The New York Yankees started out 2016 with hopes of adding to their 27 World championships, but by mid season it was pretty apparent they were not a championship caliber club. Injuries to some of the older players and the retirement of Alex Rodriguez led the Yankees to go in a different direction. So at the mid season mark the Bronx bombers became sellers instead of buyers and realized restocking the farm system with quality prospects was the way to get the team back on top. At the deadline they packaged reliever extraordinaire Andrew Miller to Cleveland for top prospects Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield and traded closer Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs and received top prospect Gleyber Torres and another prospect in Billy McKinney. Carlos Beltran was the next one sent packing in the deal for Dillon Tate and two more prospects. Suddenly the Yankee farm system started taking shape and went from being one of the worst to arguably one of the top in all of baseball. And with the mid season promotion of uber prospect Gary Sanchez and the exciting debuts of Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin fans were looking forward to the next wave of baby bombers to hit N.Y. And with that being said I present to you my Top 50 Bronx Baby Bomber Prospects!
Prospects 1500 Tiers:
Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an all star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a teams 40-man roster
1. Clint Frazier, OF
Age: 22 (DOB 9/6/94)
Acquired in a mid season trade with the Indians this 22 year old is my #1 Yankee prospect. Drafted 1st round #5 in 2013. His unique combination of power and speed have carried him up the minor league ladder in a short period of time and I believe he can be a contributor in N.Y. As early as 2017. Though he probably will start the season in Triple A look for Frazier to be one of the first callups should a trade or injury occur. He is a capable center fielder and with his speed and strong arm could also play right field if needed. Should be a fantasy stud in years to come. ETA 2017
Fantasy rating: 8/10 | 2016 stats: 119 G, .263 AVG, 16 HR, 55 RBI, 75 R, 13 SB, .782 OPS
2. Gleyber Torres, SS/2B
Age: 20 (DOB 12/13/96)
The MVP of the Arizona Fall League (hit .403 with a 1.158 OPS) Torres is an uber prospect also on the fast track to the big leagues. Signed out of Venezuela at 16 by the Cubs,who noticed his best mature approach to hitting, he has not disappointed since he has crossed shores. He was the Midwest leagues top prospect in 2015 at age 18 and has developed a much more polished swing that could produce power in the range of 25 HR’s per year as his body continues to fill out. Shortstop might not be his best position as his range could push him to the keystone spot. But at age 20 his athleticism and strong arm allow him to make tough plays. Acquired by the Yanks as part of the Aroldis Chapman deal, Torres could be on the scene as early as 2018.
Fantasy rating: 7/10 | 2016 stats: 125 G, 18 HR, 66 RBI, 21 SB, .270 AVG, .775 OPS
3. Aaron Judge, OF
Age: 24 (DOB 4/26/92)
Drafted 1st Rd (32) by the Yanks in 2013 this slugging outfielder has had an interesting climb up the ladder to the big leagues. At an imposing 6’7 275 lbs. Judge looks more tight end than right fielder. A natural athlete he has worked hard on his baseball skills to eliminate some of the problems that plagued him early in his career. He has improved his plate discipline and worked on hitting the ball to all fields. Called up to the show on Aug 13 and in his first at bat at Yankee stadium Judge showcased his power by blasting one into the Black seats in straight away center field. Although he still needs to cut down on his strikeouts (42 K in 84 AB) and make better contact I see Judge in the mix for the RF job come spring training. ETA 2017
2016 stats (AAA): 93 G, 19 HR, 65 RBI, 5 SB, .270 AVG, .854 OPS
4. Jorge Mateo, SS/2B
Age: 21 (DOB 6/25/95)
Drafted out of the Dominican Republic in 2012 Mateo can flat out fly getting to first base in less than 4 seconds from the right side. An accomplished base stealer he led the minors in 2015 with 82 swipes and followed that up last year with another 36 in High A. Mateo has some power and could develop into a double digit Homer threat but must cut down on his strikeouts if he is to reach full potential. Arm grades out as exceptional but needs to limit his errors if he is to stick at SS. Fantasy value is obvious speed but with improving plate discipline could be a plus hitter. ETA 2018.
2016 stats (High A): 113 G, 65 R, 8 HR, 47 RBI, 36 SB, .254 AVG., .685 OPS
5. Justus Sheffield, LHP
Age: 20 (DOB 5/13/96)
Selected by the Cleveland Indians in the first round (#31) of the 2014 draft.This 20 year old has the makings of a top of the rotation starter.With a heater that hits 96 with great movement and sink and a plus curve and changeup Sheffield has all the pitches needed to get pro hitters out.He has a smooth downhill delivery which he repeats very well and his only flaw right now is his inability to throw strikes on a consistant basis but with a little more polish and experience i think he can be a valuable contributor to the Yankees and on a fantasy scale as well. ETA 2018
Fantasy rating: 7/10 | 2016 stats (combined MiLB 3 levels) 10 W, 25 GS, 125 IP, 107 H, 129 K, .230 AVG, 1.28 WHIP
6. Blake Rutherford, OF
Age: 19 (DOB 5/2/97)
Taken #18 in the 2016 draft by the Yankees Rutherford was considered the top overall high school player coming into the draft. Rutherford has a the tools needed to get to the highest level.Good speed,nice power,and a keen eye at the plate have scouts projecting him to be a solid all around gap to gap hitter.Average arm and defender so probably settles in a corner spot. Still a way to go before he’s a solid contributor at the major league level but a kid with big upside. ETA 2020
Fantasy rating: 5/10 | 2016 stats (Rookie League) 33 G, 3 HR, 12 RBI, .351 AVG, .986 OPS
7. Miguel Andujar, 3B
Age:21 (DOB 3/2/95)
Signed for 750,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2012, Andujar could be the Yanks 3rd baseman as soon as 2018 . With above average power and a bat that makes consistent hard contact to all fields plus an uncanny ability, at his age, to make adjustments at the plate Andujar could have a very bright future in the Bronx. Solid fielder with a rocket arm and good reflexes he is the complete package. With his skills I predict a nice fantasy contributor in AVG, HR & RBI. ETA 2018.
