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Yankees prospects: 2013 mid-season #11-15

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Who are the Yankees' 11th to 15th best prospects right now? Who will be one of the Yankees mid-season top ten prospects?

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Moving on to Yankees mid-season prospects 11-15, we have a possible heir to Mo's throne, a high school lefty with top of the rotation potential, a 50th-round draft pick lefty who has become one of our better arms in the upper minors, our former top pitching prospect working back from injury, and the first of our preseason outfield prospect trio who has struggled in Double-A so far.

Before continuing on the list of the Yankees top midseason prospects, let's look at the list so far:

Rank Name Age Position Highest level 2013
16 Dietrich Enns 22 LHP Tampa (A+)
17 Peter O'Brien 22 C/3B Tampa (A+)
18 Brett Marshall 23 RHP New York (MLB)
19 Ty Hensley 19 RHP Injured
20 Angelo Gumbs 20 2B Tampa (A+)
21 Cito Culver 20 SS Charleston (A)
22 Luis Torrens 17 C GCL (Rookie)
23 Austin Aune 19 RF GCL (Rookie)
24 Jose Pirela 23 2B Trenton (AA)
25 Jake Cave 20 CF Charleston (A)
26 Rob Refsnyder 22 2B Tampa (A+)
27 Rookie Davis 20 RHP Staten Island (Low-A)
28 Jordan Cote 20 RHP GCL (Rookie)
29 Ben Gamel 21 LF Tampa (A+)
30 Evan Rutckyj 21 LHP Charleston (A)

I would like to note that these rankings would have already changed. One player I was hesitant to rank, who I think now would make the top 25 at least, is Gosuke Katoh. On to players ranked 11-15:

Rank Name Age Position Highest level 2013
11 Tyler Austin 21 RF Trenton (AA)
12 Manny Banuelos 22 LHP Injured
13 Nik Turley 23 LHP Scranton (AAA)
14 Ian Clarkin 18 LHP TBD
15 Mark Montgomery 22 RHP Scranton (AAA)

15. Mark Montgomery was a top ten prospect before the season began, and was seen as potentially the eventual successor to Mariano Rivera. Montgomery was drafted in the 11th round of the 2011 draft, out of Longwood University in Virginia. He fit the Oppenheimer mold of quick-moving college relievers with one out pitch. Unlike many of these picks, Montgomery showed a lights-out, major league level slider as soon as he entered pro ball, collecting 51 strikeouts in 28.1 innings after being drafted - a ridiculous 16.2 K/9, 41.1 K%. He was similarly dominant in 2012, reaching Double-A and posted a combined 13.8 K/9, 39.4 K%. His K% didn't drop as much as his K/9 because he also cut his walk rate, from 4.1 BB/9 and 10.5 BB% to 3.1 BB/9 and 8.8 BB%.

Before 2013, he was poised to debut in Triple-A, with the expectation that he would be promoted to the big league bullpen sometime in the summer. He has fought injuries and has struggled in his transition to Triple-A. So far in 2013, he has put up a less than amazing 10.9 K/9, 27.1 K%, 4.8 BB/9, 13.9 BB%. His K/BB dropped by 56.7%, from 4.5 to 1.95 K/BB. He still should become an average middle reliever pretty easily, but he has the potential to be one of the better relief arms in the league. He will have some hiccups, like David Robertson did at first, with command and control, but assuming he works through this, he and Robertson could be a very nice 1-2 punch at the end of games over the next few years.

14. Ian Clarkin was drafted out of high school with one of this year's three first round picks. A great pick who surprisingly fell to the Yankees, he was basically tied with Robert Kaminsky for the second-best high school lefty in this year's draft, behind Trey Ball. I had him at 21 on my personal draft board, so getting him at 33 was great value. He signed fairly early for slot, $1.65 million, even though there were rumblings that he would be a tough sign needing an overslot bonus to pry away from San Diego. Clarkin is a big lefty with a mid-90s fastball and above-average curveball whose mechanics remind some of Clayton Kershaw. He hasn't made his pro debut yet, and probably won't pitch much this year as a high school arm. This could be too low for him, but I am being conservative, wanting to see how he does in pro ball before ranking him too highly. He is the most exciting HS arm we've drafted since Gerrit Cole, and signed since Phil Hughes. I could easily see him shoot to the top of the Yankees prospect list in 2014, and onto top 100 lists by the end of next year.

