Baseball America just released their top 20 prospects in the GCL. Usually BA is not kind to Yankees prospects, sometimes even overly harsh. Not this year in the GCL. The guys who made the list are Thairo Estrada (#20), Luis Severino (#17), Gosuke Katoh (#15), Abiatal Avelino (#13), Miguel Andujar (#11), and Luis Torrens (#10).
Thairo Estrada is just 17 years old and is a polished hitter for his age. He hit .278/.350/.432/.782 in just his first year. He’s a slick fielding shortstop and I was actually pretty surprised that he was on this list. He’s light hitting and small with above average speed. That said he had a fine season, he’s young, and is at a premium position. He deserves the attention and will be fun to follow on his way up.
Luis Severino is a guy I expected to be much higher on the list. He has a fastball that touches 98 and his statistics were dominant. He even held his own as an 18 year old in Charleston. Look for him to make a big splash next year. He’s got a fantastic change up and his breaking ball has the potential to be plus as well. He had a 1.37 ERA and an 11 K/9 and just a 0.835 WHIP. He has superprospect potential.
Gosuke Katoh came in at 15. When drafted most would not have predicted he would hit the way he did. He is a plus fielder at second and shocked everyone with his bat and his power. He hit .310/.402/.522/.924 with seven homeruns, 11 doubles and five triples. He has a small frame and is 6-foot-2 so has room to fill out. If he fills out more his arm could improve enough to justify playing shortstop, and his power could improve as well. He’s a lefty bat and has plus speed. He is definitely a guy to watch out for as time goes by.
The best shortstop in the system this year was Abiatal Avelino. He hit .400/.481/.586 in the GCL and was promoted to the New York-Penn League for his dominance. There he held his own and hit .243/.303/.271 in a small sample size. He is an excellent fielder, has great patience at the plate, and has plus plus speed. He led the league in stolen bases in the GCL. If he develops some power he has the potential to be a star in the MLB. That said he doesn’t need to develop power to become a star.
Miguel Andujar made a big splash in his second GCL season. It’s worth noting that he was only 17 last year. This year he hit .323/.368/.496/864 with four homeruns. He also missed some time so he likely would have had more. He has shown he can hit for power and average and has begun to use the whole field this season. He is solid defensively at third, and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be able to stick there if he continues to hit as he moves up the ladder. Next year he’ll be fun to watch wherever he ends up, probably in Staten Island.
Putting Luis Torrens at 10 was also quite surprising to me. He didn’t do much with the bat to justify such a ranking. He also wasn’t apparently particularly great behind the dish. That said, scouts felt he had a great approach to the plate and is able to recognize breaking pitches. He also has a natural loft to his swing. He’s just 17 years old so he has plenty of time to take those tools and develop them into performance. He’s another exciting prospect.
Some notable omissions from the list include Tyler Wade, Brady Lail, Joseph Maher, Rony Bautista, and Alvaro Noriega. Picking more than six Yankees might have been a bit excessive though. Hopefully this translates to success at higher levels.