As prospect season rolls along, Baseball America has released their list of the top 100 prospects in baseball, with three Yankees prospects finding a place on the list. This comes on the heels Baseball America's organization talent rankings, where the Yankees placed 17th. The Yankees' continued recognition for their top prospects and overall depth, despite the graduations of Luis Severino and Greg Bird, has to be considered a good sign.
Jorge Mateo was the highest ranked Yankee on this list, coming in at 26th. The 20-year-old shortstop broke out in 2015, hitting .278/.345/.392 across 449 at-bats in Low-A and High-A, combined with excellent speed and solid defense. Baseball America assigned Mateo's speed a projected grade of 80, the highest possible grade. Only six 80 grades were handed out across the entirety of the list, so Mateo's speed is one of the finest tools in all of the minor leagues. He is still far from the majors, as Baseball America slates him to reach the big leagues in 2018, but if he continues his growth as a hitter, Mateo's ceiling is higher than perhaps any other Yankee prospect.
The next Yankee was Gary Sanchez, at 36th. 2015 was a bit of a renaissance for Sanchez, as his elite prospect status began to wane after a few years of makeup questions and slightly disappointing performance. A .274/.330/.485 line in the minors last year assuaged concerns about his bat, and while there are still questions about his catching ability, 2015 proved that he has a chance to stick behind the plate. Brian McCann's spot is cemented as a first division catcher, but Sanchez will still likely break into at least a bench spot in the majors at some point this year.
Rounding out the top three Yankees was Aaron Judge, at 76th. This ranking was a little lower for Judge than some other lists, as he came in the top 40 of Keith Law's list, and even ranked in the top 20 of the Baseball Prospectus list. The folks at Baseball America have concerns about Judge's bat-to-ball skills, assigning his hit tool a below average grade of 45. However, Judge received a superlative grade of 75 for his raw power, so if he can learn to put big league pitches in play, he should rake. He's a 6 foot 7 right fielder with enough athleticism to be solid defensively, a total package on which Yankee fans can dream.
Overall, Baseball America's rankings look like a bit more good news regarding the Yankees' prospects. While well regarded right-handed starter James Kaprielian didn't make this list, Mateo, Sanchez, and Judge continued to rank among the game's elite prospects. You don't have to squint to see a bright future. With Severino and Bird already having graduated to the majors, and with Sanchez and Judge on the precipice, that future is rapidly becoming the present.