Top Yankees farmhands who could contribute in 2018

The Yankees are flush with talent throughout their whole system. They have plenty of talent ready to contribute as soon as next season in the upper minors as well. This is an exciting time to be a Yankees’ fan. They just made it to within one game of the world series, and the fun has just begun! Here are the guys to look out for next season.

  1. Gleyber Torres – SS, 6-foot-1, 175-pounds, RHB, 20-years-old – There aren’t many 20-year-olds in Triple-A. The list is short. Taking it a step further, there are few, if any of those 20-year-olds who have already had the level of success as Torres has at the level. This year, between Double-A and Triple-A Torres managed to hit .287/.383/.480/.863 with seven homeruns, 14 doubles, and two triples. He struck out 47 times in 55 games. He showed in a short period of time that he is already a superstar. This coming season he will almost certainly get a shot in the MLB. If/when he does, he is the perfect guy to potentially take them over the edge and become a world series caliber team. If the Yankees move him to third base, he will be a major improvement from last season without having to spend any additional money or sacrifice any prospects. His time is rapidly approaching.

Prediction: 120 games, .292/.338/.456/.790 with 12 homeruns, 28 doubles.

  1. Clint Frazier – LF, 6-foot-1, 190-pounds, RHB, 23-years-old – Frazier is another guy who appears ready to help the team now. If the Yankees are somehow able to shed the Jacoby Ellsbury salary, he could step in immediately as the starter in left field. This year he played well after an initial adjustment period to Triple-A, and then made some noise in the majors although his numbers are mediocre in 39 games. He hit .256/.344/.473/.815 in Triple-A with 12 homeruns in 74 games, and hit .231/.268/.448/.715 with four homeruns in the majors.

Prediction: 140 games, .260/.325/.475/.800 with 25 homeruns, 33 doubles, 10 SB.

  1. Chance Adams – RHP, SP, 6-foot-1, 210-pounds, 23-years-old – Adams is as ready as anyone in the system to contribute in the majors. He has a mid to upper 90’s fastball that lasts late into games, plus curveball, plus slider, and plus changeup. The only thing holding him back at this point is his command. He dominated in Double-A and Triple-A this year, with 135 K : 58 BB and a 2.45 ERA in 150.1 innings. Batters hit .193 against him. At this point in his career, there is only one level left to dominate, the majors leagues. The Yankees currently don’t have a fifth starter, and he fits the bill. If they don’t sign CC or Otani, I’d expect him to be the opening day fifth starter. Even if they do, I’d be surprised if he doesn’t make some starts this season.

Prediction: 12 starts, 66 innings, 3.9 ERA, 60 K, 24 BB assuming they sign a 5th starter.

  1. Miguel Andujar – 3B, 6-foot-0, 215-pounds, 22-years-old – Andujar has slowly but surely built himself into a guy who is in the conversation for a top 100 prospect. He hit .315/.352/.498/.850 this season with 16 homeruns, 36 doubles, and two triples. He is in elite company in terms of players who have great contact skills and power. He is one of the best hitting third basemen in the minors. The main question marks with him come with his defense. Few question his long-term prospects at the position, because he has all of the tools needed. The only question with him is decision making and accuracy of his throws. He has a cannon but tends to make bad throws or try to make plays that he shouldn’t. If he can correct these things he’s a surefire starting third baseman, maybe even an all-star down the road. This season it may be tough to get playing time in the majors for him because Headley is still here, and Torres will be competing for playing time as well. An injury or ineffective play by virtually anyone in the infield could lead to extended playing time for him though.

Prediction: 60 games, .305/.340/.460/.800 with 10 homeruns, 20 doubles.

  1. Domingo German – RHP, SP/RP, 6-foot-2, 175-pounds, 25-years-old – German was effective in 12.2 relief innings this season with the Yankees, striking out 15 and sporting at 2.84 ERA. He did walk eight batters, but that could have just been jitters. They sent him back down to the minors to get more innings and he was quite successful down there. He has an upper-90’s fastball, a good changeup, and a good slider. The slider is a bit inconsistent but if he is able to tighten that up he will be a force. He will compete out of spring training for a rotation spot and could see time out of the bullpen or the rotation throughout the season. He has a lot of role versatility. I expect him to become a fixture in the bullpen this season.

