BBD’s Yankees Top 50 Prospects: 2012 post-season edition

This season was a mixed bag for the Yankees prospects. While some like Tyler Austin took huge steps forward there were plenty that took big steps back like Dellin Betances and Ravel Santana. Then there was Manny Banuelos, Jose Campos, Austin Romine who spent pretty much the entire season on the DL. There were enough positives though that the season wasn’t a total loss.

Here is the list that BBD’s own Gregory Corcoran and I put together. We tried to balance it based on pure talent and probability of reaching, and staying, at the major league level. Obviously everyone has their own idea of what the order should be, even Greg and I disagree on some names, but in reality it is more about the grouping than the specific number. A player ranked No. 40 really isn’t far off from a player at No. 45 for instance.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman has been very protective of the farm system these days so the only player who was traded since the last list was D.J. Mitchell. Nobody was promoted to the majors and lost their rookie eligibility so aside from Mitchell everyone else was eligible for this list that was on the last one.

This is the second time BBD has ever produced such a list. Our 2012 pre-draft list can be found here. A big thanks to Greg for helping me with this list (he did most of the work really).

Finally, please comment. We put a lot of work into this and would like to hear what you think. What do you disagree with and who has got you excited?

1. Manny Banuelos (Man-Ban), LHP, 5-foot-11, 200-pounds, 22-years-old: Many people are writing him off after one season of injuries, but he’s still going to be a 22 year old in Triple-A to start next season. He still has a 92-97 mph fastball, a killer change up, and a solid, still improving curveball. He’s the closest to contributing of any Yankees prospect, and he’s probably the most talented as well. One injured season hasn’t changed anything, and quite frankly no one else has stepped up to the extent that they can come close to his talent, likelihood of contributing to the major league team, and track record. He is the best combination of those three things in this system. Even when he did play, his stats left a lot to be desired this season, but I’m not concerned over 24 innings. He’s still a top 50 prospect in all of baseball to me.

2. Gary Sanchez (The Sanchize), C, 6-foot-2, 195-pounds, 20-years-old: This right handed hitter improved his defense by leaps and bounds from last season, alleviating some of the concerns scouts had about his catching ability. Aside from that, he also matured as a player and a person, leaving some of the disciplinary issues he has had in the past behind. His hitting is still where it should be, and has also improved from last season. His .290/.346/.486/.820 line this season between Low-A and High-A was impressive, and hitting 17 home runs was even more impressive. There’s no reason to rush him along, so he’ll probably start in High-A next season and move to Double-A when he shows that he is ready. JR Murphy will start 2013 as Trenton’s catcher, but should move up relatively quickly. Definitely a top 50 prospect in all of baseball.

3. Mason Williams (Mad Mase), CF, 6-foot-0, 165-pounds, 21-years-old: Given the injury and non-throwing shoulder surgery he will probably start in High-A again when he returns next season. He has broken out in a major way though and earned his way onto several mid-season top 100 lists. After packing on some muscle this past offseason, he will look to do the same this year. If he is able to increase his power numbers again next season, he will quickly move to Double-A and may find himself as a top 25 prospect in all of baseball. His sweet lefty swing, speed, and power combo have the Yankees brass excited to say the least. His statistics this season were .298/.346/.474/.820 with 11 homers and 20 SB in 91 games. The shoulder injury is a concern, which made my decision to put Gary Sanchez ahead of him much easier than it could have been.

4. Slade Heathcott, CF: 6-foot-one, 190-pounds, 22-years-old: Slade began to come into his own at the end of last season just before yet another shoulder injury and surgery. Every time he gets injured, there are questions about whether he can continue to improve. He has done just that this season. His average, OBP, and OPS all improved to .304/.387/.857 respectively, good for career bests. Considered a project when he was drafted, he has improved each year so far, culminating in this year’s five home run, 19 stolen base performance in just 61 games. The power should continue to improve. His plate approach was outstanding this season, and he still has room to get better. He will play in the Arizona Fall League this off season, and will most likely begin 2013 in Double-A. His arm in the outfield is coming back as well. He could be this system’s closest thing to a 5-tool player.

5. Tyler Austin, (Stone Cold), RF, 6-foot-2, 200-pounds, 21-years-old: No player in the entire system had a better year statistically than Tyler Austin. It’s hard to argue with a .327/.406/.566/.943 batting line. Some might say he should be higher on this list, and his 16 home runs and 23 stolen bases would only support that. There are a few knocks on Austin though that give him less potential than those who are above him on this list. Firs of all, almost every scout who has ever watched him play is convinced that the stolen bases are not reflective of his speed. In other words, he won’t be able to steal bases in the major leagues. His defense in right field is average, but it can’t hurt that he has the ability to play third base. Some other scouts have noticed that he has a bit of a hitch in his swing, and that it can get a little bit long at times. To me, these concerns are not enough to knock him out of the top five. He is still very young and has time to improve his game in every respect. He’s a guy who could start next season in double-A, but it really depends on how this offseason goes for him. Personally, I see no reason why his success won’t continue, and I expect him to continue moving up the latter quickly.

