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Surprise Seasons Within the Yankee Farm System


The major league club was not the only portion of the Yankee system to be slammed by injuries this season, with a fair number of top prospects missing valuable time hanging out on the disabled list. Manny Banuelos, Jose Campos, Austin Romine, Slade Heathcott, and Mason Williams have all missed a significant amount of time to injury; while other top prospects like Dellin Betances and Dante Bichette Jr. have been healthy, but disappointing.

It hasn't been a banner year for all the high-level exciting players, others have managed to exceed expectations and show why the prospect game is one that is nearly impossible to predict. Some have come out of seemingly nowhere, while others have battled back from previous seasons of disappointment. This is hardly an all-encompassing list, but all the players below have done a little to a lot more than people probably thought they would have this season.

Ronnier Mustelier - His age is probably a huge contributing factor to why little has been said about the guy they call Moose, but he has been impressive for both Trenton and Empire State in 2012. Mustelier just turned 28 on Wednesday, so the clock is working against him in that sense, but he hit .353/.412/.598 in 25 games with the Trenton Thunder before being promoted. With Empire State, Mustelier missed a bit of time with an injury, but has a .291/.351/.453 triple slash line in 71 games.

Corban Joseph - Joseph hit the best he ever has as a professional with the Trenton Thunder at the beginning of 2012 with a .314 average and .412 on-base percentage in 23 games. His numbers have slowed a bit since his promotion, but Joseph has maintained a 118 wRC+ in 59 games with the Empire State Yankees. In those 59 games, he's hit more home runs (7) than he has hit in any professional level. His road to the majors is blocked by a superstar in Robinson Cano, but his results have certainly been encouraging nonetheless.

Ramon Ortiz - The most recent results haven't been great, but Ortiz has exceeded expectations to lead Empire State in ERA at 3.20 and wins with nine this season. With Banuelos injured, Betances in AA, and Phelps spending time in the majors, the bulk of AAA innings have been left to him and Warren, and even if he doesn't have a future with the Yankees, he's shown an ability to eat innings without disaster, which is all you can really expect from organizational depth.

David Adams - Adams has shown he has the ability to hit, but hasn't shown that he has the ability to actually stay on the field. His ankle infamously nixed the Cliff Lee trade in 2010 and coming back from that has been a struggle, but Adams has hit .316 with a 132 wRC+ in AA in 2012. The team has been giving him reps at third base, which clears his path to the majors a little more than playing second base would. He has a spot on the 40-man roster, so his chances of seeing at least some major league time in the future looks pretty good.

Addison Maruszak - In 93 games with Trenton, Maruszak has a 124 wRC+ and a .291 batting average, good enough for his best results since Short Season ball in 2008. Last year at the same level, Maruszak managed a 99 wRC+ in 108 games with only seven home runs. He has 12 so far this year. The added good news, should he be able to stick around, is that he plays shortstop and third base. The Yankees could use some of those in the near future.

Jose Pirela - Before 2012, Pirela's best season came in Low A in 2009, where he hit .295 with a 110 wRC+ and nine stolen bases. His .318/.379/.491 batting line with eight home runs this year would be a pretty dramatic switch from what is expected of Pirela. He'll need to prove that it's not a fluke before people start to believe in what has never been there before, but sometimes guys find themselves at strange times, and maybe this is when things turn around for Pirela.

Francisco Arcia - When a backup catcher makes the league's All-Star game, things are going pretty well for them. Arcia spent half the year as Gary Sanchez's backup, but has hit .268/.351/.419 in 54 games at Charleston. Not too shabby for a part time player.

Ben Gamel - Better known for being Mat Gamel's brother than really anything else, Gamel has had a very productive season in Low A, hitting .301/.337/.390 on a team that began the year with an outfield mostly comprised of Mason Williams and Tyler Austin. The majority of his hits are singles, but his defense has been solid in the outfield.

Casey Stevenson - Has primarily been Dante Bichette Jr.'s backup who has easily out-hit the player he's supposed to be backing up. Stevenson's .303/.367/.446 line easily tops DBJ's .244/.313/.324 season, and his eight errors are more tolerable than Bichette's twenty.