Baseball America's bold Yankees (and Juan Soto) predictions will make fans lose their minds

Wild, wild, wild. Wild.
New York Yankees Photo Day
New York Yankees Photo Day / New York Yankees/GettyImages

There's Yankees optimism, and then there's what the staff of Baseball America foresees in a bold new world of 2024. Somehow, the game's foremost prospect experts managed to be rosier than even the rosiest fella hogging a barstool at Stan's, and for that, we simply have to salute them for four full hours.

BA attempted a well-traversed exercise this week with a set of 10 bold predictions for the new year, and managed to make the generalized MLB list particularly Yankees-flavored, dropping three predictions for the pinstripes. Clearly, they're a fan of the team's current farm, which is interesting, given the online discourse that the Yankees have no idea how to import and develop prospect talent. Experts seem to disagree. Huh.

But what do experts know anyway? These particular folks seem to believe that, if everything goes right for the Yankees, two forthcoming Spring Breakout roster members will be rising to further prominence in 2024. Baseball America believes in Spencer Jones as a possible No. 1 prospect in all of baseball, and believes there's at least an outside chance at Henry Lalane rising from the Florida Complex League to Triple-A in 2024.

Oh, and Juan Soto's going to make $700+ million to be a New York Yankee forever. That, too.

Yankees could break Shohei Ohtani's contract record with Juan Soto deal

And where was Steve Cohen offering $702 million on this one, huh?!

The Soto deal BA projects would be $701 million for 15 years, presumably with some form of deferrals and taking Soto into his 40s. Given the Yankees' propensity for stretching out deals to lower the AAV, and Soto/Boras' desire to break the mold, it wouldn't be completely absurd for the slugger to top Shohei Ohtani's contract (even though he probably shouldn't pitch anytime soon). How does $46.73 million sound annually, Hal?

Even more ridiculous than their Soto projection was what they wrote regarding Jones. Forget the obvious Aaron Judge comps. Jones, instead, has the potential to be Elly De La Cruz -- in ways both good and bad.

"Spencer Jones gets compared a lot to Aaron Judge, for good reasons. I think a better comp is actually Elly De La Cruz, as they share the same weaknesses: less than ideal swing and miss, and less than ideal launch angles. They also share the same strengths, top-end speed, athleticism and true 80-grade raw power. Jones did not swing and miss at any pitches tracked by Statcast during his time in major league camp this spring, demonstrating a keene eye at the plate."

Baseball America

Lots of swing and miss. Potentially overrated by diehards who treasure putting bat on ball above all else. But man ... nobody has talent like that.

If Jones and Lalane both crack their respective codes, perhaps they can join Soto on a Yankees roster suddenly poised to compete for the next decade. It's bold, but it just might delight.