6. Jose Ramirez (J-Ram), RHP, 6-foot-1, 155-pounds, 22-years-old: This wasn’t a pretty year for the Yankees’ top pitching prospects, but Ramirez was certainly a bright spot. After a disappointing 2011 campaign, he improved his slider, to go with his fastball and changeup, and most importantly improved his command. Everything came together in July when he threw a combined no-hitter. He’ll turn 23 during the winter and will likely debut in Double-A next season. If all goes right it won’t be long until he’s in the majors.

7. Jose Campos (J-Cam), RHP, 6-foot-4, 195-pounds, 20-years-old: A fastball-curveball guy who can dial it up to 95 mph and has an improving changeup, Campos got off to a great start before he went down for the season with an elbow injury after just 24.2 innings. In that respect, 2012 was a very disappointing year for Campos, but the fact that he was able to avoid surgery and is still just 20-years-old means he’s still quite an impressive prospect. It’s hard to say exactly where he’ll start next season. It will probably be at Single-A Charleston again, but he could be promoted quickly to High-A Tampa before long.

8. David Adams, 2B, 6-foot-1, 205-pounds, 25-years-old: After essentially missing two full seasons with a broken ankle, Adams returned in a big way this season and finished hitting an impressive .306/.385/.450. Adams can hit for a second baseman, he doesn’t have a lot of power, but decent numbers for the position. Because he is blocked by Robinson Cano at second base the Yankees used him at third late in the season. That could provide him a path to the Bronx next season or even this year as a September call up once the minor league playoffs are over. Expect him to start in Triple-A next year with some chances in The Bigs when injuries spring up.

9. Mark Montgomery (Monty) RHP, 5-foot-11, 205-pounds, 22-years-old: This was Montgomery’s first full season as a pro and it really couldn’t have gone any better. In 64.1 innings he gave up just 35 hits and had a 1.54 ERA split between High-A and Double-A. His K/9 is an unreal 13.8 and his BB/9 of 3.1 is right where it needs to be. He does it with a fastball that sits in the mid-90’s and one of, if not the best, sliders in the entire system. He also occasionally throws a changeup. He’ll start in Triple-A next year and will be in the Bronx by September if not earlier.

10. Ramon Flores (Ray-Flo), LF, 5-foot-11, 190-pounds, 20-years-old: Still would have liked to have seen more power from Flores this season, but he hits for average and shows good patience at the plate. He’ll be 21 by the start of next season, which is a bit on the young-side for Double-A, but he’s been getting consistent playing time and will likely play in the winter leagues this year so his development is coming along on schedule. A solid defensive outfielder, he could end up being an elite prospect if that power does show up.

11. Austin Romine (BRomine), C, 6-foot, 220-pounds, 23-years-old: Romine had a chance to make the Yankees out of spring training this season as the backup to Russell Martin (and the way Martin has played this year he probably had a chance to be more than that too), but a back injury kept him sidelined for almost the entire season. Once he returned he hit just .213/.296/.393 which is to be expected after that much time off. He’ll head to the Arizona Fall League this year where he will hope to continue his development for another chance to make the big leagues next year.

12. Brett Marshall (Fire Marshall), RHP, 5-foot-11, 200-pounds, 22-years-old: Two years removed from Tommy John Surgery, Marshall is coming right along. He pitched his second full season down in the minors and is ready for the next step to Triple-A and could be Bronx bound next season if there is a need for an emergency starter. His 3.52 ERA this season was solid. His K/9 of 6.8 is a little low for some people, but his consistency has made him a very solid prospect. If he can develop his slider into a true put away pitch, he might have the stuff to last in the Bronx.

13. Ty Hensley, RHP, 6-foot-5, 215-pounds, 19-years-old: The Yankees were fortunate to nab Hensley so late in the first round (30th overall), but post draft MRI’s show irregularities in his shoulder which is probably the only thing that keeps him from being a top 10 talent right now. He already throws in the mid-90’s and has one of the best curveballs in the organization. In limited action he posted a 3.00 ERA, a 10.5 K/9, and a 5.2 BB/9 this year. He’ll jump up the charts with a healthy season next year.

14. Corban Joseph (CoJo), 2B, 6-foot, 180-pounds, 23-years-old: Joseph is in the same boat as Adams, but slightly ahead of him. He’s a second baseman who can hit, without a lot of power, but decent for a second baseman. He’s certainly nothing exceptional with the glove, but the Yankees are sticking with him there. After a productive season split between Double and Triple-A where he hit .276/.375/.465, Joseph is ready for the majors. Unfortunately he’s blocked by Cano so there is a good chance he’s traded soon.

