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December 16, 2013

Prospects Will Break Your Heart

New York Yankees Top 10 Prospects

by Jason Parks

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Prospect rankings primer
Last year's Yankees list

The Top Ten

  1. C Gary Sanchez
  2. RHP Jose Ramirez
  3. C J.R. Murphy
  4. CF Slade Heathcott
  5. RF Tyler Austin
  6. CF Mason Williams
  7. 1B Gregory Bird
  8. 3B Eric Jagielo
  9. LHP Ian Clarkin
  10. OF Aaron Judge

1. Gary Sanchez
Position: C
DOB: 12/02/1992
Height/Weight: 6’2” 220 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2009, Dominican Republic
Previous Ranking: #1 (Org), #47 (Top 101)
2013 Stats: .250/.364/.380 at Double-A Trenton (23 games), .254/.313/.420 at High-A Tampa (94 games)
The Tools: 6+ power potential; 7 arm

What Happened in 2013: Sanchez finally reached the Double-A level, but the reviews were mixed on the high-ceiling talent, both at the plate and behind it.

Strengths: Big raw power; gets excellent extension and shows impressive opposite field pop; controlled aggression at the plate; can identify balls/strikes; arm is very strong; easy plus-plus arm strength; above-average catch/throw skills.

Weaknesses: Makeup concerns; hitter-first approach to the game; swing has some miss (in the zone); struggles against arm-side stuff; hit tool might bring game power down; well below-average run; receiving skills are still underdeveloped.

Overall Future Potential: 6; first-division player

Realistic Role: 5; major-league regular (1st base/DH)

Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate risk; limited Double-A exposure; dual-threat development.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: A bigger deal than any other positional difference, the drop from catcher to first base eligibility is like falling out a three-story window. If Sanchez plays behind the plate (regardless of how well), he has top-five upside at the position with his potential 25-homer power. If he has to move off the position, he’s just another corner infielder. Perhaps interestingly, his strikeout rate has dropped by around five percentage points at each level since Low-A. Then again, perhaps not.

The Year Ahead: Sanchez was once considered a premier prospect—a dual threat player with plus potential behind the plate and middle-of-the-order power in the stick. While he’s still a top 101 prospect in the game, his stock has slipped, and several scout sources continue to question his baseball makeup, and the likelihood that he reaches his tool-based ceiling. If the receiving can continue to take steps forward, he has the arm to offer impact on defense. However, Sanchez’s future is tied to his bat, and if the power can play against high-end pitching, his prospect stock will once again soar.

Major league ETA: Late 2014

2. Jose Ramirez
Position: RHP
DOB: 01/21/1990
Height/Weight: 6’3” 190 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2007, Dominican Republic
Previous Ranking: #3 (Org)
2013 Stats: 4.88 ERA (31.1 IP, 29 H, 28 K, 21 BB) at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 2.76 ERA (42.1 IP, 28 H, 50 K, 15 BB) at Double-A Trenton
The Tools: 7 FB; 6 potential SL; 7 potential CH

What Happened in 2013: Ramirez failed to log 100 innings for the second straight season, once again plagued by injuries that continue to keep the 23-year-old arm from blossoming into a frontline prospect.

Strengths: Excellent size/strength; athletic; arm speed is special; fastball is easy plus pitch; routinely works in the mid-90s; touches higher; late life; changeup is money pitch; excellent arm speed and late action; plus-plus potential with better command; slider flashes high quality; sharp with big tilt.

Weaknesses: Delivery is inconsistent; doesn’t repeat/below-average command; slider can get too slurvy/loses arm speed and is deliberate; injuries limit potential.

Overall Future Potential: High 6; no. 2/3 starter

Realistic Role: High 5; late-innings reliever (setup)

Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate risk; long history of injury

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: While he gets fewer press clippings than Rafael De Paula, Ramirez’ stuff firmly places him as the top fantasy option among pitchers in this system. Fortunately for him, it’s been historically easier for pitching prospects to find a place in the Bronx than it has for position players. In the rotation, he could be a reliable source of wins and strikeouts, but with some giveback in WHIP, a la Lance Lynn.

The Year Ahead: I’m a very big fan of Jose Ramirez, although he’s probably a long shot to stick around in a rotation. That said, the arm is special, and the fastball/changeup combo will make him an impact pitcher at the highest level. If he can stay healthy (big if) and take steps forward with his delivery and overall command, Ramirez could develop into a high leverage reliever, perhaps even a closer if it really comes together. The arm is that good.

