The recently released Yankees midseason prospect list from Baseball America tells us a lot about the current state of the organization. The team made several deals prior to the trade deadline that would have gutted a lesser farm system, but there is plenty of promise left. Quinn Barry previously provided a breakdown for us.
By August 1, the Yankees had traded away pitchers Ian Clarkin, Dietrich Enns, Zack Littell, and James Kaprielian. They had also moved Blake Rutherford, Tito Polo, Dustin Fowler, and Jorge Mateo. Every one of those players were likely considered to be a top 30 prospect, at least. Some, like Mateo and Rutherford were even within the top 10.
Despite the loss of this much youth, the Yankees still hold onto a lot of talent. When Baseball America released their midseason prospect list for the organization, it told us just about everything we needed to know about the system at a glance.
The Yankees kept their top prospects
Brian Cashman spent most of the month of July trying to acquire starting pitching without giving up his best prospects. We heard from the media how the Yankees would have to part with at least one of their top prospects in order to get a deal done. However, by waiting out Billy Beane, Cashman ultimately succeeded in acquiring Sonny Gray without giving up Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier, or Estevan Florial.
This leaves them with their top two players still in the system, each of whom are ready to help the team now. This includes Torres, who is considered to be one of the best prospects in all of baseball. He was on the verge of a major league call-up before he injured his elbow and required Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing arm. Torres will return next season and could see considerable time with the Yankees, even with Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro holding down the middle infield.
There’s also Frazier, who is already performing well at the major league level, if you hadn’t already noticed. He is set to be a future member of the big league outfield for years to come. We know Aaron Judge will be the team’s right fielder for awhile, but Brett Gardner won’t be around for much longer. Once he’s gone, Frazier will have the chance to play every day in left field.
The Yankees have plenty of pitching
Sometimes you have to give a little to get a lot. The Yankees lost four top pitching prospects by the trade deadline, and even sent off a few lesser players in various deals for cash. Losing that much pitching in a matter of days can be devastating for any farm system, however, the Yankees still prevail with four pitchers within the top 10.
Chance Adams, the team’s third best prospect, is currently in Triple-A and having one of the best seasons in the whole organization. He may not be an option this year, but he should get a chance in the majors in 2018. The Yankees believe he can become a mid-rotation workhorse, which is the kind of guy they will need next season, once half the rotation leaves.
A little further down the line is Justus Sheffield at no. 5, who projects to be a another mid-rotation arm. He’s had an advanced feel for pitching even at a young age and should be someone to watch in 2018. Clarke Schmidt is ranked as the team’s no. 7 prospect, despite being on the shelf following elbow surgery. Meanwhile, Domingo Acevedo has greatly improved his control and command while continuing to light up the radar gun at no. 9 on the list.
The Yankees have intriguing infield depth
The Yankees were able to keep their infield depth intact, despite parting with Jorge Mateo. Even with all his skills as a middle infielder, Mateo was clearly the odd man out when Gleyber Torres came to the organization and Didi and Castro proved they had staying power. He was so out of place in the infield depth chart that the organization had even tried him out in center field just to find him a way to move up the ladder.
Torres, meanwhile, can play short, second, and third base, giving the Yankees options for next year even when Todd Frazier leaves in free agency. Chase Headley has hit well since the move to first, but there was a reason the team was considering using Torres at the hot corner going forward. If Headley can’t get it done again next year, it might be time for Torres to get some playing time.
Aside from him, the organization also has Miguel Andujar as the no. 8 prospect in the system. His bat has really broken out in 2017, showing that he can hit for average and power in the upper levels. His performance earned him a cup of coffee in the big leagues, and he should be back in September.
At no. 10 is Tyler Wade, who is currently up with the major league team while Starlin Castro remains on the disabled list. He hasn’t hit well, but he’s been on base enough to showcase his incredible speed. His defensive versatility—able to play all over the infield and in the outfield—should make him a valuable member of team.
The Yankees have players who are better than we thought
Among the top prospects in the system, many people will be most surprised by Estevan Florial at no. 4 and Clarke Schmidt at no. 7. The feeling among many fans about Florial was that he was good but still too far away to worry about losing. When he was the holdup in the Sonny Gray deal, people just wanted the Yankees to pull the trigger.
Now that he’s still here, it’s clear why he was worth holding onto and how he helped make Rutherford expendable. Many believe that he’s due to become one of the top prospects in baseball next season, so Cashman did a great job holding onto a guy whose value continues to increase.
Schmidt, on the other hand, is a complete surprise. The Yankees took him in the first round of the 2017 MLB Draft in order to save money because he was already injured. The pick allowed them to give more money to second-round pick Matt Sauer, but fans were unhappy with the Yankees because the guy had already undergone Tommy John and hadn’t pitched in months.
Despite the unfavorable decision, Baseball America still places him at the top of the organization. He won’t be able to pitch until some time into the 2018 season, but if he can get healthy (big if) he can be a big help to this organization.
The Yankees are rising more than they are falling
Oddly enough, the list still includes Dustin Fowler from before he was traded, and mentions Zack Littell as someone who might make the list soon. Now that they are gone, we need another player to completed the top 10, and the good news is that there are plenty to choose from.
BA makes note to complement Jorge Guzman, Thairo Estrada, and Dillon Tate for their impressive 2017 seasons. Any of them would make great addition to the team’s top 10 list. Beyond those three, though, there are still others who could also fit the bill.
Basically, this long and winding exercise was done to prove how good the Yankees farm system was this year, how good it still is, and how many players the team can still rely on in the near future. Baseball America shows us that there is still plenty to get excited about.