15. Nik Turley (Turley Bird), LHP, 6-foot-6, 230-pounds, 22-years-old: Turley earned a late season promotion to Double-A after a very solid year in High-A Tampa. He has a solid three pitch arsenal that helped him to a 3.00 ERA, a 9.0 K/9 and a 3.5 BB/9. It would be good to see him improve his command just a bit, but if the strikeout numbers stay where they are then he should be fine. He’ll start in Double-A next year and should be in Triple-A as long as things go right. Expect him to be contributing in the Bronx by 2014.

16. Daniel Camarena  (DanCam), LHP, 6-foot, 200-pounds, 19-years-old: A converted position player, 2012 was Camarena’s first full season as a pitcher and he was really impressive in the Gulf Coast League as he posted a 1.02 ERA, a 7.6 K/9, and didn’t walk a single batter in 17.2 innings. He backs up a low-90’s fastball with a changeup and curveball. It’s likely that he starts next season in Low-A Charleston.

17. Angel Rincon, RHP, 6-foot-1, 180-pounds, 19-years-old: Rincon finally made it to the US this season and made a strong impression. In just 31.1 innings he had a 2.59 ERA, a 6.9 K/9 and a 2.9 BB/9. Hopefully with more playing time next year he can get his K/9 back to where it was in the Dominican – 9.0. He has a fastball, curve, and a change. With a good spring training he should start in Low-A Charleston next year.

18. Rafael DePaula, RHP, 6-foot-3, 212-pounds, 21-years-old: DePaula finally got his visa issues behind him this year which meant he could officially sign with the Yankees and begin his career. He has an upper-90’s fastball, a great curveball, and has been working on a change. Hopefully he can make the jump to Low-A next season and should move quickly after that.

19. J.R. Murphy (Murph), C, 5-foot-11, 195-pounds, 21-years-old: Murphy was sort of up and down all year. He took some time adjusting to High-A Tampa, got acclimated, then promoted, needed more adjustment time in Double-A, became acclimated again, and struggled down the stretch. He’s proven that he can stick behind the plate, but he’s going to have to hit more consistently to continue his path to the big leagues.

20. Peter O’Brien, C, 6-foot-3, 215-pounds, 22-years-old: A big powerful catcher, O’Brien was a bit of a disappointment playing at the Short Season-A level this year. He hit just .202/.249/.394 in 48 games in Staten Island. A lot of that probably stems from a wrist injury so hopefully he can take a step forward next year. His 10 homers in just 213 at bats is a good start at least.

21. Adam Warren (The Warden), RHP, 6-foot-2, 225-pounds, 25-years-old: Warren is not really a prospect anymore and is just waiting for his shot in the majors. He’s put up two consecutive seasons at Triple-A where his numbers, a 3.71 ERA, a 6.3 K/9 and a 2.7 BB/9 this year, were basically the same. That’s good not great. The problem is he lacks a true put-away pitch and got rocked in the majors because he can’t adjust like a veteran and doesn’t hide the ball well. If he is not next year’s David Phelps then the Yankees should just trade him.

22 Ravel Santana (Ravenous Ravel), CF, 6-foot-2, 160-pounds, 20-years-old: Another guy whose stock has fallen tremendously this year. Santana was getting over a bad ankle injury this year and never played at 100 percent. After he OPS’d .929 in the GCL the year before that number dropped to .593 while playing at Short Season-A. He’s still a five-tool talent though, but if he doesn’t bounce back next season we might always be left wondering what could have happened if not for the injury.

23. Dante Bichette Jr. (DBJ/Bichette Happens), 3B, 6-foot-1, 215-pounds, 20-years-old (on Sept 26): It’s safe to say that Bichette’s first full season as a pro did not go as well as he’d hoped. After tearing apart the GCL last season he hit just .248/.322/.331 this season. Still, he was one of the youngest players at his level this season so he should be cut some slack. Next year will be big for him though because if he doesn’t show improvement he could fall even further down the prospect list.

24. Dellin Betances, RHP, 6-foot-8, 255-pounds, 24-years-old: Speaking of disaster seasons, Betances’ 2012 campaign couldn’t have been much worse. A year ago it looked like he would be in the big leagues for good at this time, but instead he was demoted to Double-A after he posted a 6.39 ERA with a 8.6 K/9 and a 8.3 BB/9 in 74. 2 innings at Triple-A. He improved his BB/9 to 4.8 after the demotion, but that’s still not impressive and his ERA went up to 6.51. He still has the ceiling, but right now he is probably more likely to be a total bust than to ever pitch as many as 200 major league innings.