Major league ETA: 2014

3. J.R. Murphy
Position: C
DOB: 05/13/1991
Height/Weight: 5’11” 195 lbs
Bats/Throws: B/R
Drafted/Acquired: 2nd round, 2009 draft, The Pendleton School (Bradenton, FL)
Previous Ranking: NR
2013 Stats: .154/.185/.192 at major-league level (16 games), .270/.342/.430 at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (59 games), .268/.352/.421 at Double-A Trenton (49 games)
The Tools: 5 potential hit; 5 arm; 5 glove

What Happened in 2013: You can call it a breakout year for the 22-year-old backstop, as he played 108 games in the upper minors, and even 16 game cup of coffee at the major-league level.

Strengths: Good swing; shows bat speed and strength; can lift the ball; has a chance to develop into solid-avg hitter; good approach; has a plan at the plate; receiving skills project to solid-avg; arm is solid-avg; quick release; good catch/throw skills; good makeup.

Weaknesses: Lacks impact tools; power will likely play below-average; hit tool lacks plus projection; struggles against velocity and arm-side stuff; well below-average run; defensive profile is average (to solid-average) but not game changing; footwork/glovework still need refinement.

Overall Future Potential: 5; major-league regular

Realistic Role: High 4; backup catcher/below-average major leaguer

Risk Factor/Injury History: Low risk; achieved major-league level

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: Outside of deeper leagues, there’s not a ton of upside with Murphy. However, in two-catcher formats, he can help in a Carlos Ruiz sort of way (without the power spike). The potential for strong plate discipline skills gives him a slight uptick in points league value, but with Brian McCann in town, he’s going to need a change of scenery to find consistent playing time.

The Year Ahead: Murphy is going to be a major-league quality defender behind the plate, with a playable arm and improving catch/throw and receiving skills. The bat is likely to be down-the-lineup at best, but he brings a plan to the plate and isn’t a giveaway out. His likely role will be as a backup, he has the potential to develop into an average major-league regular at a premium defensive position, and despite a lack of loud tools, the sum of his parts could make him a very valuable player.

Major league ETA: Debuted in 2013

4. Slade Heathcott
Position: CF
DOB: 09/28/1990
Height/Weight: 6’0” 195 lbs
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2009 draft, Texas HS (Texarkana, TX)
Previous Ranking: #4 (Org)
2013 Stats: .261/.327/.411 at Double-A Trenton (103 games)
The Tools: 5 potential hit; 6 arm; 6 potential glove; 7 run.

What Happened in 2013: Even though he missed time with injury (a tradition for Heathcott), he still managed to play a career-high 103 games.

Strengths: Plus-plus athleticism; high-end physical tools; run is plus-plus; arm is plus; glove is above average; gap pop; some bat to ball ability; could develop into average hitter.

Weaknesses: Balls-to-the-wall approach on all sides of the ball; reckless; overly aggressive at the plate; struggles against spin; loses balance; noisy in pre-swing; limited bat control in the zone; game power to play below average.

Overall Future Potential: 6; first-division player

Realistic Role: High 4; bench outfielder/below-average major leaguer

Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate risk; injury history; big gap between projection and present.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: Heathcott’s value will be predicated on his speed, and the lack of stolen base attempts at the minor-league level isn’t making his case particularly well. At his best, he could be a light version of Brett Gardner, with a .260-.270 average, a handful of homers and 25-30 steals. Of course, that power could tick up at Yankee Stadium, but the odds of him calling that stadium home are low compared to other similar prospects.

The Year Ahead: You can make the case that Heathcott has the highest tool-based ceiling in the entire organization, with impressive physical gifts and the ability to play an up-the-middle position. His game lacks nuance, with an all-or-nothing approach and a highly contagious but often reckless style of play that limits his ability to stay healthy. If he can put the bat to the ball with enough consistency, he can bring his legs into the equation and possibly hit for a respectable average. Along with his defensive ability, this would allow him to develop into a major-league regular, and perhaps more if the bat really steps up. The likely outcome is a versatile bench outfielder with speed and a soft bat, a valuable player but a fraction of what the physical tools suggested was possible.