13. Nik Turley was drafted in the 50th and final round of 2008, a round that doesn't even exist anymore. As a Mormon, he was seen as a tough sign and was expected to go on mission before attending college. However, he signed for fifth round money, $150,000, to break his commitment to BYU. Turley is a 6'7" lefty with a low-90s fastball who has moved along slowly in the Yankees system. He doesn't possess any one out-pitch, but has a solid average curveball, a good fastball for a lefty, and a change-up that flashes some above-average potential. His stuff plays up though, due to a bulldog mentality. He has spent all but one start in Double-A Trenton this year, posting a 4.23 ERA, 4.25 FIP, 8.6 K/9, 24.0 K%, 4.6 BB/9, 11.8 BB%, 2.04 K/BB.

Over his six minor league seasons, Turley has posted a 3.30 ERA, 3.50 FIP, 8.6 K/9, 22.6 K%, 3.5 BB/9, 9.3 BB%, 2.44 K/BB. Like Montgomery, he has struggled with his control this year, posting the highest walk rate of his pro career. It could be that he is trying to be too fine with his command in Double-A, resulting in more walks and more home runs. I had him in my top ten pre-season, but given the talent added in the draft, some risers, and his struggles, this seems appropriate. Next year will be a huge test for him. He will be a 24-year-old in Triple-A - if he can show that he can make adjustments, he could be on the big league team next year. If not, he could be trade fodder or minor league depth by 2015.

12. Manny Banuelos was the Yankees top pitching prospect in 2011 and 2012, but fell down the rankings last year due to a drop in performance, more than likely due to the elbow injury that required him to undergo Tommy John surgery in October. Banuelos was signed out of Mexico in 2008 as a 17-year-old. Before the arm surgery, the small lefty had a mid-90s fastball, an average curveball, and an average change, both with the potential to be plus pitches. In his minor-league career, he has a 3.12 ERA, 3.31 FIP, 9.1 K/9, 23.9 K%, 3.6 BB/9, 9.3 BB%, 2.55 K/BB. He is rehabbing right now and could make an appearance in the Arizona Fall League. If not, expect him to return to Triple-A Scranton next spring, and will still be an age-appropriate 23. If he can bounce back from the surgery, he could be in the Yankees starting rotation in 2015.

11. Tyler Austin was drafted in in the 13th round of the 2010 draft, signing for an overslot $130,000. He bounced around defensively in his first couple of years in pro ball, from first base to third base to his current right field. He will never be a strong defensive player, although his arm is good for right field. His value as a prospect comes from his bat. He crushed the ball in 2011 and 2012, moving from rookie ball all the way to Double-A Trenton. In 2011, he had a combined line of .354/.418/.579, with a 182 wRC+. He got very little attention, due to his low draft position and lack of a defensive home. In 2012, he continued to rake, posting a .322/.400/.559 line with a 163 wRC+. This started to get him noticed and he became a top 10 Yankees prospect (for many a top five prospect), coming into 2013.

Unfortunately, Austin has struggled, posting a .254/.344/.367 line in Trenton, although that is still good enough to be an average offensive player (100 wRC+). For his minor league career, he has a .304/.385/.496 line, with a 145 wRC+, and he has shown surprising adeptness on the basepaths, stealing 45 bases while only being caught twice. He is still young for Double-A at age 21 and can take the rest of this year to work on adjusting to the level. If he has to repeat Double-A next year he will still be age-appropriate. By the end of 2013, he could be back into the top ten with a strong finish.

So, who do you think should've been in the top ten out of this group of five? You can vote in the poll, then discuss in the comments. Also, any guesses at my top ten prospects?