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Yankees 2018 Draft Preview: Farm system strengths

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New York has a pitching-heavy system.

MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, Jason examined the shortcomings of the Yankees organization. Even after a series of trades and promotions, New York boasts one of the better farm systems in baseball. The various rankings situate it within the top 10 in all of baseball, with some being especially bullish. The overall rankings remain close to the same, but the farm’s makeup has changed. After a few impact bats graduated to the big leagues, the Yankees now have a system loaded with pitchers and outfielders.

According to, 22 of the team’s 30 top prospects are pitchers. That’s nearly three-quarters of the rankings! While it remains to be seen how many of them stick as starters — some, like Ben Heller, are already relievers — the sheer volume is impressive.

That collection boasts great depth, headlined by elite talent. Justus Sheffield represents the top prospect, and for good reason. He’s pitched to a 2.23 ERA (2.64 FIP) across 36.1 innings split between Double-A and Triple-A. Sheffield spent some time on the disabled list, but he made his return to Scranton’s rotation last night.

While Chance Adams and Frecier Perez have struggled, a collection of other pitchers have stepped up. Take Erik Swanson for example. He emerged as the breakout prospect from the Carlos Beltran trade and could become a big league option down the stretch. Albert Abreu rebounded nicely from a bout of appendicitis, as well.

They also have a small army of pitchers who have impressed, but also seem to have come out of nowhere. That includes Jonathan Loaisiga, Cody Carroll, Trevor Stephan, and Garrett Whitlock. Over the winter I joked that the Yankees had a factory designed to crank out a never-ending supply of power arms. Apparently they do.

Pitching, of course, isn’t the system’s only strength. The club has a serious amount of outfield depth. Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre alone boasts Clint Frazier and Billy McKinney, with each having a degree of big league experience. Red Thunder has technically graduated from the prospect rankings, but he’s a young, impact bat waiting in the wings.

Plus, the Yankees have Estevan Florial, a consensus top prospect. The center fielder is on the shelf following hamate bone surgery, but that doesn’t take the shine off his stock. The Yankees think very highly of him, and he expects to move quickly up the ladder when healthy.

Elsewhere, the Yankees have a number of intriguing outfield prospects. Everson Pereira is described as “a potential leadoff hitter and a no-doubt center fielder.” Canaan Smith, the first position player drafted by the Yankees last year, is a corner outfielder with plenty of raw power. There’s no shortage of outfielders here.

The Yankees have a top notch system, one highlighted by power pitching and outfield depth. It’s even better when one thinks that many of the top prospects graduated to the big league level. Sure, a few were traded, but most make up the Baby Bombers. Even after all that, the organization has a number of strengths.