Yankees Top 50 Prospects: Post 2015 Draft 31


2/21/15 - New York Yankees pitcher Luis Severino, throwing in the bullpen during practice at George M. Steinbrenner Field, in Tampa, Florida.

2/21/15 – New York Yankees pitcher Luis Severino, throwing in the bullpen during practice at George M. Steinbrenner Field, in Tampa, Florida.

What I am about to say runs the risk of sounding like an inexperienced Yankees’ prospect follower who has just became a farm system fan boy, but I am going to say it anyway. At this moment, the Yankees farm system is the best it’s been since I’ve started paying attention about six-seven years ago.

I am willing to go out on that limb because the farm has finally fulfilled the lower level talent promises this season. Year after year we hear that the Yankees have a lot of talent at the lower levels, and those guys have not been materializing into much recently. That is starting to change. The upper levels have major talent, and there’s more on the way.

If the system lacks anything it’s pitching, but not like you might think. There are quite a few good pitchers coming through the system right now, but many are injured at this moment. There are also several players who have emerged this year who you might not be as familiar with but are much more talented than you would think.

They also picked up some talented pitching in the draft that could make an impact, and those guys will be included in this list. The post-draft prospect list is the toughest one to compile. We don’t yet have reliable scouting reports on the players who were just drafted, so a lot of it ends up being speculation. We also don’t know how these players’ tools will play up.

1. Luis Severino – RHP, 6-foot-0, 195-pounds, 21 years old – He’s one of the youngest players in Triple-A right now, and already one of the best. His mid-90’s fastball, pinpoint control, nasty changeup and developing slider will surely lead him to the majors soon as long as his health holds up. Some question his durability mostly due to his size, but he has held up great so far and there’s a good chance we’ll see him in the majors in the second half of the season in some capacity. If not, he will surely be up next season. By the way, he has a 2.45 ERA, is 7-2, and has 84 K in 88.1 IP with a 2.5 BB/9 this year. Congrats to him on the birth of his child today, which is why he is missing a start. Previous rank: 2

2. Aaron Judge – OF, 6-foot-7, 270-pounds, RHB, 23 – Aaron Judge is well on his way to becoming the tallest position player on the Yankees’ roster next season. His ascension through the minors has been nothing short of amazing. The amount of polish he has for a man his size is actually shocking. He has power and also the ability to hit for average. He was just promoted to Triple-A. This season he has a .282/.352/.485/.837 stat line with 14 HR in 82 games. His strikeout rate has been high, but it is natural for someone with his size to have some swing and miss to their swing. He is still drawing comparisons to Giancarlo Stanton and Dave Winfield and he’s almost in the major leagues. That’s scary! He’s a consensus top 30 prospect in the league right now and a guy who you must know about. Previous rank: 3.

3. Jorge Mateo – SS, 6-foot-0, 188-pounds, RHB, 20 – As predicted Jorge Mateo has exploded onto the minor league scene. In just his first year in the full season leagues, he already has made enough of a name for himself that he will start to appear in the back half of top 100 lists. He has incredible speed, can hit for average, and even has some power to go along with it all. On the year he has a .276/.348/.381/.729 slash with two home runs, seven triples, and 13 doubles. The stat that will really impress you though is that he has 62 SB in just 83 games. His speed is something to marvel at, and he plays a strong shortstop. He really looks like the shortstop of the future for the Yankees. Previous rank: 6

4. Gary Sanchez – C, 6-foot-3, 235-pounds, RHB, 22 – I don’t think I will ever understand why people are so low on Gary Sanchez. It may be explained by the concept of prospect fatigue. When a guy gets so much attention when he is so young and doesn’t end up in the major leagues by the age of 21, people start to think they are a bust because they’ve been around so long. The truth with Sanchez is that he is still producing at a high level in a league he is young for. It has also been rumored recently that he is about to be promoted. He has received some flack in the past for his defense, which by all reports has improved this season. He catches would-be stealers at a high rate, and he has greatly cut back on his passed balls. There has also been a noticeable change in his attitude apparently. What I really don’t understand, however, is why people question his bat. It’s midway through the season, and the guy already has 13 home runs in just 60 games as a catcher! He is at a premium position, and is one of the youngest guys at his level playing this position. There is only one catcher in all of Double-A his age with better offensive numbers, and that is Kyle Schwarber of the Cubs. The only other catcher with more homeruns than him is Tom Murphy, who has hit .249 this year and is 24 years old. There is not a single player remotely close in age to Sanchez doing anything of significance with the bat. Blake Swihart was 23 in Double-A to start the year but had yet to hit a homerun in 20 games when he got called up. Kevin Plawecki is 24 and had never showed any real power in the minors yet he was ranked top 100 at the start of this year. Jorge Alfaro is the same age as Sanchez and has only five home runs with a .254 average in Double-A, and he is a top 100 guy. T.J. Realmuto and Andrew Susac are older with less impressive stats. I just don’t see why Gary Sanchez is so underrated. He has now been promoted to Triple-A, and is just one step away. Previous rank: 1

