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Yankees MiLB Mailbag: Dominguez 2020 season, Schmidt MLB debut, Prospects to Keep an Eye on, and more.

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first Pinstriped Prospects mailbag in well a long while. Most of the time I just prefer to answer your Yankees minor league questions directly on Twitter but in order to give you the best answer and more information I can I decided to do one of these posts.

@gradisrad on Twitter asks: “Assuming he has a strong season, you think it’s possible Clark Schmidt makes his debut in September, or maybe even earlier?”

I think there is a very good chance of seeing Clarke Schmidt in the major leagues at some point during the 2020 season.  I personally think it could be before September call-ups.  He will have to be added to the 40-man roster after the season so it would not be a stretch to see him added at some point before the season if the Yankees need another pitcher.

Schmidt has a lot of potential and could be a future #2 in the Yankees starting rotation, his stuff is elite, and he has a good head on his shoulders.  There are probably not many people who have a higher opinion of Schmidt in the Yankees organization.

When I got to minor league spring training in March 2019 and saw in-person just how impressive his new two-seam fastball is in just a short time I was sure of him possibly reaching the majors at some point in 2020. I watched along with several scouts, all of us coming away impressed.

I expect him to further refine his repertoire in 2020 and cement himself as a future major league starting pitcher.  Schmidt has a ton of upside and this coming season will likely be a big step for him in his development. It is important to note that Schmidt only has 124 2/3 career minor league innings between the regular season and post-season so do not expect him to be ready to throw 200 MLB innings right away.

@Joangyankee on Twitter asks: “What is going on with Estevan Florial? I know his injury stalled things a little for him.”

Pretty much exactly what you just said. The injuries have stalled his development over the last couple of seasons.  Even with the injuries, he still has all of the tools and is not as bad of a hitter as some might make you believe.  I always say that prospect fatigue is real, and this applies to Florial more than anyone else in the Yankees system at the moment.  Fans and even those in the prospect media get so tired of hearing about names that they begin to overlook them.  This happens a lot to big names that get hurt or don’t rocket up the farm system, the last notable example of this with the Yankees was Gary Sanchez.

It is important to note with Florial that he is coming off of two fluke injuries.  The broken right hamate bone in 2018 that cost him of the season after he had surgery on it in May of that year and also the fracture in his right wrist that he suffered during a major league spring training game on March 16, 2019, after he collided with an outfield wall.  It is a shame he suffered that injury in spring training, I think we would have been talking about Florial much differently right now had he not.  Looking at his performance over those 31-games he hit .355/.429/.516 with two doubles, a home run, four RBIs, four walks, and five stolen bases.  Florial is still every bit of the top prospect he was the last couple years even if many are writing him off because they cannot see beyond the numbers on a scorecard.

@Pothole069 and @Doyle1228 on Twitter asks: “Your best guess, where does Jasson Dominguez start and end the season?”

We had two questions asking the same thing about the new media-hyped prospect Jasson Dominguez.  While many fans are excited about Dominguez and his potential to be the next great Yankee homegrown talent, you have to remember he has yet to play an actual game.  Talent evaluators and media members have raved about his abilities at the plate. I personally have yet to see him play in person, and I am hoping I will get to see him in person at some point in 2020.  I do believe he will skip over the lower Rookie-leagues entirely if he is indeed as advanced as they say I would the Yankees will likely give him a shot in Pulaski like they have other top international prospects the last couple of seasons.  But do not be surprised if they skip over the Rookie leagues all together and have him start in Staten Island.

@tabraham0825 on Twitter asks “We all know the names King, Garcia, Abreu, Dominguez, Florial, Volpe, et al. Who has the chance to make an impact that no one is talking about?”

There are a lot of good talent in the Yankees organization right now, enough so that I believe the national prospect media is underrating them in their organizational rankings. While the sure-fire can’t miss prospects are not there, there is a ton of high-upside, high-risk guys coming up through the ranks. Most of them are further away from the majors than others.

I assume you want to know of the guys that people are not talking about just yet.  One name is right-handed pitcher Roansy Contreras who had a big second half of 2019 season.  You can read more about that in my break down of his underrated 2019 season here, and you can get a full breakdown of him in our scouting report here.  I am expecting him to have a breakout 2020 season that hopefully sees him get his first taste of Double-A.

Other pitchers, you should familiarize yourself with are righties Yoendrys Gomez, Glenn Otto, and Frank German as well as lefty TJ Sikkema.  Gomez numbers do not show how good of a prospect he truly his and I expect to see him in Charleston again in 2020.  You can learn more about him in our scouting report here.

Glenn Otto is a former college reliever that the Yankees tried to convert into a starter.  He has the making of a solid major league starter with a fastball in the mid-90s and a plus breaking pitch.  The 2020 season will be a big one for him, if healthy you will be able to see him in the big leagues sooner rather than later.

German is another pitcher with a plus fastball, getting it up to 98 mph.  He has the makings of a future high-leverage reliever or closer in the big leagues.  Sikkema is a new addition to the Yankees this past year in the draft and has a low-90s fastball that can top out at 95 mph.  He has the pedigree to move quickly through the farm system.

@jbj5613 on Twitter asks: “What is the word on Ezekiel Duran? The kid excites you for a moment and then he kinda doesn’t and then he does. #Yankees”

I am a huge Ezequiel Duran fan.  I have been since I first saw him in minor league spring training in 2018.  For a kid as young as he is, to put up the exit velocity numbers he has on the regular is extraordinary.  I personally have seen him hit 110-113 mph with his exit Velo on home runs.  That is Aaron Judge level, the knock on him is that he has trouble with breaking balls at the plate and can sometimes be too aggressive.  However, that description can be put on many hitters at the short-season level.  With the updates to the Yankees hitting philosophies and new technologies available for coaches, I expect to see him become one of the best overall hitters in the organization in a few years.  He is no slouch in the field as well.  IF you want more info on Duran I highly suggest this great feature we did on him from August.

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