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Yankees prospect update: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders

After a little more than a week's worth of games, take a look at the guys down in Scranton to see if any of them look like they might be able to help kickstart the offense.

Are we going to see Tyler Austin any time soon?
Are we going to see Tyler Austin any time soon?
Brian Blanco/Getty Images

The Yankees have had a bit of an up-and-down season thus far in 2015, and it's kind of difficult to guage one way or the other how well they'll do moving forward. There are some people on the current big league roster that are severely underperforming, so let's see how some potential replacements are fairing at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre.

FIrst, a quick explanation of my choices for this post. I think the team is most desperate for offensive help, so I only focused on offensive players for the sake of this post. I know I could easily be talking about guys like Danny Burawa, Chase Whitley, José Ramirez, Jacob Lindgren or Nick Rumbelow, but the bullpen is fine, and despite the struggles of some starters, so is the rotation right now. The team needs offense, so let's see if they might be able to find some from within.

Tyler Austin

Andrew profiled Austin as part of our Yankees prospect profiles series before the season began, so I won't go too far into the scouting report on him. At his most basic form, he's a right-handed hitting outfielder with some power potential. Austin's also fully healthy for the first time in a while, and is probably next in line for a call up if the Yankees decide they don't want to watch Carlos Beltran swinging the bat like Mr. Burns giving the thrashing of a lifetime to one of his lawyers anymore.

So far, Austin is off to a pretty hot start for the RailRiders. Enter Friday's game, he was hitting .290/.303/.419 in 31 at-bats with one double and one homer while driving in seven runs in the process. He drove in three runs on Opening Day against Syracuse, but his best game so far was Scranton's fourth game of the year, which was also against the Chiefs. In that game, Austin hit his homer and his double and drove in two. He's just been swinging the bat well, which is an encouraging sign to a team that really needs the help.

Ramon Flores

Flores was also profiled before the season, this time by yours truly. Like Austin, Flores plays the outfield, but he's a completely different player. While Austin is big and powerful, Flores is much smaller, and significantly less power oriented. Flores probably doesn't profile as a big league starter at this point, but he could be a great guy to have come off the bench and play defense. He has some line drive power and can hit the ball to the gaps, and he can even run a little bit.

Oddly enough, however, it is Flores that has shown the most power out of the station so far in 2015. Through eight games, the Venezuelan is hitting .265/.324/.647 with three round-trippers. Flores is definitely hitting the ball with some serious authority right now, and his best game is a tossup between Wednesday's two home run game against Rochester, or the cycle he hit for on opening day. The type of pop Flores is displaying so far is not his calling card, but he did hit a couple out in spring training and he showed some pop during winter ball this off-season, so who knows? If he keeps hitting them, maybe the Yankees will give him a look. It's definitely between Flores and Austin to see who gets called up first if an outfielder gets injured.

Rob Refsnyder

If you haven't heard of Rob Refsnyder, then please go read a different blog. Just kidding, you can read Tanya's profile from last spring training, and know that went on to become one of the organization's best hitters last season. Refsnyder had a monster season across Double-A and Triple-A, slashing .318/.387/.497 with 14 homers in 137 games. If 2013's performance didn't get him noticed, 2014 certainly put him on the map. He also had a really good spring, but also made it clear that his defense at second base–where he's only been playing a few seasons–is not quite ready for prime time.

Because of that need for defensive development, Refsnyder was sent to Scranton to start the season. So far, however, the bat has definitely cooled since his games with the big club in spring training. Through eight games and 32 plate appearances, Refsnyder is hitting just .219/.265/.250 with only one extra base hit (a double) to his name. As with Austin and Flores, this is a very small sample and should be taken with a grain of salt, so let's not go crossing him off the "Future Greats" lists in our heads just yet. It's worth noting that he's had a pair of multi-hit games so far, so it's difficult to tell if he's even struggling, really. Either way, Refsnyder is in Triple-A to work on his glove, not his swing, and that will come around. (The four errors aren't exactly a promising start.) Something tells me we won't see Refsnyder until September, but he's definitely worth checking in on.

Kyle Roller

Coming into the season, all the talk at first base was about current Trenton Thunder first baseman Greg Bird, who definitely showed that he'll be in the Bronx soon enough. However, current Triple-A first baseman Kyle Roller shouldn't be forgotten. At 6'1", 250, Roller is chock full of power potential, and he hit 26 bombs between the system's two highest levels last season. Like most big'uns, he strikes out a lot, but everyone loves taters, and the kid can hit for a little average too. You can get a full scouting report here if you're unfamiliar.

Roller is off to an interesting, if not a bit uncharacteristic, start so far this season. He's played in nine games and gotten 30 at bats and, while he hasn't homered, he's slashing .333/.444/.400 with two doubles and six walks. His career walk percentage is 11.5%, so the 16.7% rate he's sporting now probably won't hold up, and you have to believe he'll start hitting some homers soon, but I'm really not complaining about the .333 batting average. Are you? Roller's defense, as you might imagine from his size, isn't his most highly touted asset, but if he can hold his own, and also work as a lefty DH from time to time, I think the Yankees might eventually be able to benefit from calling him up. I assume Garrett Jones will man first if Teixeira gets hurt, but I wouldn't mind giving Roller a try.

Final Thoughts

It's still way to early to determine whether any player–whether he's in Scranton or the Bronx–needs to be called up or sent down, but we've seen a lot of good from the Scranton youngsters so far this season. What say you guys? Should the Yankees be looking to Triple-A yet? Am I a loon for even hinting at it? Who would you call up first of these four if you had the chance?