Major League Baseball's owners may have locked out the players, triggering the league's first work stoppage since 1994-95 and bringing the offseason to a halt, but that doesn't mean we're letting it derail our typical offseason plans. Indeed, CBS Sports is in the process of highlighting the top three prospects for all 30 teams, as well as naming the top 50 prospects in the minors, regardless of team affiliation.
That journey finds us today focusing on the New York Yankees' farm system.
Do note that these lists are formed after conversations with scouts, analysts, and player development folks from around the league. There is personal bias baked in, as one would expect from subjective exercises, so some disagreement is to be expected.
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1. Anthony Volpe, SS
Volpe, the 30th pick in the 2019 draft, suffered through a rough introduction to professional ball. You wouldn't know it based on how well he played last season. After adding strength to his frame, he batted .294/.324/.604 with 27 home runs and a rules-inflated 33 stolen bases. His strikeout rate did jump after his promotion to High-A, and that merits keeping an eye on heading forward. At present, though, the 20-year-old projects to become an above-average hitter in terms of contact and power. Volpe's long-term defensive home is up in the air because of his substandard arm strength, but the Yankees have played him almost exclusively at shortstop to date, suggesting they still have faith in him there.
2. Oswald Peraza, SS
Peraza, another Yankees prospect who broke out in 2021, saw action at three levels, including an eight-game stint at Triple-A. Overall, he hit .297/.356/.477 with 18 home runs, the product of him learning to lift the ball more frequently. Defensively, he has the above-average speed and arm strength that scouts look for when projecting shortstops. Peraza seems more likely than not to make his big-league debut sometime during the 2022 season, perhaps even as the Yankees' starting shortstop.
3. Luis Gil, RHP
The Yankees originally acquired Gil from the Twins in exchange for Jake Cave. It's fair to say that deal worked out for New York. Gil made his big-league debut last season, starting six times and amassing nearly 12 strikeouts per nine innings. (We'll omit that he walked nearly half that many batters per nine.) He has easy gas, with his fastball coming out of his hand smoothly at 96 mph. To think that his heater plays faster than that, even, thanks to a deep release point. Gil also throws a slider that generated whiffs on nearly 40 percent of the swings taken against it.
The only things preventing him from becoming a mid-rotation starter or better are his lagging changeup and his troublesome command. He's battled poor location throughout his career, suggesting he might end up in the bullpen, likely in a late-inning role.