As Baseball America continues to make their way around every league in the minors, Yankees prospects continue to rank among the best in baseball. The organization now has the no. 4 prospect of the New York-Penn League in Luis Torrens as well as the No. 4, 8, and 15 prospects of the South Atlantic League in Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, and Ian Clarkin. BA had plenty of good things to say about all of them.
Luis Torrens started out the season poorly when he struggled in the Sally League and suffered a shoulder injury, but after moving over to Staten Island, he impressed with a .270/.327/.405 batting line. Aaron Fitt of BA praised his abilities behind the plate, paying close attention to his throwing arm as it "rates as plus, but his ability to use it makes it play up." He notes that Torrens could be a very good defensive catcher as he gains experience and that he can hit to all fields and could add power as he matures.
Aside from Torrens, Fitt also had lots to say about first baseman and 2014 draft pick Connor Spencer, who he pegged as one of the league's top sleepers in a separate piece. He notes that, while spencer did win the New York-Penn League batting title, "his inside-out approach is not conducive to power," meaning he's going to have to refine his swing if he wants to hit more home runs and profile better as a corner infielder.
As far as the South Atlantic League goes, all three of the prospects that ranked here were promoted to the next level during the year. J.J. Cooper gave us a scouting report on all three, stating that Severino can throw a 95-97 mph fastball to both sides of the plate, but his secondary stuff is still a work in a progress. According to him, the changeup can be inconsistent at times and the quality of his slider varied from start-to-start. As an added bonus, Cooper notes that Severino is so quick to the plate that he's impossible to run on.
Cooper felt that Judge's domination of Sally League pitching was to be expected, but he also was impressed by the fact that he isn't just a guy swinging for the fences as he takes plenty of walks and has shown an excellent hit-tool so far. He had a bit more to say about Ian Clarkin, regarding the lefty as a safe bet due to his ability to throw a solid-average three-pitch mix. He comments that Clarkin has no above-average pitch and has low velocity, but his clean delivery and solid control have warranted praise from scouts. Cooper warns that "he'll always have to hit his spots and mix his pitches, but he already shows a feel for keeping hitters off-balance."
Luis Torrens, Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, and Ian Clarkin have bright futures ahead of them. When people say that the Yankees had a good year on the farm, these are the guys that should be praised for their consistency and solid production throughout the year. The great thing is that you can expect them all to continue moving up next year. Torrens could start next year in Low-A Charleston, Judge and Clarkin could make their way to Double-A, and for all we know, Severino could continue to be pushed hard and make the jump to Triple-A by the end of 2015. Things are looking up around here.