Under the Radar Yankees Prospects: Edel Luaces
Yanks Go Yard is combing through the New York Yankees minor league system in search of hidden gems in this ongoing series. Today, we look at outfielder Edel Luaces.
The New York Yankees didn’t land one of the best raw talents from their 2016 draft class until the 25th round this year, when they selected 22-year-old Edel Lucaces. He was more or less an unknown among evaluators in the leadup to June, but Baseball America later revealed that Lucaces has been a favorite of Yankees scout Carlos Marti since his days as a high schooler in Florida.
In 2014, the speedy outfielder played 16 games for the Globe Institute of Technology, a technical school in Manhattan, before spending the next year-plus in the Dominican Republic. He returned to the U.S. this spring to work out for a few interested big league clubs.
After being signed, Luaces did well is his professional debut, hitting .241/.340/.460 with five home runs and four steals in 200 plate appearances for the club’s Gulf Coast League affiliate. Of course, those numbers should be taken with a grain of salt since he was two and a half years older than his average competition.
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Listed at 6’5 and 205 lbs., Luaces is an impressive physical specimen. In their 2016 Draft Report Card for the Yankees, Baseball America listed Luaces as the fastest runner in the team’s draft haul this year, calling his speed “elite” and noting his “ability to reach base in less than four seconds from the right side.
In an interview with Robert Pimpsner of Pinstripes Prospects after the draft, Luaces called himself a “late bloomer” who “hadn’t developed [his] body as a baseball player” out of high school. Along with his impressive speed, Luaces has some serious pop that is already showing up in games.
Easily the biggest red flag with Luaces is his plate discipline. He struck out an Aaron Judge-esque 79 times in his 200 PAs (39.5% K rate). He did take his walks in the GCL (11.5% BB rate), but that number may come down against non-teenage pitchers. He’s definitely rough around the edges, but the tools are fun to dream on.
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It will be interesting to see just how far the front office is willing to push Luaces in his age-23 season. His next stop seems likely to be Pulaski, but the team could get aggressive with an assignment to Staten Island or even Charleston given his age.