It’s that time of year again! Here’s BBD’s top 50 prospects. It’s one of the deepest lists I’ve ever had the privilege of making for this team. Rather than making up an arbitrary amount of innings or service time, anything more than a September call-up makes you ineligible for this list.
One important caveat. I am not a scout and these rankings are based on a plethora of factors. This includes the opinions of scouts, videos, random internet information I come across, and last and most definitely least my own observations based on watching most of these players on MILB.tv. As you can see I am don’t trust my own instincts much when it comes to evaluating these guys based on MILB.tv, at least not yet.
1. Gary Sanchez – ”the Sanchize” C, 6-foot-2, 220-pounds, RHB, 21 (previous rank: 1)The consensus best overall prospect in the system has not changed since last season. In 2014 his line was .253/.324/.412/.736 line and 15 home runs. His power is superb at his position, and he has come a long way defensively. Depending on who you ask he is either already an above average defender, or he is a weak defender. Caught stealing percentage doesn’t tell the whole story but Sanchez did nab 44% of runners in 2013. I find it hard to believe that he did that without having a strong arm and a quick release. He had 13 passed balls which was a career low. Long story short, when you have conflicting reports about a player, sometimes it pays to look at the numbers. In this case his numbers speak for themselves. His offensive prowess was never in question but I’d like to see him improve the average and OBP numbers in 2014. ETA: 2015
2. Slade Heathcott – CF, 6-foot-1, 190-pounds, LHB, 23 (previous rank: 3) – Managed to finish the season .261/.327/.411/.738 with eight homers and 15 stolen bases after a horrific start to the season. His physical talent is unmatched in this system, but he has to stay healthy and keep his head on his shoulders. If he can do those things he has the potential to be a special player. While the numbers were not all that impressive last year, he is just as close, if not closer, than Sanchez to the majors. Next year will be a huge year for him in the development process. As far as tools go, he has speed, defense, and power. A deadly combo. ETA: 2015.
3. Manny Banuelos – “ManBan”: LHP, 5-foot-11, 200-pounds, 22 – (Previous Rank: 8) Banuelos hits 97 on the gun periodically. He rounds out his repertoire with a curve ball and a changeup. The potential is there to be a number two starter, he just has to fulfill it. One never knows how a player will come back from surgery, but Tommy John Surgery is usually well tolerated. If he comes back to the old ManBan we all know and love, we could see him in the majors as soon as this year. This is a big year for him, but he’s still so young it’s not at all make or break. He moves up from 8th to 5th because he’s healthy again, and was hitting 93-94 in his sim games late last season, which was not a given. ETA: 2014.
4. Luis Severino – RHP 6-foot-0, 195-pounds, 19 (previous rank: 7) – Severino is A little bit on the smaller side, but he has broad shoulders and an effortless delivery. His velocity is 93-95 and will touch 97 mph regularly. His secondary offerings are good but not great right now, including a slider and a change. What really separates him from most pitchers his age is his control. He can locate where he wants, when he wants. As a 19 year old in his first experience stateside, he blew away the competition. He had a 2.45 ERA in 44.0 innings and struck out 53 batters. If he has a good statistical season he will find himself on plenty of top 100 lists. He moves up from seventh to fourth because I feel this is going to be the year he explodes onto the scene. ETA: 2017
5. Tyler Austin – “3:16″: RF, 6-foot-2, 200-pounds, RHB, 22 (previous rank: 2) – There was a discouraging development in Winter ball when Austin had to stop mid-season due to wrist discomfort. There was yet another wrist issue that came up in ST. That’s why he drops in the rankings. As we’ve seen with Teix, wrist injuries have a tendency to linger. Everyone in Yankee land is saying it’s nothing, and so is Austin. The problem is he is going to have to test it eventually, and nagging injuries have a funny way of leading to surgery with the stresses of a full season. If Austin stays healthy and his wrist is truly okay, however, he could be primed for a big year. We’ve seen what he can do with the bat in the past. He plays a solid outfield and can hit for above average power and average. His line last year was .265/.351/.378/.730 with six homeruns and four SB, both career lows. He’s going to have to pick it up this year to put himself in the conversation for left field in 2015. News out of camp has him taking grounders at third every other day. That could be his ticket to the bigs. ETA: 2015
