Earlier this week, we learned that six Yankees prospects made Baseball America’s top 100 prospect list. Now ESPN has released a list compiled by Keith Law with five Yankees making the list. It’s always interesting to see how different outlets view the same players, but in this instance there are a few noticeable differences.
Like on the BA list, Law dropped Gleyber Torres down to 5th overall, likely due to the fact that he missed half the season following an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. Law, meanwhile, ranked Justus Sheffield far more aggressively than the competition. Baseball America placed him as the no. 41 prospect in baseball, but ESPN has him as high as 16th overall. It seems that he believes in the lefty’s ability to contribute in the near future.
Those are the only two Yankees prospects who made the top 50. After that, he has Miguel Andujar ranked at no. 54, which is actually a little higher than BA has him. Law rounds out the top 100 with two young rotation arms. Freicer Perez, who is coming off a breakout season with a 2.84 ERA in 123 innings in Charleston at 21, is the 73rd best prospect in baseball. He also thinks less of Albert Abreu, placing him 99th instead of 77th, like Baseball America has him.
Having five prospects among the top 100 in baseball is still a great feat, however, there are some inconsistencies that need to be addressed. The wide difference of opinion on Albert Abreu is jarring, but not exactly unfounded. Abreu is still young and has only thrown over 100 innings once. Law Likely has him pegged as a reliever, which is probably fair at this point, considering his usage and control issues.
Meanwhile, Chance Adams didn’t even make his list, which is both shocking and not surprising in the least. Despite all of Adams’ success up to this point, his future is still largely in question because the stuff he actually throws isn’t really as impressive as you might think. He relies more on command, and that doesn’t get much love on prospect lists, especially from someone like Law, who frequently plays the contrarian on guys like Adams. It is startling to see his high praise for Sheffield, though.
The biggest slight of them all has to be the fact that Estevan Florial appeared nowhere on this list, even after Baseball America named him 38th overall. Now sure, he’s young and has a few things going against him, like the fact that he struck out 148 times in 420 at-bats. However, you can’t simply ignore the fact that he hit .298/.372/.479 in A-ball at the age of 19. That’s nearly three years younger than the league average down there. He should have appeared somewhere on the list.
It’s important to remember that all these prospect lists need to be taken with a grain of salt. Law, though, likely requires more salt than most. Remember, he was the one who was down on Luis Severino and had him pegged as a reliever. He’s shown to have a bias against Yankees pitching in the past too. Even if you want to play conservative and rank readiness over potential, you can’t completely ignore Florial’s potential.
Teams have been asking about Florial since he went pro in 2015, so it’s important to remember that the clubs see value in him, even if Law doesn’t. Sometimes we get so blinded by the public prospect lists we see on the internet that we don’t even realize teams often have internal evaluations that widely differ from what we know. In short, just because Law doesn’t think he’s any good doesn’t mean that’s true.