2016 stats: (High A) 130 G, 62 R, 12 HR, 83 RBI, .273 AVG, .742 OPS
8. James Kaprielian, RHP
Age:22 (DOB 3/2/94)
Taken 16th in the first round of the 2015 Amateur Draft, Kaprielian has a big time arm with 3 nasty pitches: curve, slider, change, and a heater that tops out at 99 and sits in the neighborhood of 94. James started 2016 with 3 solid starts compiling 22 strikeouts against 3 walks allowing only 8 hits in 18 IP with a stellar 1.50 ERA. Then the dreaded elbow flexor flared up and he was forced to shut it down for the regular season. He was sent to the Arizona Fall League after the season where he was a little rusty going 2-3 with a 4.33 ERA in 7 starts with 26 Kin 27 IP. He is 5th all time at UCLA in career ERA and 6th all time in career strikeouts. I look for him to bounce back and become a solid fantasy starter and possibly a #3 or #4 in the Yanks rotation soon. ETA probably 2018. Fantasy rating: 6/10.
9. Dillon Tate, RHP
Age:22 (DOB 5/1/94)
Drafted 1st Round #4 by the Texas Rangers, Tate was acquired by the Yankees in the Carlos Beltran trade last season. Power pitcher that has a live fastball topping out at 98 and a hard slider that comes in between 85-89. Needs to be a little more consistent in the strike zone and also develop his changeup more to be a top of the rotation starter. With more seasoning and experience could really find himself in the Bronx rotation in the very near future. ETA 2018.
Fantasy rating: 6/10 | 2016 stats: (High A) 4 W, 16 GS, 82 IP, 70K, 4.70 ERA, 1.60 WHIP
10. Domingo Acevedo, RHP
Age:22 (DOB 3/6/94)
Tall lanky righthander who throws hard, Aroldis Chapman hard, hitting 103 on the radar gun and complements his fastball with a nice changeup that hovers around 88. Sound mechanics allow him to have a very good strikeout to walk ratio (102/22) which is impressive considering his 6’7 frame. Only concern is ability to go deep into games which could suggest a move to the back of the bullpen as possible closer but has quality stuff to stick as a starter. Only time will tell. ETA 2018-19.
Fantasy rating: 7/10 | 2016 stats: (High A) 5 W, 18 GS, 93 IP, 102 K, 22 BB, 2.61 ERA, 1.13 WHIP
11. Albert Abreu, RHP
Age 21: (DOB 9/26/95)
Signed by the Houston Astros out of the Dominican Republic for $185,000 in 2013. Quickly became one of Houston’s top prospects. Debuted in the rookie level Appalachian League in 2015 and dominated hitters. Acquired by the Yankees in November in the Brian McCann deal. Above average fastball and power slider with hard curve and good changeup. Needs to polish delivery. ETA 2019.
Fantasy rating: 5/10 | 2016 stats: (High A) 3 W, 16 GS, 101 IP, 115 K, 1.30 WHIP
12. Dustin Fowler, OF
Age: 22 (DOB 12/29/94)
Drafted in the 18th round in 2013, Fowler has made significant progress the last two seasons hitting a career high .298 in 2015 and having a solid season in 2016. Plus speed and good hitting instincts suggest he could be a future 20/20 player. ETA 2018.
Fantasy rating: 6/10 | 2016 stats: (Double A) 132 G, 12 HR, 88 RBI, 25 SB, .281 AVG, .770 OPS
13. Tyler Wade, SS/2B
Age: 22 (DOB 11/23/94)
4th round pick in 2013, Wade can play short or second. Solid defender with a strong arm and good range. Decent contact hitter with great speed Wade has very little power but knows how to get on base. ETA 2018.
Fantasy rating: 3/10 | 2016 stats: (Double A) 133 G, 90 R, 5 HR, 27 RBI, 27 SB, .259 AVG, .701 OPS
14. Wilkerman Garcia, SS
Age: 18 (DOB 4/1/98)
Garcia was signed out of Venezuela as a free agent in 2014. Only 18 and has had little problems transitioning himself to the U.S. He has good plate skills and can use the entire field. Possibly can develop more power as he matures. Possesses a very strong arm and plays solid defense though might not stick at SS. ETA 2021.
Fantasy rating: 3/10 | 2016 stats: (Rookie League) 54 G, 21 R, 1 HR, 13 RBI, 4 SB, .198 AVG
15. Chance Adams, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB 8/10/94)
Yankees drafted Adams in the 5th round in 2015 and he has been dominating out of the gate. Fastball that has increased in velocity from 92-94 that now sits at 98 to a sharp slider that gets in on the hitters. Adams has made short work of the minors so far and could get the call up to the show real soon. Has the mental makeup of a future closer. ETA 2017.
