Today we continue our summer reviews of the pre-season Top 20 Prospects lists with the New York Yankees.
This is a review of the pre-season list.
It is not a new list.
These are the pre-season grades.
This list was originally published February 9, 2015
1) Luis Severino, RHP, Grade B+/A-: 2.45 ERA with 98/27 K/BB in 99 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, has performed well in first three big league starts: 3.18, 18/4 in 17 innings. I don’t see why this can’t continue. Excellent prospect.
2) Aaron Judge, OF, Grade B+/A-: Strong in Double-A (.284/.350/.516), less so in Triple-A (.245/.326/.406), 18 homers combined with 44/121 BB/K in 405 at-bats. Early season scouting reports were glowing but Triple-A has exposed his contact issues more clearly.
3) Greg Bird,1B, Grade B+/B: .277/.356/.469 with 12 homers, 35 walks, 57 strikeouts in 318 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A, now in the majors for stretch run at-bats. Still see him as a solid slugging bat.
4) Rob Refsnyder, 2B, Grade B: Hitting .280/.374/.417 with nine homers, 10 steals, 54 walks, 65 strikeouts in 403 at-bats in Triple-A. Still some rough edges with the glove but the bat looks solid.
5) Gary Sanchez, C, Grade B: Hitting .274/.335/.482 with 16 homers, 29 walks, 70 strikeouts in 332 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A. Has made progress with glove, cutting error and passed ball rates substantially while continuing to hit solidly.
6) Jacob Lindgren, LHP, Grade B: 1.23 ERA with 29/10 K/BB in 22 Triple-A innings, out with bone spurs. A healthy Lindgren looks ready for an extended trial.
7) Ian Clarkin, LHP, Grade B/B-: Out all year with "elbow inflammation"
8) Luis Torrens, C, Grade B-/B: Out all year with shoulder surgery.
9) Miguel Andujar, 3B, Grade B-: Hitting .240/.277/.352 with five homers, 20 walks, 78 strikeouts in 421 at-bats in High-A at age 20. Quite disappointing; I was anticipating a full breakout but bat looks stagnant and defense has slipped compared to last year. Still young enough to rebound.
10) Jorge Mateo, SS, Grade B-: Hitting .285/.351/.408 with 22 doubles,11 triples, two homers, 39 walks, 89 strikeouts in 407 at-bats between Low-A and High-A at age 20. Has stolen 77 bases in 93 attempts. Still needs glove polish but that is nitpicking, rapidly moving up ranks of top shortstop prospects.
11) Tyler Austin, OF, Grade B-/C+: Hitting .243/.317/.345 with six homers, 30 walks, 85 strikeouts in 296 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A, mostly at the latter stop. I still think there is potential in his bat but he seems stuck here and hasn’t hit consistently well in two years. Maybe a change of scenery would help. Still just 23.
12) Eric Jagielo, 3B, Grade B-/C: Hitting.284/.347/.495 in 222 at-bats in Double-A, breakout season in progress until going down with knee injury in June, unfortunate timing.
13) Domingo German, RHP, Grade C+/B-: Tommy John surgery.
14) Jose Ramirez, RHP, Grade C+: 2.90 ERA with 56/23 K/BB in 50 innings in Triple-A, 10 saves in 11 attempts, then traded to Mariners. Seems to have found his niche in relief.
15) Bryan Mitchell, RHP, Grade C+: 3.12 ERA with 61/37 K/BB in 75 innings in Triple-A, 3.72 ERA with 20/6 K/BB in 19 major league innings. Not much left to prove in minors, looks like he can be competent fifth starter or long reliever.
16) Jake Cave, OF, Grade C+: Hitting .270/.330/.342 with two homers, 16 steals, 40 walks, 87 strikeouts in 459 at-bats in Double-A. Lack of power the big issue here, good marks for defense, fourth outfielder projection.
17) Angel Aguilar, SS, Grade C+: Hitting .207/.264/.303 with two homers, 13 steals, 19 walks, 89 strikeouts in 290 at-bats in Low-A. Disappointing bat, also struggled with glove at third base and shortstop, has looked better at second. Age 20, has tools and time but a lot of work to do here.
18) Alexander Palma, OF, Grade C+: Hitting .202/.244/.265 with one homer, 12 walks, 50 strikeouts in 238 at-bats in Low-A. Like teammate Aguilar, hasn’t lived up to expectations from rookie ball and he was too high in this spot to begin with.
19) Ty Hensley, RHP, Grade C+: Tommy John surgery.
20) Austin DeCarr, RHP, Grade C+: Tommy John surgery.
The first place Yankees have had a mixture of good news and bad news on the player development front.
On the negative side, as you can see above, there has been considerable injury attrition, with five of the original top 20 missing the entire season and physical maladies impacting others as well. Mason Williams looked like he had saved his career by hitting .318/.397/.398 in the high minors and reaching the major league roster for a week until his season was ended by a shoulder injury. Slade Heathcott continues to entice with the tools but is hitting just .250/.302/.321 in Triple-A.
On a positive note, pre-season Grade C+ lefty Chasen Shreve has looked good in the big league pen and sophomore Dellin Betances continues to dominate. Bryan Mitchell has looked useful and the best news of all comes from Luis Severino, one of the top pitching prospects in the game. Sanchez, Bird, Refsnyder, and Judge all look capable of helping next year, either the Yankees or someone else in a trade.
Right-hander Domingo Acevedo is generating "2016 breakout" buzz with his summer performances at the low levels. Right-hander Rookie Davis has a great baseball name, a pretty 112/20 K/BB ratio in High-A/Double-A, and a chance to be a fourth/fifth starter. RHP Brady Lail and pitchability LHP Jordan Montgomery also have major league potential and could conceivably contribute sometime next year.
The 2015 draft focused on polish college talent and a lot of it. RHP James Kaprielian, shortstop Kyle Holder, and lefty Jeff Degano could all move quickly, although none of them have thrived in pro ball as yet.
And we haven’t mentioned the eight gazillion dollars the Yankees spent on the international market last summer. The big names there (Leonardo Molina, Juan De Leon, Dermis Garcia) haven’t played well yet but are so far away that it is hard to tell much. We will be taking a more detailed look at the big 2014 bonus class soon.