Yankees Prospects: The 2018 All-homegrown Yankees

aaron judge

Now becoming a yearly tradition, the all prospect Yankees is an assessment of what the Yankees’ team would look like if they let all of their big contracts from non-homegrown players expire in the next three seasons and traded the ones that didn’t. Instead they would go with internal options only, and develop the team completely from within. In this hypothetical, completely unrealistic scenario, the Yankees would trot out a team of only homegrown players.

Here is how I think it would break down at each position.

Catcher: Gary Sanchez – With Brian McCann out of the picture, there’s a clear path to the majors for Sanchez. People will quickly realize his defense is actually legit, and he has the potential to be a top 5 offensive catcher in the league. In 2018, he will hit .275/.344/.450/.794 with 22 homeruns at the age of 25. Luis Torrens will be coming up behind him at this point and might give him a run for his money, but that remains to be seen.

Backup Catcher: John Ryan Murphy – By this time JR Murphy has become a staple for the Yankees. He’ll continue to do his thing as the backup catcher. He’ll even developed some power and is good for 5-6 homeruns per year with his .284/.355/.396/.751 line in the 40 or so games he plays. He could start for most teams.

First Baseman: Greg Bird – With Teixeira’s contract finally coming off the books, it will be Greg Bird’s time to shine. He plays a decent first base and can really swing the bat. He has great patience and average power for a first baseman. He’ll hit .265/.345/.470/.815 with 25 homeruns this season and the Yankees will be happy they stuck with him here. Coming up behind him will be Drew Bridges who had to switch positions due to mobility issues. Don’t write off Bo Thompson though, because he is also making his way through the system and has hit all the way up.

Second Baseman: Rob Refsnyder – It seemed like the Yankees were never going to give Refsnyder a real opportunity, but they did. When Drew’s contract expires, the Yankees give Refsnyder the job at second base. He couldn’t be much worse than Drew was right? Refsnyder is a leader on the field. He hits for average and gets on base. His quad slash will be .325/.385/.425/.810 with 12 homeruns. He plays an above average second base, where his bat plays up. Abiatal Avelino is dying to steal his job as he sits in Triple-A biding his time.

Shortstop: Jorge Mateo – Mateo has been waiting for this opportunity for what seems like forever, but Gregorius is finally out of the picture. He took over in 2018 and hasn’t looked back. He hits for a decent average and for above average power for a shortstop. He settles in with 8 homeruns and a .260/.310/.385/.695 slash in his first season, but steals 60 bases. The Yankees expect big things from him going forward and those numbers will only improve.

Third Base: Miguel Andujar – Many will be surprised that Eric Jagielo did not fill this spot, but he just couldn’t hack it at third base as a regular. Andujar will be the model of consistency at third, and coming around with the bat as well. Much like he did in his whole career in the minors, Andujar got off to a slow start. He hit .220 for the first half of the season. Then in the second half he explodes. He brings his average to .270 by the end of the season and starts showing the power the Yankees dreamed of. He hits 13 home runs on the season, and finishes with a .270/.330/.420/.750 line, not bad for a rookie.

Left Field: Brett Gardner – The Yankees re-sign Gardner again after the 2017 season and he vows to retire a Yankee. He continues to put up solid numbers, although his stolen base totals continue to decline. He hits for average, is a solid base runner and above average fielder, and hits you 15-20 home runs per season. He’s the veteran of the team in the field.

Center Field: This one is challenging, but I’m gonna cop out here and say that either Slade Heathcott or Mason Williams will be in center, whoever stays healthier. The Yankees trade Jacoby Ellsbury and Heathcott/Williams take over. The offensive numbers aren’t overwhelming, but they are hitting for a good average and slightly below average power in center. They steal a base every now and then too. Whoever wins this job finishes the season .257/.320/.365/.685 with 15 stolen bases. The Yankees are looking to replace the center fielder and Dustin Fowler is coming up fast, look out.

Right Field: Aaron Judge – Judge has been the starter here for three seasons now, and he makes his first all-star team in 2018. He hits 28 homers, and bats .280/.395/.475/.870. He plays a solid right field and bats in the four hole for the Yankees. He’s their biggest star.