Fantasy rating: 8/10 | 2016 stats: (High A/AA) 24 GS, 13 W, 127 IP, 76 H, 144 K, 2.33 ERA, 0.90 WHIP
16. Billy McKinney, OF
Age: 22 (DOB 8/23/94)
McKinney is now with his 3rd organization since the A’s drafted him 24th overall in the 2013 draft. Sent to the Cubs in a July 2014 trade and then packaged along with Gleyber Torres in the Aroldis Chapman deal last season. McKinney had some injury problems last season and took a step back in his development as a pro. Basically a gap to gap hitter with decent speed and little power he projects out to be a 4th outfielder at best which doesn’t help us much in fantasy leagues. ETA 2018.
Fantasy rating: 3/10 | 2016 stats: (Double A) 123 G, 52 R, 4 HR, 44 RBI, .246 AVG, .680 OPS
17. Chad Green,RHP
Age: 25 (DOB 5/24/91)
Drafted in the 11th round by the Tigers, Green was stuck in their system until a 2015 trade to the Yankees where he has been very successful. Green reached Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre last season and was their most consistent starter with a 1.52 ERA, gathering 7 wins in 16 starts with 100 K’s over 94 innings. Earned a call up to the big leagues where he pitched in 12 games for the Yanks. Heavy fastball and change plus a work in progress slider are his out pitches. Overall I think he’s in the mix for a rotation spot come this spring. ETA 2017.
Fantasy rating: 5/10
18. Jordan Montgomery, LHP
Age: 24 (DOB 12/27/92)
Since being drafted out of South Carolina in the 4th round in 2014 this 6’6″, 225 lb. left-hander has breezed through the Yankee system in a few short years reaching Triple A last season. With the RailRiders he dominated hitters to a tune of a 2.13 ERA with 134 K in 139 IP over 25 starts and chalked up 14 wins. Not overpowering but keeps hitters off balance with a smooth delivery, great location and a 4-pitch arsenal that he mixes well. Possible 3rd or 4th starter at the big league level. ETA 2017.
Fantasy rating: 6/10
19. Drew Finley, RHP
Age: 20 (DOB 7/10/96)
3rd round pick in the 2015 draft out of Rancho Bernardino High. Finley has a big league curveball that he can throw in any count on the batter. He is a polished pitcher for his age with good command of his secondary pitches (fastball and change) that he sets up the hitters well with. Too early to tell but I think Finley has the talent to get to the highest level in the near future. ETA 2020.
2016 stats: (Rookie League total) 18 GS, 59 IP, 61 K, 4.10 ERA, 1.38 WHIP
20. Mason Williams, OF
Age: 25 (DOB 8/21/91)
Drafted 145th overall in the 4th round, this former top prospect (#43 on MLBPipeline’s prospects list in 2012) has never quite lived up to his potential thus far. Started 2015 off great earning a promotion to the Yanks and homering in his first game but then a serious shoulder injury that required surgery sidelined him for the rest of 2015 and well into 2016. Still has the tools needed to get to the next level and can still hit (career .275 MiLB AVG) with good speed and solid arm but time could be running out on him. ETA 2017.
Fantasy rating: 3/10 | 2016 stats: (Triple-A) 43 G, 171 AB, 24 RBI, .298 AVG, .695 OPS
21. Ian Clarkin, LHP
Age: 21 (DOB 2/14/95)
1st Rd pick (33 overall) in the 2013 draft, Clarkin has only logged 75 innings due to injury in his first couple of pro seasons. Last year, mostly injury free, he set a career high in IP with 98 and even threw 2 CG with solid numbers across the board. Clarkin relies on a low 90’s fastball with good movement and wicked slider and changeup that he throws consistently for strikes. If he can stay healthy he has nice upside as a mid level starter. ETA 2019.
Fantasy rating: 6/10 | 2016 stats:(High A) 18 GS, 98 IP, 72 K, 3.31 ERA, 1.33 WHIP
22. Jorge Guzman, RHP
Age: 20 (DOB 1/28/96)
Acquired by the Yanks back in November in the Brian McCann deal, Guzman is an intriguing prospect. Raw but talented with a live arm that can dial it up to 102, he has had moderate success as a starter. (career 4.63 ERA over 20 starts in 95 IP with 83 K and a 1.46 WHIP in Rookie League) Guzman needs to develop secondary pitches to complement his explosive fastball to have any chance of moving up to more competitive levels. Move to the bullpen might be his next assignment. ETA 2019.
Fantasy rating 3/10
23. Hoy Jun Park, SS/2B
Age:20 (DOB 4/7/96)
Signed in 2014 as an International free agent out of Korea, Park is very athletic who has a slick glove and above average arm that enables him to make tough plays look easy from his natural shortstop position or from second base. Fleet footed runner who can steal bases as is evident by the 32 he swiped last season at Class A Charleston. Barrels up a lot of balls and as he develops his frame could be a solid hitter with legitimate power. Fun prospect with plenty of upside to keep an eye on. ETA 2020.
Fantasy rating: 3/10 | 2016 stats: (Low A) 116 G, 2 HR, 34 RBI, 32 SB, .225 AVG, .665 OPS
24. Jake Cave, OF
Age:24 (DOB 12/4/92)
Drafted in the 6th round in 2011. (209th overall) Former high school pitcher turned position player, Cave has had a slow climb up the ladder in the minor leagues. Injuries slowed him early in his pro career (broken kneecap in 2011 ended his season early and missed the 2012 season when it didn’t heal the right way) but once healthy has started to make solid progress. Can play all 3 outfield spots well has good speed with great instincts on the bases. Limited power hurts but makes up for it by putting the ball in play and constant hustle. Projects to possible 4th or 5th OF. ETA 2018.