6. Jose Ramirez – ”J-Ram”: RHP, 6-foot-1, 185-pounds, 23 (previous rank: 5) – Had another good statistical season in 2013, and will look to expand on that this season. Like many Yankees farmhands, the key to his success lies in his health. The Yankees saw what he could do in Spring Training last season, when he hung around with the team much longer than expected. He gets strikeouts, he’s got good enough control, and his velocity lasts deep into games. He’s got all the makings of the starter, but there are two problems right now. Firstly, the Yankees have a crowded rotation. Secondly, he can’t stay healthy long enough to build his innings up. His fastball hangs in the mid 90’s, and his changeup is unstoppable. He also has a slider which has been a plus pitch for him at times but he needs to work on the consistency. ETA: 2014
7. Jose Campos – “J-Cam”: RHP, 6-foot-4, 195-pounds, 21 (previous rank: 6) – Campos was babied a bit this year by the Yankees because he was coming off an elbow injury. As far as his health goes, that move seems to have paid off. By the end of the season in 2013 he was back to his old self with improved secondary offerings. He threw 87.0 innings with a 3.41 ERA and 77 K. He had just a 1.7 BB/9. Those numbers are also skewed because he got steadily better as the year went on. Campos is basically the same guy the Yankees got from Seattle, with the caveat that some of the scouting reports on him while he was in Seattle’s system were inaccurate. His fastball sits mostly in the low to mid 90’s, and he throws a changeup and a curve ball as well which showed great improvement in 2013. ETA: 2016.
8. Gregory Bird – 1B, 6-foot-3, 215-pounds, LHB, 21 (previous rank: 11) – He moves up from 11th because I believe he will have another big year in High-A. I’m tired of hearing all of this hogwash about being a first baseman. As far as I can see there aren’t too many players his age hitting 20 + homeruns per year, so it doesn’t matter what position he plays. On top of that there aren’t too many first baseman at any age or level hitting homeruns at this rate. Bird is a special prospect and people need to start realizing that. Last year he hit .288/.428/.511/.938 with 20 homeruns and 36 doubles. He also walked more times than anyone in the system has since Nick Johnson. He has a power stroke and power to all fields (a high percentage of his homeruns were to left). He is brand new to first base so the complaints about his fielding are unwarranted. ETA: 2016
9. Rafael De Paula – “RDP” RHP, 6-foot-3, 212-pounds, 22 (previous rank: 4) – Many people soured on him after the season last year and I have begun to understand why. Initially it seemed like he might have just tired out towards the end of the season. That may still be the case, but his stuff also tapered off and he began to struggle with control as well. It turns out the stuff is a bit more raw than initially anticipated. That said, no one forgets what he did the first half of the season with Charleston. It was shear domination. If he was able to pick up a few things this off-season he could come out of the gate strong in 2014 with a fresh arm. Overall the combined numbers were not all that impressive last year with 113.1 IP, a 4.29 ERA and 146 K. The strikeout total is extremely impressive though and he’ll have plenty of time to correct the ship. ETA: 2016
10. J.R. Murphy – “Murph”: C, 5-foot-11, 195-pounds, RHB, 22 (previous rank: 10) – Murphy had a career year in 2013 and even got a cup of coffee in the bigs in September. One thing his career trajectory has shown is steady improvement, especially on the defensive front. He is now an above average defensive and offensive catcher. He caught 37% of would be stealers last season. He also had a career high 12 homeruns and improved his BA to .269. He’s starting to look like a potential backup option who could feasibly take over the starting role sometime in the future. He already projects as a valuable asset to any team, but if he can hit for a bit more power teams will be drooling over him, and he may just find a spot with the Yankees. ETA 2014.
11. Mason Williams – CF, 6-foot-0, 180-pounds, LHB, 22 (previous rank: 9) – There’s no way to sugarcoat Mason’s 2013 season. It was a disaster. He had on and off the field issues, was apparently out of shape, and his performance was the worst of his career. Now that we have that out of the way, here’s the silver lining. There are completeley reversible reasons for his failures last year, which are lack of hustle, being out of shape and off field distractions. He is one of the best athletes in the system, and has as much potential as anyone in the top 10. I’m hoping that 2013 turns into the best lesson he ever learns, which is that you can’t let up. I’m a huge proponent of cutting the kid some slack. Everyone makes mistakes and if he can put it behind him he will be back to being one of the best players on the farm. I’ll certainly be rooting for him. For now though he’s a high risk to fail because these types of character issues can present a real problem long term. He took a big step in the right direction by showing up to camp in shape this year. ETA: 2015.