5. Rob Refsnyder – 2B, 6-foot-1, 205-pounds, RHB, 24 – Refsnyder was recently promoted for several games and then sent back down for reasons unknown. He hit a homerun in his second game up, which must have been a really nice experience for him. Prior to the call-up he was hitting .290/.387/.413/.800 with seven home runs and 17 doubles on the season. He can flat out hit. The question coming into the season was his defense, and he struggled mightily in the beginning. He came out, worked hard, and improved his defense though. I can’t imagine that both Stephen Drew and Brendan Ryan will hold Refsnyder down for the rest of the season, but you never know with Cashman & co. Previous rank: 4

6. Gregory Bird – 6-foot-3, 215-pounds, LHB, 1B, 22 – Bird started the year in Double-A and has recently been promoted to Triple-A. On paper his numbers don’t look that great but he has really picked up his game over the past month and a half. He started the season slow in April and May, but since June 1st he has been back to himself. He hit .291/.352/.443/.795 in 21 games in June with 2 HR and six doubles. Once July started though, he really caught fire. He’s batting .322/.394/.542/.936 with three homeruns and three doubles already in July. On the season he’s at .265/.357/.444/.801 with eight homeruns in 62 games. He is exactly the type of hitter the Yankees like. High OBP, solid power. He might be about to really take off in Triple-A. Previous rank: 5

7. Eric Jagielo – 3B, 6-foot-2, 195-pounds LHB, 23 – He was off to a fantastic start before he went down with an injury that has caused him to miss some time. He’s hitting .284/.347/.495/.842 on the season, and had 9 HR, 16 doubles, and two triples in just 58 games. He’s got the power the Yankees were expecting and the only question left is whether or not he is able to stick at third base. If he is then he was a steal where they got him in the draft. If not he and Greg Bird are going to have to duke it out for first base duties when Tex leaves. Let’s hope he comes back soon because he was in the midst of a real breakout season before he went down with injury. Previous rank: 12

8. James Kaprielian – RHP,6-foot-4, 200-pounds, 21 – This year’s first round draft pick, the highest the Yankees have had in years, is definitely talented. He mostly sits at 90-92 mph but late in the season he had a velocity bump to 95 mph at times. He also hit 95 a few times in the Cape Cod League last year. His strikeout pitch is a curveball, and he currently has an average changeup. Those are great tools for a 21 year old. Kaprielian is expected to be a fast mover, as he has had consistent, proven success for a big division one school in UCLA. He immediately moves into the organizational top 10, and could quickly move up if he turns out to be the real deal.

9. Brady Lail – RHP, 6-foot-2, 170-pounds, 21 – Using his low to mid 90’s fastball, knuck-curve, and changeup, Lail has really kept batters off-balance this season. So far this season in 90.1 innings he has been close to untouchable. He’s had a 2.09 ERA and 63 K in 90.1 IP. He has a .231 average against, and a 6-3 record overall. He’s doing all of this as a 21 year old in Double-A. That’s incredibly impressive. He’s really making a name for himself and is looking like he will definitely be a major league contributor someday in one capacity or another. Previous rank: 14.

10. Jacob Lindgren – LHP, RP, 5-foot-11, 180-pounds, 21 – He struggled a bit in his first taste of professional baseball, but at 21 he still has a lot of time to get things figured out. He had surgery on his left elbow for a bone spur late in June and will be out for 12 weeks. He should be back in late September if all goes well with his rehab. Previous rank: 10.

11. Rookie Davis – RHP, SP, 6-foot-3, 235-pounds, 22 – Davis had a down year last season and it was tough to understand why. He has always had great stuff and it’s not as if he was struggling with walks. Ultimately though he was not hitting spots and his stuff took a hit. This year he has done a 180. He dropped his walk rate even more, and kicked into gear with strikeouts as well. He has a 3.1 ERA in 90.0 IP with 101 K. He attributes his success to seeing a sports psychologist in the offseason which helped him to play with more confidence. He has done just that and is dominating the competition at High-A. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets moved up to Double-A soon with a developing logjam of starters in High-A (Jose Campos, Rookie Davis, Jonathan Holder returning, Gabriel Encinas, Chaz Hebert, Jordan Montgomery, Cale Coshow). With his stuff he has the ceiling of a number 2 starter. Previous rank: 42.