25. Angelo Gumbs (Bubba Gumbs/Gumby), 2B, 6-foot, 175-pounds, 19-years-old: The book on Gumbs has always been that he has a ton of athletic ability, but is young and raw. Well this season he really started to look like he was polishing off his skills as he hit .306/.345/.532 in the month of May. Unfortunately he hurt his elbow while swinging a bat in late June otherwise he would be much higher on this list. Because of his age it’s possible that he could start next season in Low-A Charleston, but expect him to move through the system quickly if that happens.

26. Zoilo Almonte (Zee), RF, 6-foot, 190-pounds, 23-years-old: This switch hitter has all the tools, and he’s still relatively young for his level. He hit .277/.322/.487/.808 this season, with a career high 21 homeruns and 15 stolen bases. He’s got great speed, great power, and a solid arm in the field. The only thing that’s missing from his game are his routes and hands in the outfield and patience. Due to his young age, he still has time to develop that patience. He likely won’t be ready next season, but by 2014 he could be a legitimate contributor if he sures up his defense a bit and learns some patience.

27. Melky Mesa, (Melk-Man 2.0), 6-foot-1, 185-pounds, 26-years-old: He took a bit longer to develop than Zoilo Almonte, which is why I have him ranked one lower, but they are similar as far as ceiling. Mesa is taller, faster, and better in the field, but strikes out more. His power is similar and he’s more patient. He hit a career best 23 homeruns this season, and went .264/.325/.480/.805 as someone who was a bit old for his level. He improved on his strikeout totals this season, and if he can continue to build off that next season, we could be seeing a player coming into his own. If not, he’s probably a fourth outfielder at best.

28. Jordan Cote (JoCo), RHP, 6-foot-5, 215-pounds, 20-years-old: Cote showcased his stuff this year in the GCL. He went 27.2 innings, and had a 0.98 ERA with a 0.904 WHIP. He struck out 25 and walked just four batters. The stuff was as advertised, with the only critique being that he left a few too many balls up in the zone, which will not fly at higher levels. Well, the ball will fly, just not the mistake. His changeup and curve ball came along as expected this season. Staten Island or Charleston will be his level next year.

29. Austin Aune (Aoooooooone), SS: 6-foot-2, 190-pounds, 19-years-old: The second round pick in this year’s draft, this lefty hitting shortstop had an excellent debut season. He needs to work on his defense, but at this level that is expected out of any shortstop. His bat has been good so far, and he is this high on the list because he has excellent potential to develop into a 5-tool type athlete who can do a little bit of everything. .273/.358/.410/.768 as a rookie isn’t half bad. Should start in Staten Island next season.

30. Ben Gamel (Gam-Gam), 5-foot-11, 180-pounds, 20-years-old: Gamel showed he has a great hit tool this season, which is what scouts said about him all along. He hit  .306/.342/.394/.737 this season. The power numbers aren’t there yet, as he hit just two homeruns this season. He did hit 23 doubles and five triples though, and he’s young enough where he still has time to develop that power. He stole 19 bases this season. He’s a guy who will have to put in significant work at the gym in the offseason if he ever wants to be a real factor as a prospect, but he showed that he can handle full season ball as young ballplayer, which is a big step. Should be in High-A next season.

31. Giovanny Gallegos (Gio), RHP: 6-foot-2, 175-pounds, 21-years-old: Before this season few had heard of him, but he is another product of the Dominican Summer League that came here and made a splash this season with his stuff, command, and performance. He threw 27 IP and allowed five earned runs (all in one game), pitching to a 1.67 ERA. He
struck out 22 during that time, and had just two walks. He has great control to go along with a mid 90’s fastball and the ability to spin the ball. You may not know his name this year, but you will next year for sure. He’s got the stuff and control to be a top tier pitching prospect. His curveball can hit 86 mph, that has to be hard to hit.

32. Ronnier Mustelier (Musketeer), 3B/OF: 5-foot-10 (generous), 210-pounds, 28-years-old: He’s old for his level, but then again he just started in the minors and he still hasn’t found a level he can’t produce at. Between Double-A and Triple-A he hit .314/.371/.488/.859 this season. He hit 15 homeruns and even stole 10 bases. That production is unlikely as a pro, but who’s to say that’s going to be the case at this point? He hasn’t disappointed yet, and he has no red flags in his performance. He doesn’t strike out a lot, he walks at a respectable rate. That level of production could be a nice boost to the Yankees next season.

33. Matt Tracy (M-Trac), LHP. 6-foot-3, 212-pounds, 24-years-old: Got a surprise promotion to Triple-A at the end of the season, probably just as a reinforcement, but I’m sure he was excited at the opportunity. He didn’t disappoint, going five innings and striking out four in his debut. On the season he threw 104 ininngs, struck out 68, walked 42, and had a 3.2 ERA mostly in High-A Tampa. Those are good numbers, especially from a lefty. He throws a mid 90’s fastball, a changeup, and an excellent curveball. His ceiling is an Andy Pettitte type, but that is definitely wishful thinking. The changeup is one of the best in the system already.