Major league ETA: Late 2014

5. Tyler Austin
Position: RF
DOB: 09/06/1991
Height/Weight: 6’1” 220 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 13th round, 2010 draft, Heritage HS (Conyers, GA)
Previous Ranking: #5 (Org)
2013 Stats: .257/.344/.373 at Double-A Trenton (83 games), .667/.714/.667 at
complex level GCL (2 games)
The Tools: 5+ potential hit; 5 power potential; 5 arm; 5 potential glove

What Happened in 2013: Injuries prevented Austin from building on his breakout 2012 season, but when healthy, the bat speed and solid-average power potential could make him a major-league regular.

Strengths: Strong frame; short, compact stroke; produces very good bat speed; can drive the ball; solid-avg power potential; advanced approach; average arm (can play in outfield); average glove; high baseball IQ; plus-plus makeup.

Weaknesses: Game power slow to come; lacks loud tools; defensive profile is average at best in a corner; below-average run; relies on instincts more than athleticism in the field; struggles against arm-side stuff.

Overall Future Potential: 5; major-league regular

Realistic Role: High 4; bench outfielder/platoon player

Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate risk; injury history

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: After a disappointing season, Austin’s dynasty league value has taken a big tumble, but maybe the tumble shouldn’t be quite so big. The potential is still there for a .275 hitter with 20 home run power and enough smarts on the bases to steal double digits. After all, in 244 career minor-league games, he’s 45-for-47 on the base paths.

The Year Ahead: Austin has natural bat-to-ball ability, with a short stroke that produces bat speed and allows him to make hard contact. That contact has yet to manifest itself as over-the-fence power, at least against upper minors pitching, but it has a chance to play to average, and the hit tool and approach could push it beyond that in a perfect world scenario. It’s not a sexy profile, but Austin has a strong feel for the game and plus makeup, so he has a chance to develop into a major-league regular.

Major league ETA: Late 2014

6. Mason Williams
Position: CF
DOB: 08/21/1991
Height/Weight: 6’1” 180 lbs
Bats/Throws: L/R
Drafted/Acquired: 4th round, 2010 draft, West Orange HS (Winter Garden, FL)
Previous Ranking: #2 (Org), #51 (Top 101)
2013 Stats: .153/.164/.264 at Double-A Trenton (17 games), .261/.327/.350 at High-A Tampa (100 games)
The Tools: 6+ run; 6 potential glove; 5 arm; 5 potential hit

What Happened in 2013: After a very strong 2012 season—one that saw Williams shoot up prospect rankings—his stock came crashing down to earth after a lackluster 100-game run in the Florida State League.

Strengths: Impact athlete; well above-average run; excellent range in center; glove projects to plus; arm is solid; shows contact ability at the plate; impressive hand/eye coordination.

Weaknesses: Contact is often weak; lacks punch; bails out on pitches; power will play well below average; speed is easy plus, but isn’t a great baserunner; questions about work ethic/makeup.

Overall Future Potential: 6; first-division player

Realistic Role: High 4; bench outfielder/below-average major leaguer

Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate risk; limited experience at Double-A; makeup concerns.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: Valuing Williams for fantasy leagues is extremely difficult, as there’s such a gap between what his raw tools say he should be and what he is. At best, he’s a potential top-30 outfielder, capable of stealing 30-plus bases and contributing a little everywhere else (like a Starling Marte type). But as Jason writes above, Williams’ tool package does not nearly tell the whole story.

The Year Ahead: Williams has all the raw physical tools to be a major-league regular, and perhaps an impact first-division type if it all comes together. The bat isn’t as good as some have suggested in the past, as the contact can be soft and lifeless. But the hand/eye and speed could allow him to hit for average, a top of the lineup table-setter as the dream. The defensive profile in center will give him value even if the bat falls short of the mark, but the concerns about his work ethic and overall baseball makeup don’t offer a lot of confidence that he will reach his potential, much less overachieve his projections.

Major league ETA: 2015

7. Gregory Bird
Position: 1B
DOB: 11/09/1992
Height/Weight: 6’3” 215 lbs
Bats/Throws: L/R
Drafted/Acquired: 5th round, 2011 draft, Grandview HS (Aurora, CO)
Previous Ranking: NR
2013 Stats: .288/.428/.511 at Low-A Charleston (130 games)
The Tools: 5+ potential hit tool; 6 power potential

What Happened in 2013: In his full-season debut, the former 5th round pick emerged as a legit prospect, clubbing 59 extra-base hits in 130 Sally League games.

Strengths: Physical player; generates very good bat speed; swing has power characteristics; plus in-game power potential; hit tool to let it play; excellent eye at the plate; takes counts deep; advanced overall approach; excellent makeup reports.

