Yankees seeding hopes head to Arizona Fall League

In early October, some of the most promising young players from each team’s farming system will be directed to Arizona Fall League for six weeks. The New York Yankees announced who they’ll be sending on Friday, and it’ll be worth keeping an eye out for what the organization’s future may be like.

Typically, teams don’t send their marquee talent, because, well, they don’t usually need the extra run. For example, Anthony Volpe will not go for obvious reasons. He dominated Double-A then shredded Triple-A in limited time. He doesn’t have much more to prove.

But for others in the lower tiers, it’s an opportunity to get more reps and capitalize on the spotlight. Seven Yankees prospects will have the chance to try to make it on the Mesa Solar Sox starting Oct. 3.

The AFL will (hopefully) coincide with a Yankees playoff run, so checking in during certain pockets of October will do fans good in terms of educating themselves on the New York system, which has become increasingly deeper in recent years.

Here’s a quick primer on who you might see if you catch a glimpse of the action when it starts.

Ranking Yankees prospects going to the Arizona Fall League.

Tampa Tarpons manager Rachel Balkovec (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

7. Shaine McNeely

McNeely was a 16th-round draft pick in 2019 and was injury-limited while also missing all of 2020 due to the pandemic. The Hope International University right-hander has played in just 23 minor league games and boasts a 3.66 ERA and 1.19 WHIP with 41 strikeouts in 32 innings.

Maybe the Yankees want to see more of the 6-foot-4, 210-pound, 24-year-old by sending him to the AFL when he’s seen just 13 games of action this year. He’s on the mend from whatever injury he’s been dealing with, and his six earned runs in six innings of work in Tampa isn’t enough to determine anything. This could be a great opportunity for him.

6. Leam Mendez

Drafted as an international by the Yankees last 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 working innings as a reliever. . Then he got the bump in Tampa and saw those 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 more work from the 22-year-old out of Cuba, especially since they parted ways with so many pitches at the deadline. McNeely and Mendez can make big leaps in the rankings of the system if they can put it together.

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