12. Abiatal Avelino – SS, 5-foot-11, 186-pounds, RHB, 18 (previous rank: 12) – Hopefully you all read the scouting report on him here. If not, I suggest reading it because he’s a name you’ll want to know. Signed for just $300,000 out of the DR, he is a great example of a hidden gem the Yankees were able to find on the international market. He hit .303/.381/.399/.780 with 28 SB in 51 games as an 18 year old in his first stateside season split between the GCL and Staten Island. He is a phenomenal defender and is an extremely polished player. He is an excellent contact hitter and has great instincts on the basepaths. Look for him to be a major impact player in Charleston this year. ETA: 2017
13. Eric Jagielo – 3B, 6-foot-2, 195-pounds, LHB, 21 (previous rank: 13) – Jagielo’s prospect profile is here. The Yankees nabbed Jagielo with the 26th pick in the draft and he could have definitely gone higher than that. He hit .264/.376/.451/.826 in his first pro baseball experience. He added six homers, 16 doubles, and a triple. As far as tools go, he is an all around solid player. Above average in just about everything, he does need to work on his fielding a bit, and the only question scouts are asking is whether or not he can stick at the position. The Yankees think he can. If all goes well in Spring Training, he’ll start in High-A this year and look to work his way up. ETA: 2016.
14. Ian Clarkin – LHP, 6-foot-2, 206-pounds, 18 years old (previous rank: 14) – Another first round pick (the Yankees’ third), Clarkin is a very high ceiling athlete. At just 18 years old he already sits 90-92 with the fastball and can reach 95. He has a plus curveball and a changeup with nice fade to go along with the fastball. His sample size was too small this year to make any judgments, but he is a guy with major potential who will be fun to watch this year. His frame is big enough that it could support adding a couple more ticks to the fastball. If he does, he’s gonna be tough to hit. ETA: 2018.
15. Peter O’Brien – C, 6-foot-3, 215-pounds, 23 (previous rank: 15) – This will be a big year for him. At 23 he is getting a bit long in the tooth for a prospect, and will be in Double-A. That said you can’t expect a guy to move much faster than O’Brien has so far in his minor league career. In 2013 he hit .291/.350/.544/.893 with 22 homeruns, 96 RBI, 39 doubles, and four triples between Low-A and High-A. The latest on his position is that he is back to catching full time. He has a cannon for an arm, but can work on his quickness and framing. He has excellent power from the right side though and that may be enough to carry him to the majors even if he is unable to find a position he can be above average defensively at. Here’s a link to his prospect profile. ETA: 2015.
16. Aaron Judge – RF, 6-foot-7, 270-pounds, RHB, 21 (previous rank: 18) – Judge moved up on this list because he showed up to camp in even better shape than he was before. He is apparently now weighing 270-pounds and is pure muscle. Just for a point of reference that is at least 30 pounds of muscle he tacked on in the offseason. Clearly he is ready to take the minors by storm. He’s another one the Yankees are considering starting immediately in High-A. If so he could be in the majors by 2016. Here’s a link to his scouting report. ETA: 2016
17. Rookie Davis – RHP, 6-foot-4, 235-pounds, 20 (previous rank: 17) – Rookie is the type of guy who has looked better and better every year and his stock has risen exponentially since the day he signed. His stuff has improved with his fastball now sitting 92-95 with good control. His secondary offerings are coming along nicely with a changeup and curveball which are both okay and look promising. With another good season Davis could be knocking on the door to the top 10. ETA: 2017
18. Miguel Andujar – ”Mandujar”: 3B, 6-foot-1, 180-pounds, RHB, 18 (previous rank: 16) – In many ways Andujar had his breakout season in 2013. He his .323/.368/.496/.864 with four homers and four stolen bases. He showed why a lot of people think he is going to be a solid major leaguer someday. In other ways he is still awaiting his true breakout season. The GCL is a small sample size and the competition is only going to get better. Andujar will look to expand on his big year in 2014. In many ways his scouting report compares favorably to Eric Jagielo. He is solid at averything. The only difference is that Andujar projects to be better defensively. I am hoping the Yankees get aggressive with him and start him at Charleston, but Staten Island is fair game. It also depends on where they put Jagielo. Here’s his prospect profile. ETA: 2018
19. Nik Turley – LHP, 6-foot-6, 230-pounds, 22 (previous rank: 19) – Low 90’s fastball sitting 92-94, curveball, changeup, and slider. His performance has been solid throughout his career and he still has the size to add a couple more ticks on the fastball. His calling card is his aggression and he got away from that a bit last year, but as long as he can regain his control he has a bright future with a ceiling of a third starter. He threw 145 innings last season, struck out 8.8/9 innings, and got his ERA down to 3.79 by the end of the year. ETA: 2015.
