Let me preface this article by saying that the below list does not include the 2014 International signings the Yankees went nuts on this year. That means there are 5-10 additional names that will likely be stateside this year who are not on this list. I will have more information on them when the rookie leagues start up.
These are players who played in the DSL and had some success last year. There are some guys who will not be on this list that will come stateside, and some may even play better than anyone on this list. Thus is the uncertainty of ranking the players in the DSL, where information is scarce. Note also that Yancarlos Baez and Cesar Diaz are excluded from this list because they made it stateside late last season.
1. Carlos Vidal – LF, 5-foot-11, 160-pounds, LHB, 19 years old – when you look at his attributes and his stats, you will be reminded of Ramon Flores. That is a fair comparison, with one caveat. Carlos Vidal is an inch taller and much faster than Flores. He has the same kind of patience at the plate, and similar power potential. He absolutely dominated the DSL this year, hitting .361/.482/.498/.979 with one homerun, 13 doubles and seven triples. He also stole 13 bases, but has the potential to steal many, many more with his speed. This guy has the type of hit tool where he might just win the GCL batting title next season.
2. Kevin Gonzalez – 1B, 6-foot-3, 230-pounds, LHB, throws RH, 17 years old – At just 17 years old Gonzalez raked in the DSL, hitting .329/.408/.422/.830 with a homerun, a triple, and 11 doubles in 45 games. As with most first basemen, he has little to no speed. He is an excellent contact hitter, however, and sprays the ball all over the field. As he develops into his man strength it is expected he will start hitting balls over the fence as well. His development will depend on his power developing appropriately, but next year he will be a year older and a year stronger in the GCL. I expect big things from him in the future.
3. Yonauris Rodriguez – SS, 6-foot-1, 155-pounds, RHB, 17 years old – Rodriguez only managed 21 games last season due to an injury, but boy did he impress during that time. He his .315/.435/.427/.862 with a homerun, three triples and a double. He also demonstrated excellent patience. Rodrigues is a relatively tall shortstop who is excellent in the field. He is going to have a ton of competition with all of the July 2nd signings the Yankees made, but he could be fit for the task. At his size, he should develop some power over time and could become another marquee shortstop in the Yankees’ system.
4. Ricardo Ferreira – SS, 5-foot-11, 175-pounds, switch hitter, 19 – Ferreira is a little bit on the older side, and was a low key signing for the Yankees. His tools, however, are anything but low key. He is an excellent, quick defender and he has plus speed. He played in just 18 games in the DSL this year but he stole 15 bases in that short period of time. He hit .269/.467/.328/.796. Two things jump out at you with that line. First of all, he had 22 walks in 18 games, showing superior patience. Secondly he does not hit for much power. 2015 will be an exciting year for this speedy shortstop, and it will be interesting to see where he ends up.
5. Moises Cedeno – RHP, 6-foot-0, 188-pounds, 19 years old – At just 19, Cedeno pitched in his third season in the DSL last year. Each season he has improved. Most recently, he sported a 3.23 ERA in 53 innings with 59 K and 20 walks. Overall it was a solid season, although a 3.23 ERA in the DSL is not all that impressive. Going forward Cedeno still needs some work on his control, and will come stateside looking to bring his mid 90’s fastball and developing secondary offerings to the next level.
6. Pedro Urena – RF, 6-foot-3, 195-pounds, RHB, 19 – Urena took a major leap forward this year in his second season in the DSL. As an 18 year old he hit .298/.369/.469/.862 with seven homeruns, five triples, and 13 doubles. Clearly when he hits the ball, he hits it hard. Like most power hitters, he needs to work on cutting down on his strikeouts. As a right fielder, he will clearly have to hit for power all the way up the ladder in the minors. If he shows he can do that, however, he could be a huge asset for the organization.
7. Anderson Severino – LHP, 5-foot-10, 165-pounds, 20 years old – Another one of those late blooming pitchers, Severino is a lefty who can sit low 90’s with electric secondary offerings. The Yankees like what they have in him and he will be stateside in 2015 for sure. He will need to work on his control, as he walked 13 batter in just 11.1 innings last season. He also struck out 17 though. Right now he is a bit of an enigma but time will tell if he can turn himself into something more.
8. Dario Unda – LF, 5-foot-11, 165-pounds, LHB, 18 years old- At 17 years old last year he hit a respectable .307/.374/.469/.843 in the DSL, with two homeruns, six triples, and 13 doubles. At his young age he will likely fill out more and may even grow another inch or two. He has developing power and will take his skillset stateside in 2015 to try to make a name for himself. He has excellent patience and is a solid contact hitter.
9. Welfrin Mateo – 2B, 5-foot-10, 170-pounds, RHB, 19 years old – In his first season in the DSL, Mateo managed to hit .290/.391/.416/.807 with four homers, a triple, and 13 doubles. He also stole 12 bases with seven CS. He is a relatively small guy who plays a premium position and will have an opportunity to play some innings stateside in 2015. At 19 he still has a lot of development ahead of him and he has already shown promising power and speed.
10. Algeni Mateo – C, 5-foot-9, 170-pounds, RHB, 19 years old – Mateo and Jerry Seitz were in competition for this spot. In the end, Mateo got the nod because he’s one year younger. They are very similar players otherwise. Mateo hit .336/.386/.535/.921 this season in 32 games in the DSL. He had four homeruns, three triples, and seven doubles. The numbers are quite impressive, and he is also likely to stick at catcher. If he can keep these numbers up as he ascends through the system, he will undoubtedly draw some serious attention.