The Yankees farm system is beginning to boom with talent after years of scrutiny, both deserved and undeserved. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs recently declared the organization to be about the 11th best in Major League Baseball. He also recently released the Yankees top prospect list with loads of information about prospects you have and haven't heard of before. For the last year or so, Yankees fans have been obsessed with names like Luis Severino and Jorge Mateo, and McDaniel backs up our excitement by ranking them No. 1 and No. 5 in the system. There has also been much talk about potential Cuban free agent Yoan Moncada and how much he makes sense for the Yankees. It's good to get excited about young players like this, but caution has to be exercised because we won't see any of them in 2015 and possibly even 2016.
We don't know if Moncada will be a Yankee or not, but if he signs with New York, don't expect to see him in the Bronx anytime soon. The 19-year-old infielder will need to learn a whole new position as a professional. Right now he is a shortstop, but evaluators don't believe he will be able to stay there at the next level. It will take time for him to adapt to the nuances of second or third base, at least to the point where he would be a major league upgrade out there. Even if he catches on quickly (at second base, since they already have Chase Headley at third), he's still going to need plenty of time in the minors. Since he's so young, the Yankees can allow him to get his feet wet in rookie ball. Then they can push him up to Low-A Charleston and see how that goes. If he excels, he could reach as high as High-A Tampa or maybe even Double-A Trenton, but he isn't going to be a factor on the 2015 New York Yankees. It's just unrealistic and irresponsible for the team to ask much more of him.
There's been a lot of hopes and dreams put into Jorge Mateo as of late. The promising shortstop is also 19 and is already capturing the imagination of Yankees fans around the internet. The only issue is that he's played just 15 games of rookie ball after disappearing for much of the season with an injury. Scouts and evaluators love him, and McDaniel's ranking shows just how talented he seems to be, but he's is far, far, far too far away to even place him into the Yankees' considerations at this point. He obviously won't be helping the big league team this year, but it's also likely that he won't be on the major league radar in 2016 or even 2017. This season could be key to see how fast he can develop and push his way up the ladder, but we need to remember to not get so excited about players who have yet to earn a track record.
That leaves us with Luis Severino, the most likely of these three players to make it to the majors in 2015, but it's still not something to count on happening. Everything seems to be going well for the 20-year-old righty, but that doesn't mean everything will be perfect going forward. As McDaniel breaks down for us, there is some concern over his delivery and what it means for his long-term health. He also still needs work in honing his third pitch and for them to rush him to the majors before he is ready would be a crime. It's very likely that he could get big league hitters out right now, but it wouldn't be the best Luis Severino he could be and at that point, they'd be putting a countdown on his time with the team when they don't have to. He's going to get plenty of time to figure things out in Double-A and Triple-A this year, and if everything goes perfectly, which almost never happens, he could get a September call up. Still though, I'd bank on him getting a shot to win a rotation spot in 2016–if he proves that there's nothing to worry about.
As Yankees fans, we're impatient. We've been spoiled with the best over the last 20 years and now we want what everyone else has. I want it too, but these things take time and blowing through the minors isn't always a good thing. Signings like Stephen Drew and possibly even Chase Headley aren't going to block players like Mateo or Moncada. We know the Yankees are a cautious organization. Maybe too cautious at times, though in this instance I would err on the side of caution. The Yankees have a bright future ahead of them, but in the mean time you just have to play it cool so you don't get burned if things end up falling apart.