It's that time of the year again, as prospect rankings are being released left and right, so Pinstripe Alley is going to get into the act, as we have done in past years. The Yankees had a pretty exciting year in the minors, with young talent breaking out at several levels, and the system appears to be in much better shape than it has been in quite awhile. Hell, FanGraphs writer Kiley McDaniel felt that the Yankees have the deepest farm system in the game, and they were ranked 10th best among the 30 teams. If they manage to sign Cuban phenom Yoan Moncada, they're only going to get better.
As the team stands now, below is the list of our consensus top 20 Yankees prospects. Beginning next week, we will be posting pre-season prospect profiles of all of these players in addition to several others. Here are the players who we think will be the Yankees of tomorrow:
Pinstripe Alley's Top 20 Yankees Prospects
1. Luis Severino
Age on Opening Day: 21 (Born February 20, 1994)
Height: 6'0" Weight: 195 lbs.
2014 statistics: (AA/A+/A) 24 GS, 113 1/3 IP, 2.46 ERA, 2.07 FIP, 10.1 K/9, 2.1 BB/9
Tanya - #1: Yes, he might end up a reliever and that is a far less exciting outcome than ending up as a top of the rotation starter, but Severino’s impressive 2014 season shows he’s worthy of being called the top prospect in this system. Another strong season will only further cement his place on everyone’s top 50 and 100 prospect lists.
Andrew - #2: A coin flip could basically determine the Yankees' top prospect, and according to MLB.com, there are only six righty pitching prospects in baseball more talented than Severino. Even though it's high praise for a 21-year-old who stands just six feet tall, his dominant romp through the Yankees' lower levels commanded a reward. Next step: Prove it wasn't a fluke and that he can be a long-term starter.
Jason - #1: Whether he ultimately ends up a reliever is yet to be seen, but right now he has the upside of a front-line starter. Until he starts to show tangible evidence that he's not who we all want him to be, Severino will remain at the top of this list.
2. Aaron Judge
Age on Opening Day: 22 (Born April 26, 1992)
Height: 6'7" Weight: 230 lbs.
2014 statistics: (A+/A) 131 G, .308/.419/.486, 24 2B, 17 HR, .905 OPS
Tanya - #2: Judge has proven to be the prize of the 2013 draft so far, excelling at every level he was challenged with last season. He still hasn’t shown his monster power potential yet, and he’ll only be more impressive when it comes around. It’s easy to see why there is so much excitement surrounding him.
Andrew - #1: You have to go back to the days of Austin Jackson to find a Yankees outfield prospect as captivating as Judge. The bat is very real, and it will be exciting to see what he can do against pitching above A-ball. It will be a challenge, but the first round pick has the talent to live up to it.
Jason - #2: After the monster season he put together, it makes sense to have him at the top of the list. If he can put together multiple big seasons than we can talk about him overtaking the top spot–just in time to see him reach the majors.
3. Greg Bird
Age on Opening Day: 22 (Born November 9, 1992)
Height: 6'3" Weight: 215 lbs.
2014 statistics: (AA/A+) 102 G, .271/.376/.472, 30 2B, 14 HR, .848 OPS
Tanya - #3: Swoon. You have to be really, really good with the bat to make top prospect lists as a first baseman and Bird has proven himself completely worthy of that distinction. He has excellent plate discipline, tremendous power, and could be knocking on the door of the big leagues before too long.
Andrew - #3: Any and all lefty power bats that excel in the Yankees' minor league system are going to catch some eyes. Bird was no exception, as he followed up his monster 2013 with a strong year split between High-A and Double-A. The formidable home parks of Charleston, Tampa, and Trenton haven't been enough to hold Bird down--can he successfully begin his assault on Scranton this year?
Jason - #3: It's taken a bit of time for people to start taking him seriously, but he's now considered to be one of the top first base prospects in the game. If he turns out to be anything close to Brandon Belt or Freddie Freeman, I would do backflips.
4. Rob Refsnyder
Age on Opening Day: 24 (Born March 26, 1991)
Height: 6'1" Weight: 205 lbs.
2014 statistics: (AAA/AA) 137 G, .318/.387/.497, 38 2B, 14 HR, .884 OPS
Tanya - #5: Defense is really the only reason Refsnyder won’t be given a chance to start at second base for the Yankees to begin this season. The offense has been there at every level to this point, and nothing should hold him back if he shows he can make strides defensively at Triple-A to start the year.