20. Gosuke Katoh – 2B, 6-foot-2, 180-pounds, LHB, 19 (previous rank: 21) – He moves up slightly because he has a lot of projection left in him and yet he’s already a polished player. He hit .310/.402/.522/.924 in his first minor league season with six homers, 11 doubles and five triples. He has advanced patience at the plate and surprising power. His speed is also an underrated facet of his game. He basically came from a guy who most had no expectations for after the draft to a potential 5-tool player. He was the best fielding second baseman in the draft, and will be a fun guy to follow going forward. As a left handed second baseman he will get all the opportunities he needs. ETA: 2018
21. Ramon Flores – “Ray-Flo”: OF, 5-foot-11, 190-pounds, LHB, 21 (previous rank: 20) – At the young age of 21, he played a full season in Trenton. It took him most of the season to make the adjustment, but towards the end he began to catch on. He finished the season .260/.353/.563/.717. The on base numbers are great due to his fantastic walk rate, but he needs to start developing some power. He had six homeruns on the season in 534 at bats. He projects as a left fielder without much speed so for him to really have value he should be hitting at least 15 homeruns per year. Most scouts still project him to do just that, and it’s important to remember just how young he is for his level. If he ever shows the power people are hoping for he becomes a top 10 prospect. ETA: 2015
22. Robert Refsnyder – 2B, 6-foot-0, 195-pounds, RHB, 22 (previous rank: 22) – Had a .293/.413/.413/.826 quad slash last season with six homers and 23 stolen bases. He is the type of player who has a high floor but a low ceiling. He has the potential to be an above average major leaguer at second, both offensively and defensively. He still has a lot to work on defensively, but he made significant progress last season. ETA: 2016
23. Ty Hensley – RHP, 6-foot-4, 220-pounds, 20 (previous rank: 23) – Hensley will finally pitch his first professional season at the age of 20, after two surgeries. The key to the season in 2014 will be his health. If he can stay healthy and get back to his baseline by the end of the season, it will have been a resounding success. If he does, you have a guy with the potential to be an ace in the future. At his size with his stuff, he might make a lot of noise this year. ETA: 2018
24. Cito Culver – SS, 6-foot-0, 190-pounds, 21 (previous rank: 24) – Culver brought himself back from the depths of a year and a half long slump in 2013 by exploding towards the end of the season. The best part is that the explosion was not a fluke. He happened to switch to solely batting right handed at the beginning of the season and really made some adjustments by the end. The result was a career high in homeruns with nine and a career best OPS. The key in 2014 will be continuing this success over an entire season. If he does he is back to being a top prospect. He’ll need to improve his average, which was .248 to get back on the map though. He is one of my breakout candidates for this year, and here is the link to the article. ETA: 2016.
25. Luis Torrens – “Torr-nado” C, 6-foot-0, 171-pounds, RHB, 17 (previous rank: 25) – Didn’t have a strong first season statistically, but he is further along defensively than Sanchez or JR Murphy at the same stage. In terms of his offense, scouts say he’ll have the potential to hit for power and average. There is a lot of hope that he will “pull an Andujar” and dominate the GCL when he in all likelihood repeats it next year. He has all the tools to be a superstar catcher, it’s just a matter of whether or not those tools materialize. ETA: 2019
26. Dan Camarena – “Killa Cam”: LHP, 6-foot-0, 200-pounds, 20 (previous rank: 27)– At this point in his career he has a lot going for him. He has two plus secondary offerings and great control of his fastball. The only issue is that his fastball is below 90 most of the time. He touches 90 with regularity, but sits mostly 88-89. He is extremely effective at that speed because he locates as well as any pitcher in the system. Camarena sometimes gets the fastball up to 91-92, so there is hope he can consistently add a few ticks to the fastball, in which case he would become extremely difficult to hit with his control. Prospect profile ETA: 2016
27. Ben Gamel – OF, 5-foot-11, 180-pounds, LHB, 21 (previous rank: 29) – Gamel had a career high in homeruns last year, more than doubling his output from previous years. The problem is that career high was four. The good news is he does everything else well. He makes contact, gets extra base hits, and has excellent patience. In many ways he’s similar to Ramon Flores. He’s better in the field that Flores though, and can even play a serviceable CF when called upon. He’ll start in Double-A this year and will looking to increase his power output in 2014. ETA: 2015.