Weaknesses: Strong but not overly athletic; below-average run; limited on defense; swing can get can long/leveraged; hit-first profile.

Overall Future Potential: 5; major-league regular

Realistic Role: High 4; platoon player/below-average major leaguer

Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate risk; yet to play in upper-minors; bat-only profile.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: He’ll need the power to come through at the highest level to be a fantasy first baseman worth investing in. Of course, if he were to hold down the position with the Yankees, that short porch would help make him more fantasy viable, but it’s too early to worry about that. At this point, you’re hoping he becomes a .285 hitter with 15-20 homers—but even that wasn’t enough to make Brandon Belt a top-15 option at the position in 2013.

The Year Ahead: Several industry sources were very high on Bird, including one front office (NL) source who said he would take the 21-year-old bat over every position player in the Yankees system other than Sanchez. The makeup gets positive reviews, which is encouraging, but the swing is what really matters, and Bird can hit, with bat speed and strength and the potential to bring legit power into game action. It’s a tough profile but if the offense has a chance to play, I wouldn’t be shocked if Bird climbs the list in 2014 and continues to bring it at the plate.

Major league ETA: 2016

8. Eric Jagielo
Position: 3B
DOB: 05/17/1992
Height/Weight: 6’2” 195 lbs
Bats/Throws: L/R
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2013 draft, University of Notre Dame (South Bend, IN)
Previous Ranking: NA
2013 Stats: .266/.376/.451 at short-season Staten Island (51 games), .286/.375/.571 at complex level GCL (3 games)
The Tools: 5+ potential hit; 6 potential power; 6 arm

What Happened in 2013: The 26th overall pick in the draft, Jagielo was solid but not spectacular in his short-season debut, flashing the power potential but showing swing-and-miss against average pitching.

Strengths: Big, strong frame; potential for hit/power profile; good swing; good approach; power could reach plus; swing has lift; arm is strong enough for third or corner OF spot; okay actions in the field; works hard/good makeup.

Weaknesses: Hit tool might play fringe-average; swing-and-miss in the zone; below-average at third; below-average rung; limited range.

Overall Future Potential: High 5; above-average major leaguer

Realistic Role: High 4; below-average major leaguer

Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate risk; short-season resume

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: A better fantasy prospect than real-life prospect, Jagielo has a chance to develop into the Yankees’ best homegrown hitter since Robinson Cano. However, that’s more of a reflection on the organization than Jagielo. A third baseman who could hit .275 with 25 homers is nothing to shake your head at, and he should be off the board within the first 20 names in 2013 dynasty drafts.

The Year Ahead: Jagielo was drafted for his polish and offensive potential, which means he should be facing an accelerated developmental plan and high expectations for immediate production. It was small sample, but I wasn’t blown away with Jagielo’s bat in the New York-Penn League; the bat speed wasn’t special and he was often behind average stuff located over the plate. But it was the end of a long season, and several sources think the 21-year-old product of Notre Dame is going to hit, for both average and power, and if he shines in his full-season debut, he could be sitting atop this list next season.

Major league ETA: 2016

9. Ian Clarkin
Position: LHP
DOB: 02/14/1995
Height/Weight: 6’2” 186 lbs
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2013 draft, Madison HS (San Diego, CA)
Previous Ranking: NA
2013 Stats: 10.80 ERA (5 IP, 6 H, 4 K, 4 BB) at complex level GCL
The Tools: 6 potential FB; 6 potential CB; 5 potential CH

What Happened in 2013: Selected 33rd overall in the 2013 draft, Clarkin has a higher ceiling than most of his organizational contemporaries (he actually projects to stick around in a rotation), with a projectable three-pitch mix from the left side.

Strengths: Athletic; physically projectable; creates good downhill plane from high ¾ slot; fastball works upper-80s/low-90s; projects to be plus pitch; curveball has money potential; big tumbler with wipeout potential with better command; shows some feel for changeup; highly competitive background.

Weaknesses: Complicated delivery, with high hands and high leg; struggles with timing/finishing; command is below average (present); fastball is pedestrian (velo) and can lack movement; changeup is below average (present).

Overall Future Potential: 6; no. 2/3 starter

Realistic Role: 5; no. 4 starter

Risk Factor/Injury History: High risk; 5 professional innings; long developmental road.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: He may not have the upside of some of his draft classmates, but Clarkin is plenty interesting for fantasy nonetheless. It’s very early to know what he might be, but Clarkin isn’t likely to be a pitcher that overwhelms with strikeouts—more of an above average across the board contributor with a tough AL East task possibly ahead of him.