DH: Eric Jagielo – Jagielo couldn’t cut it as a third baseman, and Bird blocked him at first, so the Yankees have him DHing in 2018. He is useful though because he can back up third in a pinch, and can also back up Bird at first. He hits 30 HR with a .245/.340/.467 slash line in 2018.

IF: Tyler Wade – Wade is the backup middle infielder and plays well in this role. He gets a fair amount of playing time against righties and often gives Mateo or Refsnyder a game off on those days. He is excellent in the field and average with the bat. The Yankees couldn’t ask for a better backup.

OF: Ben Gamel – Gamel has been the fourth outfielder for several years now. He is well liked by coaches and he puts in the hard work day in and day out. Many think he could start somewhere else, and some are even saying he will replace Brett Gardner in left field when he leaves.

OF: Jake Cave – He had a rough year in 2015, but everyone knew he could hit, and he proved that in 2016. He most recently played in Triple-A in 2017, where he raked to the point where the Yankees had to call him up. He had nothing left to prove at that level. Now he is biding his time and hoping to earn more playing time.

Pitching Rotation

SP1: Masahiro Tanaka – Technically he’s only played for the Yankees and no other team, so that makes him homegrown. He has elbow surgery in the 2015 offseason and returns in 2017 to be the ace of the team. 2018 is another strong year for Tanaka, where he pitches to a 2.87 ERA and wins 15 games.

SP2: Luis Severino – Severino continues to be one of the best number two pitchers in the league. He actually has a better ERA than Tanaka, with a 2.5 ERA, but he doesn’t throw as many innings which makes most refer to Tanaka as the ace.

SP3: Ivan Nova – Nova is still the veteran of the staff for the Yankees, and he continues to be effective now that he is completely healthy. He throws 200 plus innings this season and has a 3.33 ERA.

SP4: Rookie Davis – The Yankees are impressed with Davis’ stuff and he has done nothing but get guys out for the past two seasons. They finally call him up midseason in 2017 and he shines. Since then he has been the fourth starter for the Yankees and has pitched to a 3.5 ERA.

SP5: Brady Lail – Lail takes another big step forward while in Triple-A, and learns a strike out pitch to go along with his tradition of inducing weak contact. He has a tendency to let the ball leave the yard though, and ends up with a 4.1 ERA on the season. The Yankees are optimistic due to his youth, however, that he will be even better next season.

James Kaprielian is knocking on the door to the majors, so Lail might not be in the most secure position at this point.

Closer: Dellin BetancesAndrew Miller leaves and Betances becomes the incumbent. He starts closing games and in 2018 completely dominates the competition. He gets 40 saves and finishes the season with a 1.86 ERA.

Setup: Jacob Lindgren – Lindgren also finally gets healthy and he figures out quickly how to get major leaguers out. He earns his nickname, “the strikeout factory.” He finishes the season with a 1.5 ERA and many are saying he is the closer of the future.

RP3: Nick Goody – Goody takes over as the seventh inning guy and never looks back. He gets 15 K/9 innings and has a 2.3 ERA. He is a huge part of an all homegrown, dominant bullpen.

RP4: Bryan Mitchell – Mitchell never could quite cut it as a starter and thus was relegated to the bullpen. There he excels and becomes a staple in New York. He pitches to a 3.01 ERA and often strikes out the side. He gets the Yankees out of a lot of sticky situations.

RP5: James Pazos – Pazos continues to get run as the lefty specialist, but he can also get righties out. He holds opponents to a .195 average against, and has a 3.25 ERA.

RP6: Adam Warren – Warren is the swing man. He gives the Yankees a spot start when they need it, and he gives them 3-4 innings when they need it. He actually gets the team 10 wins on the season, and pitches to a 3.34 ERA.

RP7: Cale Coshow – The Yankees move him back to the bullpen, where he now hits 98 mph with his fastball. He is a work in progress but the Yankees like where he is going, so they keep him here. He pitches to a 3.5 ERA in what ends up being mostly mop up duty.


