Teams were able to protect a limited number of prospects a few weeks ago, leaving many other prospects vulnerable exposed to the Rule 5 draft that’s coming on December 7th. In this article, we take a look at which Yankees prospects may be claimed by teams during this week’s MLB Winter Meeting in San Diego.
SP – RHP Sean Boyle (2022 AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre – 47.1 IP – 3.61 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, .291 BABIP, 8.18 K/9, 2.66 BB/9, 1.90 HR/9)
Boyle had a bit more success in AA regarding advanced analytics in 2022, but still has been mostly dominant in both AA and AAA, posting a 0.82 ERA in July through 33 IP with AA Somerset and ending the season with a 2.73 ERA in 26.2 IP with AAA Scranton. Boyle did have a rough month of May, posting a 7.46 ERA in 25.1 IP (allowed 15 ER in 8.1 IP; 2 consecutive starts), but regularly had games where he struck out 7+ batters.
Boyle flew through the Yankees system in 2021, hitting all 4 full-season organizations, but split his time in 2022 with AA Somerset (108 IP) and AAA SWB (47.1 IP).
RP – RHP Zach Greene (2022 AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre – 68.1 IP – 3.42 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .270 BABIP, 12.64 K/9, 4.21 BB/9, 1.45 HR/9)
I’ll be honest in saying that Greene isn’t someone that’s been on my radar (mostly because he wasn’t in Tampa), but he has the numbers to deserve to be on everyone’s radar. Greene had two rough months with Scranton, posting a 6.10 ERA in April (7 ER on 11 H in 10.1 IP) and a 5.79 ERA in July (9 ER on 12 H in 14 IP), but otherwise had an ERA that sat around 2.00 for the other 4 months of the season.
Greene also has a rather high strikeout rate with an average of 1.5 K per inning, and had an excellent opposing batter average of .199. Greene also had an excellent Left On Base percentage of 74%. It makes sense for Greene to be an attractive add to a bullpen in the Majors if he’s throwing this well in AAA. It also makes sense for the Yankees to consider adding him to the bullpen now that Chapman is gone.
C – Mickey Gasper (2022 AA Somerset – 70 G, 270 PA, .266/.407/.453/.860, 27 RBI, 8 HR, 53 K, 23 XBH)
The Yankees have Gasper and Josh Breaux as the most appealing Rule 5 eligible catchers in 2022, and I went with Gasper over Breaux as an overall package. Gasper plays both 1B and C (I saw him catch quite a bit in 2022 Spring Training), but in 2022 he spent a considerable amount less time behind the plate (107 innings) versus at 1B (492.2 innings). Gasper allowed 12 stolen bases in 15 attempts in 2022, but overall had an almost identical fielding percentage (.993 at C, .991 at 1B).
If a team is looking for just a catcher, yes, Josh Breaux is an overall better prospect. Breaux’s bat is much more potent with a lot more pop than what Gasper can offer, but the utility aspect of Gasper plus a solid bat makes him the overall higher quality pick.
1B – Chad Bell (2022 AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre – 22 G, 77 PA, .197/.312/.288/.600, 4 RBI, 1 HR, 28 K, 4 XBH)
Bell put up considerably better numbers in AA Somerset in 2022 than he did in his abbreviated time with SWB. Bell had a slash line of .249/.329/.450/.779 in 71 games and hit 14 HR with 40 RBI in that span. Where Bell really shines is in his defensive utility: Bell can play just about anywhere in the infield. Bell spent most of his time at 1B, but also spent some time at 3B and 2B between AA and AAA.
Bell is big in situations where there’s runners in scoring position: he drove in 31 RBI and hit 5 HR with Somerset in 57 games. Given Bell has a higher ground ball rate in AAA (50%) than in AA (38.3%), once he settles in and gets better quality at bats, I think he can contribute positively to a club.
2B – Jesus Bastidas (2022 AA Somerset – 67 G, 449 PA, .240/.323/.427/.750, 55 RBI, 18 HR, 115 K, 37 XBH)
I went with Bastidas over Dunn primarily because Bastidas played a full season and Dunn missed a considerable amount of the 2022 season. That’s not to say that Dunn isn’t a good athlete, but I wouldn’t expect a team to chase Dunn given the injuries he had.
Bastidas is, based on what I’ve seen, an overall better prospect over Dunn and the fact that he won a Minor League Gold Glove as a second baseman should be what seals the deal there. I don’t know if he’s ready for the Majors, but he’s definitely got the tools to be there by the All-Star Break in 2023.
3B – Andres Chaparro (2022 AA Somerset – 64 G, 271 PA, .289/.369/.594/.963, 52 RBI, 19 HR, 54 K, 35 XBH)
Chaparro is one of the prospects that Yankee fans should be worried about getting claimed in the Rule 5 draft. It also seems like a certainty in a sense. Chaparro has developed from a prospect that couldn’t get out of an offensive rut and was hitting barely over the Mendoza line in parts of 2021 to a prospect ending the 2022 season batting .346/.444/.788/1.232. He led the team in home runs at 20, the most in his career despite playing less games in 2022 than in 2021, and also had almost 1/3 of the walks (25 in 2022 vs 60 in 2021 and 2/3 of the strikeouts (58 in 2022 vs 93 in 2021).
It’s not just the quality at-bats that makes Chaparro an attractive prospect, he has a good glove, good range and can play both 3B and 1B although he feels and looks more at home at 3B. Chaparro doesn’t have great speed though, but he does have decent agility, likely leaving him as a corner infielder whether it’s with the Yankees or another organization. I’d be really surprised if at a minimum we don’t hear rumbles that teams are interested in Chaparro.
SS – The Yankees do not have any enticing Rule 5 eligible shortstops. Alexander Vargas and Dayro Perez are the only eligible prospects, and both are in the lower levels of the system.
OF – Brandon Lockridge (2022 AA Somerset – 108 G, 464 PA, .230/.300/.378/.678, 52 RBI, 19 HR, 54 K, 35 XBH)
Lockridge is another one of the prospects that Yankee fans should be worried about getting claimed in the Rule 5 draft. He is a complete package with speed, a damn good glove, and a potent bat. Lockridge has a low walk rate (7.8%), but a rather high strikeout rate (26.9%) which means that he has a good eye at the plate, but likely gets impatient and chases pitches he shouldn’t. His BABIP is .291, which is what should be considered as good, but not exceptional. Lockridge had considerably more line drive hits in 2021 with Somerset (25.4%) compared to his campaign in 2022 (16.6%), which may explain the better numbers he had in 2021.
Where Lockridge stands out is with his glove; he didn’t commit any errors in 2022 while in LF (in 161 innings) or RF (in 137 innings). While in CF, Lockridge had a .986 fielding percentage with 2 errors in 498 innings. Lockridge would have likely had a taste of AAA (or maybe even the Majors) with other organizations, but the Yankees are incredibly deep with their OF throughout the farm system. Promotions overall were a bit thin in 2022, regardless of position. Lockridge seems to be a player that could contribute to a team looking for a utility OF given he plays all 3 positions, and one that’s looking for 70 speed and that clutch bat as seen in the embedded tweet below.