The Year Ahead: Clarkin will get to settle into a short-season assignment in 2014 where he can work to refine his delivery/command and develop his fastball. The secondary stuff will get there eventually, as the curveball already shows legit plus potential, but the first developmental steps will likely be taken through a heavy dose of four-seam fastballs. Clarkin’s a long-term project, but an athletic lefty with a promising and projectable three-pitch mix is worth the developmental patience.

Major league ETA: 2017

10. Aaron Judge
Position: OF
DOB: 04/26/1992
Height/Weight: 6’7” 230 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2013 draft, California State University Fresno (Fresno, CA)
Previous Ranking: NA
2013 Stats: Did Not Play in 2013
The Tools: 8 raw power; 6 arm

What Happened in 2013: Built like a power forward but drafted as a power hitter, Judge is an abnormally large human that has more raw power than anybody on the Yankees farm.

Strengths: Enormous size, raw strength; excellent athlete for his size; 80 raw; power could play as well above average; solid run; strong arm.

Weaknesses: Hit tool could limit power; likely to feature big swing-and-miss; big strike zone; swing not tailored for power yet; strength-driven bat speed; enormous size could raise injury concerns (long term).

Overall Future Potential: 6; first-division player

Realistic Role: 4; upper-minors players

Risk Factor/Injury History: High risk; no professional record; questions about hit tool.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: A great flier in dynasty drafts, Judge will set out to prove that his power can translate to the stat page. If it can, we’re looking at a potential 30-homer hitter at his peak. If not, you’ll probably be dropping him from your roster in 2015.

The Year Ahead: Judge has the potential to be a middle-of-the-order power monster, but he also has the potential to flame out before he reaches the highest level. Some scouts believe the hit tool and swing-and-miss tendencies could spoil the party for Judge, but without a professional record, it’s all just speculation and projection at this point.

Major league ETA: Late 2016


Prospects on the Rise:
1.
RHP Luis Severino: You can make a case for Severino in the top 10, based solely on his incredible arm strength and fastball potential. The profile might end up being more reliever than starter, but you should never discount a mid-90s fastball (touches higher) that comes out with such ease and effectiveness. He’s a promising prospect.

2. C Luis Torrens: Seven-figure Dominican signing in 2012, Torrens has the physical tools and feel for the game to develop into a promising prospect, with a quality swing and power potential at the plate and a big arm behind it, despite being raw on all sides of the ball. He could be ready to take a big step forward in 2014.

3. RHP Jose Campos: I loved Campos when I saw him in the Mariners system, so its been highly disappointing to see injuries slow down his progress after coming over in the Montero/Pineda exchange in 2012. It’s foolish to blindly assume health, but if Campos can stay on the mound and get back on his developmental trajectory, he’s a top 10 player in this system and a legit major-league prospect. I still really like the stuff.


Factors on the Farm (Prospects likely to contribute at the ML level in 2014)
1. LHP Manny Banuelos: “Hey you, I know you, I know you.” Before the elbow injury shut him down for the entire 2013 season, Banuelos was on the cusp of the majors and considered one of the top prospects in the Yankees system. Reports have the stuff back to normal—including the plus fastball and change—but the lengthy layoff could cover him in rust, especially when it comes to command. But it shouldn’t take long for the 22-year-old lefty to find his form, and in the event of injury or ineffectiveness, he could then find himself pitching at the major-league level.

2. RHP Rafael De Paula: De Paula’s stateside debut was both fantastic and frustrating, as his plus-plus bat-missing fastball made hitters look foolish but his lack of control often offered up a free pass instead. Despite his limited professional resume, I think De Paula could be fast-tracked in the bullpen, a role that he is likely to end up in down the line anyway. The fastball is explosive, with velocity and incredible wiggle, and with a little refinement in his delivery, he should be able to throw enough strikes to ride that pitch all the way to the majors. It’s a long shot in 2014, but I have a feeling he could be in for an accelerated ride this season.

3. RHP Bryan Mitchell: Live-armed righty with two major-league quality pitches, Mitchell could contribute to the 2014 major-league team as either a starter or as a reliever. The latter is the likely outcome, as the 22-year-old brings a very big fastball (works with easy plus velocity and touches higher) and hard curveball (low-80s; big snap), but struggles to repeat his delivery and has below-average command at present. He will likely continue to start in Double-A, but the profile could have impact in bursts, especially if he can refine enough to throw more quality strikes and avoid barrels, and a step forward developmentally could put the former 16th round pick on the biggest stage before the end of the season.