12. Jake Cave – OF, 6-foot-0, 180-pounds, LHB, 22 – Cave’s stats are down a bit this year after dominating last season, but he has still played well. He is holding his own as a 22 year old in Double-A, which says a lot. He is hitting .270/.338/.338/.681 with two homeruns and 12 steals in 88 games. He has been slumping a bit lately, but I expect him to break out of it and I think he will finish the season with much better statistics than how they look right now. Previous rank: 14.

13. Tyler Wade – SS, 6-foot-1, 180-pounds, LHB, 20 – He has really come into his own this year as a 20 year old in High-A. He has hit .293/.358/.371/.728 with 30 SB in 84 games. He is proving himself as one of the top shortstops in the system. He doesn’t have the same kind of tools as Jorge Mateo, but he has proven that his speed plays up. He will definitely stick at shortstop. He may get the call in Double-A before the end of the season, and will surely start there next year. Previous rank: 27

14. Nick Goody – RHP, RP, 5-foot-11, 195-pounds, 24 – Goody returned from Tommy John surgery late last season and this season he has arrived ready to go. He has been dominant all year, and was recently promoted to Triple-A. With the need the major league team has for strong right handed relievers, he may get a shot soon. In 46.1 IP, he has 67 K which is 13 K/9. Those are definitely major league numbers. He is keeping his walks down this year as well, which has created some problems for him in the past. He is putting it all together and so far has overmatched hitters in Triple-A. His ERA is 1.55 on the season. His slider is one of the nastiest in the system. Previously unranked.

15. Ian Clarkin – LHP, 6-foot-2, 186-pounds, 20 – Unfortunately I don’t have any updated information on how long he is going to be out, although I can tell you he is in Tampa rehabbing based on his twitter account. It seems like he’s getting close to a return. When he returns, hopefully his 90-94 mph fastball is intact along with his secondary offerings. He drops in ranking because he hasn’t pitched this year, but a healthy return could mean a quick return to the top 10 by the end of the season. Previous rank: 7.

16. Dustin Fowler – OF, 6-foot-0, 185-pounds, LHB, 19 – Fowler is in the same boat as Tyler Wade as someone who has greatly increased his stock this season. Fowler is a similar player to Jake Cave but with more power, and maybe more speed too. He has hit the ball amazingly well this season with .308/.349/.405/.754 slash, four homeruns, four triples, and 11 doubles in Low-A and High-A. In 81 games, he has a career high 27 stolen bases as well. He was promoted to High-A recently and has flourished there, hitting .313 already. With his athleticism, there’s no telling where his ceiling lies. Previous rank: 26

17. Gabriel Encinas – RHP, 6-foot-3, 195-pounds, 23 years old – At 23 years old, Encinas is definitely getting a bit long in the tooth. On the other hand, he was a long term project when he was drafted and is just now realizing his full potential after Tommy John Surgery. This season he is really coming into his own in High-A Tampa, where he boasts a 3.47 ERA and 69 K : 32 BB in 57.0 innings. His walk rate is still too high, but he is striking everyone out. He clearly has excellent stuff and if he can drop that walk rate he could be a major force. He’ll range from 92-96 mph and has good secondary offerings. He still has a high ceiling with his stuff but he will have to clean up his act with the walks soon. Previous rank: 49.

18. Domingo Acevedo – RHP, 6-foot-7, 190-pounds, 21 years old – Acevedo turned 21 this year, and started the season in Charleston. There, he quickly got injured and then was sent to extended spring training until the start of the Staten Island season. So far in Staten Island, he had 11 K in 11.1 IP over three starts. Looks like he’ll have to wait for next season for his true breakout year, but scouts have already been impressed with his stuff in the New York-Penn League. So far he has a 2.77 ERA but we should have some more meaningful numbers by the end of the season. Previous rank: 28

19. Luis Torrens – C, 6-foot-0, 175-pounds, RHB, 19 – Unfortunately for Torrens, he tore his labrum in his throwing shoulder this season. That is a tough injury to come back from, and there’s no telling if his arm will ever be the same. It shouldn’t affect his bat too much though, and for that reason he does not slide too much on this list. He’s still got a world of potential and only time will tell if he will still develop like everyone originally expected him too. See ya next year Torrens. Previous rank: 9.

