2014 Midseason top 50 Yankees prospects

This season the post draft top 50 prospects is no different than any other year. The only difference is that the Yankees acquired far more talent in the international free agent (IFA) market this year than in the draft. Unfortunately we do not have enough information on the new IFA signings to include them in the rankings. It’s just too difficult to tell anything meaningful about 16-year-olds who pro scouts have had limited looks at. Suffice it to say, however, that this top 50 list will be substantially more impressive next season at this time.

Without further ado here is my midseason list. Of note, David Phelps, Adam Warren, Dellin Betances, Austin Romine, J.R. Murphy, Shane Greene, Chase Whitley, Zoilo Almonte, Preston Claiborne, Jose Ramirez, and Masahiro Tanaka are all ineligible for this list because they played in the majors this year. I will do a separate piece on where they would have ranked though, so you can look forward to that. Note, some of the stats here are about a week old, but not much has changed in that time anyway.

1. Gary Sanchez – ”the Sanchize” C, 6-foot-2, 220-pounds, RHB, 21 (previous rank: 1) – Despite the emergence of John Ryan Murphy as a viable big league starting catcher, Gary Sanchez is still the best catcher in the system. He has had attitude issues, which seems to be a recurring theme with him. That said, he still has nine homers and 17 doubles in 77 games this year, and has hit .268/.337/.416/.753. Projecting that over 140 games and you have a very Jorge Posada-esque 16 homeruns and 83 RBI. He’s only 21 and he’s having success in Double-A. He could be a part of the major league team as soon as next season. Having seen him play several times he has the most explosive swing in the system.

2. Luis Severino – RHP 6-foot-0, 195-pounds, 20 (previous rank: 4) – The Yankees have been uber aggressive with him, and for good reason. He started the season in Charleston (Low-A) and was recently promoted to Double-A with Trenton, where he will start pitching his next turn in the rotation. On the season he has 88.1 IP, 98 K, just 21 BB, and a 2.45 ERA. He is cruising, and so far has dominated every level he’s been at. His stuff is legit, as he has a mid to upper 90’s fastball and locates his secondary pitches effortlessly. Look out, because here comes the Severino hype machine.

3. Aaron Judge – RF, 6-foot-7, 270-pounds, RHB, 22 (Previous Rank: 16) – Aaron Judge has unquestionably proven this year that he is not just a big, hulking, power hitter. He can also really hit. He has shown that to the tune of a .323/.428/.523/.951 OPS over two levels this season. He’s now in the FSL. He has 13 homeruns on the season, with 18 doubles. He has struck out 85 times in 91 games. He is a monster and he could be a huge, middle of the order bat for the Yankees if things work out.

4. Rob Refsnyder – 2B, 6-foot-0, 195-pounds, RHB, 23 (previous rank: 22) – Refsnyder has exploded onto the scene this year. Few expected this level of success, but he has continued it all the way up to Triple-A. At the current rate of movement, he will not be eligible for this list much longer. He will most likely either get a September call up this year or be given a chance to win the position outright to start next season. There’s also always the chance he gets traded. So far between Double-A and Triple-A, he has a .331/.401/.542/.942 quad slash with 12 homeruns and 25 doubles. For a second baseman those numbers are just fantastic. I look forward to watching this guy play in the majors in the not so distant future. If you have the chance to watch him play, you will see in person what a tough out this kid is.

5. Ian Clarkin – LHP, 6-foot-2, 206-pounds, 19 years old (previous rank: 14) – So far he is proving to be the real deal. He has had success at Charleston as just a 19 year old, and the stuff has been as advertised. His curve is overmatching players at his level. Watching him work is fun. Players just waive at his stuff, and it shows in the numbers. He has a 3.38 ERA in 58.2 IP with 64 K and just 19 BB. He has a .242 average against. Pretty impressive.

6. Abiatal Avelino – SS, 5-foot-11, 186-pounds, RHB, 18 (previous rank: 12) – Avelino is currently rehabbing with the GCL Yankees, but will rejoin Charleston soon. From there, the sky is the limit. While in Charleston for 29 games, he hit .294/.349/.387 with 11 SB, nine doubles, and a triple. He is an excellent contact hitter and has enough speed and wherewithal on the bases to steal a bunch. He also is a top notch fielding shortstop. Now that he’s back to health, you will be hearing his name more often again.