34. Chase Whitley (Whiffley), RHP. 6-foot-4, 220-pounds, 23-years-old: He finally showed signs of being human in Triple-A this year, but by the end of the season he brought his stats back to where everyone expected them to be. He has rocketed up the minor league charts, and is part of a growing list of players that will likely make up the future bullpen of the New York Yankees. He threw 84.1 innings this season, and ended off with a 3.09 ERA, mostly in Triple-A. He had a 7.8 K/9 and a 2.9 BB/9. Still young, it will be exciting to watch him in the Yankees bullpen for years to come. He throws a 94 mph fastball and a 2-seamer with good sink. He gets excellent extension in the mold of a David Robertson type pitcher, and he has a nasty, swing and miss changeup. He also throws a slider that has seen a lot of improvement this season and it’s improvement correllated with his improving ERA at the end of the season.

35. Greg Bird, 1B. 6-foot-3, 215-pounds, 20-years-old: He may have decreased his stock this season by switching from the catchers position, but he increased his stock by hitting the crap out of the ball in the GCL and Staten Island during the brief time when he was healthy this season. He hit .337/.450/.494/.944 across tw levels, and actually performed better when he was promoted to Staten Island. He finished the season with two homeruns, and if he stays healthy we will be seeing a lot more of those in the coming seasons.

36. Rookie Davis, RHP. 6-foot-4, 235-pounds, 20-years-old: Pitched really well in the GCL this year in limited action, but the key is that he was at extended Spring Training increasing his arm strength and stamina up until rookie ball. Now that he has that experience, he will be able to pitch more innings next season in either Staten Island or Charleston. In 17 IP, he struck out 17 and walked 4, with a 2.65 ERA. He showed off his 94-95 mph fastball and changeup in rookie ball this year, and improved on his power curveball. Next year he will be fun to watch.

37. Rony Bautista, LHP. 6-foot-7, 200-pounds, 21-years-old: Rony really came out of nowhere this season and showed why every other organization is jealous of the Yankees Dominican Summer League talent. All he did was come over to America, throw 41 innings with 48 strikeouts and 16 walks while pitching to a 3.51 ERA). The control could have been better, but that’s to be expected from a 6-foot-7 pitcher. If he continues to improve his control, he could be a top 10 prospect by the end of next season.

38. Bryan Mitchell (The Mitchuation), RHP. 6-foot-2, 175-pounds, 22-years-old: I am still optimistic about Bryan Mitchell, and here is why. He threw a career high 120 innings this season. He may have walked 72 batters, which is 5.4/9 innings, but he also struck out 121 batters during that time. He battled through a difficult season, and destroyed his career high innings total by about 60 innings. Charting new territory for himself, he held his own and finished the season strong. I expect big things from him now that he has built up his arm strength and proven he can stay healthy through an entire season. As you can tell by the relatively low ranking though, he still has a lot to prove. His big, 96 mph fastball and his 12 to 6 curve ball will carry him through the system. Whether or not he harnesses his change up will determine if he is a reliever or starter long term.

39. Nick Goody, RHP: 5-foot-11, 195-pounds, 21-years-old: This is now three years in a row the Yankees were able to pick up an incredibly fast moving, dominant reliever in the late rounds. A 22nd round draft pick Goody has shown that his 94-96 mph fastball and slider combo can dominate everyone up to at least High-A. He continues to work on his
changeup which is also a good pitch for him. The results were 32 innings over three levels, and a 14.6 K/9 with a 2.5 BB/9. His ERA on the season was 1.12.

40. Chaz Hebert, LHP. 6-foot-2, 180-pounds, 20-years-old: Another left-handed pitcher who really surprised people and turned some heads this season with his performance. He showed excellent command this season, with just four walks in 25 innings, which is huge at this age and level. He already throws in the low 90’s, and he has a big enough frame so that if he bulks up a bit he could be throwing mid-90’s before it’s all said and done. He was able to control and have success with a changeup this season, which is huge for such a young pitcher. He’s also working on a curve ball. His 2.52 ERA and 30 strikeouts this season (10.8 K/9) were one of the best surprises of the GCL season. His K/BB ratio was a whopping 7.5. Anytime you can get this kind of production from a young lefty, the excitement is going to build up. Part of the best pitching crop I have ever seen in the GCL.