20. Abiatal Avelino – SS, 5-foot-11, 186-pounds, RHB, 20 – Avelino has quietly put together a solid season this year after missing a good portion of last season. The most important thing is that he is getting a ton of reps, which is often all a player of his talent level needs. This season he has a .245/.301/.329/.630 with three homers and 37 stolen bases. He’s missed the past several games, but just before that he had a five game hit streak going with four multi-hit games. Hopefully he hits the ground running when he is able to return. Previous rank: 17

21. Ramon Flores – OF/1B, 5-foot-10, 170-pounds, LHB, 23 – Flores has been a pleasant surprise this season, much like Slade Heathcott and Mason Williams. He has seven homeruns in 65 minor league games. He has produced a .291/.380/.430/.811 quad slash so far this year. He’s a small guy, and doesn’t project to have much power. That said, he is a smart player, a solid fielder, and has an excellent hit tool and patience at the plate. He may never be more than a fourth outfielder, but he’s a pretty safe bet to at least hit that floor. If he develops some more power he could be a starting outfielder somewhere. It’s worth noting that if you project his current homerun total over a 160 game schedule, he would hit 18 homeruns this season. Previous rank: 34

22. Kyle Holder – SS, 6-foot-1, 185-pounds, LHB, 21 – This is the lowest I’ve ever ranked a first round draft pick by the Yankees right after the draft. I have nothing against Holder, and I think it’s great that he is one of the best defenders in the entire class. Ali Castillo and Cito Culver, however, are top notch defenders. Unfortunately neither of them are regarded as top prospects because they cannot hit. I am worried that Kyle Holder will be the same kind of player. He seems quite athletic so I hope the Yankees can help him out with his swing, but I am not nearly as optimistic as they are. I have to be honest this pick seems like Cito Culver all over again. I have been wrong many times before though so I’m hoping the Yankees saw something I don’t in him.

23. Slade Heathcott – CF, 6-foot-1, 190-pounds, LHB – This season has been a microcosm of Slade Heathcott’s entire career. He was off to a scalding start, batting .285/.335/.358/.693, and even got a chance to play in the majors. Then, after tearing it up for six games, he got injured again and is now on the 60-day DL. Maddeningly frustrating. He still has a lot of talent and could be a starting outfielder if he can ever stay healthy. Previously unranked (because he was an unsigned free agent at the time of the rankings)

24. Mason Williams – OF, 6-foot-1, 180-pounds, 23 – Williams wasn’t doing anything spectacular this year, but he got back to doing what he does best. Making contact and using his wheels when he is on base. He even showed some power while he was up for the major league team, but much like Heathcott he succumbed to injury and is now on the 60-day DL. It’s been a tough few years for Mason Williams and it’s not going to get any easier when he gets back. Only time will tell if he’ll take the bull by the horns on his return. Previous rank: 48

25. James Pazos – LHP, RP, 6-foot-3, 230-pounds, 24 – Pazos is a big kid and has a funky left handed delivery. Don’t mistake him for a lefty specialist though. He is a late inning threat. He hits mid 90’s with his fastball and has a sweeping slider. In 25 IP this season he has 27 K and a 1.80 ERA. Right handers have hit .140 against him and lefties have hit .194. He has just a 1.9 BB/9 walk rate. The Yankees have a lot of lefty relievers in the majors right now, so it’s not exactly a need. That said, if it ever becomes a need he is looking ready to make an impact. Previous rank: 22

26. Jonathan Holder – RHP, 6-foot-2, 235-pounds, 22 – Holder was the Yankees’ sixth round draft pick last season and so far he is looking like an absolute steal. It appeared when he was drafted he would be in the bullpen as he was a closer in college, but the Yankees liked his repertoire so they left him in the rotation. He hasn’t looked back. He has shown an excellent mix of pitches since his arrival. He throws a low 90’s fastball, a curveball which he has mastered and can throw in different ways. He also throws a cutter and a changeup which he has already turned into effective pitches. His stats have been fantastic this year. He has 76.2 IP with 63 K and a 2.35 ERA in 14 starts. He has just a 1.2 BB/9. He’s already in High-A Tampa and has the looks of a fast mover going forward. He’s currently rehabbing from a minor injury in the GCL but will return to High-A Tampa within the next week. Righties hit just .247 against him, and lefties have hit .202. Previously unranked.

27. Miguel Andujar – 3B, 6-foot-0, 175-pounds, RHB, 20 – Andujar has had a tough season. He started off well and then hit a hard slump. He is showing signs of life though, as he is 4/13 in his last four games. He has all the talent in the world though and at just 20 years old in high-a, I have no doubts that he will turn it around. Depending on how he finishes the season, he could still be way higher on this countdown. He has power, a decent hit tool, and is a sure thing to stick at third. The same can’t be said of Eric Jagielo. Previous rank: 11

28. Tyler Austin – RF/3B/1B, 6-foot-1, 220-pounds, RHB, 23 – With the way Tyler Austin finished the season last year and tore up the AFL, it seemed like he was primed to break out. Unfortunately he has done the opposite and regressed. He is looking overmatched in Triple A, with a .222/.286/.301/.587 slash and 70 K in 61 games. He has just four homeruns and seven doubles. He really needs to turn it around in the second half before he gets passed by some of the big name outfielders coming up behind him. His stock has fallen quite a bit and it’s looking unlikely that he will ever reach his potential. Previous ranking: 11.