Prediction: 40 games, 60 innings, 2.1 ERA, 71 K : 20 BB.

  1. Tyler Wade – SS, 6-foot-1, 185-pounds, 22-years-old – Wade was spectacular in Triple-A this past season, hitting .310/.382/.460/.842 with a career-high seven homeruns, 22 doubles, and four triples. He played in 85 games but a need arose in the majors and he was called up. There he struggled mightily, hitting just .155/.222/.224/.446. He did prove he could fill in capably in the middle infield though, which is nothing to scoff at. This year he will have a tough time finding playing time with all of the competition he faces. It will be even tougher this year now that Torres and Andujar will be in the mix. That said, if he does get in there he could carve out a role as a utility infielder, especially if Torreyes gets moved.

Prediction: 50 games, .250/.350/.370/.720 with 3 homeruns, 15 doubles, three triples, and 10 SB.

  1. Justus Sheffield – LHP, SP, 5-foot-11, 200-pounds, 21-years-old – Sheffield had a great season in 2017 before succumbing to injury. He threw 98 innings and struck out 88 while walking 34 with a 3.12 ERA. He threw another 20.1 innings in the Arizona Fall League and struck out 22 while walking just three. He finished with a 3.1 ERA. The command seems to be coming along and he definitely garnered some attention in the AFL this year. A lot would have to happen for him to pitch in the majors this season, but he has the talent to force the issue if he is at the top of his game. He should be ready for 160 innings in 2018.

Prediction: 5 games, 30 innings, 3.5 ERA, 30 K, 14 BB.

  1. Domingo Acevedo – RHP, SP, 6-foot-7, 250-pounds, 23-years-old – Acevedo is one of the most underrated players in the Yankees’ minor leagues right now in my opinion. He had a great season in mostly Double-A, finishing with a 3.25 ERA and 152 K: 34 BB in 133 innings over three levels. The walks and control are not so much a problem. The command of the strike zone has been his major bugaboo. He is a massive man who sits 95-97 and has been known to hit triple-digits. He holds his velocity and has a plus changeup. The slider is above average and is the main pitch that needs to improve to make him a potential front end major league starter. Even if he can’t crack it as a starter, he will almost certainly be a top shelf reliever at this point, of the Dellin Betances ilk. He could contribute to the Yankees this year, but I’d say it’s more likely he spends a full year in Triple-A for some more seasoning. If he does play in the majors though, I’d expect that it’s because he took a major step forward and he will make a big splash.

Prediction: Five games, 2.5 ERA, 30 innings, 35 K, 11 BB.

  1. Jake Cave – CF, 6-foot-0, 200-pounds, 24-years-old – Cave had exactly the type of season he needed heading into minor league free agency. He his .305/.351/.542/.893 with 20 homeruns, 26 doubles and five triples. He did most of his damage in Triple-A, where he had an OPS of .921 in 72 games. He has the ability to hold down centerfield and has now proven he can hit for both average and power. His strikeout numbers could use a bit of work, but the Yankees chose to protect him recently because otherwise they most certainly would have lost him. He has too much competition this year for playing time in the outfield, but a couple of injuries could result in an opportunity for him, much like Fowler and Frazier got last season. His best opportunity might be a trade, but I’d be more than happy if the Yankees keep him.

Prediction: 30 games, .275/.335/.449/.784 with five homeruns and 10 doubles.

  1. Billy McKinney – OF, 6-foot-1, 205-pounds, 23-years-old – Mckinney is on the same page as Cave as a guy who revitalized his career in 2017. He has his best season ever, hittins .277/.338/.483/.821 between Double-A and Triple-A. He had a .877 OPS in Triple-A. He had 16 homeruns on the season, and struck out just 94 times in 124 games. The only thing that Jake Cave has going for him over Mckinney is that he can play centerfield. Both guys appear to be future major league outfielders at this point. Just like Cave though, there will have to be some injuries for Mckinney to get a shot. Judge, Gardner, Hicks, Ellsbury, and Frazier are all ahead of him. If he does get some playing time though, here is my prediction.