7. Peter O’Brien – C, 6-foot-3, 215-pounds, 23 (previous rank: 15) – Sure, he strikes out a lot and so far in Double-A, has had a lot of trouble hitting for average. The bottom line, however, is he has massive power. Looking for a sturdy position for him will be another issue going forward, but with his power DH is an option. He has 29 HR on the season in just 89 games. Over a 150 games schedule that’s 49 homeruns. I know this is just the minors but that kind of power is extremely rare. If he can figure out a way to stay away from the strikeouts more, he is going to be a dangerous force someday in the majors.

8. Gregory Bird – 1B, 6-foot-3, 215-pounds, LHB, 21 (Previous rank: 8) – Bird has struggled a bit this year with injuries, and has not been quite as effective as last year when healthy. He still has a power stroke though and likely the most patient approach of any player in the system. I’d like to see him finish strong this year, which could put him even higher on this list. He’ll have to pick it up soon though as he has about a month and a half to right the ship this season. He’s .265/.354/.412/.765 on the season with five homers in 61 games. Those numbers are borderline and could easily be brought to respectable with a strong finish to the season.

9. Jorge Mateo – SS, 6-foot-0, 188-pounds, RHB, 19 – Came over from the DR this season and hit the ground running until he suffered an injury a few weeks back. He took the league by storm, batting .308/.390/.442/.832 with seven walks in his first 13 games. He also stole 11 bases in that time. He is the best power/speed combo shortstop in the system. Really, overall he is the shortstop with the best tools in the system. He has 70 speed.

10. Jacob Lindgren – LHP, RP, 5-foot-11, 180-pounds, 21 – He’s basically as dominant of a relief pitcher that you could come across in the draft, and he’s lefty. He has already moved from Charleston to Tampa, where he struck out the first three batters he faced. Overall on the season he has let up a total of three hits in 7.0 innings, and has struck out 16 while walking zero. He’s going to move fast. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pitching for Trenton before the end of the season, and for the Yankees as soon as next season. He’ll hit 95 with his fastball which has excellent life and has a vicious slider.

11. Luis Torrens – C, 6-foot-0, 171-pounds, RHB, 18 (previous rank: 25) – Since joining Staten Island, Torrens has been torrid. He has hit .383/.422/.600/1.022 in 15 games so far. In a short nine game stint with Charleston he didn’t fare quite as well. It’s nine games though. Overall you have an excellent defending catcher who seems to be wrapping his head around hitting this season. He is .304/.388/.471/.859 overall with two homeruns, seven doubles, and two triples in 29 games. This always seems to be the case when their at this level, but he has a chance to be the best catcher of the bunch.

12. Brady Lail – RHP, 6-foot-2, 170-pounds, 20 years old (previous rank: 29) – Still just 20 years old, he has really come into his own this year as I expected. Lail dialed his stuff up a notch late last year and hasn’t looked back. He has a mid 90’s fastball and excellent control of the secondary stuff, which still needs a bit more improvement. On the season he has a solid 3.71 ERA in 97.0 IP with 95 K and just 17 walks. He was recently promoted to High-A, which will be a nice test for him going forward.

13. Tyler Austin – “3:16″: RF, 6-foot-2, 200-pounds, RHB, 22 (previous rank: 5) – Austin took a step back on this list, and it’s because of the poor stats he has this season. That said, I have watched him on multiple occasions this season and each time I come away shocked that his numbers aren’t better. He looks great at the plate and seems to hit the ball hard every time up. I strongly feel he will turn things around at some point, but he needs to get out of the current funk he’s in, or just start getting luckier. He’s hitting .249/.311/.357/.669 on the season. I still have some faith in this kid, and I hope he can turn it around.

