Though the New York Yankees still aren’t entirely sure what Gleyber Torres is, you’d have to be a fool to call shortstop an issue for this team moving forward.
Assuming they can complete the easy task of picking Torres up and putting him down somewhere else, the Bombers already possess an embarrassment of future riches at the position.
Heading into 2021, Oswald Peraza seemed like the most likely young Yankee to break into top prospect lists, and he’s certainly made his move with a rock-solid campaign across multiple levels (.292 average, .831 OPS, 13 homers, 30 stolen bases while reaching Double-A). However, he’s shockingly been … lapped by 2019 first-round selection Anthony Volpe, who might be the most impressive breakout prospect in all of baseball.
Volpe, who now outranks Jasson Dominguez on MLB Pipeline’s top prospects list, has made it to High-A as a 20-year-old with stunning numbers, notching 20 dingers, 71 RBI, a 1.049 OPS and 28 stolen bases of his own. What is this sorcery?
Oh, yeah, and on top of that, it appears the Yankees are finally, officially, nearly on the verge of adding the consensus No. 1 overall international prospect this season: a fella named Roderick Arias, who also happens to play shortstop.
He’s been called the surest thing since Wander Franco. Now how bullish are you on paying Trevor Story long-term? Still bullish, or no?
Yankees on verge of signing Wander Franco-esque Roderick Arias.
If and when the Yankees secure Arias’ services, they’ll basically be getting an infield version of Jasson Dominguez, and plopping him in at a position manned by Torres, Peraza, Volpe, and top-10 prospect (and 2021 first-rounder) Trey Sweeney.
Let’s say one has to move. Let’s say two or three have to move! Things have never looked stronger at the position in the pipeline since No. 2, Derek Jee-tah, No. 2, made the 1996 Opening Day roster.
And even then, there was nobody of note behind him.
You don’t draft or sign for need, though. You add the best talent available, and when that talent is as spectacularly talented as Roderick Arias, you work that deal all the way to the finish line. A prototypical Yankee already, he’s a five-tool talent, but the bat is the tool that seems to be overwhelming scouts everywhere.
Now, before we get ahead of ourselves: yes, the Yankees still need to plug the shortstop hole this offseason, preferably with a competent fielder who could potentially stick somewhere else long-term. Corey Seager could be especially intriguing for that reason; eventually, he moves to third, Torres to second, LeMahieu roves around the diamond, and Volpe/Peraza step in.
Don’t ignore top free agent talent just because the pipeline’s full.
With that foolishness out of the way, though … it’s fair to get excited. This is the type of star power overload that allows you to sweeten the Joey Gallo pot with Josh Smith, for example, who’s already standing out in the Rangers system, but would be buried here. Get good players, figure out the next steps later.
Once Arias’ arrival becomes official, the next generation of Yankees baseball will be astoundingly ready to compete.