Keith Law has released his organizational rankings (Insider required) for 2016, and the Yankees have moved up quite a few spots despite taking part in multiple trades this offseason. Law ranks the system 13th in the majors, a jump up from their rank of 20th last season. This is particularly notable with Greg Bird and Luis Severino graduating from the prospect designation.
The four prospects who have landed in Law's top 100 list will be released tomorrow, but it's pretty easy to guess who those names are. Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, and Jorge Mateo are pretty much locks. The fourth name is less obvious, but it very well could be last year's first round draft pick, James Kaprielian. The UCLA standout has received praise since the draft for being one of the potential fast movers in the minor leagues, possibly finding his way to the majors as early as late 2016 if everything breaks right.
Having the Yankees still rank in the top half of MLB after trading for Starlin Castro and Aroldis Chapman this offseason is a testament to the fact that those deals were able to be obtained without giving up top talent. The reason for getting a steal is more obvious in the Chapman case, but Cashman being able to swing a trade for Castro without giving up anything the team would miss should be celebrated.
Where, exactly, the four prospects the Yankees have in the top 100 will be ranked will be interesting to see. Sanchez's fantastic season last year should help him regain a bit of the shine he'd lost in recent seasons. Judge struggled a bit in his first taste of Triple-A, but he is still knocking on the door of MLB with only an old, fragile Carlos Beltran standing in his way. Mateo stole nearly every base he could in 2015, and could be setting himself up to be the shortstop of the future for the organization. He was highly sought after at last year's trade deadline, and the team, understandably, was in no hurry to part with him.
Having two big prospects lose their prospect status and still moving up is really a testament to how much the farm system has improved recently. It was not that long ago that there was barely anything to speak of, and now the team is just outside of the top 10 in all of baseball. This is also before the giant free agent class that the Yankees went all in on begins to bear fruit. Once that happens, things should look even better.