Yankees: Top international prospects to target in January 2023

Feb 24, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman looks on during spring training workouts at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 24, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman looks on during spring training workouts at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

As the New York Yankees continue to tread water in the beginning stages of Major League Baseball free agency, it will be interesting to also follow the sweepstakes of the international market. Players from across the globe will prepare their profiles for an opportunity to possibly sign a contract with the most established club in sports.

The Yankees scouting department has done a phenomenal job outside of domestic borders in recent years, putting the “NY” letters on multiple talented ball players from overseas.13 of the Yankees’ top 30 prospects are all international signees; some of the popular names include Jasson Dominguez, Oswald Peraza, Everson Pereira, and Roderick Arias. It is almost that time again where New York can capitalize on a player which can equal out to be a key franchise piece for years to come in the Bronx.

Yankees International Signings 2023: Which prospects will join NYY?

The Yankees’ interest reportedly starts with outfielder Brandon Mayea. He is the most discussed international prospect pertaining to the New York Yankees, as there seems to be known interest from the pinstripes. Brandon Mayea is an outfielder out of Havana, Cuba who ranks ninth among MLB Pipeline’s top international prospects for 2023. Mayea has a mature athletic build with a muscular frame and above-average athleticism. He has strong tools, and his bat is one of them.

Mayea can swing it, with a fluent stroke through the zone, controlling the bat head and bringing his hands through. His contact takes pitches up the middle with line drive action. According to MLB.com, scouts compare him to Gary Sheffield; I compare him to Manny Machado. He has a symmetrical stance with his weight on his back leg, and loads with a semi-inward knee on a small leg kick, leading into power with hip-torque. Mayea can visibly be a projectable prospect for the Yankees.

The next possible Yankees acquisition is — yes, of course — a shortstop. From Oswald Peraza to Roderick Arias, the Yankees have never shied away from pursuing young infielders, and Jesus Caba could be next.

Caba is 16 years old, and from Bonao, Dominican Republic. He stands at 5-11 and 158 pounds, and carries a smooth, fundamental infield demeanor. His makeup for his age is impressive, and his physical projection (for his position) is promising. From the prep-step to the approach, Caba shows good footwork, solid routes, and nice finish as a shortstop. He’s good on the glove side and backhand, with quick, shifty foot movement and good hands.

Caba has spray ability at the plate, with the ability to understand the strike zone and have an aggressive approach. Although his bat looks great from the right side, he can also flip to the other side and hit from the left; this is a skill that will have to continue to develop, and or a decision will have to be made to continue the switch hitting or cancel it. Evaluators compare this kid to Francisco Lindor, and I could not agree more from a defensive standpoint. I think Caba compares to Adam Jones from the right side of the batter’s box. Although the Philadelphia Phillies have shown interest, the Yankees should have the 13th-ranked international prospect on their radar.

Last but not least, a solid backstop would be good pickup in this signing period, and no other name is as valued as MLB Pipeline’s top-ranked prospect Ethan Salas from Caracas, Venezuela.

This kid displays 60-type tools on his 20-80 measurements. Salas stands 6-1, 175 pounds at 16 years old, and looks well-polished from his primary and secondary stances behind the plate. He carries an athletic catcher frame, rocking the two-piece mask set while displaying a strong arm.

Salas shows polished and workable receiving techniques for his age, and has soft hands, as well as the ability to quickly get rid of the ball down to second base for a spot-on throw. His single-knee receiving techniques are very modern, and he transfers well to the secondary set up. Salas’ footwork on movements to the bags are also very modern and developed. This 16-year-old backstop has the potential to rise in the farm system into any club’s top 10 prospects within a few years. Although he’s expected to be a San Diego Padre, Salas is most definitely a name to keep on the scouting charts.