In the beginning of October, some of the most promising young players in every team’s farm system will be headed to the Arizona Fall League for six weeks. The New York Yankees announced who they’d be sending on Friday, and it’ll be worth it for fans to keep tabs on what could be the future of the organization.
Typically, teams don’t send their marquee talent, because, well, they usually don’t need the extra run. For example, Anthony Volpe won’t be going for obvious reasons. He dominated Double-A and then shredded Triple-A in limited time. He has little left to prove.
But for others in the lower levels, it’s an opportunity to get more reps and capitalize on the spotlight. Seven Yankees prospects will be lucky enough to try and do so on the Mesa Solar Sox beginning on Oct. 3.
The AFL will (hopefully) be coinciding with a Yankees’ playoff run, so checking in during certain pockets of October will do fans good in terms of educating themselves on New York’s system, which has gotten deeper and deeper over the last few years.
Here’s a quick primer on who you might see if you happen to catch a glimpse of the action when it begins.
Ranking the Yankees prospects who will be going to the Arizona Fall League.
7. Shaine McNeely
McNeely was a 16th round draft pick back in 2019 and has been limited with injuries while also missing all of 2020 due to the pandemic. The right-hander from Hope International University has appeared in just 23 minor league games and owns a 3.66 ERA and 1.19 WHIP with 41 strikeouts in 32 innings.
Perhaps the Yankees want to see more out of the 6-4, 210-pound 24-year-old by sending him to the AFL despite just seeing 13 games of action this year. He’s on the mend from whatever injury he was dealing with, and his six earned runs on six innings of work at Tampa isn’t enough of a sample size to determine anything. Could be a big opportunity for him.
6. Leam Mendez
An international signing of the Yankees this past February, Mendez made his professional debut in June with the Yankees’ Rookie League team. He wasn’t bad, either, appearing in 14 games and maintaining a 3.78 ERA and 1.32 WHIP with 21 strikeouts and just five walks in 16.2 innings of work as a reliever. Then he got the bump to Tampa and saw this numbers take a hit (4.97 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 16 strikeouts, 5 walks in 12.2 innings in seven games).
The Yankees clearly want some more work from the 22-year-old out of Cuba, especially since they parted with so much pitching at the deadline. McNeely and Mendez can take big jumps in the system rankings if they can put it together.