We've seen prospect lists from all over the internet, but here's one more for you to consider. Fangraphs has released their list of the top 10 prospects in the Yankees system. They were just ranked 20th overall by Keith Law, but Marc Hulet believes the system could be top 10 if some of his projected sleeper picks have big years.
Gary Sanchez, of course, comes away with top honors. Hulet believes that his career may have stagnated a bit this season, but he still has the potential to be a big league bat and an average defensive catcher. He will stay in Double-A and could move up by midseason.
Sanchez's best tool is his above-average power from the right side of the plate and he could eventually hit 20+ home runs in the Majors. He needs to stick to a consistent game plan at the plate, which could help him make better contact and produce a better batting average (and on-base percentage). Behind the plate, Sanchez has made improvements with his game calling and receiving but the big-framed catcher still struggles with his blocking and overall mobility.
No. 2 on the list is J.R. Murphy, who Hulet hints could be put into a trade. He can be a starter now, but with Brian McCann in front of him and Gary Sanchez behind him, there's not a lot of room for him. Hulet also suggests that he would be an above-average backup and could even play a corner infield spot on a part-time basis.
Murphy is the organization's best all-around catcher and a lot of organizations would love to have him. He has a solid line-drive swing and produces gap power but he'll likely top out around 10 home runs in the Majors with regular playing time. Defensively, he's improved by leaps and bounds since being drafted and has a chance to be an average receiver with an above-average ability to control the running game.
Recent first round draftee, Eric Jagielo is next on the list as Hulet believes the Yankees could start moving him quickly through the system in order to get him to the majors sooner. He seems to lack the confidence that Jagielo can stay at third base long-term, though I don't know where he would play in that case.
Jagielo has impressive raw power from the left side of the plate and can hit the ball out of any part of a ball park. He also has an improving approach at the plate and shows good pitch recognition despite the strike outs. Defensively, he shows a strong arm but may lack the range to remain at the hot corner long term.
Another evaluator who thinks Mason Williams is heading in the wrong direction. Hulet believes that he needs to fix a lot of things after the disaster of his 2013 season, but since he's so young he has plenty of time to fix things. Unfortunately, at this point, he thinks Mason may only amount to a solid regular instead of the potential All-Star he was thought to be.
Williams' stock slipped in 2013 as he showed up a little out of shape and with inconsistent effort on the field. He lacked pop last year and, while he'll probably never be a power hitter, he needs to keep his swing short and quick to the ball. When he's right, Williams has above-average speed and the ability to swiped 20+ bases. Defensively, he's a strong fielder with a good arm and range, as well as solid reads.
Hulet says that, because of the way he plays, Slade Heathcott will always be dealing with injuries, even if he makes it to the majors. He should start the year in Double-A with the chance to move to Triple-A if he's healthy, which is still a huge question mark.
To say Heathcott hustles is an understatement. Unfortunately, his all-out play lends itself to injuries - both of the serious and of the nagging varieties, which have cut into his development time and hindered his effectiveness. His aggression gets the better of him at the plate and he strikes out too much for someone who should be building his game around getting on base and letting others drive him in. Defensively, Heathcott plays a very good centre field with excellent range, good reads and an average arm.
Another 2013 draftee, Aaron Judge, makes it onto the list. The man Hulet calls a "hulking monster" could start out in Low-A Charleston and even move up to High-A Tampa by the end of the year, despite never playing pro ball. There's not many players to compare him to, but the words Giancarlo Stanton are thrown around when discussing physical similarities.
As expected with his size, Judge's most impressive tool is his power but he struggles to keep a short, compact swing due to the sheer length of his arms. As a result, he may never hit of a high average but he should walk enough to produce a respectable on-base percentage to go along with the power output. Defensively, he has a very strong arm and enough range to stick in right field.
Ian Clarkin, the third 2013 first-round pick makes it on the list at No. 7 and Hulet believes the Yankees got a steal. He says Clarkin has the ceiling of a No. 2 or No. 3 starter and will likely play in extended spring training before moving to short season.
The lefty has an inconsistent, low-90s fastball with projection that could eventually push it into the mid-90s. His curveball also shows the makings of a plus offering and his changeup should be no worse than average. He needs to become more consistent with the command of pitches while also learning to attack the zone early in the count and trust his stuff.
Our boy, Greg Bird pops up at No. 8 in the system, but Hulet has a problem with the first baseman's high strikeout count. He wants Bird to make more contact in High-A Tampa and hopefully maintain a .400 OBP. His ability to keep a high batting average depends entirely on his ability to keep his strikeouts down.
Bird is your classic three-true-outcome hitter with good power, a patient approach and a lot of swing-and-misses. He made some adjustments as the year went on, incorporating a little more loft to his swing, and walked more than he struck out in both July and August while positing an OPS above 1.000. He's going to have to hit because he has limited defensive value but could be an average fielding first baseman with a little more polish.
Marc Hulet ranked Jose Ramirez next, believing that he has the potential to be a No. 3 starter if he can produce a solid third pitch, otherwise he'll likely end up as a dominate reliever with two plus pitches in his fastball and breaking ball. Surprisingly, he says Ramirez could start the season at Triple-A.
The Dominican righty has a nasty one-two punch with his mid-90s fastball and plus changeup. His curveball still needs a fair bit of polish to become a reliable, average offering. That development will be key in helping him remain in the starting rotation, as will the ability to avoid the infirmary.
Last, but not least, Tyler Austin rounds out the top 10 after a season that was derailed by a nagging wrist injury. He was overly unimpressive in 2013, but that may be the product of injury, so he gets a free pass as he returns to Double-A in 2014.
Seemingly, the wrist injury sapped much of Austin's power in 2013 and he struggled to consistently drive the ball. His bat was noticeably slower last year. When he's right, the outfielder shows good gap power with enough over-the-fence pop to make things interesting. He has a solid eye at the plate and isn't afraid to take pitches and work the count. Defensively, Austin is an average corner outfielder with good arm strength.
Aside from the top 10, Hulet also provided his idea of the next five:
Luis Severino "could be a Top 100 prospect in a year's time if he continues to follow his current development track. The right-hander has power stuff, including a low-to-high-90s fastball, breaking ball and changeup."
Gosuke Katoh "got on base, produced a strong batting average, and also hit for power. The only thing he didn't do was steal bases. The left-handed hitter showed an advanced approach and good feel for the game."
Abiatal Avelino "showed a good eye at the plate by making a ton of contact and walking more than he struck out (20 BBs to 17 Ks). Avelino will have to continue to get stronger as he moves up the ladder after just 14 of his 60 hits went for extra bases."
Jose Campos "continues to show glimpses of brilliance and is just 21 years old."
Luis Torrens "showed the potential to develop into an above-average defender while showing flashes of becoming a strong hitter with patience and a developing eye. The biggest deficiency in his game right now is his lack of in-game pop."