Don’t let the haters get you down: the New York Yankees farm system is stacked, both at the tippy-top and in the middle. That increased depth is the reason Brian Cashman was able to pull off Joey Gallo/Anthony Rizzo trades without doing anything truly painful, unless you loved and wanted to protect Josh Smith from 40-man poachers.
If you’re wildly optimistic, the experts are beginning to agree with you, from MLB Pipeline to FanGraphs to ESPN to now Baseball America, the long-time leader in the industry.
Though the publication’s new Yankees Top 30 list is under lock and key (subscription required), young prospect insider Eli Fishman has given us just enough of a peek behind the curtain to get the vibes of the projections.
Fans should be largely encouraged (yet again!) by this latest future outlook, but one shortstop prospect in a more-crowded-than-ever middle infield picture won’t love the list quite as much as the masses will: 20-year-old Alexander Vargas.
Biggest movers? Yankees pitching prospects Luis Gil and Hayden Wesneski, who’ve reached the upper echelon, as well as potential 2022 MLB infield depth piece Oswaldo Cabrera and our prospect crush Elijah Dunham?
Bummer? Only Vargas, who has found himself crowded out of the top group through very little fault of his own.
Yankees shortstop prospect Alexander Vargas plummets, Elijah Dunham and Oswaldo Cabrera rise in Baseball America rankings
Vargas’ 2021 season wasn’t a total disaster; he hit .273 with a .362 OBP in 42 rookie league games, never making the leap to full-season ball.
Unfortunately, the movement in the rest of the shortstop market was far too massive for Vargas’ drop in the bucket to be memorable. Anthony Volpe became one of the game’s very best prospects. Oswald Peraza lived up to his billing, retaining his top-100 status by combining power and speed. Cabrera, too, flipped the power switch and rose into the top 10, on the verge of attaining big-league status.
Vargas? He lost a key year of development in 2020, wasn’t able to get out of instructional ball this past year, and is now 20 years old, significantly behind several internal candidates, as well as the newly-signed Roderick Arias.
There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about what’s coming for the Yankees farm system when the minor-league season opens as scheduled.
Unfortunately for Vargas, he’s not trending in the right direction.