1. Jorge Mateo, SS
2. Rob Refsndyer, 2B
3. Brett Gardner, LF
4. Aaron Judge, RF
5. Greg Bird, 1B
6. Eric Jagielo, DH
7. Gary Sanchez, C
8. Miguel Andujar, 3B
9. Slade Heathcott/Mason Williams, CF

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23 Responses to Yankees Prospects: The 2018 All-homegrown Yankees

  1. tom says:

    I would not re-sign Gardner to bat 3rd. He is not that good. Bird is much ideal for that spot with Heathcott manning LF.

    Miller won't become a FA until after 2018 season. That hurts. lol.

    I could let Warren walk and count on Lail as a swing man with Kaprielian in the rotation. Yankees could opt Domingo Acevedo or Jose Mesa instead of Nova.

    Kaprielian could be seen action in AAA next year. That means he could get enough experience in MLB before 2018 season. Unless he is another Ian Kennedy, he could be a lock for top 3 starter. Davis and Acevedo/Mesa as back end rotation is hotter than Charlotte McKinney.

    Well, it is one of thousand fantasies, though. Damn you, this article makes me want to fast forward to after 2017 season.

  2. Bill Tuitit says:

    I think Brian McCann is on the books through 2018.

  3. gcorcoran says:

    Hey Bill. Read the first paragraph. This is the hypothetical (i.e. not going to happen) scenario where the Yankees let all of their contracts expire and trade off the players whose contracts will still be on the books. McCann and Andrew Miller were traded for money lol.

  4. Joey Coorman says:

    You know, I think the Yankees should see how much they can get for Texiera this offseason, eating some of the contract of course…he should be able to get some good prospects…hey, who knows? Maybe Arod could get something too!

    • gcorcoran says:

      Both could, but in order to get prospects back we'd have to eat most if not all of their contracts. Whether or not that's worth it is an interesting topic.

  5. hotdog says:

    trading McCann might be the only way for Sanchez to reach the majors before 2018…with his vesting option, McCann could be a Yankee to the end of the 2019 season…i remember the thinking a while ago was to shift McCann to 1st base but with Bird coming up, they'll have to rethink that strategy although i don't know how serious they were about the shift in the first place…i would be more than ok if they traded McCann during the off-season but that would be taking a big risk on Sanchez although JR Murphy has been no slouch…i don't think we'd lose much with Murphy behind the dish, some offense but maybe not much at all…i just don't know how you bring Sanchez up and maybe it's better to name Sanchez as the regular everyday catcher from the get go…my guess is that unless the Yankees are given an offer they can't refuse, McCann will remain a Yankee through next season and Sanchez will remain at AAA to be brought up in 2017…

  6. Nunzio says:

    Just look at what the Toronto blue jays have put together on a short period of time …. This was always the Yankee blueprint Power. , Power and more Power…. Donaldson third base , Tulowitzki shortstop,Bautista right field , Encarnation first and DH, justin Smoake at first, Travis and Gomes at second base , revere right field, pillar unbelievable outfielder at Center and Russell's Martin catching ….the yankees need to score runs the tank is empty and the Jays are surging ahead , pitching picking up price was priceless and what did Cashman do sit on his hands and watch , prospects are just what they are , most never make it….. The yankees never bring them up and give them a chance, If Cashman is waiting for 2018 to come along he is just fooling the fans and the Yankee organization ,The General manager of the bluejays made Cashman look like a fool , great job bluejays you just bought your way to the post season , Cashman will be sitting on his hands waiting for 2018 to come , hopefully he will be gone sooner than that

  7. BBfromLA says:

    DiDi is going to be here for a long, long time. He's maturing before our eyes in both offense and defense.

    • hotdog says:

      that would be a huge plus…

    • gcorcoran says:

      It is sure looking like that right now. On the other hand where is the upside. He doesn't steal bases and he doesn't hit for much power. Perhaps his stock goes up and the Yankees can trade him for other assets when Mateo is ready. Mateo is that good that he could get that kind of consideration.

      • Otto says:

        who care if he does not hit for power and steal bases. He had improved his defense and hit really the only one hitting now. If he hits for a good average and plays good defense that is the job of a shortstop. With him developing maybe trade Mateo instead. With Mateo they could have gotton Kimbrel.

