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.
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 Betances – Andrew 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