Top 10 Yankees Prospects

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees have the deepest organization in baseball. They combine a potential World Series team with a farm system that usually is only associated with a team that has been tanking for 3-4 years. While the young core of Judge, Sanchez, Severino and others is well known, lets review the top prospects you will be hearing from soon.

Top 10 Prospects:

Many of these prospects have graced their recently baseball top 100 list. BA – Baseball America; KL – Keith Law (ESPN); MLBP – MLB Pipeline

1: Gleyber Torres – 2B/SS/3B – (Top 100, BA, KL, MLBP) A consensus top six prospect in all of baseball, I don’t think there is much debate as to who the Yankees number 1 prospect is. Torres would have been in the majors last season if not for an injury, and with a strong Spring Training he could be in the majors when the Yankees break camp. He can hit, field and scouts rave about an advanced approach at the plate not often seen from players his age.

2: Justus Sheffield - LHP - (Top 100, BA, KL, MLBP) Sheffield’s stuff flashes ace potential, but most scouts see a solid number 2 pitcher. Still only 21 years old heading into the season, Keith Law rates him as the 14th best prospect in baseball, but the other scouts have him in the 40’s. Sheffield faced injury issues in 2017, but made up some of the innings during the Arizona Fall League where he continued to pitch well including a devastating slider that could make him an ace if it becomes a consistent weapon. If Sheffield continues to improve his secondary pitches he could crack the rotation in 2018, possibly as early as June – July time frame.

3: Miguel Andujar – 3B – (Top 100, BA, KL, MLBP) I love Andujar the hitter. I saw him play two times in the minor leagues last year, and in 9 at bats, he made solid contact at least once during every plate appearance. Some of the balls missed foul, or went for outs, but there were line drives flying off his bat every time up. I also got to see the defensive concerns first hand, as he did air mail a throw that went at least 5-6 feet over Mike Ford’s head at first base. Overall Andujar’s numbers show improvement on defense and multiple sources now describe his defense as at a minimum adequate for the majors.

4: Estevan Florial – CF –(Top 100, BA, MLBP) Florial is a 4 tool player with a chance to develop his 5th tool, and mitigating factors as to why that tool is not developed yet. If Florial had been born in the Dominican Republic, or Venezuela he would have received quality coaching and competition in baseball from an early age and some of his struggles with pitch identification and over aggressiveness would be a bigger concern. On Baseball America’s podcast reviewing the Yankees system, they talked about how it is hard to find players who have succeeded at the big league level after striking out more than 28% in High A ball, Florial struck out 31% of the time at that level and at 36% in the Arizona Fall League against more refined pitchers of the like he will see moving forward. They also discussed that because Florial is still young to this sport, (moving to the D.R. at 14 or 15 if I have the story correct) that he still has plenty of time to develop his last tool. Florial is not a slam dunk to be a star, but he will almost certainly be a contributor through his speed, power, and defense.

5: Albert Abreu - RHP – (Top 100, BA, KL, MLBP) Abreu is a starting candidate with an elite power arm, who just needs to refine the things that most young pitchers need, command, and secondary pitches. He struck out 10.3 per 9 with a 1.181 WHIP before going to the hitting friendly Arizona Fall League against some of the best prospects in baseball and holding his own, 7.5 K/9, and 1.265 WHIP in 55.1 innings. Abreu is on the 40 man roster, and will probably start the season in Tampa with a quick move to Trenton, and could possibly finish it in New York with a September call up, or even a spot start at some point.

6: Chance Adams – RHP – (Top 100, BA, MLBP) The best scouting reports on Adams say that his peak is as a middle of the rotation starter, but every scouting report on Adams indicate that he might end up in the Bullpen. Despite this his performance though the minors all the way to AAA shows that he earned a chance (no pun intended) to be a starting pitcher in the majors. Last season between AAA and AA he posted 150.1 IP, 2.45 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 1.078 WHIP. In the rotation or the bullpen in an Adam Warren or Chad Green type, Adams will provide value to the Yankees as soon as the beginning of this season.