Fantasy rating: 3/10 | 2016 stats: (AA/AAA) 116 G, 8 HR, 55 RBI, 6 SB, .268 AVG, .758 OPS
25. Dietrich Enns, LHP
Age:25 (DOB 5/16/91)
Enns was drafted in the 19th round out of Central Michigan in 2012. Switched from starter to reliever in 2013 and pitched well out of the bullpen. Had Tommy John surgery in 2014 and upon returning in 2015 Yanks decided to switch him back to starter. Since then has been impressive posting a miniscule 0.61 ERA with an 0.90 WHIP with 55 K in 58 IP over 12 starts in 2015. He had a 1.73 ERA with 135 IP, 124 SO, 1.17 WHIP. and .215 BAA in 22 starts between AA and AAA in 2016. Should get a long look in spring training and could crack the rotation soon as a 3rd or 4th starter. ETA 2017.
Fantasy rating: 5/10
26. Trey Amburgey, OF
Age: 22 (DOB 10/24/94)
13th round pick in the 2015 amateur draft out of St. Petersburg CC. Amburgey is a very good athlete with above average speed and a bat that produces quite possibly the best exit velocity in all of the Yankee farm system. Jumped out of the gates in his first pro season by delivering a slash line of .346/.399/.523 with 21 SB between short season Staten Island and the Gulf Coast Rookie League. Slowed last year by a nagging hamstring injury that limited him to 68 games, he’s looking to bounce back and get back on the radar again. ETA 2019.
Fantasy rating: 2/10 | 2016 stats: (Double A) 68 G, 40 R, 2 HR, 32 RBI, .274 AVG, .694 OPS.
27. Kyle Holder, SS
Age: 22 (5/25/94)
1st round draft pick (30th overall) in 2015 by the Yankees. Most scouts agree that Holder was the best defensive player in that year’s draft and a Gold Glover waiting to happen at the big league level. A former basketball player, he has tremendous quickness, soft hands and a solid arm that has transfered well from the hardwood to the diamond. His offense is still way behind although he has shown signs of improvement the last two seasons (2015 .527 OPS, 2016.669 OPS) so there is hope. ETA 2019.
Fantasy rating 2/10 | 2016 stats: (High A) 88 G, 40 R, 1 HR, 18 RBI, 8 SB, .290 AVG, .669 OPS
28. Donny Sands, C
Age: 20 (DOB 5/16/96)
Drafted in the 8th round (243 overall) in 2015. Converted from third baseman to full time catcher, Sands combines a work ethic that is second to none and a competitiveness and drive that has impressed the Yankee scouts. Line drive hitter with quick hands that consistently makes contact with the ball on the barrel. I see no reason why he can’t develop into a serious power threat. With Gary Sanchez entrenched as the Yankee backstop the Bombers will be patient with Sands and not rush him too soon. ETA 2020.
Fantasy rating: 2/10 | 2016 stats: (Rookie League totals) 85 G, 40 R, 2 HR, 43 RBI, 9 SB, .300 AVG, .738 OPS
29. Leonardo Molina, OF
Age: 19 (DOB 7/31/97)
Molina was signed by the Yankees as an International free agent in 2013 out of the Dominican Republic. As a five-tool prospect, his potential had Yankee scouts salivating for the very raw 16-year old. He has plus-plus speed, can hit to all fields, and has projectable power. With maturity, he could be a 20/20 player. But, he is only 19 and still learning the game. ETA 2020-21
Fantasy rating: Too early to know | 2016 stats: (Rookie League Totals 2 Seasons)186 G 68 R 12 HR 74 RBI 16 SB .221 AVE .624 OPS
Age:18 (DOB 6/30/98)
Martinez, a slender 6-2, 165 pound right-hander out of Culver City High School, was a 3rd Rd pick (98)in 2016 draft (and one of the youngest) out of Culver City High School. He has a fastball that that sits around 90, but can reach 95 with late life; and a power curve that hits mid-70s. He is also working to add a third pitch (changeup). So far, he does well repeating his delivery and remaining conistent in the strike zone. ETA 2020-21
Age:20 (DOB 3/14/96)
Signed as an International free agent in 2014 for 10,000 out of the Dominican Republic.Perez is an imposing figure on the mound standing 6’8 and with a punishing fastball that touches 99 and routinely settles in at 93-96.Scary thought for opposing hitters is he is still getting stronger and learning to locate that fastball more consistantly.Has pretty good mechanics for a guy his size and it allows him to create different arm angles making it tougher for hitters to barrel up his fastball.Has a curve and a changeup but both are well below average at this point although he started throwing the change with a little more confidence as the season wore on. ETA 2020
Fantasy rating: 3/10 | 2016 stats: (Combined Rookie and Short Season)13 GS 9W 122 IP 117 SO 3.76 ERA 1.30 WHIP
Age:21 (DOB 2/14/95)
Avelino signed as a non drafted free agent by the Yankees in 2011. He is another in the long line of Yankees shortstop prospects with skills and talent. He has an above average arm, great range, and quick reflexes. In the lower minors, he has had a knack for stealing bases (75 in two years). His bat, however, has not caught up with his legs and may keep him from reaching the majors; especially with the glut of middle infielders in the Yankees system. ETA 2020
Fantasy rating: 2/10 | 2016 stats: (High A- AA) 126 G 6 HR 48 RBI 21 SB .260 AVE. 684 OPS
Age:21 (DOB 5/3/95)
Herrera was signed by the Oakland Athletics as a non drafted free agent in 2011 and spent 2 unspectacular seasons in their minor league system, never making it past Class A. Traded twice, he is now putting it together with the Yankees at AA Trenton. He was their most most consistent pitcher, setting career highs in (W) 10 (SO) 123 and posting a very respectable 1.26 WHIP in 23 starts throwing 132 Innings. He has good command of his pitches and credits the development of his changeup for his success.ETA 2017
Fantasy rating: 5/10
Age:25 (DOB 9/6/91)
