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Catching up with the Trenton Thunder

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How have the Yankees' top offensive prospects in Trenton fared thus far in 2015?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

A number of youngsters have arrived in the bigs for the Yankees this season, both at the plate and on the mound. Guys like Mason Williams, Ramon Flores, Slade Heathcott and Jacob Lindgren have all contributed in one way or another. All of these minor leaguers arrived from Triple-A though, and only Williams spent time in Double-A this year. So how have the Yankees' top Trenton prospects performed to date?

Greg Bird, 1B

Gregory Bird first put himself on the prospect map with his solid 2013 season. That year, he hit .288/.428/.511 with 20 homers and, most impressively, 107 walks for Charleston of the Sally League. That earned him a call-up to Tampa for the stat of the 2014 season, and he played well enough that he finished up in Trenton. When the recently crowned Arizona Fall League MVP showed up this spring training with his rake in tow , fans salivated at the guy who was going to replace the rickety old Mark Teixeira in just a year or two.

Unfortunately, Bird got off to a very slow start with Trenton this year. He hit just .242 in April and saw that plummet to .185 in early May, when he went on the DL with a strained shoulder. The Yankees were fortunate that Teixeira got off to a hot start, but there was reason to be concerned about Bird as well. Since coming off the DL in early June, however, Bird has assuaged all fears by rebounding to hit .324/.350/.486 with a homer and nine RBI in ten games. Hopefully the time he took to heal from the shoulder has revitalized him, and he works his way up to Triple-A Scranton before the year is up. If not, he will likely just go there for the beginning of next season. He's still just 22, after all.

Eric Jagielo, 3B

When the Yankees took Eric Jagielo with the 26th overall pick out of Notre Dame in 2013, they had an eye on him as a possible replacement for Alex Rodriguez in the long run at third base. That plan may have changed a bit with Chase Headley's four-year deal, but Jagielo has responded well to what could have been a potential blocker and morale deflator. His defense at the hot corner might not be top notch, but the 23-year old lefty hit 18 homers in just 385 plate appearances in 2014, which made him a legitimate prospect.

Jagielo got off to a very hot start with Trenton this year too, mashing four home runs in April and five more in May, while hitting .284/.342/.582 and .284/.371/.505, respectively, in each month. His production has taken a dip in June. His average is still high, at .283, but he hasn't homered since May 27th and he's only slugging .348 this month. He's made nine errors in 39 games at third so far, which is a bit concerning, but at least he hasn't made any errors in his 16 games at DH! Scranton fans might see Jagielo in Triple-A by the end of the year, probably as soon as he gets out of his current mini-funk, but he probably won't arrive in the Bronx until after the start of the 2016 season.

Aaron Judge

The Yankees took Aaron Judge just six picks after Jagielo in 2013. Because of a quad injury, Judge didn't get into a competitive game until the next season, but boy, did he establish himself quickly. In 2014, he hit .308/.419/.486 with 17 home runs while splitting time in Charleston and Tampa. His bat, as well as his size and other abilities, had people comparing him to the Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, which is pretty bonkers for a 22-year old kid in A-ball, but still cool.

After a pretty decent AFL performance, he was assigned to Trenton, where he picked up right where he left off last year. So far, through 60 games for the Thunder, Judge has hit .280/.349/.506 with 15 doubles, 11 taters and 42 RBI. At 6'7" and 275 lbs, the Yankees knew they were getting a potential power threat in Judge, and he's done nothing to show us that he won't be just that as he continues to develop and mature. It seems likely that he will join Scranton before the summer ends, and there's an outside chance that receives a September call up. Here's hoping he lays down the law.

Gary Sanchez

Even though he's still just 22 years old, Gary Sanchez was one of the top Yankees prospects for what seems like forever now. It also feels like he's been spinning his wheels in Double-A for like three years, even though it really has only been 178 games. Still, he was once thought to be the next great Yankees catcher, with tons of power, but has struggled to advance to the next level. it's a bit concerning because it was once thought that it would be his defense that held him back, but his bat seems stuck too. The disciplinary issues he's run into aren't a good sign either.

When he got off to an awful start this year, hitting just .246/.328/.351 with only one home run in April, some started hitting the panic button. He picked it up a little in May, hitting .275/.316/.473 with five homers, but has slipped again so far in June, with a slash line of just .214/.267/.464 with two dingers. It's certainly too early to determine what's even going on with him now, let alone whether he'll still be a prospect for this team in the future, but it would be nice if he had himself a monster second half and finally cracked the Scranton roster. Something tells me he'll spend the rest of this year in Double-A though, hopefully starting at Triple-A next season, when he'll still only be 23 years old.

Final thoughts

History suggests that not all of these guys will end up being stars for the Yankees. One or two might be traded and maybe they all flame out, but hopefully, the Yankees get one bona fide stud out of this quartet. While logic tells me that I'd like that to be Bird because the Yankees will need him sooner rather than later, I think and hope that Judge will be the one we'll be watching hit balls into the left-center field bullpen for the next 20 years. What can I say? I'm a sucker for giants. I always liked Andre when I was a kid, always drafted the 6'8" Tight Ends and Offensive Tackles in Madden, and Gheorge Muresan was my hero. OK the last one isn't true, but come on. The pitchers are winning the height battle, and the hitters need some lift.

What do you think Pinstripers? Which one of these guys will make it to the Bronx first? Vote in the poll and discuss in the comments below!