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Nick Swisher chats with the outfielders after some drills (John Brophy/Pinstriped Prospects)


Prospects to watch in Spring Training and the 2023 season

Last week, we discussed about the 11 homegrown prospects that were invited to the Yankees’ Spring Training. In this article, we’ll discuss the prospects whom we think you should watch in Spring Training and beyond into this season.

Matt Krook pitching for the Somerset Patriots on May 6, 2021 (Chris Jones)

Prospects on the 40-man roster

RHP Jhony Brito has gone under-the-radar by most Yankees fans for the bulk of his career but if you’re not familiar with his stuff, you will be this year. Brito can regularly hit 94 or 95 on his plus heater with exceptional command, in addition to an underwhelming slider that sits in the upper-80s and average curveball with a typical delivery of 81-84 MPH. A lot of contact happens with his slider, but his best pitch is easily his fastball. Brito has an explosive, quick motion, but is very consistent with his motion and arm slot.

2022 (AA & AAA): 11-4, 23 starts. 2.96 ERA in 112.2 IP; allowed 40 R & 37 ER on 95 H. 35 BB, 3 HB & 91 K.

LHP Deivi Garcia has had numerous struggles over the past few seasons despite the billing that he would be one of the next top pitching prospects. Garcia, who pitched for AA Somerset and AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, still shows flashes of excellent performance, but his command is still sorely lacking. His windup has a lot of moving parts, and his off-speed pitches have little break. Any positive progress in the off-season will be interesting to watch this Spring as other pitching prospects look to take his 40-man spot.

2022 (AA & AAA): 4-5, 13 starts. 6.89 ERA in 64 IP; allowed 56 R & 49 ER on 60 H. 32 BB, 11 HB & 76 K.

P Yoendrys Gómez pitched for High-A Hudson Valley and AA Somerset in 2022 and delivered solid stats after returning mid-season from Tommy John surgery. Gómez didn’t have a ton of velo in 2022 with a heater that topped out at 94 MPH (that may be attributed to being cautious after TJS), but his above-average cutter and curve along with a plus slider are his money pitches. Gómez spiked a few pitches and nearly beaned a few batters last season, so something to follow will be if he has since refined his command. If he gets that under control (pun intended), it may not be too much of a surprise to see him in the Bronx late in the 2023 season.

2022 (FCL [rehab], A+ & AA): 1-0, 15 starts. 2.49 ERA in 47 IP; allowed 14 R & 13 ER on 37 H. 18 BB, 3 HB & 49 K.

LHP Matt Krook was put onto a lot more Yankees fans’ radars when he was added to the 40-man this past November, after a sold 2022 campaign. Krook’s best month was in September where he posted a 1.96 ERA in 18.1 IP, allowing only 4 ER on 17 H, but his best start was on July 1st where he had a perfect game going into the 8th inning. Krook has a bit of a slow wind-up until he explosively releases the ball, but we won’t complain given the performance he put up last season. With Montas’ short-term future uncertain, it’s possible that Krook may make the opening day roster.

2022 (AAA): 10-7, 22 starts. 4.09 ERA in 138.2 IP; allowed 71 R & 63 ER on 120 H. 73 BB, 8 HB & 155 K.

P Randy Vásquez caught our attention in 2021 while in Single-A Tampa after having one of the best stints in the first half of the season of anyone on the Tarpons pitching staff. Vásquez has since been mostly consistent, although he did struggle a bit when he debuted in AA Somerset in 2021. Vásquez has a double-plus fastball that tops out at 96 MPH, along with a plus “whirly” slider that sits at 81-84 MPH. He works quickly, which will be important when he makes the jump to the Majors with the impending implementation of the pitch clock. If Vásquez exclusively threw the fastball & slider, he could become a #4 or #5 starter behind Cole and Rodón and could slot in near Severino and Cortes in the coming years.

2022 (AA): 2-7, 25 starts. 3.90 ERA in 115.1 IP; allowed 56 R & 50 ER on 106 H. 41 BB, 10 HB & 120 K.

OF Everson Pereira really broke out in 2021, but his performance was toned back in 2022 due to a bit more aggressiveness at the plate. Pereira has power for days but had a much higher ground ball rate in 2022 compared to that of 2021 with nearly half of the 112 hits he had last season as grounders. While it may sound like we’re speaking negatively about Pereira, he did have a slash of .283/.341/.504/.846 in AA last season which is nothing to sneeze at. If Pereira were to be compared to his outfield battery mate, Jasson Domínguez, Pereira runs better routes and gets better jumps on the ball, but Domínguez is overall quicker among the two.

