Major League Baseball's offseason is in full swing, and that means everyone is thinking about the future. In most cities, that means next season; in some, though, it means the bigger picture, the next three to five years. You're either selling wins or you're selling hope, the old saying goes. We here at CBS Sports like to provide as much hope as we can around this time of the winter by evaluating each team's farm system.
Of course, that doesn't mean every team has an equally good farm system -- some, as you'll find out throughout this process, are lacking in that respect. It does mean, nevertheless, that CBS Sports will be spending the next few weeks examining the top three prospects in each organization. We define "prospects" as retaining their rookie eligibility for the 2023 season, so if a young player is missing that's likely why.
These lists and evaluations are formed following conversations with scouts, analysts, and player development types. There's also firsthand evaluation and bias thrown into the mix. Keep in mind that player evaluation is a hard task, and it's fine if you disagree with the rankings. These are opinions, and they have no real bearing on the future. You can check out our winter top 20 list by clicking here.
With that in mind, let's get to it by dissecting the New York Yankees.
1. Anthony Volpe, SS, No. 12 on MLB top 20 (2023 seasonal age: 22)
Volpe enjoyed a breakout 2021 season, homering 27 times after adding muscle to his frame. He didn't match that performance last season -- he outright struggled during a 22-game introduction to Triple-A, striking out 30 percent of the time -- thereby delaying his debut until sometime next summer. Volpe still projects as an above-average hitter who can contribute in each of the slash line categories. Defensively, he'll have to continue to prove that he can make all the plays at short despite a substandard arm. It's possible that he'll eventually end up at the keystone.
2. Oswald Peraza, SS (2023 seasonal age: 22)
Peraza made his big-league debut in September, hitting .306/.404/.429 (139 OPS+) in 18 games down the stretch. He showed an exceptional ability to put the bat on the ball, running a zone contact rate of 90 percent. Peraza has flashed average power in the past, though it's to be seen if he can tap into it at the big-league level. Even if he doesn't, he has a chance to contribute offensively thanks to his contact chops and the above-average speed that enabled him to steal 35 bases on 40 combined attempts in the minors and majors last season. Peraza grades as a better defensive shortstop than Volpe, suggesting he'll take over at the six if both remain with the organization.
3. Jasson Domínguez, OF (2023 seasonal age: 20)
Domínguez achieved instant fame (or as close to it as a teenage ballplayer from the Dominican Republic can get) when he signed with the Yankees for more than $5 million in 2019. That kind of ascent often begets warped expectations, but only until it then begets feelings of disappointment. None of it is particularly fair to Domínguez, who never asked to be described as an extraterrestrial or projected as a switch-hitting generational talent. Indeed, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that he posted an .837 OPS last season split across three levels in which he was at least two years younger than his average opponent. That, plus Domínguez's improved play over the course of the season, are encouraging signs. He still possesses some intriguing physical projection, too, including above-average power and speed. Domínguez probably won't become the next Mike Trout, but there's a big-league player here. Possibly a good one.