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Yankees place four on MLB Pipeline’s midseason top 100

Justus Sheffield again profiles as the Yankees’ top prospect in MLB’s midseason update.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at New York Yankees Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Now that we’re firmly midseason, various prospect publications are updating their top prospect lists to reflect the action that’s already taken place. ESPN’s Keith Law posted a midseason Top 50, in which Justus Sheffield was the Yankees’ only representative. Baseball Prospectus also updated their Top 50 list, and again, Sheffield was New York’s only prospect.

Last week, MLB Pipeline updated their ranking of the Top 100 prospects in the game. This time around, the Yankees have four players on the list: Sheffield (28th), Estevan Florial (47th), Jonathan Loaisiga (77th), and Albert Abreu (79th).

Sheffield continues to profile as the Yankees’ best prospect of the moment. His path to the top of the Yankees’ list was cleared by Gleyber Torres’ graduation and Florial’s injury-riddled year. MLB still has Florial in their top 50, and he is probably the prospect to watch who has the talent to shoot upward if he can stay healthy.

The biggest takeaway here might be Loaisiga’s rapid ascension. Prior to the year, MLB Pipeline had him as the Yankees’ number 12 prospect. That was already a somewhat aggressive ranking, as the Yankees had only plucked Loaisiga off the scrap heap in 2016 as a 21-year-old virtual non-prospect.

As the Yankees’ number three prospect and number 77 overall, Loaisiga isn’t a sleeper or an organizational arm anymore: he is a legitimate prospect. Loaisiga’s homecoming is another victory for the Yankees’ player development system, as well as for Loaisiga himself, who looked like he might not have a future in baseball when the Giants outright released him in May of 2015.

His brief cameo in the majors was demonstrative of how far Loaisiga had come and how far he had to go. His velocity was excellent, consistently in the mid-90’s, and his sharp slider flashed real potential to fool major-league hitters. Loaisiga’s command also faltered, and he was unable to last deep into games as his pitch counts were quickly inflated.

Loaisiga came in just two spots ahead of Abreu, whose stock has held steady. Falling off the Top 100 was Chance Adams, whose stock has plummeted this year. Adams has struggled all season, is currently nursing a 4.93 ERA in Triple-A.

Clocking in at number six of MLB Pipeline’s updated Top 30 for the Yankees is Anthony Siegler, the team’s 2018 first-round pick. At number seven is Clarke Schmidt, the right-handed starter the Yankees selected in the first round in 2017 that missed all of last season with Tommy John surgery. They will be names to monitor to see if they can ascend with more time in the Yankees’ system.

I wrote when looking over BP’s updated Top 50 that the Yankees’ farm system was easing away from elite talent and more towards depth, and that looks true with MLB’s Top 100. This is to be expected, what with the promotions in recent seasons of Torres, Miguel Andujar, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, etc. The days of the Yankees placing six or seven or eight prospects on these kinds of rankings are probably over for now.

That they can still develop guys like Loaisiga, though, is a good sign that even as the Yankees continue to trade from their depth, they will be able to replenish from within. The system isn’t quite what it was before the Yankees’ window of contention opened, but that is just a natural consequence of competing.