yankees fans think of the current state of the system. Overall, it’s an overwhelmingly positive take.

Written By

Originally a native of Southern Connecticut, John has lived in the Tampa area since 2010 and has been a Tarpons fan since 2012. John is excited to bring you along as the Baby Bombers work their way up to The Bronx.

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