29. Jordan Montgomery – LHP, SP, 6-foot-4, 225-pounds, 22 years old – Much like Holder, Jordan Montgomery has made the Yankees look really good when they selected him in the fourth round of the draft last season. He too has rapidly ascended to High-A where he is excelling. He has 91.1 IP this season with 90 K and 21 BB. He sports a 3.05 ERA. He sits above 90 on his fastball, which is more than enough for a lefty. His secondary offerings are solid average. He’s another one who appears to be a fast mover and as a college draftee his true challenge will be when he reaches the upper minors. Previously unranked.

30. Jeff Degano – LHP, 6-foot-4, 200-pounds, 22 – He was a pop up guy late in the draft season and ended up being drafted in the second round by the Yankees. He missed almost two seasons due to Tommy John Surgery and came back this season. He had 126 K in 99 IP this season. He has a 90-94 mph fastball, a plus 78-82 mph slurve which he can vary at will. He has a fringy changeup which Gil Patterson hopes to help him improve. He is a guy who still has some upside left and definitely has the stuff to compete. We’ll see what the Yankees can mold this ball of clay into.

31. Drew Finley – RHP, 6-foot-3, 200-pounds, 19 – The son of a Dodger’s scout, Finley is a big bodied, projectable kid. He has a 12-6 curveball and an 88-91 mph fastball. He also throws a changeup, which is pretty impressive at his stage. Yankees managed to get him in the third round, which by all accounts was a steal. He has had a rocky start to his career so far, with 12.1 innings pitched and an 8.76 ERA and six walks. He has struck out 13 though. Anyway, he’s another promising young kid who could develop into something more.

32. Carlos Vidal – CF, 5-foot-11, 160-pounds, LHB, 19 – Vidal tore up the DSL last year and probably would have come to the USA with a lot more fanfare if it wasn’t for the huge international free agent signing spree the Yankees went on last season. He has continued his success in Pulaski this year. He has drawn comparisons to Ramon Flores with much more speed and less power. He’s an above average runner, not quite plus, and has great patience. His best tool is his hit tool, which allows him to barrel the baseball and hit line drives. He currently has a .296/.361/.490/.851 slash with four homeruns and seven steals in 24 games. He’s going to be a guy to watch going forward although his tools don’t jump off the page at you.

33. Hoy Jun Park – SS, 6-foot-1, 175-pounds, LHB, 19 – The third Pulaski Yankee on this list, Park is the farthest along already of the 2014 international free agent class. The Yankees started him in Pulaski because of how advanced he is. He is a plus defender and appears to have good bat control. So far he has been up for the challenge, with a respectable .265/.361/.434/.795 slash. He has two homeruns and eight stolen bases. He has good speed. He has a line drive swing and is capable of leaving the yard if he runs into one. He has the tools to be a starting shortstop in the majors, and the Yankees are hopeful he will fulfill that potential.

34. Austin DeCarr – RHP, 6-foot-3, 218-pounds, 20 – The Yankees picked up DeCarr in the third round last year. In what appears to be a rite of passage for Yankees pitchers, DeCarr needed Tommy John Surgery this year. He’ll be back next year. He pitched in 23.1 innings last year in the GCL and struck out 24 while walking seven. He had a .222 average against and a 4.63 ERA. He has a fastball which has reached the mid-90’s in the past, and throws a hard curveball and a developing changeup. Tommy John Surgery often allows people to develop their changeup, so maybe that will work for DeCarr. Previous rank: 16

35. Domingo German – RHP, 6-foot-2, 175-pounds, 22 – German is a three pitch guy who currently projects as a late inning reliever but may develop into more if he continues to fill out. He came over late in the offseason in the Nathan Eovaldi deal, and it didn’t take him long to become a true Yankees pitching prospect. By that I mean he needed Tommy John Surgery. He’ll miss the entire season. That said, last season he threw 123.1 IP and had 113 K and a 2.48 ERA with just 25 walks. He sits in the 92 mph range with his fastball as a starter, and throws two different types of sliders. The fastball plays up to 94-95 in relief. He has a developing changeup, which again may see an improvement on his return from Tommy John. Brian Cashman referred to him as “another lottery ticket” and that’s just what he is. The Yankees hope they can cash in a big reward on this one.

