MLB scout calls Yankees' FCL team most talented roster at level in 'decades'

5 of Baseball America's Top 20 Prospects at the level belong to the Yankees.
New York Yankees v Minnesota Twins
New York Yankees v Minnesota Twins / David Berding/GettyImages

Hmm. Maybe Alek Manoah shouldn't have been so embarrassed when he was rocked by the FCL Yankees after all. Perhaps he was just ahead of schedule.

The Yankees' farm system hasn't gotten much love since graduating top-tier talents like Anthony Volpe and trading upper-level pitching like Hayden Wesneski and Ken Waldichuk. When Jasson Dominguez finally falls out of the prospect rankings (for a good reason!), they're going to take another hit.

FanGraphs is the current Low Man on the Yankees' system, ranking their farm 25th in the game. Perhaps they've been disillusioned, like we have, with the Bombers' inability to graduate waves of talent to MLB seamlessly. Baseball America, on the other hand, is more bullish on the Yankees' next class, ranking the farm 11th overall in their midseason update.

A lot of the momentum for BA's rankings appears to come from down below the surface. This year's FCL Yankees team, the first professional stop for many of the team's international signings, might be the stuff of legends. Baseball America ranked a remarkable five FCL Yankees in their FCL Top 20 list that dropped this week, touting a scout's report that the Yankees sported the most talented unit at the level in decades. Decades!

Yankees FCL Roster stuffed with five of league's top prospects, Keiner Delgado making waves

High-dollar signee Roderick Arias was the FCL team's most prominent headliner, and he took steps toward solving the league before going down for the year with a hand injury. His second partial season of pro ball went better than his first; Arias hit 6 bombs with a .928 OPS and 17 stolen bags in just 101 at-bats.

He was far from the only noteworthy Yankee at the level, as his offensive teammates displayed advanced patience and power (and were joined by a pair of high-ceiling arms). 19-year-old Keiner Delgado hit 8 bombs, knocked in 31 and stole 36 bags, OBP'ing .414. 19-year-old shortstop Hans Montero paired an .823 OPS with a .419 OBP in his semi-coming out party. 18-year-old outfielder John Cruz, who wasn't really on anyone's radar entering the campaign, drilled an impressive 10 dingers.

The offense hummed, sure, but so did the rotation. There's been a ton of buzz about toolsy 6-7 left-hander Henry LaLane ... because of course there has. Because that's an insane frame and a solid starting point. While he finished the campaign with a 4.57 ERA in eight outings, he did manage to get acclimated to pro ball by whiffing 34 men in 21.2 innings and posting a minuscule 0.97 WHIP in his first season stateside after two years in the Dominican Summer League. He's already come a long way since debuting in 2021 with a 1.62 WHIP, and should advance to full-season ball next year. Born in the Bronx, he'll turn 20 in May.

Of course, the downside of having an historically stacked FCL roster is that all of these top prospects are as far away from the big leagues as they can get stateside. Next year will be crucial for this fleet of Yankees teens, but it could be very rewarding to watch them all travel in a pack to the top of the system. The Yankees have a reputation as an organization that relies on international talent, but they haven't selected many correct targets for their largest investments over the past decade. Ideally, this collection of talent -- plus Dominguez leading the way -- can break that mold.