41. Branden Pinder (BP), RHP. 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, 24-years-old: Don’t let the BBDP nickname fool you, his arsenal is about the furthest thing from batting practice (BP) as one could imagine. Largely overshadowed by Mark Montgomery, he is a guy who could gain lots of attention as time goes on. One of the best fastballs in the system coupled with one of the best sliders in the system, he may actually end up being as good or better than Montgomery in the long term. He tops out at 97 mph and has great deception and late movement on the fastball. He threw 69 innings, and had a 8.7 K/9 with a 3.9 BB/9. His control faltered a bit in the middle of the season, but he was able to rebound with a late season surge. That will be the key to his success going forward.

42. Corey Black, RHP. 5-foot-11, 175-pounds, 21-years-old: Originally drafted in the 4th round as a reliever, Black’s stuff justified a move to the starting rotation. Given his still relatively young age, this could be a great move for the Yankees long term. With a fastball that tops out at 99 mph, and a curve ball, slider, and changeup to go with it, his arsenal certainly justifies the move. In 52.2 innings this season, he had a 3.08 ERA and 50 strikeouts, while walking 15 (2.6 BB/9). He finished the season in Charleston, and next season he could raise his ranking significantly.

43. Miguel Andujar (Mandujar), 3B. 6-foot-1, 180-pounds, 18-years-old: Made his stateside debut this season at just 17, and that shows how highly the front office thinks of him. He definitely did not perform up to expectations, but there is often a longer adjustment period for international signings for reasons that supercede baseball. A right handed hitter, his scouting report indicates few real weaknesses, but he’ll have to prove that this can translate into success. I am not yet worried about his performance at all, and the low ranking is more of an indication of how deep this system is than anything else.

44. Cesar Vargas, RHP. 6-foot-1, 160-pounds, 21-years-old: Saw some time in Charleston this year, and perfomed well overall in 46 innings. 7.4 K/9 as a starter with just 2.3 BB/9, and a 3.13 ERA. He throws 92-94 mph and has an excellent curve ball. Obviously the organization likes him as they gave him an opportunity to pitch in Charleston in just his first year stateside.

45. Tom Kahnle, RHP. 6-foot-1, 220-pounds, 23-years-old: With a fastball that can touch 100 mph, there’s serious potential for a late inning relief role. He also has a nasty changeup with decent fade on it to keep hitters honest, and a slider which has gotten just a little bit better with each year. An 11.7 K/9 in 57 IP for High-A this season, he pitched to a 2.37 ERA and cut down on his walks. If he can do that again next year, he will be a serious relief prospect.

46. Rob Refsnyder (The Ref), OF/2B, 6-foot, 195-pounds, 21-years-old: Unlikely that he’ll stick at second base at this point, the right handed 5th round pick really showed what he can do late in the season in Charleston after an initial adjustment period. The college world series MVP this season, if he can take some of that magic into next season he could make some major noise. He finished the season at just .241/.319/.364/.683 in only 162 at bats. This is a small sample size and he’ll have ample opportunity to prove himself next season. He finished the season 11 for his last 36 (.306). He hit four homers and 11 SB on the short season.

47. Adonis Garcia, IF, 5-foot-9, 190-pounds, 28-years-old: Signed out of Cuba as a hopefully close to MLB player, this right hander started off slow in High-A Tampa. As the competition got better, so did he. He was promoted to Trenton despite a lackluster performance, and there he performed up to expectations. There he hit four homeruns
in 126 at bats with a quadruple slash of .288/.325/.492/.817. Like Mustelier, he’s a guy with some power who could help the major league team soon.

48. Caleb Frare, LHP, 6-foot-1, 195-pounds, 19-years-old: Drafted this year in the 11th round out of high school, Frare ended up pitching 23 innings in the GCL. He managed to have a 9 K/9 and a 2.7 BB/9. With a fastball that already sits at 90-91 mph and tops out at 94, he’ll be an interesting guy to watch. He also throws a cutter, slider, change up, and curve ball. It remains to be seen which of these pitches will be featured, but his performance as a rookie speaks for itself.

49. Evan Rutckyj (Rutzkrieg), LHP, 6-foot-5, 215-pounds, 21-years-old: He generated a ton of excitement at extended spring training this season, where he flat out dominated. His control had improved by leaps and bounds. Then he was started at Charleston, where he almost immediately began to struggle with control again. By the end of the season the control had again improved, and he finished with 101.1 innings, a 7.6 K/9 and a 4.4 BB/9. I put him in the same mold as Bryan Mitchell, a guy with huge upside who had a majorly increased workload this season. He still managed a 3.91 ERA on the season, and his already 94 mph fastball and his secondary stuff has improved immensely since signing. The potential is certainly there.

50. Cito Culver (Cheeto), 6-foot, 190-pounds, 20-years-old: I’m not even going to get into the numbers, but Cito obviously struggled this season majorly. The good news is he was only 19. The bad news is his swing has been inconsistent enough that many scouts are saying he will have to abandon switch hitting. He still stole 22 bases this season, and led the system in walks with 71, but he’ll have to do more than just walk and steal bases if he wants to climb the ladder.

