Jake Cave: Cave has been on quite the roller coaster since the offseason. He started the year off by being the second pick in the Rule 5 draft, which gave him a shot to make the Reds opening day roster. Alas, he was designated for assignment and returned to the New York Yankees. He then started the minor league season in Trenton, where he raked, hitting .288/.353/.510/.863 with three home runs in 27 games before being promoted to Triple-A. In Scranton, he has continued his success and has hit .362/.375/.723/1.098 in 12 games. He’s on pace for a great season and might prove he deserves consideration for the majors next season when Beltran leaves.
Rob Refsnyder: He was just promoted and is looking for an opportunity any way he can get it. In Tripe-A this year, he started off well. He has hit .293/.336/.398/.734 with two home runs, six doubles, and six stolen bases. At this point it’s clear he could be a starting second baseman in the majors, but just needs an opportunity.
Gary Sanchez: Sanchez has quietly started this season even hotter than last year. He’s hit .287/.331/.529/.860 with six home runs and 13 doubles so far. He is on pace to beat last year’s already impressive numbers. He’s even hotter in his last 10 games, where he is 14 for his last 42 (.333) with two home runs. He would already be starting on most major league teams right now, and is making a strong argument that he should start over Brian McCann next season, who can then play more games at first base. This just in, Sanchez had to leave last night’s game with a hand injury, hopefully x-rays are negative.
Aaron Judge: If not for a recent slump, Judge is having a solid season. He already has seven home runs and nine doubles, and is hitting .245/.308/.429/.737. He is striking out way too much so far, with 45 in just 41 games. He still has plenty of time to turn it around though and in the meantime he is still blasting balls into orbit. I expect to see him in the majors next year.
Chad Green: His first shot in the majors didn’t go as well as he had hoped, but that doesn’t mean anything. So far in Triple-A, he has pitched astonishingly well. He has thrown 37.0 innings, and struck out 36 while sporting just a 1.22 ERA and walking just 12. He has a .215 average against. I’d expect to see him back in the majors soon. Now that he’s gotten his feet wet, hopefully he’ll make the most out of his next shot.
Kyle Haynes: For now Kyle Haynes is still just the guy the Yankees got for Chris Stewart a couple of years ago. Soon he may be considered much more than that though. The Yankees switched him to a starter late last year and so far this year he has had some decent success. He has thrown 35.1 innings, struck out 22, and sports a 3.57 ERA. He needs to cut down on his walks, but keep in mind this is his first crack at starting. If he keeps it up, don’t be surprised if he gets a shot with the major league team. If nothing else, this will allow him to build up arm strength and improve his secondary pitches for when he goes back to relief.
Conor Mullee: Mullee has had a long minor league journey. Not too many guys can say they made their major league debut at 28 years old, but he did. So far this year he has really pitched well in the minors. He got a bit spooked in his first major league experience, and walked three while letting up a run in his one inning. He has been lights out in the minors so far though. In 19.1 innings, he has 25 K and a 1.4 ERA with just five walks. He’ll get another shot in the majors, it’s just a matter of when. If and when he sticks in the majors, it will be a great story.
Tyler Webb: He’s another one who has been absolutely lights out in the minors this year. He has 25 K in 17.2 innings and just a 1.53 ERA. He’s on pace to have his best season so far, and is looking to find a spot in the middle of one of the best bullpens in the majors, which is no easy task. He’ll get his opportunity somewhere at some point.
Brady Lail: Lail is one of the youngest guys on the Triple-A Roster, but he’s certainly holding his own so far. In 15.2 Triple-A innings, he has six strikeouts and a 2.87 ERA. He has uncharacteristically walked seven batters, but I expect the walk rate to improve. In my opinion he is the next in line as an Adam Warren or a David Phelps type.
James Pazos: Pazos has been a consistent force in the minors for the Yankees, and even played really well in his first taste of the majors last year. He has had continued success in Triple-A this year. He’s thrown 15.1 innings and struck out 17 while maintaining a 2.35 ERA. Unfortunately he has walked way too many guys (12), so he’s gonna have to work on his control before getting another shot in the majors.
Dietrich Enns: Enns was a 19th round pick by the Yankees and now has himself one step away from the majors as a potential starter. So far this year between Double-A and Triple-A he has thrown 46.2 innings, struck out 44, and has a 1.74 ERA. He too is walking too many right now, but he has good stuff and good velocity for a lefty, so he may be the guy who comes out of nowhere to contribute this year or next.