Andrew - #4: The fastest-rising position player prospect in the Yankees' system this year, his bat impressed all season long--his 38 doubles between Trenton & Scranton were certainly impressive. However, the question remains the same: Will he ever learn to even adequately defend second base at the major league level? If not, then his future is quite unclear since his bat does not profile nearly as well in right field.
Jason - #4: He might not be the best prospect the Yankees have, especially when talking about the full package, but he's major league ready. I don't care whatever nonsense Keith Law has to say, defense is the only thing holding him back.
5. Gary Sanchez
Age on Opening Day: 22 (Born December 2, 1992)
Height: 6'3" Weight: 235 lbs.
2014 statistics: (AA) 110 G, .270/.338/.406, 19 2B, 13 HR, .743 OPS
Tanya - #6: The promise of offense is nice but the dream of Sanchez being the Yankees’ catcher of the future is on serious life support. Questions about his defense are concerning and the attitude issues are worse. This ship might be sinking.
Andrew - #6: Sanchez's reputation is dropping like a meteor, as despite another fine year with the bat in Trenton, he ended the year with more problem than ever. His work ethic was criticized, he was suspended for a week at one point by his manager, and few scouts actually believe he has the skills to remain a catcher. He still has time to turn it around, but as Lisa Vito said in My Cousin Vinny, his biological clock is ticking like this.
Jason - #5: I've lost a lot of faith in Gary Sanchez. He hasn't exactly hit Mason Williams-levels yet, but between his questionable defense, questionable attitude, and a bat that just doesn't seem to be coming together, he might be a more effective trade chip than the catcher of the future.
6. Ian Clarkin
Age on Opening Day: 20 (Born February 14, 1995)
Height: 6'2" Weight: 190 lbs.
2014 statistics: (A+/A) 16 GS, 75 IP, 3.12 ERA, 3.28 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 2.8 BB/9
Tanya - #7: Clarkin has done well for himself after the Yankees selected him in the draft two seasons ago. He’s not going to blow through the system with incredible speed or anything, but he makes for a very intriguing left-handed option for the future, and every team can use more of those.
Andrew - #5: There's nothing like an awesome lefty pitching prospect, and Clarkin is quickly becoming a very good one. He's surprisingly polished for a 20-year-old and he already does a good job keeping walks down. Easily the second-best pitching prospect in the system.
Jason - #6: While he doesn't seem to have he velocity of a front end starter, his breaking stuff will make him a solid mid-rotation arm. He is one of the rare Yankees pitching prospect that will remain a starter at the next level.
7. Jorge Mateo
Age on Opening Day: 19 (Born June 23, 1995)
Height: 6'0" Weight: 188 lbs.
2014 statistics: (Rk) 15 G, .276/.354/.397, 5 2B, 0 HR, 11 SB, .750 OPS
Tanya - #4: All the hopes and dreams for a homegrown shortstop currently rely on Mateo. He’s really far away, but he’s got the tools to make it happen. Hopefully he proves himself worthy of all the hype as he continues to progress through the system.
Andrew - #7: Even though Mateo is seemingly forever away from the majors, he has as an incredibly high ceiling with speed that maxes out the scouting scale at 80. To make things better, he's actually a shortstop. My kingdom (blogdom?) for a real shortstop prospect.
Jason - #10: The consensus is that Mateo is one of the best young shortstop prospects in the game, but I find it difficult to declare someone a top prospect after only appearing in 15 games at the rookie level. Give me a full season of production and maybe I'll move him up, but as of right now I've just seen too much disappointment from young, low-level players to not remain conservative here.
8. Jacob Lindgren
Age on Opening Day: 22 (Born March 12, 1993)
Height: 5'11" Weight: 180 lbs.
2014 statistics: (AA/A+/A/Rk) 19 G, 25 IP, 2.52 ERA, 0.92 FIP, 17.3 K/9, 4.7 BB/9
Tanya - #8: Lindgren had an outside shot at being the first of his draft class to make the majors after taking the minors by storm last season before he ran out of innings to give. He may not start the 2015 season in the big leagues, but The Strikeout Factory will almost certainly be there before too long.
Andrew - #8: The man with the greatest nickname in the minors, Lindgren has ridiculous strikeout potential that he was already showing off late in the season in Tampa and Trenton. I'm willing to write off the walks as a side effect of throwing nearly 80 innings last year between college and the minors, but it will still be something to track. If he truly does have even modest control, then watch out, big leaguers.