14. Eric Jagielo – 3B, 6-foot-2, 195-pounds, LHB, 21 (previous rank: 13) – Jagielo was having a decent season until he got injured. He is currently rehabbing with the GCL and should be back with High-A Tampa soon. He’s going to have to improve his average if he wants to make noise on this list, but there’s no question the power is there. He already has 12 homeruns in just 51 games. I suspect he will improve on the .246 average as time goes on, but only time will tell at this point. His scouting report has not changed and a strong showing in July and August will bring him back on the map, and possibly to the top 10.

15. Ty Hensley – RHP, 6-foot-4, 220-pounds, 20 (previous rank: 23) – Finally healthy and pitching again, and pitching well. Just today he pitched three innings and struck out seven, while letting up one run. So far on the season he has 20 IP and 28 K, with an ERA under 3.0 and just five walks. This is an encouraging development. Next year he’ll be 21 and it will be time to start moving him fast.

16. Austin DeCarr – RHP, 6-foot-3, 218-pounds, 19 – Got roughed up in his most recent outing, but that’s going to happen to a rookie. Yankees overpaid for him and that’ because he’s got so much potential. He already sits 92-95 with a promising curveball and changeup. At his size, he could add velocity and should have good durability. He’ll be a fun one to watch going forward.

17. Caleb Smith – LHP, 6-foot-2, 175-pounds, 22 (previous rank: 46) – A fastball that sits mid-90’s. Two breaking pitches that get swings and misses. He has size and power. He’s got everything you would want in a lefty starter, and is moving up the latter quickly. He was recently promoted to High-A, where he will likely finish the season. On the season he has a 3.10 ERA in 78.1 IP with 80 K. He’s having an excellent season and will look to continue the success at High-A.

18. Dan Camarena – “Killa Cam”: LHP, 6-foot-0, 200-pounds, 20 (previous rank: 26) – Camarena has had a monster year in High-A so far. The only problem is the two starts he has made in Double-A, during which he got torched. Even including those two starts, however, his season numbers look great. With an ERA of 3.01 in 95.2 IP, and 72 K (which is about what you’d expect from an effective soft tossing lefty), he will look to take it up a notch when he gets promoted to Double-A following the all-star break. He is 87-90 with the fastball still, but the secondary offerings are excellent and he locates with the best of them. It will be really interesting to see where his career goes from here because low velocity pitchers like him often get overlooked.

19. Simon De la Rosa – RHP, 6-foot-3, 185-pounds, 21 – Cut from the same cloth as Rafael DePaula, Simon De la Rosa has great raw stuff. Where he needs to get better is his control. His fastball reaches 96, and he has a good curve and change to go along with it. He gets the strikeouts, as he already has 20 in just 18.2 IP on the season. Once he gets fully acclimated in the United States, he is going to be a weapon.

20. Jake Cave – OF, 6-foot-0, 179-pounds, LHB, 21 (previous rank: 48) – He is .303/.354/.394/.750 on the year with three homeruns and 19 doubles. He is duplicating his numbers from last year, which is a good thing. The only problem is he showed little to no power last year, and he hasn’t shown the speed to make up for light hitting. If he develops power, he can be a starting outfielder in the majors. If not, he’s likely a 4th or 5th OF. Right now my money is on the latter, but anything can happen.

21. Miguel Sulbaran – LHP, 5-foot-10, 209-pounds, 20 years old – Just 20 years old an already dominating High-A, Sulbaran has been a big surprise this season. He has a low 90’s fastball, plus curve, and a slider and change which he can go to in any count. He’s a bit like Camarena with more velocity. On the season he has a 2.29 ERA in 74.2 IP with 54 K and just 17 BB. This kid is flying under the radar right now but he’s got a chance to be something special.

22. James Pazos – LHP, 6-foot-3, 230-pounds, 23 (Previous rank: 44) – Pazos has been quite dominant in relief this season, posting a 2.84 ERA in 44.1 IP with 54 K. He’s been pumping mid-90’s heat while hitting 97-98 mph at times. I’ve had a chance to watch him a few times, and he has a bit of a funky delivery. Combine that with the velocity he is able to throw at, and you can see why he is difficult to hit. I see a future for him in the back end of a bullpen somewhere.