Mark Payton: Payton had a bit of a down year in 2015, but it wasn’t terrible. This year he has come out of the gates strong. He’s hitting .306/.406/.463/.869 with three homers, two triples and four doubles so far over two levels. His ceiling may be a fourth outfielder, but he’s getting awfully close to hitting that ceiling now.
Tyler Wade: He’s one of the youngest players in the whole league, and he’s more than holding his own. A .259/.359/.347/.706 line with one homer, two triples, and six doubles may not look that enticing, but don’t forget he’s a shortstop, and he’s only 21 in Double-A. He’s also stolen seven bases already.
Cale Coshow: Coshow seemed to come out of nowhere last year to break out. This year he is having continued success. He’s got a 3.00 ERA in 45 innings with 29 K. He is walking too many guys, with 22 BB on the season, but overall he’s putting up good numbers. He has held opposing batters to a .233 average. He has had relatively good control over his career, so I expect that the walk numbers will improve.
Ronald Herrera: Herrera is looking like a great pickup, especially considering all the Yankees had to give up was Jose Pirela. So far he’s pitched 43.1 IP with 45 K to just 13 BB and a 2.91 ERA over two levels (Double-A and Triple-A). He’s not a big guy at 5-foot-11, but he packs a punch. Having this level of success at Double-A at just 21 years old is mighty impressive.
Jordan Montgomery: The Yankees knew they were getting a bargain when they drafted Montgomery in the 4th round two years ago, but they had no idea he would become even more of a bargain. Once an upper 80’s velocity kind of pitcher, Montgomery has had an uptick and now sits low 90’s and can reach mid-90’s. His performance has backed up the uptick as well. This year so far he’s thrown 37 innings, struck out 34, walked 15 and held opponents to a .246 average. All of this while sporting an ERA of 2.19. This guy has a real future as a starter and next year he’ll be knocking at the door to the majors.
Giovanny Gallegos: He is enjoying his best season as a professional at the highest level he’s been at. In Double-A, he threw 20.2 innings of 1.74 ERA baseball, while striking out 32. He’s now been promoted to Triple-A, where he threw his first 1.2 scoreless innings recently, striking out two. He’s a guy who could become a force out of the pen with his mid-90’s heater.
Jonathan Holder: Although he was moved back to relief, Holder has not missed a beat this season in Double-A. So far between High-A and Double-A, he has 21.2 IP with 34 K, just four walks, and a 2.49 ERA. He throws hard enough to be a late inning reliever, so don’t be surprised if he’s promoted to Triple-A soon.
Mark Montgomery: Montgomery has been around for years, and he has had a lot of ups and downs in his career. His main problem has been his fastball velocity. This year he appears to have regained some of the magic, as he is again putting up video game like numbers. He has 18 K in 12.1 innings, with just a .119 average against and a 2.19 ERA so far this season. He’s now in Triple-A and is only one call away.
Billy Fleming: Fleming has been one of the biggest surprises both last year and this year. He was a non-drafted free agent pick up for the Yankees and has been rewarding the team for signing him ever since he got here. He can play any position in the infield, and has done nothing but rake since the Yankees signed him. This year has been no different. In Tampa, he is hitting .329/.398/.477/.874 with three home runs and 13 doubles. He’s still a long shot by any measure but he’s making a strong case that he should get a shot at some higher levels.
Jorge Mateo: So far he has been everything he was advertised to be and more. He is hitting .313/.369/.528/.896 with five home runs, eight triples, and four doubles. He’s stolen “only 15” bases so far this season, which is a much slower pace than last year. That still puts him on pace for 42 though. He and Gary Sanchez are in a tight race for top prospect in the system right now.
Miguel Andujar: Andujar is off to a solid start as he is repeating the High-A level. Still just 21, there is talk of promoting him to Double-A already. He’s .275/.318/.450/.768 with seven home runs, eight doubles and a triple. He has just 19 K so far in 38 games. It appears he’s ready for the next level now.
Abiatal Avelino: Avelino has been on fire. Over the past 10 games his average has gone up 50 points. On the season he’s hitting .261/.326/.379/.705 with three home runs, eight doubles and a triple. He has 12 stolen bases already. If he keeps up his recent hot play, he’ll finish the season strong. He’s yet another strong shortstop in a system that is busting at the seems with them right now.
Chance Adams: Adams is in his first season as a starter, and so far he has not disappointed. He is 3-0 with a 3.62 ERA and 43 K and just 12 BB in 37.1 innings. His last five starts have been even better, and he hasn’t let up more than two earned runs in any of them. At this rate, it won’t be long before we see him in Double-A.
