The leaflet of the New York Yankees, Henry Lalane, a native of the Dominican Republic was signed in January 2021, now he is nicknamed “Little Randy Johnson” in the Minor League system of the MLB.
This is the 6-foot-7, 211-pound pitcher Henry Lalane in the New York Yankees’ farm system, “Little Randy” in a nod to Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, who at 6-foot-10 was one of the greatest and most feared southpaws in the history of the sport.
“Since I started pitching, everyone was like, ‘Look, it’s Randy Johnson,’” Lalane explained through a translator. “Then I started watching videos of (him) and I tried to imitate him and be like him because I liked the way he was very powerful on the mound and very aggressive.”
Lalane was signed by the Yankees in 2021 International Free Agency when he was 16 years old and came out of the Dominican Republic. He pitched 12 games for the rookie-level Dominican Summer League (DSL) Yankees in 2021, where he posted a 3.70 ERA with 39 strikeouts in 41.1 innings.
Lalane, 17, throws a fastball in the low 90s, switches and sweeps the curveball that he considers his best pitch.
He is “a very intelligent player”, said his drummer partner Manuel Palencia. “Great execution with his pitches, knows exactly what to throw (and) pretty awkward to hit.” Noting that Lalane has a “good fastball with some sinking and late life, and a great curveball.”
Lalane was born in the Bronx, New York, and moved to the Dominican Republic when she was four months old. Henry’s father played Division 1 basketball at St. Francis College in New York and later played for the Dominican Republic National Team. Henry’s mother played volleyball for the Dominican Republic National Team, as did his sister, Hennesys, who currently plays volleyball at Indian Hills College in Iowa.
Henry returned to New York at age six and grew up a devoted Yankees fan, often attending games with his grandfather. When he returned to the Dominican Republic at age eight, he began playing minor league baseball at the Javilla Academy in Santo Domingo.
An outfielder who grew up, Lalane started pitching at age 14 and immediately realized he could have a bright future in the game. “When they made me a pitcher, I became more focused and disciplined to play baseball,” he explained. “As I started getting better and better, they put me on more intense teams, more developed teams, and that’s where I started to progress.”
Lalane took advantage of her dual citizenship to play in numerous Perfect Game tournaments and exhibitions across the United States. He traveled to Florida and Texas to pitch in front of crowds of MLB scouting at major amateur scouting events.
The New York Yankees took notice and agreed to a deal with Lalane on May 4, 2021, the first day he was eligible to sign.
“It means a lot to me since I dreamed (as a) little boy to play for the Yankees one day,” Lalane said. “I am super happy and ecstatic that my dream of pitching in a Yankees uniform is coming true.”
Lalane is likely to spend the 2022 season at the rookie level of the Florida Complex League pitching for the FCL Yankees in Tampa, whose season is expected to start in late June.
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