2022 (A+ & AA): 102 games, 448 PA. 111 H; 71 1B, 17 2B, 9 3B, 14 HR, 56 RBI, 76 R, 124 K. .283/.341/.504/.846

Tyler Hardman. Photo by Kylie Richelle

Prospects in minor-league camp

The Yankees have a ton of depth in many places around the field such as at 3B, SS, the OF and C. One position to follow is 1B.

Tyler Hardman plays both corners of the diamond, so he carries some utility. The 2022 Fall Star played most of last season with High-A Hudson Valley at 3B but spent most of 2021 at 1B while in Tampa. Looking at stats, he is more successful at 1B, but stats aren’t everything. He looks more comfortable at 3B, but there’s so much depth on the left side of the infield that a slide back to 1B seems possible. Hardman is aggressive at the plate with about 30% of his at-bats resulting in strikeouts and only 9% resulting in walks.

2022 (A+ & AA): 111 games, 463 PA. 105 H; 65 1B, 16 2B, 2 3B, 22 HR, 81 RBI, 53 R, 142 K. .255/.320/.464/.784

T.J. Rumfield was acquired in a trade with the Phillies and immediately made an impact with the High-A affiliate, Hudson Valley Renegades. Rumfield had a strong April before being on the IL for over 2 months and struggling a bit until he got into a groove in August. Rumfield was invited to the AFL in September and was named a Fall Star in November. He had an excellent strikeout ratio of nearly 11% with Single-A Clearwater (Phila.) in 2021 but doubled that to an average 20% K ratio. Rumfield has a tall and thin build at 6’5”/225, and with a lefty bat there’s a ton of potential and a reason to get excited if he can stay healthy this season.

2022 (FCL [rehab], A [rehab], A+): 57 games, 243 PA. 57 H; 39 1B, 13 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 35 RBI, 27 R, 47 K. .273/.366/.392/.758

Eric Wagaman has been in the system for a few years having been drafted in 2017 but was only called up to the AA level this past August. Wagaman can be seen as more of a defense-first prospect but has shown an improvement in pop recently after hitting nearly double the homeruns and cutting his strikeout ratio down considerably in 2022 to an above-average 16%. Wagaman isn’t really of a power hitter, but still drove in a decent amount of RBI considering the number of games he played in. It’s unclear why he didn’t play in that many games compared to battery mate Tyler Hardman, but 2022 was still his best season by far.

2022 (A+, AA): 69 games, 266 PA. 109 H, 37 1B, 10 2B, 0 3B, 13 HR, 32 RBI, 31 R, 42 K. .258/.346/.468/.814

Ben Rice may not be a name you expect to see here. The Dartmouth alum split some time behind the plate and at 1st base and is a solid defender in both roles. The Yankees seem to be converting Rice to 1B given his agility as a catcher, and in the 1B role, Rice only committed 1 error in 91 total chances (112.1 innings). Rice’s lefty bat has some solid pop too, pulling the ball half the time he makes contact. He drove in 36 RBI in 68 games, and that’s not necessarily on account of his “typical catcher” speed.

2022 (A): 68 games, 243 PA. 55 H, 37 1B, 9 2B, 0 3B, 9 HR, 36 RBI, 32 R, 41 K. .267/.368/.442/.810

INF/C Jesus Rodriguez (John Brophy/Pinstriped Prospects)

These prospects are lesser known because they’ve mostly played in the short-season Florida Complex League but should be exciting to follow in the upcoming season.

Dayro Perez is another infielder competing for the coveted SS position. Given he hasn’t played a full season yet (Perez has only been in the DSL & FCL), he’s still considered to be raw talent and there’s a bunch to work with. Perez had a BABIP of .392 last season with the Complex League and a batting average of .250 (pretty good for FCL) but he struck out in nearly 1/3 of his at-bats. If he can get the K rate down, Perez could break onto the Top 30. He also needs to improve his defensive performances on the field though: Perez had a .896 fielding percentage in 32 games with 12 errors in 115 chances. His greatest talent though is his agility and speed.