23. Ben Gamel – OF, 5-foot-11, 180-pounds, LHB, 22 (previous rank: 27) – Gamel is having another nice season, with one caveat. He is still not hitting for enough power. At this point it is hard to imagine him as anything more than a 4th outfielder, but he is still young and has time to mature into his man strength. For now you have a guy who is a solid fielder and has an excellent hit tool and enough speed to steal 20 bases a season if given extended playing time. There’s value in that, but there’d be more value if he could hit 15 homers a year.

24. Nick Rumbelow – RHP, RP, 6-foot-0, 190-pounds, 23 (previously unranked)– Off to a great start to his career so far, he has a 1.73 ERA in 36.1 IP and 49 K. He was recently promoted to Trenton. If he continues to dominate as he has, he will continue to move rapidly through the system. He could be playing in the big leagues as soon as next season. Mid 90’s fastball with good deception, and has drawn many comparisons to David Robertson. He pounds the zone and locates well. He also throws a curve and a change

25. Manny Banuelos – LHP, 5-foot-10, 205-pounds, 23 (previous rank: 3) – Banuelos is coming off of Tommy John Surgery, and this is becoming a bit of a lost season for him. He is the first of three who have had a precipitous drop on this countdown. Some sources are claiming he has diminished velocity and not the same stuff. Others are claiming his stuff is back but he is just trying to regain consistency. Either way, even when healthy this year he has been inconsistent. Next year he’ll have to really pick it up to regain his old prospect status.

26. Dante Bichette Jr. – 3B, 6-foot-1, 215-pounds, RHB, 22 (previously unranked) – It’s hard not to remain skeptical about Dante, but He’s officially back on the radar after posting solid numbers so far this season. .288/.374/.429/.803 with eight homeruns and 24 doubles will do that for you. He will have to hit for more power to stick in the majors, but he has taken a major leap in the right direction this season after two miserable seasons in Charleston.

27. Slade Heathcott – OF, 6-foot-1, 190-pounds, LHB, 23 (previous rank: 2) – Injured yet again, going under the knife yet again. He’ll be back next season but at this point I have to conclude that he is the positional version of Christian Garcia, and will never stay healthy enough. He has long so much development that he will likely always be behind the eight ball. That said, if healthy his athleticism is unparalleled on this farm, and you never know what can happen from there. We’ve seen what happens when you give up on someone with a world of talent in Dellin Betances. You can just end up being wrong.

28. Miguel Andujar – 3B, 6-foot-0, 175-pounds, 19 (previous rank: 38) – One of the youngest players in the SAL, yet he has hit his stride and is now in midseason form. Over his past eight games he is 11/28 (.392) with five doubles. He has been hitting over .300 for the past month now and shows no signs of slowing down. On the season he has seven homeruns and 18 doubles, so the power is coming around. If he keeps this up by the end of the season his numbers will be in respectable range.

29. Tyler Webb – LHP, RP, 6-foot-6, 225-pounds, 24 (previously unranked) – Has low to mid-90’s velocity with strikeout stuff, and has quickly advanced to Triple-A in just his second year in the system. He could be with the major league team as soon as next year, joining Lindgren and Pazos as three lefty relievers who could make an impact. He has 71 K in just 50.0 innings. His ERA is a bit high at 3.96 but he has done a nice job limiting walks.

30. Matt Tracy – LHP, 6-foot-3, 212-pounds, 25 (previous rank: 37) – He’s had an excellent season ERA-wise, with just a 3.24 ERA over two levels. He has been promoted to Triple-A and will look to make a lasting impression at the end of this season. He doesn’t strike out too many guys, but he gets outs. He’l have to do a better job limiting walks going forward if he wants to be effective in the majors. His stuff is pretty good though, with a low-mid 90’s fastball and good secondary offerings.

31. Gosuke Katoh – 2B, 6-foot-2, 180-pounds, LHB, 19 (previous rank: 20) – Katoh got off to a dreadful start to his full season career, but at just 19 years old it’s hard to fault him for that. He has really picked it up of late though, bringing his average from below .200 to .229 in less than a month. He has a long way to go, but another positive sign is that he was striking out more than once per game but has only 5 strikeouts to six walks in the past 10 games. He has plenty of time to get where he needs to go.

