Another day, another very high prospect ranking for the Yankees' widely acclaimed minor leaguer, Aaron Judge. Their Team USA Futures Game representative and first round draft pick from 2013 continues to impress the top prospect analysts in the game, this time ranking 13th overall on the Top 50 Midseason Prospects list posted by ESPN's Keith Law.
The 23-year-old has hit everywhere he's gone in the minors, beginning the 2015 campaign by batting .284/.350/.516 with 31 extra base hits in Double-A Trenton before moving on to Triple-A Scranton in late June. In 19 games, he's hit .268/.365/.338 with a 109 wRC+. It seems like he only has to show off a little more International League power for him to just about done with minor league development, and since that's his strength anyway (no pun intended), that should come along shortly. He has better plate discipline than one might guess, a rocket for an arm, tremendous makeup, and seems destined to take over the geriatric Carlos Beltran's job in right field in the very near future.
Law's article is behind the paywall, so I won't reveal everything he said. However, he did note that "he's all muscle and is shockingly athletic for someone his size, an average or better runner with a 65 or 70 arm." Take all those compliments, add in the power displayed in the video below, and there should be no doubt that Judge is the best outfield prospect the Yankees have had in decades.
A notable omission on Law's Top 50 is the Yankees' elite pitching prospect, Luis Severino, who only made his "Honorable Mentions." For people who have followed Severino's development over the past couple years, it should not be a surprise that he didn't make Law's Top 50. He's never been much of a believer in Severino's ability to remain in the rotation, going so far as to rank otherwise consensus-inferior starters like Taylor Guerrieri and Blake Snell ahead of him.
I understand the concerns about Severino's size, but how long can one insist that a prospect is a reliever? If one did that with every prospect over the years, there would be some pretty big misses. Despite the delivery, Severino hasn't gotten hurt unlike pretty much every other pitching prospect in the Yankees' system (knock on wood), and he's continued dominating at every level, rising from Low-A Charleston to the doorstep of the majors in just about 13 months. He only turned 21 in February and he's still developing. Maybe there's something to the rest of the industry continuing to believe in him as a starter.
Either way, congrats to Judge! We hope that he keeps up the good work, and that Severino continues proving Law wrong.