Top 10 Talents 25 And Under (born 4/1/88 or later)

1.Gary Sanchez
2.Michael Pineda
3.Jose Ramirez
4.J.R. Murphy
5.Slade Heathcott
6.Tyler Austin
7.Mason Williams
8.Greg Bird
9.Eric Jagielo
10. Ian Clarkin

It should come as little surprise that the Yankees’ roster as currently constructed relies almost exclusively on talent ineligible for this list. It is, after all, the natural state for an organization blessed with the financial leeway to pursue established talent across the diamond, and cursed with the demands of a fanbase that expects an elite product and annual opportunity to compete as a favorite for the World Series. With limited positive developments at the minor league level, this year’s 25-and-under list is let underwhelming, on the whole.

The big news for this collection of Baby Bombers in 2014 will be the return of Michael Pineda, the former Mariners All-Star and 2012 trade haul for long-time top prospect Jesus Montero. Pineda found his way to New York the season before last after an impressive debut year in Seattle, but has yet to throw an inning for the Yanks after undergoing labrum surgery shortly after arriving. After a 10-game rehab stint last summer, Pineda was again shut down with shoulder stiffness, but has since been announced as one of the leading candidates to compete for the Yankees’ fifth rotation spot this spring. The upside remains that of a good mid-rotation arm, though the checkered history of pitchers returning from shoulder surgeries looms large. Perhaps the most intriguing 25-and-under talent in pinstripes, all eyes will be on Pineda when he toes the rubber next February in Tampa and looks to put himself back on track as the Yankees’ most promising young arm.

Shiny new acquisition Brian McCann pushes J.R. Murphy to Triple-A for the time being, though he has the well-rounded profile to ultimately unseat Francisco Cervelli as McCann’s backup. On the farm, Gary Sanchez leads the way as a big stick with a big arm behind the plate, but questions surround his future as a backstop. With McCann locked up for the next few seasons, the organization can continue to work to smooth out the rough edges in Sanchez’s receiving, blocking, and overall defensive approach while fostering the growth in his offensive game, highlighted by legitimate 30-plus home run potential.

Jose Ramirez takes top honors for the system on the pitching side, with durability the highest hurdle standing between him and a solid future in the middle of the Yankees’ rotation. He retains solid fallback value as a late-inning power arm, which could also be his point of entry in New York, perhaps as early as this summer.

Among the other bats in the system, a trio of outfielders—Heathcott, Austin, and Williams—retain solid first-division upside in spite of limited development in 2012. All three should see time in Trenton and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2014. Bird is limited to a first base/designated hitter profile, but showed enough as a 20-year old in Low-A Charleston to pique the organization’s interest, and could ultimately work his way into the mix as an everyday option if the power continues to develop.

A pair of 2013 first-round selections round out the top 10. Jagielo boasts potential for above-average hit and plus power to go with a corner defensive profile, but some scouts doubt the swing utility against advanced arms, and the former Golden Domer finds himself at the beginning of what is likely to be a non-linear developmental journey. Clarkin is a projection lefty with present athleticism and the chance for three average or better offerings in his fastball, curve, and changeup. —Nick J. Faleris


A Parting Thought: It’s Gary Sanchez and a list of interchangeable prospects with reliever profiles or bench futures, although the lower levels of the system might be able to put a much-needed charge into a lifeless system in the coming years.

***

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Jason Parks is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
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39 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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palehose

The Yankees have depth at catcher with McCann signed for five years blocking Romine, Cervelli, Murphy and Sanchez. Only one can be the back up. A team that needs catching help is the White Sox. This is an arranged marriage waiting to happen.

Dec 16, 2013 05:20 AM
rating: 2
 
Dave from Pittsburgh

Seems like the only one that has any real trade value is Sanchez, but did you look at the White Sox list? That's a bottom 10 system too.

Dec 16, 2013 05:27 AM
rating: 0
 
palehose

The White Sox catching situation is so bad they would likely consider Murphy a big upgrade. I saw him in September and I think defensively he could cut it. All he has to hit is .240 to .250. Flowers hit .190. Plus Murphy would take most of his ABs from the left side which is a line up emphasis of the White Sox.

