The Yankees' farm system has been overhauled with new prospects, thanks to some strong moves at the trade deadline by Brian Cashman. There is now an argument to be made that the Yankees could have the best farm system in all of baseball, which is crazy to think about when considering where they were just a few years ago.
Perhaps the best news is that a few of these guys are knocking on the door of the big leagues already. Seeing prospects turn into big leaguers is the whole point, and it feels like the farm system is finally at the point of bearing fruit. With the Yankees currently in a state of transition, having a farm system that is able to feed into the big league club and provide pieces that can be used in trades will be that much more important.
Andrew, Jason, and I ranked our top 15 prospects in the system and averaged those rankings to come up with this list. Feel free to include your own list in the comments below.
1. Clint Frazier - Frazier is hands down the best prospect in the system, less because of his current production (which is still pretty impressive), but more because his projections, tools, and potential are so highly regarded. While he has been compared to Mike Trout, that's not exactly fair-think of him more as a smaller Aaron Judge who strikes out less.
2. Aaron Judge - Judge's age has kept him from being on top of a few prospect lists for the Yankees, but he's finally knocking on the door of the big leagues. The Yankees seem on the verge of calling him up at any time now that he has returned from a knee injury that sent him to the DL. Judge has sorted out the issues that he ran into with his promotion to Triple-A last year, and has slashed .267/.359/.473 with 16 home runs in 86 games this year.
3. Gleyber Torres - Now that they're in the same system, Gleyber and Mateo are going to get a lot of comps. They do a lot of the same things well, though Torres seems destined to add more power with Mateo being more of a speed guy. Torres might be less tested, but it can't be ignored that they are at the same level and he is two years younger.
4. Gary Sanchez - After a big step forward in 2015, Sanchez had 32 extra base hits in 71 Triple-A games while earning praise from Baseball America as the best defensive catcher in the International League. Two years ago, that would have seemed unfathomable. There's little doubt that his vast improvement behind the plate has led him to where he is now--the Yankee Stadium dugout.
5. Jorge Mateo - On the plus side, Mateo has handled High-A pitching with a 105 wRC+ in 88 games and evaluators think he can be a big league shortstop. On the downside, he was suspended for two weeks and also saw his stolen base success rate dip to the low 70s. Torres' arrival doesn't mean that he should be written off at all though--this 21-year-old can play.
6. Blake Rutherford - Rutherford fell to the Yankees in the 2016 draft because of concerns other teams had about whether or not he'd sign. That pick is looking like a great one so far with Rutherford hitting the ground running as a professional. Since being promoted to Pulaski, Rutherford has lived up to the hype and batted .446/.493/.723 in 17 games. There's a chance he could find himself at Low-A Charleston before the end of the year if he keeps hitting like this.
7. James Kaprielian - Kaprielian got off to a great start and looked destined to shoot through the system before injury stopped him in his tracks. So far he has avoided surgery, so the plan is to get him into fall ball where he can hopefully pick back up from where he left off heading into 2017. He's an advanced arm and should be in the major league conversation sooner than you think, but the inflow of talent now has pushed him down.
8. Justus Sheffield - Being a 5-foot-10 left-handed starter in the Yankees' system brings Manny Banuelos to mind. Sheffield is not as shiny a name, but he is still a superb prospect with a fine low-to-mid 90s fastball and curve that have led to a 3.59 ERA in 19 High-A starts with Cleveland. Good southpaws are hard to find, so perhaps Sheffield can fit the bill.
9. Domingo Acevedo - Acevedo entered his first year of full-season ball with plenty of buzz thanks to his high velocity, but he missed a month with a lower body injury and is now on the DL again. He impressed in his 17 starts between both levels of A-ball with a 2.63 ERA and 9.9 K/9. Acevedo was just about to be promoted to Trenton when he was hurt again, so while that is a tough break, it speaks to how much the Yankees like him.
10. Dillon Tate - The Yankees definitely bought low on Tate when they sent Carlos Beltran to the Rangers at the trade deadline. Tate has battled injuries and ineffectiveness in 2016, but the Yankees believe there is enough talent there for him to turn things back around. If the coaches in the minors can get him to regain his form that made him an early pick in the draft, the Yankees will look like geniuses for believing in him.
11. Miguel Andujar - He's been largely forgotten amongst many of the more exciting prospects in the system, but Andujar has been solid in his own right. The system lacks third base prospects, so almost by default he is their best bet at the position in a few years. He just reached Double-A, so we'll see how he transitions to the level, but Andujar profiles as a power-hitting corner infielder and could be an option there soon if only he can figure out how to hit in his first go-around at a new level.
12. Dustin Fowler - Fowler has continued to hit well as he has climbed through the Yankees system, making it up to Double-A in 2016. He's an outfielder in a system full of high level outfielders, but he has more than held his own at the plate. With a .285/.321/.438 triple slash so far this year, Fowler's name definitely has to be in the discussion when talking about the Yankees' outfield depth. He has been a solid, consistent offensive presence who has gotten even better the closer to the majors he has gotten.
13. Luis Torrens - The 20-year-old catcher shows remarkable poise for his age at the position; there isn't much doubt about his defensive ability, even after missing all of 2015 with shoulder surgery. Torrens crushed short-season ball pitching too, and while he has yet to handle Low-A, he only has 26 career games there. Give him time.
14. Wilkerman Garcia - Wilkerman has not hit well this season, but he's only 18 and has the impressive tools to turn things around next year. Right now he's a shortstop and his defense has held up, but it wouldn't be surprising to see him move around once he reaches A-ball.
15. Chance Adams - Adams has flown a bit under the radar as one of the few Yankees pitching prospects having a good season. Having gotten the bump from Tampa to Trenton, Adams' numbers have gotten even better. He has pitched to a 2.13 ERA with the Thunder in 50.2 innings, and could be a vital piece of the puzzle going forward with the big league club soon to be in desperate need of pitchers to fill out their rotation.