Prediction: 30 game, .255/.310/.415/.725 with three homeruns and eight doubles.

  1. Thairo Estrada – SS, 5-foot-10, 185-pounds, 21-years-old – Estrada might very well be the best hitter in the Yankees’ system. He has consistently hit for average, gotten on base, and limited strikeouts throughout his career. In 2017, he hit .301/.353/.392/.745 with six homeruns and 19 doubles in 122 games. He did all of this as a 21-year-old in Double-A. He has surprising pop for his size and he still has time to develop his man strength. There are those in the Yankees’ brass who are huge believers in this kid. Some even think he is not far off in talent from Gleyber Torres. I’d fall short of that comparison, but I do think he can be more than just a utility guy in the future. With an injury or two he could easily see some time in the majors, especially now that he will be added to the forty man roster.

Prediction: 30 games, .320/.360/.380/.740 with one homerun, seven doubles, and a triple.

  1. Cody Carroll – RHP, RP, 6-foot-5, 210-pounds, 24-years-old – Carroll had a breakout year in 2016 and topped it this year. He finished the year with 67.1 innings, an 89:30 K:BB ratio, and a 2.54 ERA between High-A and Double-A. He had a .191 average against. He throws a mid-90’s fastball which touches 98 mph, and has a curveball and changeup as well. He also pitched 11.2 innings in the AFL where he did not let up a run, and struck out 18 while walking five. The stuff is nasty, and I’d be surprised if he didn’t play in the majors at some point in 2018.

Prediction: 40 games, 40 IP, 52 K, 13 BB, 1.95 ERA

  1. Raynel Espinal – RHP, RP, 6-foot-3, 199-pounds, 25-years-old – Espinal ascended three minor league levels this year, finishing in Triple-A. He was dominant at every level, with 93 K : 15 BB and a 1.09 ERA in 74.1 innings. If the Yankees are able to keep him after the rule five draft, he should see some time in the majors as a guy who has a mid-90’s fastball with tremendous movement.

Prediction:  20 games, 2.75 ERA, 20 innings, 22 K : 4 BB

  1. Jose Mesa Jr. – RHP, SP/RP, 6-foot-4, 230-pounds, 24-years-old – Mesa finished the season on a tear as a starter. He ended up throwing 84 innings, striking out 101, while walking 32, and pitching to a 1.93 ERA on the season between High-A and Double-A. Most of his starts were in Double-A. He had a .166 average against him. Mesa can sit in the 95-98 mph range in relief and has a slider, changeup, and curveball. I don’t see him breaking in as a starter this season, but if a need arises the Yankees’ might turn to him in a relief role, which is where his father thrived. As a starter his velocity played down a bit, but he was still getting a ton of strikeouts.

Prediction: 15 games, 2.8 ERA, 15 innings, 20 K, 8 BB

  1. Anyelo Gomez – RHP, RP, 6-foot-1, 185-pounds, 24-years-old – Similar to Espinal, Gomez ascended all the way from the low minors to Triple-A in one season. He too dominated along the way. He finished with a 1.92 ERA, 87 K : 21 BB, and a .199 average against in 70.1 innings. He also has a mid-90’s fastball and secondary offerings that are getting the job done. If they can keep him in the rule five draft coming up, he could also be useful in the major league bullpen this year.

Prediction: 10 games, 3.33 ERA, 10 innings, 12 K, 3 BB

Honorable mention: Giovanny Gallegos, Nestor Cortes, Ben Heller, Cale Coshow, Brody Koerner,

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13 Responses to Top Yankees farmhands who could contribute in 2018

  1. tom says:

    If all predictions come in together then Yankees won't need to sign any free agent ever.

    The problem with this list is you have too many pitchers aboard. I am sure you don't mean they will be on the roster at the same season but it is crazy to think either Betances, Kahnle or Robertson will be crashed down hard.

    Just curious.. Yankees want a analytics-driven manager. By analytic, does it mean Yankees will carry 12-13 pitchers?

    • gcorcoran says:

      For the record, the predictions are IF the player makes it to the majors, this is how I think they will do.

      As for analytics, no I don't think that's what they mean by that. I think they just mean that the coach is well versed in all of the new data that's out there and uses it to his advantage.

