Jim Callis of MLB.com released his updated Top 20 Yankees prospects list Sunday night and right-handed pitcher Luis Severino came out on top, as his stock has risen as quickly as his ascent through the system so far in 2014. The 20-year-old has moved up from Low-A Charleston to Double-A Trenton through the course of the year and has performed admirably at each level. Severino was ranked 10th coming into the season, but his 98 mph fastball and three quality pitches have him on many more radars at this point.
More on prospects:
More on prospects:
Gary Sanchez, Eric Jagielo, Ian Clarkin, and Aaron Judge round out the top five in that order. Sanchez has been considered the Yankees' top prospect for a few seasons running, but attitude issues and defensive questions have kept some expectations relatively tempered. Callis notes Sanchez's improvement behind the plate and doesn't rule out a position change in the future, pointing out that Sanchez's receiving and blocking skills could use some work in particular. Unlike some other scouts, Callis believes that Jagielo has improved his defense enough to stick at third base with his arm strength. Callis also notes that Jagielo's left-handed swing is perfectly suited for the short porch at Yankee Stadium, which is always a positive.
Clarkin draws praise for his 90-94 mph fastball, 12-6 curveball, and deceptive changeup. Callis believes that, despite being drafted out of high school, Clarkin could move quickly through the Yankees' system and believes that he has the upside of a #2 or #3 starter. Judge gets dinged a bit here for the fact that his long swing can sometimes lead to a high strikeout total, but the power potential is real and Callis thinks his speed and arm make him a good fit for playing right field.
The rest of the top ten is comprised of Rob Refsnyder, who still may make his major league debut later on this season, Jake Cave, Manny Banuelos, Peter O'Brien, and 2014 draftee Jacob Lindgren. As a left-handed reliever, Lindgren has lived up to his billing as The Strikeout Factory with 23 strikeouts in 11.1 innings between the Gulf Coast League, Low-A Charleston, and High-A Tampa. Lindgren has the ability to be the first of his draft class to make the majors, possibly as soon as the end of this season.
Luis Torrens, Shane Greene, Greg Bird, Gosuke Katoh, and Jose Ramirez round out the top 15, while Ramon Flores, Tyler Austin, Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, and Jorge Mateo complete the list. It's a little disappointing to see the three big outfield prospects in Austin, Heathcott, and Williams so far down the list, but it's hard to argue with their placement here. Their stocks have fallen due to injury and ineffectiveness, and they can really no longer be counted on to be part of the Yankees' future in any meaningful way. Torrens has been tearing up the New York-Penn league after struggling a bit in his first taste of Low-A Charleston before an injury put him on the shelf for a bit. Bird returned from a back injury that cost him the beginning of the season to put up an .822 OPS so far this year at High-A Tampa.
Do you agree with Callis' rankings of the top 20 prospects in the system? Who do you think deserves a spot that didn't get one?