Drafted in the 13th Rd in 2010 by the Yankees out of Heritage High School in Georgia, Austin has been a top prospect in the Pinstripes system since he debuted in 2011. He was Ranked #3 entering the 2013 season and #6 again in 2014 by M.L.B. list of Top Prospects by Organization. He was the Bombers” Minor League Player Of The Year” in 2012 after leading all levels in batting for the second season in a a row; he also ranked 3rd in RBIs and 4th in stolen bases. He reached the show last year and deposited deposited a 2-2 pitch from Tampa Bay’s Matt Andriese down the right field line and into the front row seats for his first career homerun. He played in 31 games for N.Y. hitting .241 with 5 HR’S and 12 RBI’S in 83 AB with an OPS .758. Austin should challenge Greg Bird for First Base job in Spring Training. ETA 2017
Fantasy rating : 5/10
Age:26 (DOB 4/20/90)
Higgy was a 7th Rd draft pick in 2008. He is a tremendous defensive catcher whom the Yanks protected this off season from the Rule 5 draft. Given his good offensive showing in 2016, he practically forced their hand: slash line of.276/.337/.511 with career highs in HR’S (21) and RBI’S (81) in 102 games between AA -AAA; while still doing an outstanding job behind the plate for the International League Champion Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders. Over 8 Minor League seasons, he has a career line of .242/305/386. He has recently corrected a flaw in his swing and worked hard to refine his approach at the plate. There is a chance he could be Sanchez’s backup in New Yorkthis season. ETA 2017
Fantasy rating: 3/10
Age:24 (DOB 8/4/92)
German was signed by the Miami Marlins as a non-drafted free agent in 2009. He became a full time starter in 2013. He tends to pund the strikezone with a big league fastball and locates hard breakstuff well. He then missed the entire 2015 season due to Tommy John surgery. He was able to pitch late in the 2016 season, loggin only 49 innings in High A.ETA 2018
Age:23 (DOB 6/9/93)
A 6th round draft pick in the 2015 amateur draft, Holden was initially a starter but transitioned to relief for the 2016 season. He thrived in the role this past season, which culminated in winning the M.I.L.B.Y. award for the top Minor League reliever. He has a plus fastball with dive and sink breaking stuff and a bulldog mentality that could add up to possible future closer in the bigs. Now blocked by the re-acquistion of Chapman and setup extraordinaire Betances, Holder can still be a very valuable reliever for the Yanks in 2017.ETA 2017
Fantasy rating: 5/10
Gallegos was signed as a non-drafted free agent from Mexico in early 2011. He was slowed by knee and Tommy John surgery and ultimately debuted in the GCL as a starter in 2012. He was moved to the bullpen for 2014 and has put up eye-popping numbers in the role. Last season may have been his best: in 42 relief appearances and 78 innings pitched, he had a 1.27 ERA, .175 BAA, 0.83 WHIP, and 106:17 K:BB in AAA. His stuff is not overpowering but he mixes pitches well and gets a lot of ground ball putouts. He has great command of 3 off-speed pitches (high 70’s slider, curve, and changeup) and a fastball that sits around 94-95. He has nothing left to prove in minors and could earn bullpen role this year. ETA 2017
Fantasy rating: 7/10
Age:22 (DOB 2/9/94)
Gittens, the 362nd Overall Pick in the 12th Rd of the 2014 Draft is a hulking slugger (6’4 listed at 250lbs, looks bigger). He enjoyed a enjoyed a breakout year in his first full season as a pro: hitting .253, slamming 21 HR’S,driving in 70,scored 57 runs and had an OPS of .837Low A Charleston. A masher,he squares up the ball well with natural plus power from the right side to produce tape measure shots. He also has the ability to hit the ball to all fields.He has solid plate discipline, enabling him to reach base safely in league high 33 straight games from April 21-June 2, while drawing 56 walks to tie for 6th in the league. He has destroyed lefties to a tune of .378/434/590/over 2 seasons. He must spend a little more time on conditioning as he sees better pitching,but absolutely love his upside.ETA 2018-19
Fantasy rating: 6/10
Age:23 (DOB 8/9/93)
Drafted by the Yanks in the 18th Rd in the 2012 Amateur Draft out of Bingham High School in Utah, Lail has pretty much zoomed through the Yankee system in a relatively short period of time He performed well in the lower levels but hit a road block once he got to Triple A (10-8 4.94 ERA 24 GS 129 IP 10 H/9 71-47 SO/W and 1.46 WHIP). He has a low 90’s fastball with very good command. He also has an above average change he uses well to keep hitters off-balance, but needs to get his curve and cutter in line to be effective. He is still a solid prospect who could carve out a nice career as a back end starter.ETA 2017
Fantasy rating: 5/10
41.Juan De Leon,OF
Age:19 (DOB 9/13/97 )
De Leon signed for the 3rd highest bonus ($2 million) as an International Free Agent in 2014. Scouts were all raving about his 5 tool capability and considered him the best hitter in that season’s international free agent market.He has very quick hands, plus bat speed ,to go with above average foot speed and evolving power potential.DeLeon makes consistent hard contact with a compact swing and loves to show off his very strong arm in right field.Obviously very young and inexperienced but with his advanced tools could be a star in the future.ETA 2020
2016 stats: (Career Rookie League)65 G 219 AB 38 R 4 HR 27 RBI 1 SB .224 AVE .704 OPS
Age:19 (DOB 1/7/98)
