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Yankees Draft Preview 2016: What does the Yankees system need?

The Yankees have seen their farm system rapidly improve over the past several seasons, but it's still far from perfect. There are a couple positions that look concerningly thin right now, though a strong draft could solve some depth problems.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball's amateur draft serves as the best way for teams to restock their farm system and build for the future. There are several different strategies that teams employ when selecting players; most simply take the best player available, although some teams choose to skew the draft towards bats, arms, or certain positions. Two examples of the latter approach are the Yankees 2013 and 2014 drafts. Just one pitcher was selected in the Yankees' first five picks from 2013, but the following year those five picks were all arms.

The Yankees may not end up taking players purely from one position in the early rounds of this year's draft, but recognizing which positions need depth can be useful on draft day.


While one could argue that a single good prospect makes the whole position strong, the Yankees are lacking depth behind the plate for the first time in a while. It feels like the Yankees have always had a steady stream of catchers passing through the system, but that's not the case this season. Gary Sanchez is the only catching prospect in the high minors, and even he isn't a lock to remain a catcher in the big leagues.

Behind Sanchez on the proverbial organizational depth chart is 20-year old Luis Torrens, who hasn't played a minor league game since 2014. Torrens missed all of last season with shoulder surgery, and has yet to make his 2016 debut. Although Torrens should remain a catcher with a full recovery from surgery, he's only in A-Ball and laden with risk. They recently converted 2015 draft pick Donny Sands from third base to behind the plate, but he is very far away.

Miguel Flames and Jason Lopez are light years away from becoming relevant, even if they boast strong upside, and there's not much else behind them. The Yankees aren't devoid of catching talent, but there are too many question marks for the team to feel confident in the position's future. The team was rumored to have interest in catcher Chris Betts in the first round of last year's draft and may want to look at catchers at some point in this draft.

Second Base

Second base isn't as big a concern as other positions, as the Yankees are deep at shortstop and could move one of those prospects to the keystone. That's how most teams end up producing second basemen anyway. That said, the team is missing a true second base prospect. Rob Refsnyder is unlikely to be a big league regular and the only other interesting name right now is Thairo Estrada, who spent time at both second and shortstop last season but is lacking on offense.

There's a good chance the Yankees' future second baseman is currently playing shortstop, which is certainly worth noting. Jorge Mateo is currently playing some second base at High-A, and Tyler Wade has also spent time at second this season. It's unlikely the Yankees draft a second baseman in the first few rounds, as Bo Bichette and Carlos Cortes are the only the only two who currently profile at the position.

Third Base

The Yankees don't have much going for them at third base in the big leagues, and the minor league situation isn't much different. Miguel Andujar could become an average regular at the hot corner, but the 21-year old hasn't put up great numbers in the minors and has questions surrounding his hit tool. On the bright side, Andujar is hitting well in High-A right now and has a chance of being Chase Headley's replacement in a few years. Betting on that happening is a risky proposition, though.

International signings Dermis Garcia and Nelson Gomez are also names to watch, as they could become top prospects in a couple years but for now remain years away from that. Garcia has massive raw power, but it may not mean anything given his present deficiencies in the hit tool. Gomez has huge offensive potential, though he may end up playing first base. There's a much better chance the two flame out in the low-minors than approach their ceiling, which is why the hot corner remains lukewarm for New York.

Corner Outfield

Similar to the catching situation, the Yankees have an elite prospect and little else in the corner outfield. Everyone knows about Aaron Judge by now, but there's not much behind him. Trey Amburgey could end up being a steal for the Yankees in the 13th round of last year's draft, and last year's performance in his first taste of pro-ball opened some eyes. That said, the power/speed combination he flashed may be overstated by the statline, and the jury remains open on who Amburgey really is.

Jhalan Jackson was another middle round pick last season, going in the seventh round to the Yankees. He also shows intriguing power and speed, but may not make enough contact to allow those tools to play. Colombian outfielder Brayan Emery could end up with average (or better) tools across the board, but he, like many other of the Yankees' July 2nd signings, remains very far from realizing that projection. The Yankees have been connected to Taylor Trammel in the draft, and he might end up at a corner if the arm isn't good enough. The team also has several solid centerfielder prospects, and they are capable of moving to left or right field in the same way a shortstop can play second base.


The Yankees have long struggled to develop pitching, and it hasn't gotten much better recently. The system lacks starting pitching from both right and left handers, though the situation is especially bad with southpaws. Ian Clarkin was a first round pick in 2013, but his development has been slowed by arm issues. While he could still very well be a mid-rotation starter, the durability issues could send Clarkin to the bullpen.

Jordan Montgomery, a fourth round pick in 2014, has pitched well in the minors. However, he seems unlikely to be more than a backend starter. Jeff Degano was their second round pick last year, but there's a good chance he's a reliever. The Yankees have interest in a few right handed pitchers (most notably Kevin Gowdy), but there aren't many high-end southpaws that will be available to New York.