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Yankees 2015 Draft Profile: Catcher System Depth

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

It was once said that Yankees spring training was a mecca for catchers, but that was several years ago, and a system that was once teeming with top backstops now seems to be running out. There's still at least one MLB hopeful, but increased catching depth might be the system's greatest need at the moment.

As far as top prospects go, Gary Sanchez is pretty much it for the 2015 season. He was once considered the top prospects in the organization, but in recent years his value has decreased as he has failed to improve behind the plate or separate himself with his bat. That's not to say that he's struggled–he's shown solid power for a catcher–but given the lofty expectations many scouts had for him, his lack of a breakout season has hurt him. With mixed reviews about the quality of his defense and evaluations changing every few months, it's possible that Sanchez never lives up to his top-flight billing. Luckily, he's still only 22 and has some time to improve, but he needs to show that his work ethic is in the right place and that he's worth waiting on.

The Yankees might have had a better catching prospect waiting in the wings–and maybe they still do–but things fell apart this year when it was announced that Luis Torrens would miss the entire 2015 season after undergoing shoulder surgery. The Yankees had tried to be aggressive with him, promoting him to Low-A at the age of 18, but it proved to be too much for him before his shoulder started acting up. He returned to short season Staten Island after a long layaway, but ultimately required surgery in the offseason and now we just have to wait and see what happens from here. The good thing is he's only 19, but he's also already had major surgery and his abilities could be hampered by a surgically repaired shoulder before we've even seen his full potential behind the plate. Many see him as the real starting catcher of the future as he provides value with the bad and the glove, but an entire year off has hit the pause button on his prospect value for now.

The Yankees still have Austin Romine in Triple-A after they designated him for assignment. Barring a serious injury to either Brian McCann or John Ryan Murphy, it doesn't look like Romine will get another chance in New York now that he's off the 40-man roster and Gary Sanchez is right behind him. The system then just has organizational filler in A-ball.

2013 draft pick Trent Garrison was the High-A Tampa starting catcher in 2014 before he suddenly retired before the season. Now Kyle Higashioka, who was previously derailed by Tommy John surgery, has filled the void. He'll likely tap out at Double-A or Triple-A. The one catcher they managed to sign out of last year's draft, Collin Slaybaugh, has actually played most of his professional career in the outfield so far. Among the team's international signings last summer was Venezuelan catcher Miguel Flames, but there are already questions about his ability to stick behind the plate. With depth like this, it would make sense for the Yankees to come away from this year's draft with a few more catchers, even if they're not destined for greatness.