Now that all of the draft picks are either signed or moving on for now, it’s time to evaluate how that changes things on the farm. Of the four lists BBD makes each year, this is the one that ends up being the most fluid. This is the hazard in ranking players who have played few to no games so far in their career, when all we have to go on is an extremely small sample size and a scouting report or two.
Like the most recent list, certain players will be excluded because they have served time in the major leagues already, and that spoils a lot of the projection I like to make here. By BBD standards, Preston Claiborne, Austin Romine, Adam Warren, David Phelps, Vidal Nuno, Dellin Betances, David Adams, and now Zoilo Almonte are no longer eligible for this list for that reason.
Anyway here’s the list. There are few if any changes except for slotting the new guys in since not much has changed from the last list.
1. Gary Sanchez: “the Sanchize” C, 6-foot-2, 220-pounds, RHB, 20 – Nothing to add to last time. He’s pretty much in the same place right now. .267/.330/.459/.790 with 13 homeruns on the season. Playing stellar defense on top of that.
2. Slade Heathcott: CF, 6-foot-1, 190-pounds, LHB, 22 – His average is now all the way up to .257 and rising fast. My bold prediction is that by the end of the season people will be back on the bandwagon.
3. Tyler Austin: “3:16″: RF, 6-foot-2, 200-pounds, RHB, 21 – After a recent streak of hot hitting, he slowed down recently. Turns out it was because of a wrist injury. He’s now on the DL and I expect him to pick up where he left off before the injury occurred. Hopefully the injury is nothing serious. If it is more serious it could affect his long term potential, which would stink for Yankees fans.
4. Rafael De Paula: “RDP” RHP, 6-foot-3, 212-pounds, 21 – With the season he’s having the argument could be made to put him at number two, but he does still have some things to work on. He has some adjustments to make to High-A, but I’m willing to bet he’s up for the task.
5. Jose Ramirez: ”J-Ram”: RHP, 6-foot-1, 185-pounds, 22 – Holding his own so far in Triple-A, and still striking out about 9/9 innings. He’s going to compete for a rotation spot next season, and he could be the next big thing to hit New York. He’s not the highest profile prospect in the organization, but he could become one soon when people see what this kid can do.
6. Mason Williams: CF, 6-foot-0, 180-pounds, LHB, 21 – Last time we checked in with Mason he was dogging it and not performing well. Turns out he turned his season around almost immediately after that. He has been on fire ever since being benched for two games by the team. If there was a message to be sent he received it, and his average has since improved to a respectable .275 and rising. He has 11 SB on the season as well and much like with Slade I predict by the end of the season people will have forgotten his struggles.
7. Manny Banuelos: “ManBan”: LHP, 5-foot-11, 200-pounds, 22 – He’s still a top 10 guy for me because his stuff was that good before the injury. He’s a former top 100 prospect and there’s no reason he can’t return to that at his young age. Seriously, I’ve said this multiple times now, do not count this kid out. He’s already throwing and may appear in some games late in the season. Word on the street (aka from sources in the Yankees system) he looked really good in his recent workouts.
8. Jose Campos: “J-Cam”: RHP, 6-foot-4, 195-pounds, 20 – According to Gil Patterson the plan is to get him 90-100 innings this year. So far he has been solid on the road to that goal in four inning increments. Gil Patterson has proven he knows what he’s doing, so I trust him on this one. There’s a good chance he will move quickly next year, but for now staying healthy is the main thing for him.
9. Eric Jagielo: 3B, 6-foot-2, 195-pounds, LHB, 22 – This year’s “first” first round draft pick has not disappointed so far. He’s .327/.431/.469/.900 and will be moved to Charleston soon. He projects as a starting major league caliber third baseman and with his bat has the ceiling of an all-star. Can’t wait to see what this kid can do.