32. Michael O’Neill – OF, 6-foot-1, 195-pounds, RHB, 22 – O’Neill is another one who has really picked up the pace recently. This season he has shown surprising speed and some decent power to boot. He has struggled to hit for average though… until recently. Over his last 10 games he’s hitting .316/.381/.447/.828 with five SB. His average is up to .254 and climbing. If he can finish strong his overall numbers are going to look really good this season. His main limitation is his age, as he will have to start moving a bit faster if he wants to remain a factor in this system.

33. Jose Pirela – Util, 5-foot-11, 210-pounds, RHB, 24 – He has been one of the most consistent performers since opening day, and he has a great deal of versatility. He offers an excellent hit tool with decent patience, and has hit for surprising power this year. In many ways he’s similar to Yangervis Solarte. At the very least, his versatility and his bat could be useful to the Yankees as a bench piece.

34. Kyle Roller – 1B, 6-foot-1, 250-pounds, LHB, 26 – Kyle is a bit of a late bloomer, but bloom he has. He has 18 homeruns in 83 games this season and has a line of .300/.385/.551/.936 over two levels. He is one step away from the majors. If Mark Teixeira goes down again, I’m betting Roller will get a shot. He’s a long shot to stick long term in the majors, as he’s at a position where he must hit well to last. He has significant power though and can hold his own at first.

35. Jordan Foley – RHP, 6-foot-4, 215-pounds, 21 – Just turned 21 July 12th, and he is performing quite well so far with Staten Island. He was a starter for Central Michigan, where he threw his 90-96 mph fastball and maintained the velocity late into games. The main questions he has to answer are whether he can repeat his delivery and whether his secondary stuff can start to play up. So far so good, as he has a 1.26 ERA and 16 K in 14.1 professional innings.

36. Dustin Fowler – OF, 6-foot-0, 185-pounds, LHB, 19 – One of the younger players in the SAL, Fowler has displayed impressive power. In 54 games, he has nine homeruns, 12 doubles and five triples. He is a good fielder and shows good athleticism. Over a full season that’s 25 HR, 30 doubles, and 13 triples. He needs work on his plate discipline and could use to add a few points to his average, but as a 19 year old in Low-A, I will take this production any day.

37. Domingo Acevedo – RHP, 6-foot-7, 242-pounds, 20 – He’s only managed three appearances in the GCL so far, but boy is his stuff impressive. He sits mid-90’s and has reached 99. It’s not hard to dream on this kid but he’ll have to get healthy and stay healthy to continue to progress.

38. Junior Valera – 2B, 6-foot-0, 180-pounds, SH, 21 – Took a bit longer to develop since the Yankees wanted to try him out at switch hitting, but he seems to have finally hit his stride. He’ll really have to move fast going forward, but he has shown that this is a possibility this season by hitting really well. He has been a beacon of consistency and is currently batting a robust .357/.439/.476/.915. He also has eight SB in 22 games, and is known to have fantastic speed.

39. Tyler Wade – SS, 6-foot-1, 180-pounds, LHB, 19 – Another 19 year old playing well in Low-A, Wade has made quite a bit of progress in one year. He has showed that he belongs at this level despite being one of the younger players there. He has hit .273/.354/.335/.689 on the season with 15 SB. He definitely needs to raise the bar with his power production going forward, but his defense and athleticism are off the charts. Given his position, he will be given a good amount of offensive leeway. He’s a couple of homeruns away from being an impact offensive player.

40. Frank Frias – OF, 6-foot-2, 185-pounds, RHB, 20 – Frias is not your highly touted, million dollar bonus international free agent signing, but he definitely has tools and he can definitely play. He has plus speed (6 SB already) and plus athleticism. In his first season stateside he is already having success. He’s batting .342/.405/.421/.826. He has been light on power so far, but if either that or his baserunning game comes along he has the tools to become a top prospect.

41. Jaron Long – RHP, 6-foot-0, 185-pounds, 22 – Non-drafted free agent this year, Kevin Long’s son. He has pitched extremely well at all three levels (Low-A, High-A, and Double-A) he’s played at this season. He’s done it with pinpoint control and good secondary offerings. He does not possess the high velocity fastball you would hope for, but he has been untouchable so far in the minors. For now he’s a fun guy to follow, and a good story. If he takes his 2.16 ERA to the majors, however, it will go from a good story to a big story.