    • Steve S. says:

      The game is really changing, Tom. There's no telling what they might do.

    • buckeyeballs says:

      hoping they sign Otani and keep 13 pitchers-he adds a bat so they can get by with 3 subs-torreyes, frazier and romine-counting ellsbury as the dh. I don't think they can trade him. If they can that frees up a roster spot for austin or cave. Im assuming noTorres until May unless they can trade Castro. I don't think Andujar makes the big leagues this year with Headley around. Estrada seems blocked to me as well-will probably be part of a July trade

      • Kevin Schappert says:

        Don't assume Torreyes has a place on this team. No way Yanks let him block Wade or Torres, both of whom can play multiple positions. He didn't get a single AB in the playoffs, so where is his value?

        • Steve S. says:

          Torreyes is a utility player. A damn good one. That's his value. Where did you expect him to contribute in the playoffs? He's a utility player. Should he have played at third in a game or two instead of Frazier? How about at short for Didi? Or Castro at second? He's a utility player who filled in admirably at second, short and third during the season when the team needed him. That's what a utility player does. That's where his considerable value comes in. I think Wade has potential, but he was woefully over matched last season. It's going to take more than a productive spring training against mostly sub par pitching for Wade to prove he's ready. Torreyes is a utility player. There is no way he will ever block Torres no matter what he does. Torres will be a regular. Torreyes and Torres have a totally different niche. Torreyes is a utility player. Torres is a major star in waiting. It's ridiculous to mention them in the same breath. In any sort of comparison. Wade will be a utility player on this team if he shows he can do it. Torreyes has already shown he can do it. My only problem with Torreyes is he doesn't walk. I think they have had a plan for Wade to be their jack of all trades utility guy for a few years. But he has to show he can do it and it would be a mistake to put too weight on spring training performance.

  2. Steve S. says:

    Boy, are they loaded! In all my years rooting for this team there has never been anything close to this. I don't think even in the 50's when they had that tremendous dynasty they had this deep of a pipeline. But I don't know.

    Wade has to show more offensively. I'll withhold judgement for now. I remember when he was promoted to Trenton in 2015. He was awful with the bat. But then the next season he was much better and he was great at Scranton last year. He didn't exactly get an opportunity to establish much of a rhythm last season up here. All I know is they have to move someone to alleviate the jam in the infield. It will be interesting to see what they do.

    Yes, Estrada looks like a jewel. When I first started noticing him, I thought utility. But you're right. He's showing better than that. To make it even crazier, behind him is Nick Solak who I think will be very good. His makeup reminds me a lot of Dustin Fowler. Guys who on the surface might not appear to be as top shelf as others, but know how to squeeze out every ounce of production from their talent and ability. Where Solak winds up is the question and for whom.

  3. Terry says:

    I can’t wait for ST!! I definitely think GT pushes for a starting job if healthy. I say that because of what we experienced with Bird this year. Sometimes returns don’t go flawlessly. Bird’s my break out player next season, I’m saying 30 hrs. Other than that, I have Adams winning a rotation spot. He’ That good. There’s a lot of Kluber in him. Andujar, we all know how I feel there. I just watch the path of the tip of the bat and think the league will attack the holes. He needs another year. My prediction , if he plays 60+ games in ML: .260avg, 8hrs but 15 doubles. Frazier hasn’t wowed me yet. His stroke may be too short, waiting too long. Needs to get the bat head out front more. Sheffield needs more polishing. He needs to live down stairs consistently. He leaves it up a little quite a bit. Big leagues will make you pay.. Like German and Acevedo but need to see more of them. The rest will probably not see big league time but a game or two before September. Can’t wait for ST!!

  4. Jerry says:

    May the winter pass quickly! I know it's tough to just let Ellsbury go and eat all that money, but you have to do something. It's retarding the development of some of these young players. Figure a way. Headley loses his job too. Time to move on, don't wait another year. Andujar and Torres and Frazier, their time is here. Same with Adams , we need to find out about these guys the sooner the better…..All that talent still down below as Greg points out so much terrific minor league players. The Yankees could field a team next year with no one over 28. Maybe just Gardner.

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