6 Yankees Breakout Candidates for the 2021 Season

Jake Sanford, Tampa Tarpons at Lakeland Flying Tigers, May 11, 2021. Photo credit Tom Hagerty/MiLB.com, lakelandlocal on Flickr

With the Minor League Baseball season underway, I wanted to look closely at the Yankees system and select a few players who I believe will be big breakout performers this season. Here are 5 guys I think will take their games to the next level and be big risers this year.

Ezequiel Duran, 2B

Duran opened eyes by slugging nearly .500 in the New York-Penn League including leading the league with 13 bombs in 2019. Strong, athletic with great bat speed, Duran has legitimate pop to all fields. Duran was also able to steal 11 bases in 14 attempts. Unfortunately, Duran has an aggressive approach which led to striking out 28% of the time and that will be an area of focus for the 21-year-old as he enters the 2021 season. I expect him to take a step in cutting the strikeouts with more at bats, ultimately showing he can be a legit threat against advanced pitching with 20/20 upside. Duran is slated to open the 2021 season in Hudson Valley.

Ryder Green, OF

Green has great bat speed and strength that create above-average raw power from the right side of the plate. He has a good understanding of the strike zone but can lapse into selling out for home runs at times but overall shows good plate discipline with his willingness to take a walk as well. Green really worked on getting the ball in the air in his second pro season and was successful at it, following a debut season where his aggressive approach led to too many rolled-over grounders to the left side of the infield. Ryder has good speed and can take the extra base or get a steal when needed. With continued success in lifting the ball, I expect Green to burst on the scene as a legit power hitter with more extra base hits. He also owns one of the strongest outfield arms in the system.

Agustin Ramirez, C

Ramirez packs a lot of strength into his compact swing. The balls he currently hits to the fence will go over once he puts some strength on his frame. Ramirez squares up fastballs consistently with the barrel, though he does have some trouble on breaking pitches. He also shows solid patience at the plate. I expect Ramirez to start hitting balls out of the park with ease after some strength gains last season and this past offseason. I also believe he will adapt to breaking pitches better and will lay off of them. With all the catching depth in the Yankees system, I expect it to be their strong point very soon.

Tanner Myatt, RHP

Standing 6’7” and 220 lbs, Myatt is tall and intimidating on the mound. He owns a big-time arm, and with his fastball sitting at 95, touching. triple digits at times. The fastball has explosive life through the zone and could be an elite offering. His promising curveball sits between 81-83. Myatt has also been working on a changeup. He tends to get wild with his fastball at times, leading to a ton of walks (45 walks in 40.1 innings in 2019). I expect him to harness his control, ultimately projecting him as a great setup man. The Yankees have often acquired bullpen help from outside of the organization, and Myatt would be a welcomed homegrown flamethrower in the pen. Myatt will be calling Hudson Valley home to begin the 2021 season.

Roberto Chirinos, 2B/3B/SS

At the plate, Chirinos makes hard contact to all fields and has good bat speed. I expect the power to come as he grows. Chirinos has above-average speed that he isn’t afraid to use. A converted outfielder, he will make the average play but his infield skills are still a work in progress. With his strong arm, he could be a plus defender in the future. With more work and more strength, I expect a 20/20 season isn’t totally out of the question for Chirinos. I suspect he got extra fieldwork in during the offseason and will be an adequate infielder

Jake Sanford, OF

Sanford creates great raw pop with plenty of bat speed, strength, and leverage. There are some concerns about the deep load in his left-handed swing and a tendency to get off balance at times, but the quickness of his stroke and his hand-eye coordination make it work. He struck out in 33 percent of his plate appearances while batting just .238 in his pro debut at short-season Staten Island in 2019, so he has adjustments to make which I think he will make. In addition to his prodigious power, Sanford also offers plus speed. Sanford is very boom or bust right now but I truly think he truly breaks out. Cutting down his strikeouts while shooting up prospect rankings. Jake is with the Tampa Tarpons to begin the 2021 campaign.

Paul Woodin is a huge sports fan who leads the New York Yankees minor league farm system coverage for the Prospects1500 team. Growing up playing and watching baseball while collecting baseball cards, Paul developed a love for the game. Born and raised in Connecticut between Yankees and Red Sox territory, Paul become a Yankees fan because of Don Mattingly and Derek Jeter. An avid sports card, memorabilia and autograph collector, he participates in redraft, dynasty and prospect-only fantasy baseball formats during each season. Feel free to reach out on Twitter

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