The Yankees signed Garcia in 2014, giving him the biggest ($3 million) bonus of their 7 free agents signed that year. He was considered the #1 (MLB Pipeline) or #9 (Baseball America) IFA on the market. The concern prior to signing was whether his raw power would convert well to the pro game. So far, his first season realized those fears and his sophomore season showed progress as his batting average and OPS improved, but both are still lacking (.206 and .780 respectively). Strikeouts are still an issue (34% strikeout rate) and has been attributed to his long, overly aggressive swing. Originally signed as shortstop, Garcia has been converted to third base. So far, the transition has gone slowly but the Yankees believe his strong arm and instincts will allow him to handle the position. ETA 2020
Fantasy rating: 5/10
Age:20 (DOB 7/23/96)
Gilliam, selected in the 20th Rd (603rd overall) in the 2015 Draft out of Chipola Junior College in Florida, is a 6’3 220lb switch hitter the Yankees believe could be a sleeper prospect. Blessed with power from both sides of the plate, Gilliam has already showed his impressive ability to hit the ball out of the park with 11 HR’S in 99 Rookie League games. He needs to improve his plate discipline and contact skills (26% K rate in 2016), but he’s still just 20 and ahead of the curve. With time to develop i think he can be a solid power hitter in the big leagues.ETA 2019
Fantasy rating: 5/10 | (Career Rookie League) 99 G 44 R 11 HR’S 56 RBI’S 5 SB .261 AVE .755 OPS
Age:24 (DOB 7/16/92)
Selected in the 13th Rd of the 2013 Draft by the Yankees, Coshow is an imposing figure on the mound. At 6’5 260lb and armed with a fastball that can reach triple digits with a wipeout slider, he can be dominant at times. Problem is that he is dominant for short stints, meaning he might be more suited for a bullpen role.For a big guy he repeats his delivery well and is a consistant strike thrower. The book is not closed on him being a starter as Yanks might want to stretch him out some more.ETA 2018
Fantasy rating: 3/10 | 2016 stats: (Double A) 3 W 36 G 9 GS 89 IP 70 SO 4 SV 4.03 ERA 1.50 WHIP
45.Thairo Estrada 2B/SS
Age:20 (DOB 2/22/96)
Estrada was signed in November 2012 as an International Free Agent out of Venezuela. He adds to the middle infield depth in the Yankees farm system and may be one of the best defenders. He has a good approach at the plate and has held his own at each level he’s been at. He can hit for average, has developing power (career high 8 hr’s last season), and good speed on the bases(Career high 18 SB in 2016)Just 20, he has been steadily climbing the organizational ladder. ETA 2020
Fantasy rating: 3/10 | 2016 stats: (High A) 118 G 63 R 8 HR’S 49 RBI 18 SB .290 AVE .737 OPS
46.Nick Solak 2B
Age:22 (DOB 1/11/95)
Solak, drafted in the second round (#62 overall) in the 2016 draft, wasted no time in transferring from uber college star to Major League prospect. He is a line drive hitter who works the middle of the field. He has quick hands,a great approach at the plate, and barrels up balls with a consistent regularity. He has a level swing that tends to zap his power but could develop into a double-digit HR hitter. Solak has solid speed and good baserunning instincts that could allow him to develop into a base stealing threat. He has an average arm and range that suggest he will probably play on the right side of the diamond. ETA 2020
Fantasy rating: 3/10
Age:23 (DOB 2/12/93)
Jackson was a 7th Rd selection in the 2015 draft and is an exciting player who lacks consistency in his game to take the next step. He is a big kid (6’3 220lb) with serious power. In his first full season at Low A Charleston crushed 11 HR’S knocked in 50,scored 48 and had a total of 43 extra base hits,but also struck out 114 times in 386 AB with a paltry .243 AVE and lowly .311 OBP. If the Yankees could get him to put the ball in play more and be more selective at the plate, he can be a monster talent with serious upside.ETA 2020
Age:21 (DOB 10/5/95)
Drafted in the 11th Rd in 2013 by the Seattle Mariners, he was the Mariners #14 prospect prior to the trade with the Yanks after a breakout season in 2016. Littell has a low 90’s heater (his best pitch) that has a lot of late life. He attacks hitters with great command, often working down in the zone and generating a lot of ground ball outs. His curveball is tough on righty hitters, and he is not afraid to throw it while behind in the count.Needs to work hard on his change to keep lefties off-balance.Look for him to make the jump to Double-A this season.ETA 2018
Fantasy rating: 5/10
Age:17 (DOB 3/1/99)
Cabrera was an IFA in 2015 and debuted as a 17-year old with the Bombers across 3 Rookie Level teams and performed very well. He combines sharp plate skills with a keen eye and a skillful ability to put the ball in play anywhere on the field, which is incredible for a kid his age at this level. Not very big at 5-10 and 145 pounds, he will need to fill out a little more to handle the competition at the upper levels. He has great range and a plus arm that enable him to get to and get rid of the ball quickly. He still needs to limit errors(15 in only 48 games at 2B/SS) at this level. He is a fun kid to watch. ETA 2021
2016 stats: (Rookie League) 52 G 4 HR 25 RBI 7 SB .345 AVE .919 OPS
Age:25 (DOB 12/7/91)
Payton was a 7th round draft pick in 2014 and has steadily climbed the ladder despite scouts labeling him an “organizational”player. He is a tough, gritty player who has been a steady performer. In 2016, he hit a career high 10 HR in 2016 and chipped in 11 SB. An average defender, he gets by with hustle and determination. He could possibly be a a 4th outfielder in the big leagues.ETA 2018
Fantasy rating: 3/10
That’s my top 50 Yankees prospects for 2017. Leave feedback in the comments.