Jason - #9: He might be considered major league-ready, but there's also some concern about his control. Lindgren can probably get MLB hitters out now, but sometimes it's better to let them take their time than rushing them up before they're completely ready. If everything goes well we should be seeing him in the Bronx in 2015, but it doesn't have to be in April.
9. Luis Torrens
Age on Opening Day: 18 (Born May 2, 1996)
Height: 6'0" Weight: 175 lbs.
2014 statistics: (A/A-/Rk) 62 G, .256/.331/.383, 14 2B, 3 HR, .714 OPS
Tanya - #9: He’s really young and really far away from the big leagues, but Torrens’ stock continues to rise as Sanchez’s continues to fall. It might be time to hitch our wagons to him for our next hope of a homegrown catcher coming out of the farm.
Andrew - #9: Some would argue that Torrens is actually the most intruging catcher in the Yankees' system at this point, given Sanchez's decline and murky future behind the plate. While far off, scouts have liked what Torrens has demonstrated behind the plate, and he hit quite well in Staten Island. If he can handle full-season ball, then the Yankees might have a gem here.
Jason - #8: Many see him as the catcher of the future, but at 18 years old, it's impossible to see where he is fated to end up. He disappointed in 2014 when he struggled and hurt his shoulder, but he was 3.5 years younger than the average player in the league. At the moment he's more of a project, but the talent is there and we just have to wait and see how fast he can tap into it.
10. Eric Jagielo
Age on Opening Day: 22 (Born May 17, 1992)
Height: 6'2" Weight: 195 lbs.
2014 statistics: (A+) 85 G, .259/.354/.460, 14 2B, 16 HR, .813 OPS
Tanya - #11: Jagielo has had to battle some unfortunate injuries since being drafted by the Yankees in 2013. There was hope that he’d be able to take over third base duties in New York after being selected out of Notre Dame by the time that there was a vacancy at the position, but that didn’t happen with the Yankees inking Chase Headley to a new deal this offseason. There’s still plenty to like about Jagielo and his future, but there are some concerning questions there as well.
Andrew - #10: Armed with a power bat, the sticking point for Jagielo is whether or not he has the defensive skills to remain at third base. Even though the early returns aren't promising, he still has plenty of time to improve, both in the field and at the plate, where he could stand to make improvements to his strikeout-prone swing.
Jason - #7: Out of the the three 2013 first rounders, Jagielo has to be the disappointment of the trio. Strikeouts and underwhelming reports on his defense have put him in a bad place to start 2015, but a strong season could both quell concerns and keep him in the top 10.
11. Tyler Austin
Age on Opening Day: 23 (Born September 6, 1991)
Height: 6'1" Weight: 220 lbs.
2014 statistics: (AA) 105 G, .275/.336/.419, 20 2B, 9 HR, .756 OPS
Tanya - #12: There is hope that Austin’s resurgence in the second half of last season was a sign that he was finally past the effects of his wrist injury. Considering that the big league team is rolling with Carlos Beltran in right field to start the season, Austin’s services might be required before too long.
Andrew - #12: He lives! A second-half surge (.336/.397/.557 in 33 games after the All-Star Break) offered some hope toward Austin's future. Remember, not so long ago, he was among the top 100 prospects in baseball. His future might yet be a little more than just fourth outfielder.
Jason - #11: After a year and a half of disappointment, it would seem that Tyler Austin yet lives. He seemed to put his injured wrist behind him in the second half of the year to revive his prospect status and maybe even make him a major league option at some point this year.
12. Domingo German
Age on Opening Day: 22 (Born August 4, 1992)
Height: 6'2" Weight: 175 lbs.
2014 statistics: (A) 25 G, 123 1/3 IP, 2.88 ERA, 3.19 FIP, 8.3 K/9, 1.8 BB/9
Tanya - #10: It’s nice when the other player in a trade immediately moves into the system’s top 10, which was the case when the Yankees swapped David Phelps and Martin Prado for Nathan Eovaldi, Garrett Jones, and German. He’s got pretty nice minor league numbers, and can hang his hat on striking out Kris Bryant and Joey Gallo in last year’s Futures Game.
Andrew - #11: German isn't quite as attractive a prospect as Severino or Clarkin, but that's just fine. He was still a very nice inclusion in the Martin Prado trade, and it will be fun to see him and Clarkin compete for the system's attention next year on the same team.
Jason - #17: So far, he's had a solid go in the minors thanks to his velocity, but with only one plus pitch it's easy to see why some scouts view him as a future reliever. He should hit Double-A this year, so we'll see how he adapts to better competition.
