With spring training on the horizon, that means it’s prospect ranking season. Baseball America kicked off the frenzy by releasing their top 100 list earlier this morning. The Yankees once again put up a strong showing, landing six prospects on the table. Their farm system’s combination of elite talent and depth were clearly on display.
Gleyber Torres, the team’s consensus top prospect, ranked sixth overall on the list. That’s a slight drop from last year when he sat in the number five spot. This is not a knock on Torres, though, who hit .287/.383/.480 with seven home runs across two levels in 2017. He suffered a season-ending injury limiting his exposure, plus other prospects like Ronald Acuna and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had elite campaigns. Torres is still a dynamite prospect, and one who’s knocking on the door to the big leagues.
Estevan Florial, the 20-year-old outfielder, made a big splash on the list. He ranks 38th, sandwiched between Alex Verdugo of the Dodgers and Brandon McKay of the Rays. The Yankees have thought highly of Florial, reportedly keeping him off limits in trade talks. The evaluators at Baseball America agree. He has potential to shoot up even higher by midseason.
After a strong 2017 and a stellar Arizona Fall League, Justus Sheffield cracked the top 50. The southpaw ranked number 41 on the list. That represents an enormous jump from last season, when he just entered the discussion at 91. Sheffield pitched to a 3.12 ERA across 98 innings last season, mostly for Double-A Trenton. He could become a rotation option towards the end of the year.
Miguel Andujar had a breakout season last year, and he was rewarded with a spot on the list. The group ranked him as the 59th best prospect in baseball. Andujar hit .315/.352/.498 with a 132 wRC+ in the minor leagues in 2017. He also had a memorable cup of coffee. The 22-year-old figures to compete for the starting job at the hot corner this spring.
A pair of right-handers round out the list, as Albert Abreu and Chance Adams rank 77th and 81st, respectively. Abreu showed off electric stuff during an injury shortened season; his upside is as high as any pitcher in baseball. He remains a work in progress, though, and figures to start the season at Double-A. Adams, on the other hand, could make his big league debut at any point in the 2018 season.
After a number of high profile trades and graduations, the Yankees still have one of the game’s premiere farm systems. Having six prospects in the top 100 — and three in the top 50 -- illustrates as much. It’s hard not to love what Brian Cashman and the front office staff have done to build such a strong pipeline.