10. Luis Severino: “Lu-sever” RHP 6-foot-0, 195-pounds, 19 – He struck out the first six batters he faced as a pro and has been dominating ever since. The first 21.1 innings of his stateside career have been successful to say the least. A fastball that can reach the mid 90’s and some solid secondary stuff will get you there. He’s one of the guys from the Dominican program, and was signed for cheap, yet he is easily one of the best players in the GCL. The Yankees may be missing out on the Yasiel Puig‘s of the world, but instead that have guys like Jose Ramirez, Rafael DePaula, and Luis Severino for $42 million less.
11. J.R. Murphy: “Murph”: C, 5-foot-11, 195-pounds, RHB, 21 – He really did nothing to deserve getting squeezed out of the top 10. In fact, all he did was improve since being promoted to Triple-A. He’s been mentioned in trade rumors lately so hopefully he’s still here to help out the team next season. His .309/.377/.479/.856 numbers with 3 HR in Triple-A so far are destined for a regression to his mean. On the other hand, even his mean would look good in the Bronx compared to what we have right now.
12. Luis Torrens: “Torr-nado” C, 6-foot-0, 171-pounds, RHB, 17 – One of the high profile signings out of Venezuela, he is still cheap compared to guys like Puig, Aroldis Chapman, and Cespedes. He is admittedly a much longer shot to make it to the majors than those guys. He’s a catcher with power who may just be as good if not better than Gary Sanchez in the long run. He is just 17 and will still be to start next season, and he’s faring pretty well in the GCL. He’s .269/.367/.388/.755 right now and he has been flashing some good leather behind the dish, throwing out 50% of would be base stealers. That’s impressive considering GCL pitchers have no clue when it comes to holding runners on.
13. Ian Clarkin: LHP, 6-foot-2, 206-pounds, 18 years old – We’ve all heard about this kid by now who somehow made it all the way to the end of the first round for the Yankees to scoop him up. He’s a polished young left hander who already sits in the 90’s with his fastball and has some secondary pitches which he of course will need to work on. I’m looking forward to the day he gets unleashed on the GCL.
14. Peter O’Brien: C, 6-foot-3, 215-pounds, 22 – Just hit his 16th homer as I write this. The age and strikeout complaints are getting old already. I’m not concerned about his age until he reaches a level he doesn’t rake at. His season line is a drool-inducing .316/.371/.596/.967. Yes, he has struck out 83 times in 73 games, but he’s still got time to make it to the major leagues. He’s currently learning a new position at third, but he has a cannon from both third and catcher. Wherever he plays, if he continues to hit like this it won’t matter. A-Rod recently said O’Brien is going to have a “long major league career.”
15. Aaron Judge- RF, 6-foot-7, 230-pounds, RHB, 21 – The only reason he’s so low on this list is because he hasn’t played a game yet and he’s so tall. I just can’t wrap my head around a guy being this tall and being able to make consistent hard contact. That said, Giancarlo Stanton does exist and that is Judge’s ceiling. If he reaches it then the Yankees struck gold, and he will ascend to the top of this list. At his height, however, he is a high risk, high reward proposition. You could probably convince me to rank him higher if you tried hard enough.
16. Abiatal Avelino: SS, 5-foot-11, 186-pounds, RHB, 18 – Another one of those cheap signings out of Latin America who turned out to be a superior athlete. Scouts are impressed that his bat has come along so quickly to supplement his already smooth abilities in the field. He’s got speed to burn as he already has seven stolen bases in the GCL. He’s hitting .250/.341/.361/.703 so far at the level, and I expect big things from him.
17. Gregory Bird: 1B, 6-foot-3, 215-pounds, LHB, 20 – Here’s a guy who unfairly flies under the radar just because he plays first base. He’s hitting a swift .273/.396/.477/.873 this year with 11 homeruns as a 20 year old in Charleston. That’s impressive, and his power is only going to get bigger from here. With that kind of power potential and his patience as a hitter, the handicap of being a minor league first baseman is not likely to affect his value.
18. Ramon Flores: “Ray-Flo”: OF, 5-foot-11, 190-pounds, LHB, 21 – So Ramon slipped a bit on this list but I haven’t given up on him. The power needs to come around soon but at 21 he deserves some more time in Double-A to adjust and get better. He’s way younger than the league average, but he still demonstrates some positive characteristics like his patience. Maybe what he needs is to get a little bit more aggressive?