13. Jake Cave
Age on Opening Day: 22 (Born December 4, 1992)
Height: 6'0" Weight: 180 lbs.
2014 statistics: (AA/A+) 132 G, .294/.351/.414, 28 2B, 7 HR, .764 OPS
Tanya - #13: Now that names like Mason Williams and Slade Heathcott have fallen out of favor, Cave finds himself among the most promising outfield prospects in the system. He split time between Tampa and Trenton last year, putting up a .764 OPS for the season. Former Thunder manager Tony Franklin compared Cave to Brett Gardner, which is obviously pretty high praise.
Andrew - #13: As Cave keeps getting promoted, he keeps hitting. There's definitely something to be said for such consistency, and he could find himself on the doorstep of the majors in Triple-A in very short order.
Jason - #12: He was outshone by Aaron Judge, but all he did was hit and it got him into the top 10 on MLB.com. If he can cut back on his strikeouts and/or add power to his approach, he could be considered a top-10 prospect across the board, but right now he could kind of go wither way.
14. Ty Hensley
Age on Opening Day: 21 (Born July 30, 1993)
Height: 6'4" Weight: 220 lbs.
2014 statistics: (A-/Rk) 10 GS, 30 2/3 IP, 2.93 ERA, 3.10 FIP, 11.7 K/9, 3.2 BB/9
Tanya - #15: Hensley has been an exhibit in Murphy’s Law since being drafted by the Yankees, but he should finally be able to get into non-short season level games this year. Hopefully the brutal assault he suffered this offseason doesn’t keep him from being able to finally really show what he’s got as a professional.
Andrew - #16: Due to injuries, Hensley has made just four starts above Rookie Ball, but the strikeout numbers offer validation to the Yankees taking him with their first pick in the 2012 Draft. Like Torrens, I'm anxious to see what Hensley can do playing throughout a full minor league season.
Jason - #15: Drafted as an ace in waiting, Hensley has had an unlucky three years in professional baseball. He's starting to get old, so another lost season will take him out of the top 20 for good. Hopefully he'll be able to finally show us what he can do.
15. Bryan Mitchell
Age on Opening Day: 23 (Born April 19, 1991)
Height: 6'3" Weight: 205 lbs.
2014 statistics: (AAA/AA) 21 GS, 103 IP, 4.37 ERA, 3.89 FIP, 8.2 K/9, 3.9 BB/9
Tanya - #20: Best case scenario, Mitchell steps in as 2015’s Shane Greene. The results from the minors have been mixed to this point, but he’ll be the among the first to get the call if a starter goes down in the Bronx.
Andrew - #14: The Shane Greene comparisons are unavoidable at this point after Greene's stunning rise from "OK prospect" to "legitimate MLB starter" in 2014. Mitchell finds himself in a similar place to where Greene was after 2013, and he has an even more impressive repertoire than Greene. However, can he be as consistent? We can only hope--he's the next intriguing starting prospect in line should one of the Yankees' main rotation cogs go down.
Jason - #13: If anything, Bryan Mitchell has proven to be unreliable. Most of his professional career has consisted of immense talent without showing it on the field and yet he somehow made it to the majors in 2014. The Yankees are going to need him to be the next Shane Greene, and while I've never been a big believer in him, I'm confident that he can give us something worthwhile right now.
16. Miguel Andujar
Age on Opening Day: 20 (Born March 2, 1995)
Height: 6'0" Weight: 175 lbs.
2014 statistics: (A) 127 G, .267/.318/.397, 25 2B, 10 HR, .715 OPS
Tanya - #14: Andujar has the potential to be something special, which he showed by really coming through with the bat in the second half of last season at Low-A. The high error total is a bit troubling, and I’m probably lower on him than most because of it, but he could certainly prove me wrong and put it all together.
Andrew - #15: Analysts feel like Andujar is on the cusp of breaking out, and it's hard to blame them for their optimism considering the way he ended 2014 with the bat. However, the same defensive questions at third base linger with him as they do with Jagielo. It would certainly be exciting to see this high-potential prospect take off.
Jason - #18: While he's still very young, there's a lot to like when projecting for the future. He has the potential to be a solid starter with the raw power, defensive skills and bat speed to make it, but anything can happen over the span of his minor league career.
17. Ramon Flores
Age on Opening Day: 23 (Born March 26, 1992)
Height: 5'10" Weight: 150 lbs.