42. Bryan Mitchell – RHP, 6-foot-3, 205-pounds, 23 – There’s no question he’s talented, but he still hasn’t been able to put together a full successful season in the minors. He’s starting to look like another Dellin Betances type, who could benefit from a role in relief. For now, we’ll just have to dream on his plus plus stuff and hope one day he figures it all out.

43. Alexander Palma – OF, 6-foot-0, 201-pounds, RHB, 18 – Having success in the GCL and he’s still just a kid. As time goes on the hope is that he will be able to develop some power and improve on his patience. He’s so young still and has a ton of time to mature both physically and mentally. He’s got the tools and now it’s just a matter of putting them in practice.

44. Jordan Montgomery – LHP, 6-foot-5, 225-pounds, 21 – Big lefty who throws between 88-92 and has an excellent changeup. He’s got other secondary offerings which can use some seasoning as well. He has had two extremely successful seasons pitching in the competitive SEC and is a low-ceiling, high probability guy because of that. All of that said, he has the size which could foreshadow a velocity increase somewhere down the line.

45. Leonardo Molina – OF, 6-foot-2, 180-pounds, RHB, 16 – Still just 16, the Yankees decided to throw him into the pool and let him sink or swim in the GCL. So far, he has sank. With youth on his side, and apparently seen as one of the top two overall international free agents of last year’s class, I don’t envision him sinking long term. Next year should be his year to shine, when he has a better grip on life in America and grows into his body a bit more.

46. Rookie Davis – RHP, 6-foot-3, 235-pounds, 21 – Rookie took a bit of a step back this season statistically, but the stuff is still very much there. He could benefit from a reduction in walks, and he’s a bit Shane Greene-ish in that respect. His stuff is good though. He hits mid 90’s with the fastball, and has good secondary pitches. He’s another guy with all the tools, but just has to put them together.

47. Mike Ford – 1B, 6-foot-0, 225-pounds, LHB, 22 – All he has done is OPS 0.816 as a non-drafted free agent out of Princeton. He has been the starting 1B in Charleston the whole year, and has proved he belongs. He has excellent plate discipline and decent power. He has 10 HR in 77 games this season and a 0.379 OBP. It’s tough to say what the future holds for a guy like him, but he has nothing to lose and he plays like it.

48. Taylor Dugas – OF, 5-foot-9, 180-pounds, LHB, 24 – Now in Triple-A, this is a kid who has performed at every level so far in his career. He is extremely polished, and draws walks with the best of them in this system. Unfortunately he does not have a third tool. He has the hit tool, and he has the patience tool. There’s no power tool, speed tool, and he’s just a solid defender. There’s a role for a guy like him, especially as a fourth outfielder who can wear pitchers down. At this point that’s going to be his ceiling unless he proves he can do something else well. There’s nothing wrong with having a guy like that in your system though.

49. Ty McFarland – 2B, 6-foot-3, 190-pounds, LHB, 22 – The Yankees drafted McFarland in the 10th round, and he has really impressed thus far in Staten Island. As a big second baseman who can field well he could be a guy who sticks around in this system. He is hitting .296/.338/.464/.802 so far, and shows no signs of slowing down. He’s big and has the potential to hit for power down the line. This deep in the countdown he has a long way to go, but next year will be much more telling to see what his future will hold.

50. Orby Tavares – LHP , 6-foot-4, 225-pounds, 19 – This is his first year in the Yankees organization and he was sent straight to the states, which is always a good sign. All he has done is throw 22.2 innings of 2.78 ERA ball. Known for his control, his 11 walks in 22.2 innings are likely to improve. He has been clocked anywhere from 88-94 mph, and has okay secondary offerings. If he develops some more velocity and he improves the secondary offerings, he has some big upside.