36. Tyler Webb – LHP, RP, 6-foot-6, 225-pounds, 25 – He’ll sit 90-94 mph with his fastball, and gets a ton of movement. He also has better control than Lindgren at this stage, although he is three years older. He throws a curveball as well and is not afraid to go inside on both righties and lefties. He also throws a show me changeup which he is working on. He’s about as major league ready as they come, so don’t be surprised if he is in the mix later this season. This year he’s been very effective, with 41:11 K:BB in 38.0 IP. He has a 2.84 ERA. Previous rank: 25

37. Cale Coshow – RHP, 6-foot-5, 260-pounds, 23 – Coshow went off the grid for a while but now he’s back on the prospect map. He went out and got in shape this offseason, and is now throwing the ball 94-95 mph with regularity, and was even hitting 98 mph in relief earlier this season. He has since been moved to the starting rotation in Tampa, where he has flourished. He has a plus fastball and a good slider. He’s working hard on his cutter and changeup. This year he has been one of the major sleepers in the system. He has thrown 65 innings so far, with 63 K, 13 BB, and just a 2.08 ERA. Since being moved to the starting rotation, he has 31 innings, 30 K, and a 2.25 ERA. It’s looking like he’s the real deal, and I’m excited to see what he can do the rest of the season. At this point he is at least a late-inning reliever.

38. Chaz Hebert – LHP, SP, 6-foot-2, 180-pounds, 22 – His fastball is up to 92 mph now, and he has a number of pitches in his arsenal. His best secondary pitch is his changeup, but his curveball is coming along and he is now throwing a two-seamer and a cutter as well. His performance this year has been impressive. He has 94.0 IP, 73 K, 26 BB, and a .249 average against with a 3.26 ERA. He is becoming a reliable pitcher for Tampa this year, and has let up one run or last in all of his last five appearances. He’s turning into a nice prospect, and one that will start getting more attention if he keeps up his current level of success. Previous rank: 40

39. Leonardo Molina – OF, 6-foot-2, 180-pounds, RHB, 17 – Molina is a guy with the tools to be a star if everything works out in his favor. He has plus bat speed, high baseball IQ, power, and above average speed. He has a plus arm in the outfield and the speed to stick in CF. The only thing missing so far has been the performance, but keep in mind he’s only 17. He has a .260/.304/.301/.605 slash this season, which is greatly improved from last season. Look out though, because in his last eight games he is 9/28 with five walks and two doubles. He seems to be on the verge of breaking out. He’s batting .321/.424/.393/.817 in those eight games. He could become a big time prospect as soon as next season. Previous rank: 41

40. Drew Bridges – 3B, 6-foot-4, 230-pounds, LHB, 20 – He’s the biggest third baseman in the system, and also has the best power potential of any of them. He’s already shown some of that power in Staten Island this season, where he has hit .250/.353/.421/.784. He has struck out 24 times in 24 games, which is expected with a big, tall, power hitter like him. He also has good plate discipline though, and three homeruns at this point in the season. The major concern about Bridges is that he may not be able to stick at third base. That probably won’t matter though, as his bat may carry him up the ladder even if he can’t stick at third. He started off hot in SI and then slumped for a while. How he responds during the second half of the season will be telling going forward. Previously unranked.

41. Thairo Estrada – SS/2B, 5-foot-10, 155-pounds, RHB, 19 – Still just 19 years old, Estrada is showing what he can do in Staten Island right now. He is an excellent fielding shortstop and second baseman, and has a knack for making good contact, with good patience. He has a .304/.379/.457/.835 line with two homeruns and eight doubles already this season. He has just 12 K and has stolen three bases. In a system that is loaded with lower level shortstops, he has his work cut out for him. On the other hand, he has shown he has the talent to be one of the best. Estrada is going to be a fun guy to watch going forward. I can’t wait to see him in the full season leagues. Previously unranked.

42. Jose Pirela – 2B, 5-foot-11, 210-pounds, RHB, 25 – Pirela lost a bit of his prospect shine this year when he got called up for the Yankees and didn’t do much, but I still think he is a major league utility man. Depending on how things shake out he may get his opportunity next year when Garrett Jones and Stephen Drew leave. He has been really good in the minors this year, with a .301/.357/.456/.813 line. Previous rank: 32

43. Branden Pinder – RHP, RP, 6-foot-3, 225-pounds, 26 – Pinder has already shown that he can help now. He threw 10.2 effective major league innings this season. He has also been pretty good in Triple-A, with 29.0 IP, 30 K, and a 3.41 ERA. It’s a crowded bullpen right now but they are in need of righties and if Pinder puts together a run of strong appearances he will put himself in the front of the line. He’s got a mid-90’s fastball and a sick slider. Previously unranked.

