In the middle of the infield, the New York Yankees’ farm system is not exactly deep. Symbolic of other light-hitting prospects, Dean Anna, an acquisition from the Padres’ system and a member of the opening day roster, finds himself in Triple-A hitting .188.
This has caused the Yankees to spend on international talent and are close to a deal with Korean shortstop Hyo-Jun Park, as reported by Yanks Go Yard a few days ago. River Avenue Blues reported general manager Brian Cashman is looking into 16-year-old Dominican shortstops Christopher Torres and Dermis Garcia.
In the system right now for the middle infield, are the light-hitting likes of Cito Culver, Angelo Gumbs and Abiatal Avelino. To his credit, Avelino is 19 and hitting for a .294/.349/.387 line for the Single-A Charleston RiverDogs. Though he’s hit nine doubles and one triple, he hasn’t hit a home run yet this year and has stolen 11 bases in 16 tries.
A 24-year-old second baseman in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Jose Pirela is probably the most major-league-ready middle infielder in the system. He has a .305/.333/.430 line and has hit six doubles, two triples and two home runs.
Kiley McDaniel reported for Scout.com that Garcia is a third baseman and that he is one of six international free agents the Yankees have deals in place with. Also on that list is Venezuelan shortstop Diego Castillo. The potential signings of Park, Garcia, Torres and Castillo indicated the Yankees have realized they are weak in the middle of the infield. While the team will likely need an outside replacement when Jeter retires, that player may be just a placeholder until one of these players develops.
Another option for the Yankees next year is to play Yangervis Solarte either at second or shortstop. His patient approach at the plate and occasional showing of power is more than they ever imagined for the career minor leaguer. Cashman and the Yankees’ front office should take advantage of Solarte’s versatility to open up third base for another player.
The Yankees are also particularly rich at the catcher position and had to convert Peter O’Brien to a third baseman/right fielder to find him playing time. When Francisco Cervelli returns from injury, either he, John Ryan Murphy, or Austin Romine could be central trade pieces. Though Cervelli has shown offensive and defensive upside, his two major injuries in as many seasons could scare off potential suitors.
But either he or Romine could serve as a backup catcher to Brian McCann, with the promise of Gary Sanchez one day taking over behind the plate full-time. This would then make Murphy a valuable trade piece and could net a quality middle-infielder this year at the trade deadline.