2014 statistics: (AAA) 63 G, .247/.339/.443, 17 2B, 7 HR, .782 OPS
Tanya - #18: He probably could have been in the majors last year if it weren’t for an injury, but he seems more like a fourth outfielder than a long term starter on a team like the Yankees. Those fourth outfielders can be important, though, and Flores would likely do well if he was needed to step into a bigger role temporarily.
Andrew - #20: I'm not particularly impressed by Flores, but I'd say he has a better chance to be decent in a bench role than, say, Zoilo Almonte or David Adams were over the past couple years. There's certainly value to a decent homegrown role player, so perhaps Flores fills that sometime in 2015.
Jason - #14: An ankle injury ruined his chance to push his way onto the scene, but it doesn't seem like his ankle will be a longterm problem. If Chris Young is the only thing in his way, he might crack the majors if he can pick up where he left off.
18. Austin DeCarr
Age on Opening Day: 20 (Born March 14, 1995)
Height: 6'3" Weight: 218 lbs.
2014 statistics: (Rk) 11 G, 8 GS, 23 1/3 IP, 4.63 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 9.3 K/9, 2.7 BB/9
Tanya - #19: He might be a starter or he might be a reliever, and the difference might hinge on whether or not he can develop his changeup into a quality pitch. At only 19 years old, he is probably going to move through the system slowly, hopefully finding a way to get that third pitch in working order.
Andrew - #19: The Yankees' most exciting pick of the 2014 Draft, DeCarr can already throw mid-90s with a hard curveball, so those pitches could be the start of an intriguing repertoire. It will be up to him to build on them though, or he might end up in the bullpen.
Jason - #16: It's a little early to judge him one way or another, but scouts see promise in him, despite the fact that he struggled with his command at times and only possesses two good pitches at the moment. He might end up being another starter-or-reliever pitcher that the Yankees have known well over the years, but we'll have to wait and see how he handles a full season.
19. Tyler Wade
Age on Opening Day: 20 (Born November 23, 1994)
Height: 6'1" Weight: 180 lbs.
2014 statistics: (A) 129 G, .272/.350/.349, 24 2B, 1 HR, .699 OPS
Tanya - #17: Wade gets the nod over fellow shortstop prospect Abiatal Avelino on this list because he was simply better in 2014. He has some exciting tools and basically anyone who might be able to play shortstop in the future is a little exciting at this point.
Andrew - #18: Wade doesn't have nearly the upside of Mateo, but he's a little closer to the higher levels. If he can improve on his decent 2014 in Charleston, then he should have little difficulty breaking the Top 15 next year. The Yankees have to have some prospect pay off at shortstop eventually, right? I can dream.
Jason - #20: For me, this spot was going to either Wade or Abiatal Avelino, but since Wade had a better 2014, the rank went to him. He isn't very exciting numbers-wise, but evaluators like him because of his potentially plus-speed and because he has the tools to stick at shortstop.
20. Brady Lail
Age on Opening Day: 21 (Born August 9, 1993)
Height: 6'2" Weight: 175 lbs.
2014 statistics: (A+/A) 24 GS, 134 1/3 IP, 3.62 ERA, 2.87 FIP, 7.8 K/9, 1.7 BB/9
Tanya - #16: He’s not overpowering by any means, but Lail has proven himself to be pretty solid. He got a chance to face High-A hitters at the end of last season and did quite well with it, so hopefully he continues to show good command as he moves up to face more difficult competition.
Others receiving votes
Age on Opening Day: 17 (Born July 31, 1997)
Height: 6'2" Weight: 180 lbs.
2014 statistics: (Rk) 53 G, .193/.267/.260, 10 2B, 1 HR, .528 OPS
Andrew - #17: Adding the 17-year-old Molina to a top prospects list is entirely based on what the scouts think of him. Obviously, the Rookie Ball numbers weren't impressive, but the fact that the Yankees brought the 2013 international signee stateside at the mere age of 16 speaks volumes about what they think of him. Definitely keep your eyes on him in 2015.
Age on Opening Day: 24 (Born July 20, 1990)
Height: 6'6" Weight: 225 lbs.
2014 statistics: (AAA/AA/A+) 48 G, 68 2/3 IP, 3.86 ERA, 2.53 FIP, 12.1 K/9, 2.9 BB/9
Jason - #19: Right now, Webb has the upside of a future left-handed closer, and before Lindgren was drafted, he was the talk of the relief prospect town. His numbers don't look too good thanks to the small sample size that comes with being a reliever, but there's a real chance he could reach the majors in 2015.