My Yankees Minor League Christmas Wish List

Elijah Dunham, Arizona Fall League, November 2021 - Photo credit Vince Schmidt @AZ108365 on Instagram, @AZ108365 on Twitter

As Christmas fast approaches I wanted to share my holiday wishes for the Yankees minor league system that I hope Santa brings for the upcoming 2022 season. When my family saw Santa at the zoo he did tell me he was not a Yankees fan but I hope he can grant me a few wishes along the way. Full disclosure, we went to a zoo in Red Sox territory.

Both Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza play a great shortstop offensively and defensively and could force the Yankees to make a tough decision as to which one gets called up to the majors first. If I have my way, one plays shortstop and the other goes to third or second base. I do NOT want the Yankees to trade either. I expect both to start the season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and for things to figure themselves out from there. If Volpe starts the season in Somerset I expect him to be in Scranton in short order. Peraza ended the season in Scranton and I expect him to start there for sure. Barring injury, both have a very good chance to see the Bronx next year and could be linchpins in New York for the next decade.

My second wish is for Jasson Dominguez to finish the 2022 season in Double-A Somerset after he destroys Low-A pitching. In 2021 Domínguez was the first prospect to appear in the All-Star Futures Game without having played in a full-season minor league. The Yankees promoted Domínguez to the Tampa after the Futures Game; he had batted just 4-for-20 (.200) with six strikeouts and six walks for FCL at the time. After his promotion he hit .258 with 5 home runs and 7 steals in 186 at bats with Tampa. I expect him to start in Low-A Tampa with an early-to-midseason promotion to Somerset very possible.

This wish is a little more complicated. I hope Clarke Schmidt, Deivi Garcia and Estevan Florial can all stay healthy and be productive members of the 2022 New York Yankees. All 3 struggled with either injury or ineffectiveness in 2021.

Schmidt didn’t make his season debut until July due to an elbow strain. He looked very good with the Rail Riders and made a few appearances with the Yankees down the stretch. He struck out 46 with a 2.37 ERA over 38 innings in the minors (10 games/9 starts).

Garcia has had difficulty repeating his delivery at times and this led to struggles with his location all season and seemed to have messed with his confidence, conviction, and ability to execute pitches consistently. He had a discouraging 68BB/97K over 90.2 innings with the Rail Riders. He also spent time on the IR with a “undisclosed” injury in 2021.

Florial had a down year but still found himself on the Scranton/Bronx shuttle, being called up a total of seven times. He only hit .219 between stops in AA and AAA striking out 121 times in 347 at bats he also had 17 home runs and 13 steals. He had a strong September getting hits in 8 of 10 games at one point and hitting .254 in the month so maybe he figured something out at the end of the year? Injuries have always dogged Florial throughout his minor league career.

My fourth wish is for the Yankees to sign the top international prospect in the class, Roderick Arias. There’s a lot to like about the teenager at the plate. He has above-average bat-to-ball skills and strike zone awareness, shows good plate discipline, and doesn’t swing and miss often. Arias shows power from both sides of the plate. His overall package could develop into a plus-plus hitter. On the bases, Arias is an above-average runner. In the field, Arias has a plus arm with his throws accurate and effortless. He also has good footwork with soft hands and above-average range. The Yankees are the favorite to sign him and I hope it happens.

For my fifth wish I hope Elijah Dunham shows his breakout in the Arizona Fall League is real. During the season Dunham hit a combined .263 average, with 13 homers, 57 runs batted in and 28 stolen bases playing 64 games for High-A Hudson Valley after 29 games at Low-A Tampa. He had a true breakout in the AFL leading the Arizona Fall League with 11 stolen bases in 12 attempts playing for Surprise. Dunham was one of two players with at least 10 extra-base hits and five stolen bases. He finished with a line of .357/.465/.571, with two homers, three triples and six doubles in 23 games. He could shoot up prospect lists if he can keep this type of performance up.

My next wish is coach-related. Being a girl dad, I hope Rachel Balkovec gets her just due in the Yankees system. In November 2019, she became the first woman hired to be a full-time hitting coach for a major league team. The Yankees’ minor league hitting coach also became the first female coach to ever work the All-Star Futures Game, coaching first base. She worked with Florida Complex (Rookie) League hitters and spent time in the Dominican Republic with teams that had very good success. Serving as a role model for young girls and beyond is “a responsibility,” Balkovec said in an interview with the New York Post. I wish her great success and hope she continues up the Yankees organizational chain. I hope to see her in the Bronx or the major leagues one day!

My seventh and final wish is the New York Yankees win the 2022 World Series, the 28th in the organization’s history with the help of some of the prospects. Whether it’s because they were in Yankees Stadium producing or having helped the Yankees pick up the major league player they needed to get over the hump of this long World Series drought. I expect Estevan Florial to get some time in the outfield with injuries always looming. This is contingent on the Yankees signing other free agent outfielders. There is also hope that Clarke Schmidt, Deivi Garcia, and Luis Gil can be effective members of either the rotation or the bullpen in 2022. I believe Stephen Ridings and Ron Marinaccio will also see time in the bullpen in 2022 as well. Any or all of the combination of Anthony Volpe, Oswald Peraza and Oswaldo Cabrera could see time in the middle infielder or at third in the Bronx or be dealt away.

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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