44. Dan Burawa – RHP, RP, 6-foot-2, 210-pounds, 26 – He came up to the majors and got rocked a few weeks ago in his one appearance, but he didn’t let it get him down. In the minors he has been good this season, with 49.1 IP, 39 K, 21 BB, and a 2.55 ERA. He has and upper 90’s fastball and a good slider. He’s another one who could put himself to the front of the line with a run of strong appearances. Previously unranked.

45. Josh Rogers – LHP, 6-foot-3, 200-pounds, 21 – He reminds me a lot of Jordan Montgomery from last year’s draft, and look at where he is now. Rogers has an 87-91 mph fastball and an excellent slider with great control. He’s the kind of guy who climbs the ladder fast. He also appears to have more left in the tank. The Yankees got him in the 11th round, but it sounds like he fell due to signability concerns. The Yankees managed to sign him anyway. He could end up being a middle round gem for them.

46. Dan Camarena – LHP, 6-foot-0, 200-pounds, 23 years old – Camarena went down with a still unknown injury this year before the season started. He still hasn’t pitched. Last year he pitched really well and finished the season with a 3.4 ERA and 112 K in 143 innings. He was poised to start the season in Trenton before he went down with injury. A high 80’s, low 90’s guy with strong secondary offerings, he’s a complete wait and see proposition after the injury. Previous rank: 20.

47. Nestor Cortes LHP, SP, 5-foot-11, 190-pounds, 20 years old – Very similar to Camarena except younger and not injured, Cortes is another upper 80’s lefty with pinpoint control and good secondary offerings and excellent performance. He has a 0.92 ERA in 29.1 IP this season, and has struck out 30 while walking just two. Previously unranked.

48. Wilkerman Garcia – SS, 6-foot-0, 176-pounds, SH, 17 – With what Garcia has been able to do as a 17 year old so far in the GCL, I have come away impressed. Looking at the scouting report he’s a slick fielding shortstop with a good contact tool and above average speed for the position. He has hit .324/.452/.441/.894 this season stateside and has seven walks in 10 games. He’s already showing plus plate discipline, especially for a 17 year old. It won’t be long before he’s garnering a ton of attention, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was a fast mover in this system.

49. Nick Rumbelow – – RHP, RP, 6-foot-0, 190-pounds, 23 – Rumbelow has had a disappointing year so far, but he did look good in his brief appearance with the major league team. In 39.1 innings so far this season, he has a 4.58 ERA and 45 K with nine walks. Really though taking away two recent horrific performances, he has been great. They happened to coincide with his demotion from the major leagues. Maybe he was a bit distracted or upset about the demotion. We will never know. Anyway I haven’t lost faith and I think he will rebound. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t have a long career as a reliever in the majors. Previous rank: 23

50. Jose Campos – RHP, 6-foot-4, 195-pounds, 22 – Campos finally returned from Tommy John surgery after missing half of 2013 and all of 2014. He’s still shaking off the rust and trying to regain his control, but he’s had some really good games and is showing signs that he may be close to the old Campos. If he is able to finish out the season strong he could be a fast mover going forward, and might end up back on the prospect map. He is a free agent after this season, so the Yankees will either have to resign him or put him on the 40 man roster. Previously unranked (because he was a free agent when the rankings were made).

This year it was again really hard to cut it off at 50. There were about 40 players who received consideration for spots 40-50 and did not make the cut. I will be making a not top 50 article shortly highlighting some of these guys. Feel free to weigh in on who you think should have made the cut, and I will probably not disagree with you.


31 thoughts on “Yankees Top 50 Prospects: Post 2015 Draft

  • semser

    Although he hasn't pitched in forever, Hensley is a super deep sleeper, I'd have stuck him at 49 just because he could go nova next year.

    • gcorcoran

      He absolutely could. I wrestled with putting him on the list. I ultimately decided not to because he has literally proven nothing yet in his career except that he is an injury disaster. I have no idea what his stuff is going to look like after all of the surgeries he's had and all of the development time he has lost.

  • hotdog

    great work Greg…i just scanned the top 10 and will take a longer look soon…thanks….David

  • tom

    I have no time to read this article but I used the control F to detect Bryan Mitchell. Not Cool! :{

      • tom

        Technically, Heathcott and Williams should not be on the list.

        Love that you had hyperlink set up for Tommy John.

