Last year was a pretty good year for the the Yankees farm system. Luis Severino emerged, Aaron Judge had an amazing season, Greg Bird and Rob Refsnyder continued to hit, and the Yankees added an entire team's worth of international talent. It seemed that the pipeline was on its way up, but now in 2015, it feels like they've already took a step back before the season even began.
So far this year all they've done is lost players. Luis Torrens, the catcher many thought could usurp Gary Sanchez as the catcher of the future, required shoulder surgery and will miss the entire season. Newly acquired pitcher Domingo German ended up needing Tommy John surgery after all, and now Ty Hensley, the pitching prospect who can't seem to catch a break, also needs Tommy John surgery. While the others are young enough to recover and still provide some value, as a 21-year-old who has yet to put a complete season together, this essentially ends everything for Hensley. In a matter of months, without anyone throwing an official pitch, the organization has lost, according to MLB.com, its no. 10, no. 12, and no. 30 prospects.
On top of losing these three, the Yankees were also hurt by the loss of Jose Pirela to a concussion. While he might not lose an extended amount of time over it, the injury caused the Yankees to go outside the organization to fill the backup infielder role. Now it could all come down to who will be healthy first–Pirela or Brendan Ryan–if he wants to get another shot in the majors.
On top of this, spring training also shined light on the defensive deficiencies of top second base prospect Rob Refsnyder. We all knew his defense was a work in progress, but his showing this spring makes it look like he has a lot more work ahead of him, and the Yankees aren't feeling too confident about it. Of course, it all happened in a small sample size, so maybe he can't be as bad as he looked, but he's already 24, so you have to start to wonder how much he could possibly improve before he's just too old.
Thankfully, there have also been some positives to come out of spring training. Jacob Lindgren got a long look in spring and could be a major league option fairly soon. The bullpen contingent of Lindgren, Nick Rumbelow, and Tyler Webb will all be in Triple-A this season and be ready to move up to help improve a bullpen that could already be one of the best in the league. Top prospects Luis Severino, Greg Bird, and Aaron Judge all made it through the spring healthy and ready to have another impressive season.
The Yankees might be off to a bad start in 2015, but that doesn't mean only bad things are on the horizon for them. New players will emerge, top prospects will continue to perform, and players will drop off over the year–it happens all the time. Thankfully, the Yankees have enough going for them that they have the ability to shake off the early disappointments in order to have a promising season ahead of them.