Last year I made a list of the “2016 All Home Grown Yankees,” and I had a lot of fun doing it. It’s going to be a yearly thing now. Just as a refresher, this is my prediction of the theoretical team the Yankees would put on the field if the front office decided to get rid of all free agents signings and become a low spending, small market team.
Of course this would never happen, and if it did I myself would curse management and question my faith in the Yankees Universe. That said, this is a fun exercise and it really makes you think about which prospects have a legitimate shot to make it to the Bronx someday. Without further ado, here’s the list.
Don’t forget, this is just for fun. The only thing I am 100% certain of is that the below scenario is guaranteed not to ever play out.
First Base: Greg Bird – The guy can hit. He hits for power and he gets on base. He is their best first base prospect at this point in time, and if he continues his current level of production at the higher levels they will be forced to make room for him. He’s big, he’s strong, and he has the tools to become an all-star if everything works out.
Predicted Major League Line: .278/.365/.434/.999 with 21 HR and 96 RBI
Second Base: Robert Refsnyder – He doesn’t hit for great power, and he doesn’t have great speed. On the other hand, he is a great athlete and makes spectacular plays at second. If he can polish up his act in the infield, he has all the tools to be a guy who sticks at the position in the majors. He plays the game right. His one plus plus skill is his leadership. He is the type of guy who leads both by example and vocally. He can definitely hit for average, and if he develops some power he could be an all-star type himself.
Predicted Major League Line: .299/.345/.387/.713 with 15 SB and 9 HR
Short Stop: Abiatal Avelino – This is a stretch. He would have to knock off two levels in one year at some point, but it’s possible with his talent. He has the speed and talent, and his baserunning and defense are off the charts. If he can stay healthy and move quickly, he could be the heir to the Jeter throne. Cito Culver is off to a slow start, but I wouldn’t rule him out just yet either. If Avelino doesn’t cut it for one reason or another, he or Tyler Wade could be the guy who makes the leap.
Predicted Major League Line: .313/.375/.405/.780 with 45 SB and 5 HR
Third Base: Eric Jagielo – He’s already in Tampa and he’s excelling so far, leading the league in homeruns. He’s going to get every opportunity to play in New York, and I’m predicting that he will take advantage. He’s got the power, and he can hit. The only real question is whether or not he can stick at third base. With enough reps, I think he will. He also has the tools to be an all-star, it’s just a matter of whether or not he fulfils his potential.
Predicted Major League Line: .267/.350/.455/.805 with 26 HR.
Catcher: Gary Sanchez – He’s the top prospect on the farm, so if anyone has a chance to make the team in 2017, it will be him. He hits for power and his defense is greatly improved. With the paucity of catchers around the league who can hit, he’ll be an instant success if he just continues his current level of success at each level.
Predicted Major League Line: .245/.330/.470/.810 with 24 HR
Backup: J.R. Murphy, Peter O’Brien
Left Field: Ramon Flores – He is the only guy who seems to be able to remain healthy. He seems to be developing some power finally to go along with his superior patience at the plate. With Ichiro and Soriano gone after this year, there will be playing time to be had in the majors. Right now he appears to be the closest one to being ready to step in. Slade Heathcott will certainly have something to say about who starts here, but unless he starts avoiding the DL soon, his developmental clock will continue to tick. Heathcott has the higher upside, but Flores has the higher floor.
Predicted Major League Line: .261/.351/.401/.781 with 13 HR and 10 SB
Center Field: Brett Gardner – The Yankees wisely re-signed him for four years, which covers the 2017 season. It is doubtful any of their prospects will be better than him by then. We all know what Brett can do, and it will be nice to have him around.
Predicted Major League Line: .287/.350/.400/.750 with 33 SB
Backup: Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott, Jake Cave
Right Field: Aaron Judge – The big man is proving to be a different player than most thought. He is hitting for average and getting on base. He’s doing all of the things the Yankees want him to do. The power will come with time. He is stud, and he clearly has all-star potential if all things break right for him. Peter O’Brien will also likely get time at this position.
Predicted Major League Line: .270/.330/.490/.820 with 33 HR
Backup: Peter O’Brien, Slade Heathcott, Tyler Austin
DH: Peter O’Brien – Peter O’Brien can play several positions in the field serviceably, making him an ideal DH who can play the field when someone needs a break. He already has 14 homeruns on the young season, and if he can hit for that kind of power in the majors he will be a big hit with the Yankees. The strikeouts need to come down, but a 1.1 OPS will quiet a lot of the critics if he can do it in the majors.
Major League Line: .281/.350/.505/.855 with 37 HR
Backup: Kyle Roller, Rob Segedin, Matt Snyder, Mike Ford
Masahiro Tanaka: He’s not exactly home grown, but he can loosely be considered in the conversation for the Yankees, since he has never played for any other team. By this time he will likely be the ace of the staff. He arguably already is. He’s the best Yankee import from Japan since Hideki Matsui.
ERA: 3.1, 200+ IP with 200+ K
Manny Banuelos: He’s the Mexican gangster. From 2015 on he will be a staple in the rotation. He has the stuff for sure. If he can harness it and be the player he’s capable of being, he is going to win a lot of games in the Bronx.
ERA: 3.50, 170 IP with 180 K
Bryan Mitchell: He will still have his up and down games, but overall he’s an excellent third starter. He has the stuff to shut down even the best teams on his good days, but will always be capable of having a stinker. Overall he will be the third starter and bring success to the team.
ERA: 4.0, 190 IP with 205 K
Shane Greene: He’s already knocking on the door to the majors, he just needs more consistency. Give him some time and he can and will become a fixture in this rotation. Once he learned to control his plus stuff, it was only a matter of time before he made it to the majors as a starter.
ERA 3.4, 205 IP with 185 K
Caleb Smith: He has completely dominated in Low-A this year, as he should. It will be a test for him as he moves up through the minors, but I believe he will pass the test. His stuff is really good and he has excellent velocity. If he can control and harness it, he’s going to be tough to hit, even for a major league team.
ERA 3.3, 200+ IP, with 200+ K
Knocking on the door: Ian Clarkin, Dan Camarena, and Luis Severino will be in the upper minors. Both have the potential to be in the starting rotation, and could easily supplant one of the above if anything goes wrong. David Phelps, Adam Warren, Nik Turley, and Chase Whitley are also candidates. Don’t count out Brady Lail or Rookie Davis either.
Closer: Dellin Betances
Setup: Adam Warren
7th inning guy: Jose Ramirez