7: Freicer Perez –(Top 100 KL) RHP - It is starting to look like the Yankees absolutely stole Perez in the 2014 signing period, where in their $30M spending spree that included 7 million dollar plus contracts, they signed Perez for mere $10K. A 6’8 Right Hander who can flirt with 100, and sit in the mid 90’s. Scouts think that Perez will be able to stick as a starter, and he will be starting the next season in Tampa. Keith Law says that the difference between Perez and a young Betances is that Perez is a much better athlete who can repeat his delivery, and not lose the strike zone for extended stretches. Perez’s numbers from this year at Charleston 123.2 IP, 1.14 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, 3.3 BB/9.

8: Domingo Acevedo - RHP – Like Perez ahead of him, Acevedo was not highly regarded when he signed with the Yankees, garnering only a $7.5K signing bonus and not being signed until he was 18 years old. Acevedo now has a plus fastball that sits mid to upper 90’s, while peaking in triple digits to go with mid to low 80’s slider and change up secondary pitches that show enough that scouts think he may stick as a starter. Last year I remember seeing reports on him said he was probably destined for the bullpen. Acevedo has very good control, only walking 2.4 per 9 in his career, but at least one scout (I think it was Keith Law, but it could have been one of the Baseball America guys) says that he doesn’t necessarily command his pitches inside the zone as well as he will need to. I could see Acevedo either going into the rotation for a spot start or two, or filling in if Adam Warren or Chad Green gets injured in the bullpen this season.

9: Thiaro Estrada - 2B/SS/3B – To quote the movie Bull Durham "This is a simple game: You throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball" Estrada does all of those things very well. He has a very good hit tool, albeit without a ton of power. He has enough range, quickness and arm to play three infield positions. At age 21, three years younger than the Eastern League average player he hit .301/.353/.392, while playing 90 games at SS, 23 at 2B, and 2 at 3B. He played 47 games at 3B in 2016.

10: Jonathan Loaisiga – RHP – Since last July the Yankees have traded or failed to protect from the Rule 5 draft Yefry Ramirez, Matt Wortherspoon, Zack Littell, Dietrich Enns, Caleb Smith, Nick Rumbolow, Nestor Cortes, Jose Mesa Jr, Anyelo Gomez, J.P. Feyerisian, Cale Coshow, and Stephan Tarpley. That is a lot of near MLB ready arms to move out of town, or pass over for 40 man roster spots, especially in favor of a pitcher who has 103.2 career innings, with only 2.1 of those coming in a full season league. I saw a recently scouting report that said Loaisiga has middle of the rotation stuff, but the Yankees must see a lot more than that to have used a valuable 40 man roster spot from one of the best farm systems in baseball on him while pitching at such a low level. The Yankees also had a strong suspicion that at least one other team was willing to select him in the Rule 5 draft if left unprotected. Scouts only had 32.2 IP in low level leagues to see Loaisiga this season, while the Yankees also had extended spring training and other opportunities to evaluate this player. Loaisiga can sit low to mid 90’s and touch the upper 90’s with his fastball. In 32.2 IP this season between the Gulf Coast league and Staten Island he posted 0.612 WHIP, 9.1 K/9, 0.8 BB/9. Considering that he is on the 40 man roster I expect the Yankees to be aggressive with Loaisiga, and if he performs while staying healthy,he could finish the season in Trenton after likely starting in Charleston.

Next 5:

Luis Medina – Reports on Medina’s stuff indicate that it can be electric (102 MPH fastball), but he still has work to do with command (5.6 BB/9) and plenty of time to get there.

Nick Solak - A solid bat at 2B, who also played corner outfield positions in college. Solak was recently ranked the 5th best 2B prospect in baseball by MLB pipeline. Solak would get the nod over Estrada if it just came down to 2B, but Estrada’s versatility pushes him ahead.

Dillon Tate – The 4th overall pick in 2015 has seen his professional career defined by inconsistency. Scouts even say that inning to inning they are not sure what Tate is going to be out there. He produced good numbers overall for the year, and he could see the majors by the end of 2018.

Domingo German - German had an outstanding 2017, he pitched 109.1 minor league innings last year with a 1.12 WHIP and 9.8 K/9. He is as good a candidate as any to step in and fill an injury in the rotation or bullpen this season.

Ben HellerHeller could step into a bullpen spot to open the season. He was impressive in his brief cameos last season, giving up 1 ER in 11 big league innings. At Scranton he registered a 0.976 WHIP and 13.1 K/9

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