Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Future of the Yankees System - The Shortstops

The New York Yankees have spent the last few seasons not only trying to compete at the Major League level year in and year out the team has also been working towards, maybe even hard towards, building a true and legitimate farm system. The system and the men running this system are presumably new at building a farm system from the ground up so there were obviously some hiccups along the way but the team seems to have finally got it. Not only is the team finding spots for their emerging talents on the MLB roster but they are also finding ways to prop up their prospects for trades to fill out the rest of the roster. The Yankees were once stacked at the catcher position, the outfield position and the right-handed reliever position and the Yankees latest area of focus has seemingly been the middle infield. The Yankees have stockpiled a stable of shortstops and second baseman that will either have a future with the big league Yankees or have a future as trade bait that bring players back to New York.

We all know the list of impressive shortstops the Yankees have in their minor league system but how many will stick at the position and how many may have to switch positions is something that many may not know going forward. New York has seemingly found the replacement to Derek Jeter in Didi Gregorius but who may be the next Derek Jeter?

We'll start with the man who wants to be the next Derek Jeter, Jorge Mateo. Mateo is arguably the Yankees best prospect in the entire system and is coming off a strong season where he stole 82 bases across various minor league systems. Mateo is the obvious choice to be a future MLB shortstop, whether that be with the Yankees or with another MLB club. He has the speed, the bat and the defense to stick long term.

Thairo Estrada was held back to continue his development in short-season ball not because he wasn't ready for a full season but because the Yankees system is that stacked at the position. Estrada showed a great bat with doubles power and an even better batting eye taking almost as many walks as he recorded strikeouts in 2015. This all happened while Estrada was still the youngest player in the New York/Penn League.

Hoy-Jun Park benefited from the Yankees adding another affiliate in Pulaski and he tore up the Appalachian League. Park stole bases, hit for power and hit for extra base hits while giving the organization zero doubts about his ability to play professional baseball despite still being a teenager.

The final prospect that looks likely to stick at the shortstop position is Wilkerman Garcia. While Jorge Mateo is ranked as the best Yankees prospect overall and the best shortstop in the system to some but to others Garcia will be the better of the two when all the dust is settled. You don't take a talent like Garcia and move him off the shortstop position unless you absolutely have to, and you shouldn't have to if you're the Yankees.

1 comment:

  1. IF Mateo can play as he did last year but with better ground ball vs fly balls and settle into the 2nd base position well, I could see him playing 2nd base in the show next year. He will be 21 and ready to do as good if not better than Castro, letting Castro move to 3rd.
    We then have a 26-year-old SS (Didi) and a 21-year-old 2nd (right handed hitting) baseman that has a much-needed talent set...speed and "Speed Kills".
    When Didi is at his 28th year is about the time for "Willy" Garcia to play SS. And trade Didi if both Mateo/Garcia are up to it, which they should.
    I think it was a wasted draft pick on Holder, no hit all glove SS are a dime a dozen.
    The bad thing about all this is, Mateo wants to play SS real bad and we don't know how the Yankees are thinking anymore. It has been their "M.O." to hold guys back until they near the 24-year mark...which is stupid! Talent can play as well or better most of the time. In the worse case scenario who really knows...we have many SS and 2nd basemen that can play.


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