The 17-year-old Yankees prospect drawing Randy Johnson comparisons

Henry Lalane is drawing comparisons to former Yankee pitcher Randy Johnson.|Art or Photo Credit: Henry Lalane

They call Henry Lalane, a 6-foot-7, 211-pound left-handed pitcher 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 biggest and most feared southpaws in the history of the sport.

“Since I started pitching, everybody would say ‘look, it's Randy Johnson,’” Lalane explained via translator. “Then I started watching videos of (him) and tried to imitate and be like him because I liked the way he was very potent on the mound and very aggressive.”

Lalane was signed by the Yankees in 2021 International Free Agency as a 16-year-old 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 over 41.1 innings.

The 17-year-old Lalane throws a fastball in the low-90’s, change-up and sweeping curveball which he considers his best pitch.

He’s “a very smart player,” batterymate Manuel Palencia said. “Great execution with his pitches, knows exactly what to throw (and) quite uncomfortable to hit.” Noting that Lalane has a “good fastball with some sink on it and late life, and a great curveball.”

Lalane was born in the Bronx, New York, and moved to the Dominican Republic when he was four months old. Henry’s father played Division l basketball at St. Francis College in New York and went on to play 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 moved back 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 eight years old, he began playing little league baseball at the Javilla Academy in Santo Domingo.

An outfielder growing up, Lalane began pitching at 14 and immediately realized he might just have a bright future in the game. “When they turned me into a pitcher, I became more focused and disciplined about playing 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 progressing.”

Lalane took advantage of his dual citizenship to play in numerous Perfect Game tournaments and showcases in the United States. He traveled to Florida and Texas to pitch in front of crowds of MLB scouts at the premier amateur scouting events.

The New York Yankees noticed, and agreed to a deal with Lalane on May 4, 2021, the first day he was eligible to sign.

“It means the world to me since I dreamed (as) a little child to play for the Yankees one day,” Lalane said. “I’m super happy and ecstatic that my dream is coming true to pitch in a Yankees uniform.”

Lalane is likely to spend the 2022 season in the rookie level Florida Complex League pitching for the FCL Yankees in Tampa, whose season is expected to begin in late June.