Others: Preston Claiborne, Addison Maruszak, Shaeffer Hall, Kelvin Perez, Vidal Nuno, Rob Segedin, Zach Nuding, Caleb Cotham, Jeremy Bleich, Matt Snyder, Matt Duran, Claudio Custodio, Jose Rosario, Dietrich Enns, James Pazos, Taylor Garrison, Jerison Lopez, Chris Breen, Hayden Sharp, Joey Maher, Brady Lail, Dayton Dawe, Taylor Dugas, Saxon Butler, Mikeson Oliberto.

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.
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28 Responses to BBD’s Yankees Top 50 Prospects: 2012 post-season edition

  1. Fred says:

    Great list. For me, I'm really excited to see if guys like Banuelos, Mustelier and Adams can contribute in the majors next year, I think all of them are about ready to make that jump. At the lower end of the system, the pitching depth is just ridiculous. Surely some of those guys have to pan out! As you said a couple times, I think the Dominican Summer League work has really helped the Yankees find new talent, and it shows when you look at the guys that came through there.

    • Greg Corcoran says:

      It's true. I posted the stuff about the DSL and it's because I talked to a couple of scouts who are saying that every other team in the league is envious of what the Yankees are doing with their Dominican Baseball Academy and DSL teams. They have a ton of talent coming over from there next season as well. Look out for names like Dallas Martinez, Chris Cabrera, Luis Severino, Jose Figueroa, Christopher Tamarez, Abiatal Avelino, Wilmer Romero, and Renzo Martini. Also don't forget about Rafael DePaula, who is obviously on the above list. All of these guys could be coming over next season, in addition to a few others.

      This is why the Yankees really do need another Rookie League team, preferably in the Appalachian League.

  2. I would have given up on Betances already, but there's always a chance he might be able to produce as a setup man for us or maybe as a closer for a small/mid-market team.

    • Greg Corcoran says:

      I can understand that feeling, but then if he recaptures what he was able to do last year he's back on the list, and probably top 10. The ability is too high to not be top 30. Can't completely give up on him just yet. Another season of playing like this and I'll be singing a different tune though.

  3. Paul says:

    what about the pirelo kid in trenton? he had a fantastic year and was a top prospect only a few years ago?

    • Greg Corcoran says:

      Good call Paul… I'll add him to the "others" section. I'm not sold on him yet. I honestly think this season is a bit of an anomaly and we won't see him produce like that in Triple-A. He's also at a crowded position and I don't know that he'll even get enough at bats next season.

  4. wally says:

    Interesting stuff, Greg, especially on the Dominican program. Did scouts you spoke with think Yanks have best or near-best talent emerging there. What about the pitcher they signed to a $4 million bonus just before the new CBA took effect? Aparrt from the Dominican scout input, were there other scouts you spoke with? Any sense on where system might now rank in talent? As to particular rankings, i was just a bit surprised Bird and Goody and Black weren't a bit higher. Also, interesting that you put Slade above Tyler. Obviously, he made great progress this year, but Ks still a bit high, no? ANyway, thanks in advance for answers.

  5. mj in CO says:

    Finally i am sooooooooooo excited you posted this. I have been waiting for this list since the draft. Really good work to both of you

  6. Greg Corcoran says:

    They seem to think the Yankees have the BEST talent there. The $4 million signing bonus went to Omar Luis, a 19 year old left handed pitcher from Cuba who touches 93 mph. He throws a curve and change as his main secondary pitches. He also mixes in sliders and cutters. He's 5'11 and 205 pounds, a bit on the shorter and bigger side. He still doesn't have his VISA, and we all know how that process can be.

    As far as what other scouts think, I can say that they mostly have the Yankees system, after a down year, at the 10-14 range. I do think that's going to change as soon as next season when Tyler Austin, Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott, and Gary Sanchez begin to prove themselves at Double-A. If they can dominate there, that is when they approach super prospect status, and those are the guys who really increase the organizational rankings. A healthy Manny Banuelos would also go a long way towards increasing the organizational rankings.

    As far as Bird, and Black go, I agree that they could have been higher. With Black able to reach 99 mph while harnessing some decent secondary stuff, I could have easily put him higher. It's extremely hard though with the incredible organizational depth the Yankees have right now though. Bird could be higher too, but with him I wonder about injury concerns, staying on the field, and maintaining a consistent swing with his size. His potential is off the charts though. As for Goody, I usually wait with relievers until they have shown that they can dominate above High-A ball. It's the same concept as college hitters for me, that it's possible they just haven't found their level yet. If Goody has another season like this next year, he'll definitely crack the top 20.

