MILB.com just released their top 100 prospects, and three Yankees are on it; Gary Sanchez, Mason Williams, and Tyler Austin. Slade Heathcott was missing from the list, but he deserves to be on it. This got me thinking about which Yankees prospects have a shot at breaking the top 100 this season. Slade Heathcott is already a top 100 player and will be on several of these lists before the season starts after his dominance in the AFL, so he won’t be included in this discussion.
The way I see it, these players can be broken into three categories. The first group is the group that is already knocking on the door, and if they keep doing what they do at a higher level will likely be on the list by the end of the season. The second group has the tools and could be in the discussion if things go well this season, and will be a shoe-in if they have a monster season. The third group is the group of long shots who will need a monster season to be in the discussion, but with their set of tools this is not out of the realm of possibilities.
Group one: Already Close
1. Jose Ramirez: Ramirez will be starting Double-A this season, and he is coming off his best season as a professional. He has three pitches, has phenomenal stuff and he strikes guys out. If he repeats his 2012 season in Double-A he’s a shoe-in as far as I’m concerned.
2. Jose Campos: Missed most of 2012, but he was already in top 100 discussions before that season started. If he can come back this season with a full, healthy season and perform the way he did in Seattle’s system in 2011, he will be in the top 100.
3. Rafael DePaula: Granted, his only action has been in the DSL. With his stuff, all he needs to do to make the list is come to the United States and perform well against people his own age. That’s no small task but with his repertoire he is up for the challenge.
4. Angelo Gumbs: He was in the midst of a major breakout season at Charleston before his injury. Word is he’s back to his old self. If he can bring that same performance into next season with the tools he already possesses, he could squeak into the back end of the top 100.
Group two: Need a big season
5. Nik Turley: He had an uptick in stuff going into 2012. The spike in stuff correllated with a spike in performance. If he has another slight improvement and repeats his 2012 season, he could be a newcomer to the list.
6. Mark Montgomery: Being placed in this group is less about his performance and more about the fact that he is a reliever. Relievers don’t get much love on top 100 lists, however he could be the exception if he does what he has done at the upper levels. If he’s not already with the Yankees by the end of the season he could be a top 100 guy.
7. Ramon Flores: Flores is missing one thing from being in the same discussion as Heathcott, Williams, and Austin. Power. If he can hit 15 homeruns this season he’s going to be on a couple of top 100 lists.
8. Greg Bird: Here’s a guy who has already turned some heads with his bat. Now that he’s a first baseman he’ll really have to hit to crack the top 100, but many feel his bat is capable of this kind of output.
Group three: Needs a monster season
9. Dante Bichette Jr.: After a down season in 2012, many are down on him. He was working on some things last season though and now he has settled on a new approach. If this approach works, he could have a monster season which would put him right back on the prospect map and in the discussion for the top 100 prospects.
10. Corey Black: He’s an older player with overpowering stuff that doesn’t last late into games. If he can figure out how to do that, or if he can show that he can dominate at upper levels, he’s a top 100 candidate.
11. Bryan Mitchell: He’s always had the stuff, now it’s time for him to show he can use it in the games and more importantly, control it. If he does and the numbers begin to show up, he’s easily a top 100 prospect.
12. Ty Hensley: We’ve all heard about this kid. He only slipped to the Yankees for an MRI abnormality. No one knows how this will even effect his arm, but what we do know is that he has great stuff. If he starts in Charleston he’s a candidate.