2022 (FCL): 38 games, 167 PA. 23 1B, 8 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 35 R, 54 K. .250/.389/.375/.764

Felix Negueis (pronounced neh-GEESE) really impressed in the Complex League last season, making some of the hardest-hit contact of all of the FCL Yankees. To kind of give you an idea on his offensive potential, Negueis had a wRC+ of 157 last season in 32 games. Fellow outfielder Jasson Dominguez’s personal best wRC+ is 145 from his time in Hudson Valley last season. Negueis is also an aggressive base runner and has decent speed, which is key since he’s a corner outfielder.  Something to note is that if Negueis cuts down his K rate from a high 30% to under 20%, he could quickly jump onto the Yankees’ Top 30, as making an adjustment like that is what drove Dominguez’s performance to another level in 2022.

2022 (FCL): 32 games, 121 PA. 10 1B, 13 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 29 RBI, 22 R, 36 K. .287/.388/.574/.963

Jesus Rodríguez played more time at 1B in 2022 than what used to be his primary role as C, but he’s got quite a glove for 1B.  Rodríguez committed 3 errors in 197 chances at 1st and played 29 games there. But the notable aspect isn’t necessarily his glove. Rodríguez had the highest wRC+ in the organization and also posted an OPS of 1.010 in 37 games played. In addition, Rodríguez only struck out in less than 10% of at-bats, which is elite territory. Sure, this is only a partial season in the second lowest level of the minors, but it’s a reflection of the potential that Rodríguez has going into the 2023 season.

2022 (FCL): 37 games, 152 PA. 28 1B, 10 2B, 4 3B, 4 HR, 24 RBI, 29 R, 14 K. .348/.434/.576/1.010

Sean Hermann impressed in the Florida Complex League and Single-A Tampa last year, posting a combined ERA of 2.52 in 53.2 IP. He was dominant in the Complex League, but struggled a bit once he was promoted to Single-A Tampa. Hermann has a motion, and especially a landing, reminiscent of that of Mike Mussina where there’s a little hop at the end and he’s square to home plate.  Hermann has a 5 pitch arsenal: a FB/SI that tops out at 93, a SL that sits in the low 80s, a CH that sits in the mid-80s, a CB that sits In the low-80s and a CU that sits in the upper-80s. Hermann has above-average command, which is good for this level where pitchers can tend to be wild. His slider has a break similar to that of Yankees pitcher Luis Severino and his sinker has a vertical break on par with Clay Holmes’ sinker.

2022 (FCL & A): 2-0, 10 starts. 2.52 ERA in 53.2 IP; allowed 20 R & 15 ER on 47 H. 13 BB, 5 HB & 47 K

Yorlin Calderon threw Single-A Tampa’s only no-hitter of 2022 in his season debut out of Extended Spring Training and put-up solid stats the rest of the season. Calderon threw a combined 58 innings between FCL and Tampa, inducing almost half of batted balls as grounders and striking out nearly a third of batters. Calderon isn’t a velo guy by any stretch of the imagination as his heater tops out in the low 90s, but he also has a CH that’s in the mid-80s, a slider that’s low-80s and a CB that’s right around 80. Calderon gets a lot of strikeouts (over 10 K/9), but also has decent control on walking batters (about 2.7 BB/9). He struggled with walking batters in Tampa, but still maintained an excellent K%.

2022 (FCL & A): 6-1, 6 starts. 3.88 ERA in 58 IP; allowed 27 R & 25 ER on 55 H. 16 BB, 6 HB & 75 K.



The Yankees have several arms that missed most or all of 2022 as a result of injury or innings limits, in addition to some recent draft selections that have yet to don the pinstripes. We expect to see many, if not most, of these names in Spring Training.

2022 Draft Selections Yet To Pitch:

RHP Brendan Beck

RHP Trystan Vrieling

RHP Drew Thorpe

RHP Chase Hampton

RHP Ryan Harvey

RHP Jackson Fristoe

LHP Geoffrey Gilbert

RHP Shane Gray

RHP Hayden Merda

RHP Sebastian Keane

RHP Trevor Kirk

RHP Harrison Cohen

RHP Mason Vinyard

RHP Baron Stuart

Injuries that missed significant time in 2022:

RHP Yoljeldriz Diaz

RHP Denny Larrondo

RHP Nicio Rodriguez

RHP Connor Pellerin

RHP Anderson Muñoz

RHP Justin Wilson

LHP Michael Giacone

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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