28. Gabe Encinas – RHP, 6-foot-3, 195-pounds, 22 (previous rank: 40) – Encinas finally broke out last year, and in a major way. In 35.0 innings he had 31 K and a 0.77 ERA. He was flat out dominating in Charleston. Then he got injured and got Tommy John Surgery. If he follows the typical pattern of Tommy John, he will return this year but will not be throwing as hard. By the end of the year he should be back to his baseline arm strength. If he’s lucky he’ll have an improved changeup in his back pocket. He throws a curveball as well which is plus. It is rare to find a guy this deep in the countdown with ace potential, but he is just that. Problem is he now has injury uncertainty. ETA: 2016-2017.
29. Brady Lail – RHP, 6-foot-2, 170-pounds, 20 years old (previous rank: 35) – Up two slots from before because his stuff has spiked. The fastball is now topping out at 94. His knuck-curve and changeup are the secondary pitches. He’ll look to break camp with Charleston this year. He’s one of my breakout candidates for this year and I expect big things from him. In the GCL last year he threw 61.2 innings and had 56 K and a 2.92 ERA. ETA: 2017.
30. Mark Montgomery – RP, 5-foot-11, 205-pounds, RHP, 23 (previous rank: 31) – Montgomery had a down year last year but there were reasons for it. He came to camp unprepared and hadn’t been taking care of his arm in the off-season. He also suffered an injury which sapped his velocity. He made a vow to never come to camp unprepared again, so hopefully he made good on that. If so he could be a part of the major league bullpen to start 2014. His slider is plus plus still and if his velocity returns to pre-2013 levels we’ll be looking at a possible set up or closer type. ETA: 2014
31. Shane Greene – RHP, 6-foot-3, 200-pounds, 25 (previous rank: 33) – I’ve never seen such a dramatic transition in the minors from not being able to hit the backside of a barn to becoming a control pitcher. All of this without sacrificing velocity. Overall last year he threw 154.1 innings, had a 3.38 ERA, and struck out 137. He went from walking 5.1/9 in 2012 to 1.7/9 in 2013. That is nothing short of amazing. Even more comforting is the fact that he has the stuff to go along with that control. The fastball can hit 97. He has a slider and a changeup which are both plus pitches. Provided that he can continue to throw strikes, he has 2nd or 3rd starter potential. He’s basically David Phelps with better stuff. Here’s the prospect profile. ETA: 2015
32. Tyler Wade – SS, 6-foot-1, 200-pounds, LHB, 18 (previous rank: 34) – In his rookie year he hit .291/.412/.349/.761. He had 11 SB to just one CS. Looks like a pretty solid line except he hit for almost no power. Defensively he appears to have what it takes to stick at shortstop. Offensively he’d like to add some power. The good news is he has already taken steps to make that happen. He showed up to camp having tacked on some weight and for that he goes up in the rankings five slots. He’ll likely start the season in Staten Island and will look to build upon the 2013 season. He is big enough so that his frame could support a bit more weight, but he’ll have to be careful in gaining weight because staying at short will require him staying athletic. ETA: 2018.
33. Cesar Vargas – RHP, 6-foot-1, 160-pounds, 22 (previous rank: 26) – Not the best stuff in the world but he controls it well and he competes day in and day out. He pounds the zone and gets outs. Overall he threw 120.2 innings last season and had a 4.10 ERA, mostly due to the fact that he tired out at the very end of the season in High-A. He did manage a 6.9 K/9 last season. If he can pick up a few ticks on the low 90’s fastball or improve one of his secondary pitches significantly, he could rise on this countdown. ETA: 2016
34. Bryan Mitchell (previous rank: 37) – “The Mitchuation”: RHP, 6-foot-2, 175-pounds, 22 – He struggled last year in Tampa but came on strong when he was promoted to Trenton late in the season, putting together a couple of dominating performances. He has become a bit of an enigma in this system because he has the best curveball in the system, and possesses some of the best stuff in the minors but can’t seem to put together a solid season. If he manages to do that this year in Trenton then he will rocket up this list, to the point where he could easily be top 10. I’m just skeptical at this point that this will ever happen. ETA: 2015.