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27 Responses to 2014 Midseason top 50 Yankees prospects

  1. Ted Nelson says:

    I think you're taking raw statistical success out of context in a lot of places. For example, Caleb Smith is an NCAA P so starting his first full season in Charleston and then getting bumped to High A, where a good NCAA prospect generally starts his first full season, is not moving quickly through the system. A 16 year old with an 84 wRC+ in the GCL in his first taste of pro ball, on the other hand, is not necessarily sinking. Not sure that Wade lacking power matters that much as a 19 year old or as a SS… let alone as both. On the other hand, not sure that Junior Valera hitting in the GCL at 21 makes him more than a fringy prospect.

    I find it really hard to rank Dugas so low and I'm wondering where Ramon Flores is. In terms of expected value, having a really good shot to contribute something at the MLB level is worth quite a bit relative to some of the guys you list who have really marginal chances to contribute anything, ever.

    • I thought his analysis of all the players you mentioned is fair. I think you are nitpicking a little bit here. Caleb Smith is right on target and really only the very best prospects start their first full year in High-A. Wade could use a little more power and, like Greg wrote, he's going to be given offensive leeway so I don't think even he expects it tomorrow. As for Valera, Greg pointed out that he'll have to move quickly to be much of a prospect (besides, being ranked 38th isn't really a huge compliment either). I think he's spot on. Your question about Flores is fair though.

    • gcorcoran says:

      Ted, I actually agree with most of what you say here. Perhaps I didn't do a good enough job conveying some things in this article. It's tough because I have to keep this brief to keep it from getting to be way too much. In Caleb Smith's case, it's less about his stats and more about how great he looked when I watched him play. He throws very hard for a lefty (reaches mid-90's), and he's got good secondary pitches and good control.

      On to Wade. He could easily move up on this countdown if he develops some more power. I like Wade a lot but I don't consider him a top prospect yet. He may get there.

      Junior Valera is ranked 38 for all of the reasons you mentioned above. If he looked the same as he does now as an 18 year old in the GCL, he'd probably be 15-20 range.

      Dugas doesn't have the tools to be a starting OF in the majors, so I can't rank him too high. Ramon Flores I was never high on to begin with and now he's hurt. He is good enough to crack the top 30 if things go right, but he still has yet to develop the necessary power to take his game to the next level, and now he's losing valuable development time. I think of all the people not on this list, he probably deserves to be on it the most though.

      • tom says:

        That second paragraph made me hate you. : {

      • Pojack11 says:

        For the most part, I like your list, your one of the first people to really knock down Mason Williams and I agree with that. If your an outfielder that can't hit at all defensive and speed tools don't mean much. That said really disagree with no Ramon Flores. He is 22 years old and in triple AAA, so missing development time from an injury is not that detrimental to a guy who has played at least 125 games four straight seasons. He's patient,makes contact hits well with two strikes and absolutely showed an increase in power this season before being injured. I've seen him play, and like you with Austin, have been surprised his BA is not higher.

        • gcorcoran says:

          you know something Pojack, that is probably my biggest regret on this countdown, is leaving Flores out. looking back I should have had him somewhere in the 30-40 range. For some reason I have always had a bias against him. probably because I don't have the faith that he can hit for average. If he can't hit for average, and the power doesnt come along soon, IMO he's Colin Curtis. That said a lot of people like him more than I do, scouts included. thus I should leave my biases out of this and place him where he belongs on the countdown. This will likely be reflected in the end of the year countdown.

          Also, about a week after I made this I saw Mason Williams play, and his swing looked much improved. maybe he has made the adjustment and I wouldnt be surprised if he turned the corner soon.

    • Peter Russo says:

      Yes, I see all the talent including Peter O'Brian but, O'Brian struck out to much and was way down on the depth chart and that was a good move for Prato. O'Brian has raw power but is in consistent with the bat. He will be a DH but, the Yankees have numerous catchers in the minor leagues. Austin Romaine has had numerous trials with the Yankees but, continues to lack hitting skills.

  2. Was leaving Mason Williams and Mark Montgomery off this list done on purpose? I think you could definitely make the case that Williams is no longer a prospect, but I'm surprised that Montgomery doesn't crack the top 50 despite his recent setbacks.