The White Sox are loaded with middle infielders. Ramirez is affordable and could play second in 2014 and move to short in 2015 if Jeter retires. He is controlled through 2016. Murphy could be part of a package that could bring him to teh Yankees.

Dec 16, 2013 05:38 AM
rating: 0
 
sitdancer

Surprisingly many players with some sort of "make-up concern" on this list.

Dec 16, 2013 05:44 AM
rating: 1
 
palehose

I wouldn't be too concerned about make up without knowing the specifics. Remember these prospects are literally kids in their late teens and early twenties. Most of us have been there.

Dec 16, 2013 05:49 AM
rating: 0
 
BillJohnson

I noticed that too, and I wonder: how many of them would have make-up concerns if they were in, say, the Tampa Bay or Houston organizations? Even minor-league players come under intense scrutiny with this franchise, or more accurately, with the media jackals who follow them around waiting for a kill. That can't be a good situation in which to develop a professional mindset.

Dec 16, 2013 05:53 AM
rating: -1
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

You are assuming the industry sources that helped supply this information [re: makeup] are as easily persuaded as casual fans or that they are more critical of the players in the system because of the stature and history of the franchise [itself]. I think this is foolish. Makeup concerns came from off-the-field DUIs, inability (or unwillingness) to make certain adjustments, and general displays of work ethic or intensity of approach. Makeup comments are delivered when applicable, regardless of the organization. Scouts aren't sitting in the stands looking to snipe the Yankees, and that's where this information comes from, not sensational reports from media sources.

Dec 16, 2013 06:08 AM
 
johnburkland

So is it just coincidence that they have so many makeup questions on this list. Or is that something the organization has deemphasized and it's coming back to bit them a bit?

Dec 16, 2013 07:10 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

I think some players (regardless of ability or organizational affiliation) just have makeup concerns, some of which are associated with general immaturity (and can improve) and some are a part of a more complicated problem.

Makeup isn't a black/white issue, and its not always a direct critique of the character of the player. Some makeup concerns are focused on work ethic or intensity, or perhaps the inability or unwillingness to make developmental adjustments. Some makeup concerns do focus on a player's character, especially if it encourages behavior (on or off the field) that has negative consequence to the player's ability to focus or perform on the field.

Dec 16, 2013 07:26 AM
 
Brian Kopec

Also, the scouts who are dinging these prospects for makeup issues KNOW that they are young and are grading them in relation to their peers. These issues don't just magically go away as the player matures. Some of these players will learn how to act and work like a major leaguer and some won't. Just like some will learn to hit off-speed pitches and others won't. But if it is noted on the report, assume that it is one more thing the player will need to master before they reach their potential.

Dec 16, 2013 07:19 AM
rating: 4
 
BillJohnson

That wasn't my intention with the comment. Rather, I wonder if being under exceptionally intense, and sometimes invasive, scrutiny, as can happen anywhere in the Yankees organization, can cause makeup issues. Some people don't handle being in the limelight well, although they do just fine when the spotlight isn't as intense. Of course, any major leaguer is going to be under a very intense spotlight on arrival in the Show, but for most, they get to learn how to adapt to that spotlight on the way up. I speculate -- and I stress that it is speculation -- that that isn't the way things work for Yankees prospects. It's sink or swim (I speculate), and let's face it, not many 21-year-old kids are already fully equipped maturity-wise when they're suddenly thrust into situations like that.

Dec 16, 2013 12:38 PM
rating: -1
 
delatopia
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I don't think you used all the tenses of the verb "speculate" as you could have. Why don't you tell us some more about how everything coming out of your mouth is wild supposition.

Dec 17, 2013 01:47 AM
rating: -9
 
gpurcell

So what, in general, is the biggest red flag concern among baseball scouts (aside from, say, being potential felons).

Dec 16, 2013 15:21 PM
rating: 0
 
delatopia

Media "jackals" ... please. There's far more professionalism at most media outlets than you could possibly imagine.

Dec 16, 2013 20:41 PM
rating: -3
 
jedjethro

I know he's 26 with an indy ball stopover on his resume, but lefty Vidal Nuno showed great control at Triple A last year and had a couple of decent major league starts before he got hurt. Is there any chance he could factor in as a "factor on the farm" this season?

Dec 16, 2013 06:33 AM
rating: 0
 
bzalaski

What are the scouting reports on Thairo Estrada and Alex Palma?