35. Angelo Gumbs: 2B, 6-foot-0, 175-pounds, RHB 21 (previous rank: 32) – The most positive thing you can say about Gumbs right now is that he is still young and he has a fresh start in 2014. He has the best tools of any second baseman in the system he just has to learn how to use them. Interesting fact about Gumbs, if you look at his twitter he has several children. The good news on that front is that hopefully he will be playing hard for them. He had the worst season of his career last year, and 2014 will be a huge year for him. It will basically decide whether he is a prospect or will become organizational fodder. ETA: 2017.
36. Rony Bautista – LHP, 6-foot-7, 200-pounds, 22 (previous rank: 30) – At his size it’s no surprise that he is a bit of a late bloomer. It’s also no surprise that he has control issues (5.1 BB/9). When he gets the ball over though, boy is it hard to hit. He managed a 2.21 ERA in the GCL last season. The main issue with Bautista is that despite the fact that he has great stuff, he has not been moving quickly enough because he has not been able to control it. Time is running out for him but with a big season in 2014 he could become a fast mover. ETA: 2018.
37. Matt Tracy – LHP, 6-foot-3, 212-pounds, 25 (previous rank: 42) – Tracy missed a big year in his development last year, and probably got skipped over by a couple of other prospects in the process. He got hurt for a large portion of the season, and at 24 years old that’s a big deal. He also wasn’t particularly effective last year when he was healthy and walks became a problem for him. The thing about it though is that’s not him. He’s a control guy who pounds the zone. He has good stuff to boot, sitting low to mid 90’s with the fastball and sporting a curveball, changeup, and cutter. Next year will determine whether he is a starter or reliever long term. ETA: 2015.
38. Giovanny Gallegos (previous rank: 44) – RHP, 6-foot-2, 175-pounds, 22 – Gallegos was able to throw a lot of innings last season in Staten Island, eclipsing 65 innings pitched. He struggled at time mostly because he gave up a lot of hits, and fell victim to the long ball nine times. His ERA on the season was 4.27. Apparently his velocity was down in 2013, so there’s a good chance he will rebound in 2014 when he should be taking the hill every five days in Charleston. When he’s right, he’s 92-95 with the fastball. ETA: 2017
39. Joey Maher – RHP, 6-foot-5, 200-pounds, 21 (previous rank: 38) – Pitched pretty well last year, with 58.0 IP and a 3.10 ERA but was lacking in the strikeout department with just 29. He has an extremely effective sinker which is low 90’s and a four seamer that sits 92-93. He also has a curveball and a changeup. At his size, there’s a good chance he could add a few MPH to his fastball. If he manages to do that soon he could be the next in line for the Rookie Davis/Gabe Encinas treatment, which would mean a trip to Charleston at some point during the season. ETA: 2017.
40. Jordan Cote – ”JoCo”: RHP, 6-foot-5, 215-pounds, 21 (previous rank: 39) – Cote is another one like Maher who really needs to break out of the short season leagues soon. He is still just 21 so he has plenty of time, and the Yankees knew he was a long term project when they drafted him. He has been statistically fantastic so far in his career with an ERA of 0.97 in two seasons in the GCL. He needs to get his strikeout rate up though. His velocity sits 88-92, spending most of his time in the 90’s. Here’s his prospect profile. ETA: 2018
41. Angel Rincon – RHP, 6-foot-1, 180-pounds, 21 (previous rank: 41) – Nice kid with good stuff. He could stand to increase his strikeout rate, which was juts 5.7 in the GCL. He has good control as evidenced by his walk rate of just 2.7 BB/9. He’s got great stuff he just has to get accustomed to using all of his pitches in games. He is a bit of a wildcard going into this year. ETA: 2018
42. Nick Goody – RHP, 5-foot-11, 195-pounds, 22 (previous rank: 43) – He’ll be back from his Tommy John Surgery this year, and he could be a fast mover. His slider and fastball are both plus pitches, and that’s all he needs to be a successful reliever in the majors. ETA: 2015.