    • gcorcoran says:

      Mark Montgomery was demoted because he has lost his prospect luster. He doesn't have the fastball to back up that slider, and the slider took a major step back this year. Unless he magically returns to his old form, he's not major league material, let alone late inning material. Mason Williams I have watched several times this year and he looks completely cooked. His swing is easily the longest swing of anyone on the entire Trenton team. His batting average and stats correlate with that. I couldn't justify putting him on this list over anyone currently on it. Valid questions though.

      • Peter Russo says:

        Montgomery does not have enough of a fastball and tends to be wild in the strike zone. He does not have a presence on the mound and flies all over the place. Shane Greene has shown maturity to a number 5 starter on the Yankees. CC Nova Pineda Green Capuano. Bullpen: Warren Bertancess Wilson Clarkin Millor or David Robertson.

  3. wally says:

    Nice job as always from Greg. Interesting to see Sanchez retain top spot despite his fairly pedestrian numbers. But he's still just 21 and holding his own in AA. Also kudos for not succumbing to current wave of anti-O'Brien bias that has many smugly dismissing O'B for having nothing but power tool. Might be best one to have though. And very few hit 30 HRs in A-AA; and still has 5-6 weeks to get to 40.
    Also glad that Greg is getting to games. One area where list could be improved — more scouting input. The stats only go so far. Interesting, though, that Greg has some velo numbers that are often hard to come by on all but top prospects. So maybe he is talking to scouts a bit. In any case, very nice work — and good to see system strongly rebounding after two very bad — and unlucky– years.

  4. wally says:

    Nice job as always from Greg. Interesting to see Sanchez retain top spot despite his fairly pedestrian numbers. But he's still just 21 and holding his own in AA. Also kudos for not succumbing to current wave of anti-O'Brien bias that has many smugly dismissing O'B for having nothing but power tool. Might be best one to have though. And very few hit 30 HRs in A-AA

  5. wally says:

    Oops. Sorry for re-post. One question (and maybe I missed the answer): Where would DePaula rank on this list?

  6. tom says:

    I am mostly happy with the progression in the minor system. A few prospects are moved up aggressively and a several prospects manage to stay healthy to make showchase themselves.

    I don't think Kevin Long can even fix Peter O'Brien's swinging but can Mason Williams be fixed? I would love that somebody corrects his swinging so his trade value can be heightened.

    Out of this top 20, I have zero problem with trading Sanchez, Cave and Avelino.

    • gcorcoran says:

      I think Mason's swing can absolutely be fixed. He is a fast twitch athlete there's no reason why he can't have a fast twitch swing. He needs to really shorten it up. Hopefully that can happen this offseason, but I have to say I am doubtful at this point. Two bad seasons in a row are very hard to recover from, although DBJ seems to have done just that this season.

  7. With the way the shift has been so effectively employed against lefties, I would hope that the Yankees would consider dealing Gregory Bird, Eric Jagielo and Jake Cave. Just look around the league, so many lefties are struggling that it's sort of crazy. A lefty hitter with power, like Brian McCann, are so much more ineffective than they were just 2 or 3 years ago.

    • gcorcoran says:

      The thing about Bird that would make me want to keep him around is that he uses all fields. Something like 1/2 of his homeruns (maybe even more) were the other way last season. That would make him even more valuable in the majors than your typical lefty. Jagielo I can't speak for as much. Cave I believe is also an all-fields kind of hitter. Either way, what I really hope is that the Yankees are taking note of this and nipping any pull-happy tendencies in the bud while these players are still in the minors.

      • That's good to hear. They're really going to have to pound it into their heads though because that short porch becomes awfully tempting once they get to the Bronx. McCann's hitting coach in Atlanta said that he never used to pull as much as he is this season.

  8. Balt Yank says:

    It was be nice to see Jose Pirela in the majors now, as he could play RF & 2B, and let Rob Ref develop at 2B all year at Triple A. Plus, at 40, Jose Pirela should debut sooner than later.

    • gcorcoran says:

      Agreed. Pirela has played well for a long time now. I'd give him a shot soon. I've been barking up that tree for a while though.

  9. Balt Yank says:

    I mean at 24, LOL.

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