    Finally, Slade Heathcott. I have him above Tyler Austin because his upside is so much more than Austin's. Austin is the better player now, but I have heard people say that Heathcott is the closest thing this organization has to a Mike Trout. Obviously that is some high praise, although I don't know that it's warranted. The point is, Austin is awesome but Heathcott has the potential to be a superstar if everything goes perfect.

    • wally says:

      Excellent response, Greg. Appreciate the detailed answers. I guess I just don't get Heathcott– but I hope I'm wrong about him (and I was pleased at how he cut down on Ks somewhat this year).
      That $4 million bonus is so out of whack with what they've been paying guys– they must really like Omar Luis. Best news of all is on the overall superior talent down in the Dominican — with the new CBA I fear they may have trouble keeping the pipeline flowing. So that's really welcome news. (I thought the signing of two kids who were ranked #2 and #4 internationally was pretty big news for Yanks, but got little play. Worth a follow-up look?

      • Greg Corcoran says:

        Heathcott's scouting report is off the charts. He may sneak onto some top 100 lists this season. You're opinion, however, is shared by most of the people who do the rankings. I can almost guarantee Tyler Austin will be above Heathcott on just about every Top 100 prospect list out there. I just think Heathcott has more potential than Austin and he's already showing that he can tap into that potential.

        I agree that the $4 million was a lot, but I think a good portion of that has to do with the fact that Omar Luis had tons of leverage since he was one of the last guys teams could spend freely on. I'm sure it's some combination of him being really good and the Yankees wanting to make some sort of a splash after missing out on Cespedes and Soler.

        Finally, to be honest I don't know much about the guys the Yankees signed who were both top 5 on baseball america's international free agent list. I know they are both highly touted, but raw. It's going to be a while before we see what any of them can really do, because they're so young. It's also hard to quantify their talent because they are young position players. At least with pitchers we can go off velocity. With these guys it's all subjective based on what scouts see.

  7. george coffey says:

    Great raw talent,but none of it was at AAA orAA. Do we need another rookie level team

    • Greg Corcoran says:

      This is why the system only ranks 10-15 ish in the league. After next season, this will no longer be the case, so I'm hoping that this will increase their ranking.

      I absolutely think the Yankees need another rookie level team. If you look at the amount of starting pitchers in the GCL who should have thrown more innings this season, it's almost stunning (hint, there's 9 of them). Even some hitters struggled to get at bats this season. A lot could be gained from one more rookie team. As I understand it, the Yankees are pursuing that option, but unfortunately there are a limited number of rookie league slots, and not too many teams, if any, that are willing to give their slot up.

  8. roy levine says:

    Great work BBD. I would like to see some minor league trades and so that there are more stud pitchers at the expense of position players. Teams have to develop pitchers and can often acquire hitters later in their career. It take so many to get one. Just think about Hughes and Chamberlain and how that would be the Yankees future. Now we have a #3 starter and a mid innings reliever. Right now, the farm is of little help to the MLB roster. Banuelos is, at best, now a second half call up. We hope his arm problems are behind him. Brett Marshall and Adam Warren are in the same category. Too many guys entering the funnel and nothing coming out. I think that the minors, as defined by its function of delivering MLB players, took a step backward in 2012. Ty Hensley's shoulder will always be an issue. Somewhere down the road, there will be a year for repair and a restart of his career. I hate to rain on the parade, but i am not happy about this minor league organization.

  9. Fernando says:

    Enjoyed the list. Lots of SP at the lower levels and the team was using guys for three innings to get everyone time. Another rookie level team would help allow the team to stretch out those guys.

    Another four to add to the other section:
    RP Dan Burawa, who I in ST but was injured all year.
    OF Jake Cave who also was injured for most of the season.
    SP Jose Mesa Jr who I don't think got into any games.
    OF Yeicok Calderon, who I believe led the rookie league in homers.

  10. richard says:

    thought roller would be there somewhere. can't wait to see numbers he puts up in trenton

  11. sara says:

    have a` scouting report on Caleb Cotham?
    Came out of nowhere to AAA.

  12. Michael says:

    Am interested in your thoughts on Addison Maruszak. He's did well at Staten Island, struggled some at Tampa and charleston, but bounced back in Trenton finishing in the top 5 in several offensive categories. Major plus is that he plays 6 or 7 positions. How come he winds up out of the top 50??

    • Maruszak has shown flashes of being a decent prospect, but has never really put it together to the point where he looks like a legit major league. His career line in the minors is .266/.337/.393 and he's hitting .269/.347/.407 in 77 games at Triple-A this year. Now those numbers aren't terrible, but they are certainly on the low end. In the majors they'd be even worse. Keep in mind that he's never been an especially young guy at any level that he's been at. In the minors, the older players do tend to have better numbers.

      Maybe, since he does play so many positions, he could eventually get called up as a utility infielder. Even then it would probably only be in an emergency.

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