19. Nik Turley: LHP, 6-foot-6, 230-pounds, 22 – He slipped on this list too, mostly because of some lackluster performances lately. Still, he’s relatively young, lefty, and has a 9.71 K/9 innings pitched. He has time to improve on his 4.45 ERA before the end of the season, and his potential is still pretty high if he can limit his walks a bit more.
20. Ty Hensley: RHP, 6-foot-4, 220-pounds, 19 – We were all disappointed to hear about Ty’s season ending surgery, but the good news is that it wasn’t his arm and other pitchers have come back to their baseline after similar surgeries. Hopefully this is the end of his injury bug and he will enjoy a long and healthy career.
21. Angelo Gumbs: 2B, 6-foot-0, 175-pounds, RHB 19 – Yes it was frustrating to see him flounder in High-A, but hell, he’s just 19 years old and he still has a ton of potential. Hopefully he picks it up now that he’s at a more appropriate level for his age. He’s got plenty of speed and showed some power before the season started, but hasn’t been able to replicate that since.
22. Angel Rincon: RHP, 6-foot-1, 180-pounds, 19 – I thought for sure he would be in Staten Island, but he is in the GCL again instead, where he has thrown 22.1 innings and has a 2.82 ERA. He’s not striking out as many as he’d like, with just 11 strikeouts but he’s young and has excellent stuff.
23. Rob Refsnyder: 2B, 6-foot-0, 195-pounds, RHB, 21 – .283/.393/.403/.795 on the season with 17 SB and 3 HR. Not too bad but not top tier stuff here. He does appear to be sticking at second base and limiting his errors, so that’s good. Hopefully the numbers begin to turn around again.
24. Gosuke Katoh: 2B, 6-foot-2, 180-pounds, LHB, 18 – Most people said “who the ******?” when Katoh was drafted in the second round this year. After reading over a few scouting reports people even began to say it was an extreme overdraft since he lacked power. The truth is he does have some power, as is evidenced by his numbers so far in the GCL. He’s hitting .320/.453/.640/1.093 with 3 homers and 3 SB. He clearly is an advanced hitter for his age, and at his height and weight should only get bigger and stronger. This guy’s a Katoh fan in case you didn’t notice.
25. Rookie Davis: RHP, 6-foot-4, 235-pounds, 20 – He’s up nine spots from earlier in the season because the Yankees put him in short season Staten Island and he has performed well. Armed with a mid 90’s fastball and developing secondary stuff, he’s looking more and more like the real deal. Don’t be surprised if by this time next year he’s closer to the top 10 than he is to the number 30.
26. Dan Camarena: “DanCam”: LHP, 6-foot-0, 200-pounds, 19 – After a really, really rough start in Charleston, not only has he calmed down, but he has proceeded to dominate for his past eight starts, letting up just a couple of runs over that span. He had a hiccup tonight but that’s okay, because I am confident that by the end of this season his statistics are going to look fantastic despite the horrifically slow start.
27. Mark Montgomery: RP, 5-foot-11, 205-pounds, RHP, 22 – He slipped quite a bit in a short period of time because of injuries and ineffectiveness. He is on a rehab assignment right now so he will have a shot to climb back up the list when he returns. The diminished stuff was the most concerning thing about this season, and that’s the reason for the slide. If he can get back to his old self he could be a force out of the bullpen though.
28. Ben Gamel: OF, 5-foot-11, 180-pounds, LHB, 20 – He’s putting up a really respectable season. At .286/.355/.421/.777, his numbers do look pretty solid. On the other hand he has just three homeruns. More importantly though, he has significantly more extra base hits this season than last, which shows his power has improved. If he can do that again next season then some of those balls should start leaving the yard. If he starts hitting balls over the fence then he becomes a really interesting prospect.