Dec 16, 2013 06:42 AM
rating: 0
 
dantroy

Maybe cor this organization, a top under 35 list would have been more appropriate.

Dec 16, 2013 06:59 AM
rating: 8
 
jedjethro

It's lucky -- well, maybe not for the Yankees -- that RIvera and Pettitte retired, otherwise your suggested demarcation of age 35 would have skewed too young.

Dec 16, 2013 07:03 AM
rating: 4
 
CespedesBBQ

You've been so high on Angelo Gumba in the past. What happened to him this season that caused you to sour on him?

Dec 16, 2013 07:32 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

I still like Gumbs; he has bat speed you just can't teach. But eventually you have to offer production on the field, and Gumbs fell short in 2013. I haven't given up on the kid. I really like his potential, and I think he can take a step forward. But its time to see it.

Dec 16, 2013 07:45 AM
 
ttt

I assume that Gary Sanchez OFP assumes that he'll stick behind the plate. Is that correct?

Dec 16, 2013 08:27 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

Yes. That's his future potential and highest value.

Dec 16, 2013 08:43 AM
 
sfactor23

What are your thoughts on Jordan Cote, Ty Hensley and Mark Montgomery?

Dec 16, 2013 08:29 AM
rating: 0
 
John Carter

Actually, I'm curious about what happened to Montgomery as well. He appears to have regressed.

Dec 16, 2013 12:22 PM
rating: 0
 
amazin_mess

Professor - is this a bottom five farm?

Dec 16, 2013 09:02 AM
rating: 6
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

Yes. I think it will sink that low in the org rankings.

Dec 16, 2013 09:38 AM
 
amazin_mess
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-1. Haha. Really?

Dec 16, 2013 15:40 PM
rating: -5
 
SC

What kind of hit tool do you put on Sanchez? I've read a wide range from high 5 to "so low the power won't play enough." Most likely a .260 hitter or a .280+ hitter?

Dec 16, 2013 09:06 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

5 is possible; some project the hit tool to be plus. I tend to think it will struggle to reach those heights, especially when he reaches the major league level and advance scouting gives pitchers an even bigger advantage.

Dec 16, 2013 09:40 AM
 
NYYanks826

Gary Sanchez is starting to sound like a poor man's Jesus Montero...so naturally, he'll turn into the a .300/35/110 guy in about three years.

Dec 16, 2013 10:25 AM
rating: -3
 
dougkm

I am surprised that there is no mention of Nik Turley. He had a pretty good year, and is on the 40 man roster. I like him better than the toolsy so far unproductive outfielders.

Dec 16, 2013 10:53 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

The stuff isn't great, and he has poor command of it, so that makes his profile tough to project at the highest level. I think he could end up a long way or perhaps a #5 starter if everything clicks, but that's not strong enough to make the top ten, even in a disappointing system.

Dec 16, 2013 11:38 AM
 
daleylama

If Mason Williams were a pitcher, would he throw classical gas.

Dec 16, 2013 11:22 AM
rating: 11
 
R.A.Wagman

So the Yankees have a cruddy farm system. With a team with the resources of the Yankees, is the biggest downside of that the lack of MLB ready backups when injury strikes a regular?

Dec 16, 2013 18:18 PM
rating: 0
 
John Carter

I think it would be a greater problem of not having the young talent to trade for good veterans when they become available. But even greater than that, would be the problem of not having good long term players to build around. It is impossible to build completely around free agents. The vast majority of them don't have many productive years left to give.

Dec 16, 2013 20:54 PM
rating: 1
 
R.A.Wagman

The Yankees have never particularly cared about that last aspect.

Dec 17, 2013 04:18 AM
rating: 0
 
ChrisDH

Thoughts on SS Abiatal Avelino?

Dec 16, 2013 19:32 PM
rating: 0
 
joshzd1

So how does Tanaka rate since he's an international signing? I expect it would be at least a B+

Jan 25, 2014 21:30 PM
rating: 0
 
statman32

It amazes me to see the huge disparity between Jose Ramirez's rankings on here compared to other sites. Can we attribute his ranking on here to a specific person, or does a majority of the BP staff believe that he is a top 2-5 prospect in this system?

The Yankees were pretty aggressive with him last year, but unfortunately he went down with injuries again. This year will probably determine his future as either a starter or a high leverage reliever. I just think that his upside, and likely floor puts him above any other pitcher in this system. What are others thinking?

Feb 11, 2014 11:50 AM
rating: 0
 
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