43. Dallas Martinez – RHP, 6-foot-0, 174-pounds, 19 (previous rank: 45) – 2013 was an up and down year for Martinez, but he definitely has the stuff to be much better than that. He’ll likely repeat the GCL at the age of 19 this year, and may surprise people. He was one of the most highly touted international prospects to come over last season, and with good reason. Sometimes the international players take a year to adjust to the USA before getting their feet underneath them and becoming effective. ETA: 2018.
44. James Pazos – LHP, 6-foot-3, 230-pounds, 22 (previously unranked) – His fastball was in the upper 90’s this year in winter ball. He also throws a slider which is another good pitch for him. As a lefty these are big time pitches. If he can hold that velocity he could be a fast mover in the system. His stats were decent in 2013, with 34.1 IP, a 3.93 ERA and 33 K with just a 2.4 BB/9. ETA: 2017
45. Thairo Estrada – SS, 5-foot-10, 154-pounds, RHB, 17 (previous rank: 47) – It was a bit of a surprise to see Estrada in the GCL this year and no one really knew he was coming except for Yankee insiders. All he did with that opportunity was hit .278/.350/.432/.782 with two homeruns, seven SB, 11 2B and five triples. He also flashes the leather in the field and plays a solid second base. He was a low profile signing and will look to continue his success next season. The fact that the Yankees brought him stateside this year despite being a low profile, 17 year old signing speaks volumes about him. ETA: 2018
46. Caleb Smith – LHP, 6-foot-2, 175-pounds, 22 (previous rank: 48) – He’s basically a younger version of Matt Tracy, with stuff that may be slightly better. Overall he had a 1.93 ERA in 51.1 IP with 52 K last year. His fastball sits 91-94 and tops out at 95. He also throws a circle change and a slider. He was one of my breakout candidates http://bronxbaseballdaily.com/2013/10/2014-breakout-candidate-caleb-smith/ this year, and I expect him to be much higher on this countdown after this season.
47. Danny Burawa – RHP, 6-foot-2, 210-pounds, 25 (previous rank: 49) – He had his breakout season this year after spending all of 2013 on the DL with a torn muscle. He pitched 66.0 innings and had 66 K for a perfect 9.0 K/9. He had a 2.59 ERA. His main area of improvement needs to be his walk rate. It was 5.7 this year. If he regains control he’s a 8th or 9th innings guy, as he can hit 99 mph on the radar. ETA: 2014.
48. Jake Cave – OF, 6-foot-0, 179-pounds, LHB, 21 (previous rank: 50) – Cave is an extremely athletic player with an all out style of play. He is exactly the type of player fans love. In that respect he’s a lot like Slade Heathcott. That said he doesn’t have the ceiling that Heathcott does, and they are different types of players. Cave finished the season at .282/.347/.401/.748 this year. The most encouraging thing about his season was that he hit 37 doubles and six triples. He added two homeruns. What that tells me is if he packs on a bit of muscle or develops some man strength, some of those doubles are going to start going over the fence. He also has some quickness and stole 18 bases this year. If the power comes along he’ll be a fun one to watch. Here’s his scouting report. ETA: 2016
49. Kendall Coleman – OF, 6-foot-4, 220-pounds, LHB, 18 (previously unranked) – Had a tough debut season as an 18 year old in the GCL, but we all know how I feel about small sample sizes (especially when its 28 at bats like it is with Coleman). He’s a really big kid and has a short, compact swing with good contact skills. He’s above average in terms of speed. He arrived to camp having packed on 30-pounds of muscle. That’s the kind of thing that will get you noticed by me and move you up on my list. I expect him to have a much larger impact this year now that he will have had a year to adjust and has a stronger frame. ETA – 2018
50. Fred Lewis – LHP, 6-foot-2, 210-pounds, 27 – Fred Lewis has been considered an “org guy” for a couple of years now. He repeated Charleston at the age of 25, which is never a good sign. Then, in 2013, that all changed. He suddenly began hitting the mid to upper 90’s with the fastball, and his secondary offerings became real putaway pitches. He pitched 58.2 innings over three levels, and had a 2.61 ERA with 60 K over that span. He was a staple in the Trenton bullpen last year, and will compete for a job with the big league club this year. There’s a good chance he will see significant time in the majors in 2014. ETA: 2014.