29. Cesar Vargas: RHP, 6-foot-1, 160-pounds, 21 – He moves up ever so slightly by one slot on this countdown with his superior performance in Low-A. In 81.1 innings, he has managed a 3.21 ERA and 70 K. He’s looking like a solid bet for a promotion towards the end of the year, and may move quickly through the system considering his refined mechanics.
30. Tommy Kahnle: “TKO”: RHP, 6-foot-1, 220-pounds, 23 – He continues to show the kind of performance that will move him up this list, and put him on the short list to be a late inning reliever in the Bronx. In 40.1 IP this season, he has a 2.68 ERA and 45 K. He does need to limit his walks more though, as he has 25 on the season. If he can do that he will be an unstoppable force on his way to the Bronx with his velocity and the slider he throws.
31. Tyler Wade: SS, 6-foot-1, 180-pounds, LHB, 18 – Speedy, athletic, left handed batter drafted in the fourth round this year. Take GCL stats with a grain of salt, but he has really started his career hot, to the tune of a .333/.492/.378/.896 line with five stolen bases. He hasn’t hit for much power but with his speed and athleticism he could be a major catch where they got him in the draft.
32. Bryan Mitchell: “The Mitchuation”: RHP, 6-foot-2, 175-pounds, 22 – What can you really say about Mitchell that hasn’t already been said. All he has to do is harness and control his stuff and he will be a front end starter. At this point I have to start considering that he might be better off as a reliever. That said, at worst he’s a shutdown reliever. At best he’s a front of the rotation starter, so the Yankees should continue to trot him out there as a starter in hopes that he can find himself.
33. Matt Tracy:LHP, 6-foot-3, 212-pounds, 24 – He’s getting a bit old and the performance hasn’t been there this year, but that seems to mostly be the result of a loss of control. If he can gain that control back he should go back to being a legit prospect.
34. Dallas Martinez: RHP, 6-foot-0, 174-pounds, 18 – This is a guy you are going to be hearing a lot about in the coming years. He has only appeared in relief in the GCL so far because of an injury, but he is going to open up some eyes when he returns. He possesses a mid 90’s fastball already and superior control. He’s gonna start getting Luis Severino type attention real soon.
35. Ronnier Mustelier: 3B/OF, 5-foot-10, 210-pounds, RHB, 28 – I know, I know, he’s old and he can’t play defense, but he’s a decent bat and that’s just what the Yankees need right now. He can play multiple positions and provides some pop. This is what they signed him for (to be a backup who can fill in if there’s an injury), so hopefully he can contribute this year. He’s on a rehab assignment right now so it’s just a matter of time before he’s ready to go.
36. Brett Marshall: RHP, 5-foot-11, 200-pounds, 22 – One of the biggest disappointments on the farm this season, I’m not sure exactly what has gone wrong with him. He’s still young, so hopefully he can sort things out. Zach McAllister went through a similar phase in his career and look at him now. He’s still got potential if he can turn it around, but for now he goes way down in the rankings.
37. Corban Joseph: “CoJo”: 2B, 6-foot-0, 180-pounds, 23 – He’s another who’s stock is falling. He hasn’t been able to stay healthy this season and when he has been healthy he hasn’t been particularly effective. Still, he’s a lefty second baseman who can hit for some power and has excellent patience at the plate. I don’t want to say goodbye to Cano, but if we do have to this is going to be one of the guys who attempts to help fill the void.
38. Jordan Cote: ”JoCo”: RHP, 6-foot-5, 215-pounds, 20 – Big, young, hard throwing, and has had success. He’s repeating the GCL this year but that’s not because of him, it’s because of the talent at the lower levels of this system. He was a northeast guy when he was drafted so he’s always been a long term project, but he’s made good progress since then.
39. Rony Bautista: LHP, 6-foot-7, 200-pounds, 21 – Fastball reaches the high 90’s and he has been impressive with it so far in the GCL. At his height, he could be a dangerous force. He’s currently sitting at 15.2 IP with 22 K and seven walks. He’ll have to limit those walks going forward to succeed.
