Another wave of prospect rankings has hit the web. FanGraphs, Baseball Prospectus, and ZiPS all published their lists today. The Yankees, unsurprisingly, made a splash on each one. Before examining them in detail later in the week, a quick rundown proves helpful to set the scene.
FanGraphs loves Miguel Andujar
Over the last few years, Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel have compiled some interesting top 100 lists. They’re not afraid to break from the pack when it comes to ranking prospects. This year proves no exception. It’s obvious from their collection of Yankees minor league talent.
- Gleyber Torres - #12
- Miguel Andujar - #14
- Justus Sheffield - #39
- Albert Abreu - #59
- Estevan Florial - #79
There are two extremes on this list. This is probably the lowest anyone will rank Torres, as well as the highest for Andujar. Longenhagen and McDaniel love the young third baseman, noting that he “...cut down on his swing-and-miss while also lifting the ball more and hitting it with more authority, an obviously rare and desirable combination when you’re already working with a toolsy prospect who was always young for his level.”
They are also noticeably bullish on Abreu. “The electric nature of Abreu’s stuff makes him likely to play some kind of significant big-league role even if he fails to develop starter’s command,” they note. The confidence in his stuff isn’t new. Evaluators have raved about it since the Brian McCann trade. Now it’s being rewarded on a top 100 list.
Baseball Prospectus still believes in Gleyber Torres
After suffering a season-ending elbow injury last year, Torres saw his stock slip on a number of prospect lists. It’s not that he took a step backwards, rather other players broke out. Baseball Prospectus didn’t follow this route, though. Instead, they billed him as the number three prospect in the game, beating his 2017 mark of fifteenth best. Their complete list more or less fits the consensus of the Yankees’ top prospects.
- Gleyber Torres - #3
- Estevan Florial - #26
- Chance Adams - #51
- Justus Sheffield - #57
- Albert Abreu - #100
Florial landing in the top 30 is somewhat, but not entirely, surprising. His raw talent makes him a fast-rising prospect. The only name missing here is Andujar, who made every other list this winter. That’s a pretty notable omission. One would assume he was a sure thing for the Baseball Prospectus rankings.
ZiPS likes Chance Adams, but not Justus Sheffield
Dan Szymborski’s list differs from the other top prospects collections in terms of methodology. Whereas the traditional lists form their rankings through scouting reports, ZiPS employs data. That gives his assessment a unique feel to it. Nonetheless, the Yankees had a strong showing.
- Gleyber Torres - #6
- Chance Adams - #41
- Estevan Florial - #51
- Miguel Andujar - #79
The pitching prospects stand out here. ZiPS really buys into Adams; he’s a top 50 prospect in its eyes. That’s the highest the right-hander has fared on any list. Conspicuously absent from this ranking, however, is Sheffield. The southpaw makes an honorable mention at number 122. The rationale behind this is pretty interesting:
Sheffield remains young for his levels, but ZiPS was concerned that his strikeout and walk rates went backward from 2016. Giving up 14 homers was too many to allow in 93⅓ innings in Double-A; if he were projected to pitch in a less homer-friendly stadium than Yankee Stadium, Sheffield moves back into the top 100. In fact, as a Tampa Bay Ray he would get up to No. 68.
When comparing all of the lists together, it becomes clear that the Yankees maintain an elite farm system. Even after all of the graduations and trades, the team’s minor league pipeline remains one of the strongest in baseball. When you pair that with the collection of young talent already at the big league level, it’s an exciting time to be a Yankees fan.