        • gcorcoran says:

          Actually if you trust the rumor mill the Yankees did offer Mateo for Kimbrel (which I wouldn't have done) and got rejected. Also a shortstop who hits for average and plays good defense is great. It's not going to get him to many (if any) all-star games though. Point being, it doesn't make him a star. Jorge Mateo has the potential to be a star. If he makes it to Triple-A and is still doing what he's doing now I would trade Gregorius in an instant for a reliable 2nd or 3rd starter.

  8. Pojack11 says:

    I was wondering about the possibility of Mateo being moved to second

    • Very little chance at this point. Why would you want to move him anyway? Unless Didi continues to improve slowly, a la Brett Gardner, to the point where he's an all-star it doesn't seem likely to be a huge issue. Mateo being ready for a starting gig in 2018, while certainly possible, might be optimistic.

      I see Mateo starting 2016 in High-A and eventually moving up a level, starting 2017 in Double-A and maybe moving up a level, and then in 2018 he could split time between AAA and the majors, take on a bigger role and slowly working his way toward a starting gig in 2019. He'll only be 22-years-old at the start of 2018, after all.

      BTW, Didi will be a free agent after the 2019 season. Didi will be 29 in 2019. Mateo will be 23 in 2019. Seems to me like 2020, when Mateo is 24, is his best chance at taking over full-time as the Yankees shortstop. Unless, of course, he turns out to be so good that he forces the Yankees hand before that.

      • Pojack11 says:

        The reason I would consider moving him is simple, that's the a position the Yankees have open. Doesn't seem like they are going to go with Refsnyder, that may change. In addition Didi is terrific defensively, look at his offensive numbers from May decent. Severino is only 21 and flew threw the minors most people thought they would see him 2016. Don't think a lot of people thought Greg Bird would be playing now as well. Barring injury or trade, I believe Mateo will be up before 2019. And because he plays second doesn't mean he wouldn't be the Yankees shortstop of the future, see Addison Russell.

        • Greg Corcoran says:

          I don’t see a problem with moving Mateo to second but I would wait a while to do it. Who knows what will happen with Gregorius in the coming years? He could get hurt, he could regress, and he could fall out of favor. If Mateo is in Triple-A and excelling, and Gregorius is still succeeding in the majors, then I consider moving him to second.

      • PMian says:

        Mateo has already had more than 80 AB at High-A Tampa (.321/.374/.452/.826). Barring injury, there is almost no chance he doesn't make it to Trenton for some extended ABs in 2016. Behind Mateo there are a host of middle infielders in the lower levels with great promise

  9. kencobra7 says:

    IF Didi continues as he has so far, Mateo will be moved to 2nd base. He has started to workout at 2nd already. Didi is the better defender and has a much better arm. Mateo will steal some bases because he is faster and a better all-around hitter. The differences between them are only a bit but as Didi is older and playing SS now Mateo can come up as a 2nd baseman and switch to SS if needed and do a very good job. If Didi is as good or a bit better at SS then that makes Mateo much more valuable as a 2nd baseman. There are not that many good 2nd basemen around that could or would be avalable for us to trade for that would be better.

  10. victor m.guisao says:

    Yankees will championship in 2018 world series team.?

  11. Larry says:

    Update 2016. A little perspective please. Not one of these guys are cant miss types boston has three of those right now in Moncada, benintendi and Espinosa, all of whom are now regarded as top fifteen prospects if mateo is our best prospect hes probably top 25 at best. there are at least five shortstop prospects ranked ahead of him . Heck i think the braves have two of them. When are we going to have an uber prospect. cano was signed twenty years ago

    • hotdog says:

      Cano wasn't an über prospect if you remember…before the year he joined the Yankees, he was a good prospect but not great…you could say the same thing about Jorge Posada…fact is that "can't miss" prospects often miss and good prospects occasionally become great major league ballplayers…still, i do agree with you that the farm system could use a few more guys hitting the top 100 or top 50…top 25 would be terrific but those numbers often change dramatically from April to September…if Judge bring it at AAA throughout the season, he could be a top 10 prospect or if not, out of the top 100…and I think Mateo may be moving to 2nd base…not sure though…

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