40. Corey Black: 5-foot-11, 175-pounds, 21 – This is really lower than he should be at his age, with his stuff, and with his statistics. He sits in the mid to upper 90’s and he has three secondary pitches. He’s up to 75.2 innings pitched this year and has 84 K with a 3.81 ERA which has been steadily decreasing. He’s another who could cut down on his walks.
41. Gabriel Encinas: RHP, 6-foot-3, 195-pounds, 21 – Nothing’s changed with Gabe since the last list. If not for the whole Tommy John Surgery thing he’d be top 15 easily. Alas, he is injured, so with that uncertainty his ranking will stay low for now… but for how long.
42. Giovanny Gallegos: RHP, 6-foot-2, 175-pounds, 21 – He’s looking really good in Staten Island this year, and I suspect he’s only gonna get better. He’s an extremely polished pitcher. He’s had 28.0 IP with 22 K and just one walk on the season. That’s pretty remarkable. His ERA is currently at 2.89.
43. Shane Greene: RHP, 6-foot-3, 200-pounds, 24 years old – Few have increased their stock this year as much as Greene. All he has done since arriving in Double-A is pitch 27.0 innings of 3.33 ERA baseball and strike out 22 batters. He keeps it up and he’ll be higher on this list come October.
44. Dietrich Enns: LHP, 6-foot-1, 195-pounds, 22 years old – Talk about a guy who came out of nowhere. He went from afterthought reliever at Charleston to big time starter at Tampa in High-A in about half of a season. There has been a major uptick in his stuff and velocity this year. He’s no longer the soft throwing future LOOGY. Another great late round find for the Yanks.
45. Brady Lail: RHP, 6-foot-2, 170-pounds, 19 years old – The Yankees are pretty passionate about this kid. They think he’s got some helium and will be a riser in this organization. In 21.1 IP in the GCL this year he has struck out 23 and walked just three with a 3.38 ERA. He’s already got helium on this list and I think it’s a safe bet he’ll be even higher by the end of the season.
46. Michael O’Neill: CF, 6-foot-0, 178-pounds, 21 years old, RHP – All he has really shown so far is that he can hit for contact and he strikes out quite a bit, but the potential is definitely there for an good, athletic hitter. He’ll have to develop quite a bit to become a major league outfielder but the potential is definitely there.
47. Nick Goody: RHP, 5-foot-11, 195-pounds, 21- another blown out elbow. See ya next year Nick. Hopefully you come back as strong as he was before. He’s a beast when healthy with that nasty slider and fastball combo.
48. Hayden Sharp: ”Sharp Shooter”: RHP, 6-foot-6, 195-pounds, 20 – A fastball that reaches 95+ MPH, a slider that has been improving, and a projectable frame. He’s a bit of a longer term project but when he fully matures he could be one of the best pitchers this system has to offer. It’s just a wait and see game with him.
49. Miguel Andujar: ”Mandujar”: 3B, 6-foot-1, 180-pounds, RHB, 18 – Here’s a guy who had a rough go of it last year, but was only 18 in the GCL, in a new country and learning a lot. This year will be a big test for him, but if he passes it he will shoot up this list in a hurry. He just came back from injury today, so let the games begin.
50. Omar Luis Rodriguez: LHP, 6-foot-0, 210-pounds, 20 – I don’t really know much about this kid, but he’s young, lefty, hits 90’s with his fastball, and the Yankees were willing to give him $4 million. Those facts lead me to believe I can’t keep him off this list even though I’d really like to put 17 year old shortstop Thairo Estrada in this slot. Maybe next time Thairo.
What strikes me about this list is that every player on it has the upside of at least a major league starter and maybe more. Pretty crazy when you think about all of the negative reports about this farm system lately.
I’m not gonna do a Just missed the list on this one, but suffice it to say there are about 50 guys who could be somewhere on this list by the end of the year depending on how things work out. That’s right, I said 50. Numbers 40-100 in this system are probably pretty interchangeable and that says a whole lot about the guys who would have ranked 51 through 100.