Saturday, July 19, 2014

2014 Mid-Season Yankees Prospect Rankings (by hitter/pitcher)

by: Ben Embry

A few days ago I updated my top 30 prospects list. I actually track about 72 players and have enough to do top 30 hitters and pitchers list, which you'll see below.  First the hitters:

Rank Player Position Born
1 Aaron Judge RF 1992
2 Gary Sanchez C 1992
3 J.R. Murphy C 1991
4 Eric Jagielo 3B 1992
5 Greg Bird 1B 1992
6 Rob Refsnyder 2B/LF 1991
7 Mason Williams CF 1991
8 Slade Heathcott CF 1990
9 Luis Torrens C 1996
10 Tyler Austin RF/1B 1991
11 Gosuke Katoh 2B 1994
12 Abiatal Avelino SS 1995
13 Jorge Mateo SS 1995
14 Peter O'Brien C/3B/1B 1990
15 Leonardo Molina CF 1997
16 Jake Cave CF 1992
17 Miguel Andujar 3B 1995
18 Tyler Wade SS 1994
19 Thairo Estrada SS 1996
20 Alexander Palma CF 1995
21 Ramon Flores CF/RF 1992
22 Ben Gamel RF 1992
23 Zoilo Almonte RF/LF 1989
24 Yonauris Rodriguez SS 1997
25 Dante Bichette, Jr. 3B 1992
26 Dustin Fowler OF 1994
27 Taylor Dugas CF/RF 1989
28 Jose Pirela 2B 1989
29 Cito Culver SS 1992
30 Angelo Gumbs 2B 1992

One thing I think of when I step back and look at this list is there are some old familiar names in the 20-30 range.  Bichette, Culver, and Gumbs were all top 10 system prospects not that long ago. Zoilo has has multiple cups of coffee in the majors and I wonder if he could actually stick as a 4th OF for an entire season. Flores and Gamel have been on the radar for years. Flores has always produced statistically but doesn't have the tools or the measurables to carry him to the majors. Gamel, brother of Milwaukee Brewer Mat Gamel, has always been solid.

Now for the pitchers:

Rank Player Position Born
1 Luis Severino SP 1994
2 Ian Clarkin SP 1995
3 Shane Greene SP 1988
4 Manny Banuelos SP 1991
5 Ty Hensley SP 1993
6 Jacob Lindgren RP 1993
7 Jose Ramirez RP 1990
8 Austin DeCarr SP 1995
9 Rafael de Paula SP 1991
10 Brady Lail SP 1993
11 Jose Campos SP 1992
12 Bryan Mitchell SP 1991
13 Mark Montgomery RP 1990
14 Nik Turley SP 1989
15 Chase Whitley SP 1989
16 Rony Bautista SP 1991
17 Gabe Encinas SP 1991
18 Jordan Foley RP 1993
19 Jordan Montgomery SP 1992
20 Nick Goody RP 1991
21 Rookie Davis SP 1993
22 Miguel Sulbaran SP 1994
23 Matt Tracy SP 1988
24 Nick Rumbelow RP 1991
25 James Pazos RP 1991
26 Dietrich Enns SP 1991
27 Caleb Smith SP 1991
28 Giovanny Gallegos SP 1991
29 Omar Luis SP 1992
30 Dayton Dawe SP 1994

The Yankees added four propsects to their top pitchers list this June via the draft: Jacob Lindgren, Austin DeCarr, Jordan Foley, and Jordan Montgomery.  They ranked 60, 93, 121, and 143, respectively, on my final compilation rankings board. Lindgren throws a low-90s fastball and a very good slider, and appears likely to pitch as a reliever.  DeCarr, 19, graduated from high school last year but did a post-graduate year at The Salisbury School in Connecticut. He’s a low-to-mid-90s fastball guy who, on his best days, has an out pitch hammer curveball. Like most pitching prospects from the Northeast, DeCarr doesn’t have a ton of innings or experience under his belt.  According to Baseball America, Foley works primarily off an 89-94 mph fastball, touching 96, and at times he shows a plus slider, though he struggles to repeat it. Other scouts see Foley as a reliever because he uses a split-finger fastball as a changeup to combat lefthanded hitters.  New York had drafted him previously, which I wrote about here.  Mike Axisa at River Ave Blues wrote that Montgomery is a classic pitchability lefty who complements his low-90s fastball with a curveball, a cutter, and a very good changeup.  There was one pitcher that would have made this list had he signed, and that was Garrett Cave.  He ranked 151 on my comp board and probably would have ranked 20th on the system pitcher's list.