Caleb Frare: Despite the fact that he was so successful last season as a reliever, the Yankees elected to keep him in the bullpen. This was probably a result of the astounding depth they have in starting pitchers at this level. Regardless, the results of keeping him as a reliever have been unreal. He still hasn’t let up an earned run in 20 innings, and has 24 K. Although he has 11 BB already, he also has a .113 average against. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets moved to the rotation at some point during the season.
Dillon McNamara: He’s been one of the bigger surprises on the farm so far, with 20.1 IP and 24 K with a 1.33 ERA so far. He began his career in relief last season, and is performing better at higher levels now. He has been promoted to Double-A, so we’ll see if he can cut it at the next level.
Brody Koerner: Converted to a starter this season, he has adjusted well to the new role. He was quickly promoted to Tampa, where he has continued to pitch well. He hasn’t pitched since May 3rd, and I haven’t heard yet what the issue is. So far this season though, he has 34 innings pitched, 29 K, and a 1.85 ERA, with just five walks and a .179 average against. So far so good with the starting experiment.
James Reeves: Another pleasant surprise in the system, Reeves has thrived in his relief role this season. Over two levels (Low-A and then High-A), he has 22 IP, 38 K, a .097 average against, and a 2.45 ERA. He does have nine walks already so he’ll have to work on his control, but he’s been pretty unhittable when throwing strikes.
Kyle Holder: Count me amongst Kyle Holder’s many doubters when they drafted him last season. So far this year though, he is proving that he belongs and can excel. He has a .300/.340/.370/.710 quad slash and is 14 for his last 35 (.400). Looks like the Yankees may have seen something in him the rest of us missed.
Thairo Estrada: He is still just 20 years old and was recently promoted to High-A. So far, he is .286/.324/.429/.753 on the season with five home runs, three doubles, a triple, and 11 SB. These are phenomenal numbers for a 20 year old shortstop in Low-A. He has me extremely excited about his future prospects.
Leonardo Molina: Molina was recently promoted from extended spring training and has excelled so far. He has a .283/.320/.435/.755 slash with one homerun and four doubles in 14 games so far. He’s off to a good start and we already know he has excellent tools. Sky’s the limit for this 18 year old.
Trey Amburgey: He currently resides on the DL, but before he went on he was .281/.347/.500/.847 with a home run, seven doubles, two triples, and seven stolen bases in just 16 games. I am unsure what his injury was but hopefully he’ll be back soon.
Chris Gittens: After a slow start, Gittens has really kicked into gear. His line is up to .256/.385/.442/.827 and climbing, with five home runs and nine doubles. He has the potential to be an absolute monster.
Connor Spencer: He’s another who has been on fire after a slow start. He is 12 for his last 37 (.324) with two homeruns in his last 10 games. On the season he has four home runs and six doubles.
Domingo Acevedo: He has been on the DL since early May, but so far he has been as dominant as advertised to start the season. He has 37 K in 33.1 IP and a 2.43 ERA and just five walks. Once he returns I expect more of the same and some frequent promotions mixed in.
Cody Carroll: Yet another reliever turned starter, and yet another huge surprise so far. He’s thrown 33.1 innings, struck out 36, and has a 2.7 ERA. Time will tell if he can turn into a quality prospect. I still don’t know much about his stuff.
Christian Morris: Speaking of late round relievers who are being tried as starters and are huge surprises so far, Morris is in the same boat. He has five starts, 21 K in 24.1 innings, and a 1.48 ERA so far. Ditto on what the stuff looks like this year.
Daris Vargas: Vargas made the jump all the way from the GCL to Charleston this year, and he’s been incredibly successful in doing so. He’s got 31 K in 32.1 innings, a 2.23 ERA, and a .214 average against. He still needs to cut down on the walks, as he already has 15.
Yefrey Ramirez: The Yankees picked Ramirez up off waivers this year, and obviously they like something about him because they put him in Charleston. There, he has had pretty good success, with a 3.47 ERA and 24 K in 23.1 IP so far. I’m intrigued to learn more about this kid.
Josh Rogers: Rogers has struggled a bit in his first taste of High-A, but he’s there because he played so well in Low-A. Overall on the season, he has a 3.15 ERA in 45.2 IP and 43 K. Word is he is an extremely polished pitcher already.
Nestor Cortes: He’s done nothing but perform since being drafted by the Yankees, and due to some promotions and injuries he now has an opportunity in Charleston. So far he has seized that opportunity, and has a 0.92 ERA, and 27 K in 19.2 IP. He has a .140 average against and just four walks so far.
Travis Hissong: Recently promoted to Tampa and has been on fire. He has 26.1 IP on the season, and 32 K and a .155 average against. He has only walked four batters. He’s 24 already so we’ll see if he can do it at higher levels.