        • gcorcoran

          Tom, people who played in the majors this year are still eligible for the midseason list. If they played last year in anything more than a September call up the arest not eligible.

    • gcorcoran

      Hey Joe, I won't disagree with you on Gilliam and Sands. If they continue what they're doing in the GCL right now they will probably be top 50 by the end of the season. They might even deserve to be right now. I haven't seen enough to say. My thoughts were that both slipped too far in the draft to be in that arena over more proven guys

    • gcorcoran

      Sorry, forgot to mention Gomez. I don't put dsl players on these lists. They are stateside players only. Dsl is a step above high school and a step below college. Impossible to judge anything by what players are doing over there

  • Texas Yankee

    Great work. This is a hard thing to rank 17-21 year old kids still maturing. I enjoyed this.

  • tom

    Greg,

    1) Since you mentioned Lail reaching mid-90, Which is the most frequent? What is his highest radar?

    2) About Encinas, how ready is he for MLB level next season? I ask because he is due for Rule 5 Draft this winter. I would add him and clear out a bunch of relievers but Cashman loves to pile up relievers.

    3) Love those absolute positions for Heathcott and Williams.

    As usual, nice work.

    • gcorcoran

      Lil has hit 96 before, but sits 92 to 94.

      Encinas is not quite major league ready next year, but he might be if you threw him in relief. If the Yankees don't protect him he is absolutely at risk to be taken.

  • scooter10

    Nice list and appreciate your thoughts on each player. Some guys I expected to see in the Top 50 or who will probably be in the next pool of prospects. In addition to some of the younger guys (D.Garica, De Leon, Gomes, Gilliam) and injured (Hensley) here four more to consider.

    3B Miguel Andujar – having a subpar season at Tampa and will probably need to repeat, but at 20 years with good power is an intriguing prospect.

    2B Tony Renda – I think he was in the top 20 prospects of MLB's ranking for the Nats. At 24 and in AA, definately not a top flight prospect but has a lifetime .365 OBP in the minors. Might be worth consideration as a middle infielder.

    RHP Jaron Long – had a great 2014, going 12-5 across three levels. Struggled a bit at Scranton and also at Trenton. Will be 24 next month so needs to finish this year strong.

    RHP Jordan Foley – 5th round draft pick in 2014 has 92 strikeouts in 89 innings with a 3.74 ERA split primarily between Staten Island and Charleston. Did have a 6 inning, 3 run spot start for Scranton.

    • gcorcoran

      after some consideration, I have decided to put Miguel Andujar in Austin Aune’s spot. Aune will go on the not top 50 for sure though. In fact, Andujar has to be in the top 30 here. Thank you for reminding me.

  • gcorcoran

    All four of the guys you mentioned above received consideration. The hardest omission was Andujar, who should be on this list somewhere. I'm hoping he turns it around this season. Foley cam close too. I need to see more consistency from him though. Jaron Long is a guy who lacks velocity and stuff, but has been able to get people out so far. Those kind of players need to show continued success to be considered for ranking in the top 50. Garcia, de leon, and garcia have not played stateside yet so they are not eligible. Gilliam I mentioned above I have not seen enough of him but I wouldn't be surprised if he is top 50 by the end of the year. Great comment though.

  • tom

    Thanks for previous comments.

    One more question. Mike Axisa wrote up for cbs sports and said Severino touched 100 mph. Do you confirm this?

  • hotdog

    Should be interesting to see what they do with Sanchez if he makes the grade at AAA…if he comes up in 2016, I'd imagine he could be our backup catcher…Tex has one more season with the Yankees and we've heard that McCann could shift to 1st base…

    • gcorcoran

      There's a ton of great prospects in AAA right now. Judge, Sanchez, Severino, Bird, Lindgren, Refsnyder. Right now almost every position is covered by a top prospect in case of injury at the ML level

  • hotdog

    Didn't see Eric Ruth on this list…he's 24 and was recently promoted to AAA…he's having a very good year…does he have what it takes to pitch in the majors?

    • gcorcoran

      He's the Jaron Long of this year. Similar stuff, but it's working. This is his first successful season so a guy like him still has a lot to prove. He's anot her wait and see kind of guy.

  • Joe

    Greg,
    The thing that impresses me most about Sands is the walks he is taking. Seems like he has a plan.

    Thanks for the response above. I agree with not ranking the DSL guys but Gomez hit his 10th hr today. I am hoping he comes to the GCL for a month.

    Thanks again

    • gcorcoran

      yup, I have no doubt that if Gomez was stateside right now he'd be in the top 50. Sands was ever so close. I'd be surprised if he wasn't on my list by the end of the year.

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