This weekend I'll give final grades for all 30 teams based on who didn't sign. Email me or hit me up on twitter with any questions: info@thebronxempire.com or @thebronxempire. Have a good day!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

2014 Mid-season Yankees Prospect Rankings

by: Ben Embry

The MLB Draft signing deadline is just a few days away, and that's typically when I do my mid-season system rankings. The Yankees only had 2 that would have made this list and they both signed early, so I feel no need to hold off any longer. There are still 1 or 2 draftees still sitting out there that may make the hitters/pitchers rankings so I'll hold off until next weekend to finalize those lists.  Ok, here's the updated top 30 list:

Rank Name POS
1 Luis Severino SP
2 Aaron Judge RF
3 Gary Sanchez C
4 J.R. Murphy C
5 Ian Clarkin SP
6 Eric Jagielo 3B
7 Greg Bird 1B
8 Rob Refsnyder 2B/LF
9 Mason Williams CF
10 Slade Heathcott CF
11 Luis Torrens C
12 Tyler Austin RF/1B
13 Gosuke Katoh 2B
14 Abiatal Avelino SS
15 Jorge Mateo SS
16 Shane Greene SP
17 Peter O'Brien C/3B/1B
18 Manny Banuelos SP
19 Ty Hensley SP
20 Jacob Lindgren RP
21 Jose Ramirez RP
22 Leonardo Molina CF
23 Austin DeCarr SP
24 Jake Cave CF
25 Rafael de Paula SP
26 Miguel Andujar 3B
27 Brady Lail SP
28 Jose Campos SP
29 Bryan Mitchell SP
30 Tyler Wade SS

Well, first thing's first: we have a new number 1 prospect. Luis Severino has jumped from outside of the top 10 to the indisputable number one spot. He's appearing in the Futures Game as I type this. He's got 3 pitches that are plus or have potential to be plus, (I hear the slider may not be there right now but it flashes), with good combination of velocity, (touches 97 regularly), and control. Only knock is size, (Baseball America lists him at 6'1"), but that's minor in my opinion. He made Baseball America's mid-season top 50 overall list, the only Yankee prospect to do so. He was an easy selection for the top spot.

[UPDATE: I had Sanchez #2 over Judge but made the switch after seeing Keith Law's recent prospect rankings.]

Gary Sanchez is still doing his "not really impressing but not falling off a cliff" thing that he did last year. It seems to me he hasn't shown the true offensive ability since going to high A in 2012. Aaron Judge has been beasting A-ball and getting in base at a high-clip, too. He recently made Keith Law's top 50 prospects list, (which Severino did not make, coincidentally).

Boy I was totally flummoxed with what to do with Rob Refsnyder. His stats this season have obviously been terrific and the Yankees have been aggressively pushing him up the system to the point where it appears he'll make it to the big club at some point soon. I know his defense lacks something to be desired at 2B, which gave me pause putting him top 10. So I had to poll some trusted friends and I got enough of a positive to put him at 8. He'll either have to make significant strides or keep producing at a high clip at the plate to maintain top 10 status, though.

Three perennial top prospects are sliding for me, that being Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott, and Tyler Austin. Injuries have plagued the latter two while Williams just seems unable to develop the offensive game to get him to the pros. The defense has always been there, but he's not been good at the plate since moving to high A two years ago. Heathcott is missing another season of developing and I've just gotten to the point with him I don't think he'll ever stay healthy enough to make it. Austin's prospect status is so dependent on his offense and it's not been good since his wrist injury.

I'm excited about what I'm hearing about Luis Torrens. He struggled a bit in low A to start the season and it seemed like putting him there was a mistake. But a shoulder injury that required about a month to heal allowed management to correct that mistake and put him in short season Staton Island where he has flurished thus far.  Defense at catcher, despite only moving there after signing with the team in 2012, is his calling card but he's showing promise at the plate. Baseball America's Ben Badler recently tweeted he thinks Torrens is a top 10 system prospect and if he keeps it up, he'll be there for me by seasons end.

Two other guys that have helped themselves tremendously this year are Shane Greene and Peter O'Brien. Greene has pitched wonderfully for the Yankees since being called up. His splitter is a legit out pitch and touches mid-90s. He clearly wants to stay and I hope he gets the chance. Peter O'Brien has been Hulk-smashing the ball this year and is embroiled in an exciting HR race with Joey Gallo and Kris Bryant.  It's fair to say those 2 are considered much superior prospects; All 3 are in today's Future Game and I hope Pete shows he belongs on the same stage.

Overall the system is looking improved since the beginning of the year. We've got some real talent in the lower levels but we've been saying that for a couple years. Kids will have to start breaking through the way Greene and Dellin Betsnces has, (and the way Refsnyder is about to), if we Yankee fans hope to see the farm system start paying dividends.

Ok, that's all I've for today. I'll have hitters/pitchers rankings next week and updated team draft rankings sometime after that. Hit me up with your thoughts on twitter at @thebronxempire or email me at info@thebronxempire.com. Have a good day!