In closing the Yankees made significant progress in their minor league system last year. Their affiliates dominated in 2016. Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre won the Governors Cup and took overall National Championship by defeating El-Paso.
Double-A Trenton got to the Eastern Finals before falling to Akron, while Class A Advanced Tampa lost to Bradenton in the tough Florida State League Championship Series. Class A Charleston and Class A Short Season Staten Island also both reached the playoffs. With the talent the Yankees have stockpiled in recent years, I think the future definitely looks brighter in New York and the fans can share in the excitement that these kids will bring.
I have little issue with the actual order, but tiers seem off. I would say there is more that one future All-Star on that list.
There could be several all stars on the list. But they have a lot of young talent just starting to take shape. With young kids u never know how fast they will develop. U can project as best u can and I tried to not over evaluate some kids. Over the years there have been a lot of can’t miss prospects who just get stuck at a level or fall back down the ladder. I’m just really excited because the Yanks have so many good kids in the system I hope they all become all stars, then I will revise my list
What separates Frazier as a better prospect that Torres for you?
What kind of power does Rutherford project to have in the pros?
What % would you put on Acevedo remaining a starter?
Tyler Austin at #34 seems very low for a player who already has at bats at the big league level. Does you think he will not pan out?
The only thing, and believe me it’s a small percentage between those two, is experience. In terms of talent they both are on the same level but I think Frazier is slightly ahead of the learning curve at this juncture in there careers. Both are immensely talented and I’m not sure who can have the better career going forward. That was a tough one who to put first. Rutherford is being compared already to Jim Edmonds. That’s some impressive comparison. But he is young 19, drafted out of high school, so it will take time for him to adjust as he gets to the higher levels.He has a smooth line drive swing right now with quick instincts at the plate plus gets the barrel on the ball consistently.I think he will add more strength to his body over time and as long as his swing doesn’t get choppy or lose his bat speed as his body matures,I think he can definitely be a 15-20hr guy. Acevedo is intriguing because he throws so hard and is so far advanced as a pitcher considering he has only been pitching about 6 seasons. He totally dominated A ball and got promoted to Double A this season.. The only thing I see that can keep him as a starting pitcher is having a solid second pitch to complement his plus fastball. That pitch is his slider. His changeup is an average pitch but he needs the slider to bite more and develop into a great feel pitch for him.. Also conditioning can be an issue. He’s got a big body 6’7 and puts a lot of torque on his delivery. He’s already been on the DL three times with back and lower body issues. Plus it will take time to get his innings up to starter level..I still project him to be a starter possibly a #1.Percent would be about 75-80% The reason why I have Austin low is that he’s been around since 2010 when he was drafted and after so many seasons I feel u lose that prospect tag to some younger kids coming up or being drafted.. He was there top minor league player in 2012 and was there #3 prospect in 2013 and #6 in 14 and still didn’t get the call to the bigs until last season so I felt that at this time, although he is still putting up solid numbers, his window might be closing a little bit.. He has a good chance to stick with the club this season and will be battling Bird for the vacated first base position this spring
Gun to your head…do you think Jhalan Jackson and/or Dermis Garcia ever get MLB at bats?
Good question!!I would love to see them get something at the big league level. I feel they have the talent right now to progress nicely up the ladder. Jackson has plus power at any level but he has trouble staying consistent and making adjustments and that can hurt him at the higher levels. He needs to make better contact at the lower levels.. Garcia could be stuck behind a log jam of quality middle infielders the Yankees have. That’s why they shifted him to third. But he is 19 and has time to develop. He’s got power but needs experience at the lower levels first
What about Estevan Florial?
Thank you for ur question. I looked at Florial when I was comprising my list and when I narrowed it down I had him just outside the top 50. The reason is obviously not his talent cause he is as talented as anybody on this list. He was supposed to be signed by the Yankees in 2014 from the International Free agent pool but due to problems with his paperwork that were false he ended up getting suspended by MLB and termed ineligible to sign with anybody for 1 year. He ended up signing with the Yankees in 2015 for less than 300,000 which is a steal and played that season in the Dominican Summer league where he played well earning co-mvp. In 2016 he faced a little better competition in the Yankees rookie league where he showed good power but really needs to get more seasoning at that level as evident of his 85 strikeouts in just 264 at bats mostly in the rookie league.I feel he just needs another season in Rookie ball to make adjustments to start moving up the rankings.. As the season goes on I will be revising the list based on any changes I see so just cause he wasn’t on it now doesn’t mean he won’t crack it as the season goes on.
Is Nelson Gomez on your radar?
Thanks Marc for ur question. Gomez is definitely on the radar as he is one of the best pure power hitters in the Yankees system. He was signed in 2014 out of the Dominican Republic for 2.25 million at a time when the Yanks were spending tons of money on international free agents. He was 16 at the time and scouts were all raving about the kid with impressive power, quick hands and the ability to crush breaking ball pitches at his age. Defense was a different story. He was signed as a third basemen cause he had a big time arm but he probably doesn’t have the range to play that position going forward.2016 was his first pro season in the Yankees rookie Gulf Coast League and he struggled posting a .194/.249/.403 line with 9 hr’s in 213 ab. His biggest problem was making contact as evident by an almost 26% strikeout rate. He’s got some holes in his swing but he’s only 19 and if he can make adjustments to progress to the higher levels I see him moving up the prospect list real fast.. But right now I have him just outside the top 50.
It seems that many of kids from the 2013-14 International free agent class have struggled at the plate.
Hi Marc. Thanks for the question and keep em coming. The Yankees spent tons of money on international free agents in 2013 and 2014 (it cost them $26.82 million between signing bonuses and penalties) but they usually do a very good job of scouting international talent so to them it made sense to spend that kind of money. According to MLB.com they signed 8 out of the top 20 prospects in those years. (Dermis Garcia $3.2m, Nelson Gomez $2.25m and Juan Deleon $2m were the top 3 as far as signing bonuses) Most of these kids are between 16 and 17 yrs old. Though they did well in the Dominican Summer rookie leagues it’s been a little different when they get over here and face better competition in the Rookie Leagues. They have a longer learning curve than some of the Prospects that have either went to college or are bonus babies straight out of high school. They just don’t see that kind of pitching over there as compared to here. Defensively they are way ahead and most possess very strong arms and great range (W.Garcia, Deleon, Molina, D.Garcia, T.Estrada, O.Cabrera) but their offense is way behind. Kids like Estrada and Cabrera are actually not that far behind and I look for Estrada to start the season at AA and Cabrera is only 17 and did very well at 3 Rookie stops last season.
Anthony, thanks for info. Something that would be cool down the road is a system minor league depth chart.
Yes Marc, I like that idea and I can work on that. Probably once spring training starts winding down and the Yanks start sending players to there class I can get a handle on whose going where and start preparing a minor league depth chart. Thanks Marc
Anthony, when does our spending limit on international free agents expire? We should stock up again if the talent is there.
Mark Payton is a future gold glove centerfielder who is a future 300 leadoff hitter. 102 consecutive games reached base in div 1 u of texas. No one ever came close. Mark continues to get overlooked.
Is DeShorn Lake close to cracking the top-50?
DeShorn Lake is an intriguing prospect. Drafted by Boston in the 12 th Rd in 2011 he didn’t sign and elected to go to college at East Carolina university. He spent 2 unsuccessful seasons there before transferring to Division 2 Mt Olive College in North Carolina for the 2014 season. He went 0-1 in just 8.1 innings for the Trojans and in the summer pitched in the Coastal Plain League for Fayetteville going 0-1 with a 4.76 era with 8 strikeouts waking just 1 and allowing 6 hits in 5.2 innings. It was there the 6-3 235 pounder impressed a lot of big league scouts particularly the Yankees, with his impressive stuff including his 98 mph fastball. The Yankees signed him on July 1st 2014 and assigned him to there Gulf coast rookie league. Pitched in 15 games at the end of 2014 with a 3-3 record with a6.45era over 22.1 innings with 15 strikeouts. Missed all of 2015 with knee surgery but bounced back in 2016. Pitching out of the bullpen he was 0-1 with a 2.95 ERA in 13 games with 2 saves and 13 strikeouts in 18.1 innings pitched with the Yanks Gulf Coast team in the Rookie league. Still has the quality fastball peaking at 98 sitting at 93-94 good slider right around 80-82 with a solid curve. Just needs to get more innings under his belt but still has good projection. He’s only 23 and a great athlete so I would like to see a full season from him first like a move to A-ball and monitor his results but definitely I will be interested in him going forward. Thanks Matt for the question!
I am surprised to not see Tito Polo on your list. Yankees got him in a recent trade from the Pirates in the end of August. He was on the Pirates top 30 list at one point.
Hi JC and thanks for the question. Believe me it was hard leaving him off this list. As I was comprising the list I kept changing it and going over it trying to not leave anybody off knowing that somebody with upside was going to be left off. Him along with a couple other players that are also deserving of being in the top 50 were left off and if I do a top 60 he definitely will be there. That’s the problem the Yanks are so deep in there lower minor leagues that it’s tough to include everybody in a list like this. He’s a speedster on the bases stealing 46 in 2015 and another 37 last season spread out between 2 teams since coming over in the deal for Nova. He’s got some power also but not very good plate discipline yet and that’s very important if he’s to reach the upper levels. Very aggressive base runner but below average defensively and weak arm probably push him to left field. I will keep an eye on him this spring as he’s another fun kid to watch and he’s still only 22 so he’s got plenty of time to iron out the kinks. Thanks JC.
Well Marc, the Yankees went crazy in 2014 and 2015 spending about 26 million on international free agents between signing bonuses and penalties that because of the penalties they are unable to sign anybody for more than 300,000 and that’s for the 2017 season. With the new collective bargaining agreement they are trying to penalize teams that overspend on international free agents.. So the Yankees are not going to be signing any top International Free agents anytime soon unless they sign for 300,000 or slip through the cracks. Thanks Marc.