Williams, Sanchez, and Austin crack Keith Law’s midseason top 50 prospects list

Second Half Needs
Thursday Night Open Thread
From left to right: Williams, Austin, Sanchez. (MiLB.com)

In an Insider-only piece, Keith Law published his midseason top 50 prospects list today. SS Jurickson Profar of the Rangers, who put on a show in the Futures Game by homering from the left side of the plate and singling from the right side, claimed the top spot to what should be no one’s surprise. RHP Dylan Bundy and SS Manny Machado, both of the Orioles, round out the top three. Some big things are happening in Baltimore.

The Yankees placed three players on the list, led by OF Mason Williams at #21. “He was recently promoted to High Class A after posting an .848 OPS in a half-season at Charleston,” wrote KLaw. “Williams earns a lot of raves from scouts between the tools and his general feel for the game, especially on defense.” Mason ranked 34th on Law’s preseason list, so he made a modest jump into the top 25. I’m not sure how much higher he can rank unless he taps into some hidden power at some point.

C Gary Sanchez wasn’t too far behind Williams at #28, and Law says he’s “improved markedly on defense to the point where you can picture him remaining behind the plate long term, and the bat should make him an MVP candidate if he does stay there.” Now that sure is good to hear, the defense has always been the long-term question with Sanchez. He doesn’t need to be a Gold Glover, just adequate. Law notes that Sanchez is primed for yet another jump up the rankings after making the leap from #55 in his preseason list.

The third Yankees farmhand to crack the top 50 is OF Tyler Austin at #45. “[He can] really hit, with a balanced swing and some pull power already, although when I caught him early this season, he was struggling a little to make adjustments to changing speeds, something that has improved in the last two-plus months,” said Law in his write-up. Austin was unranked in the preseason list and obviously made a huge jump thanks to his big full season league debut.

For comparison’s sake, Baseball America ranked Williams, Sanchez, and Austin as the 28th, 30th, and 39th best prospects in baseball in their recent midseason top 50 list, respectively. Good to see we have a bit of a consensus on where these three rank in terms of the bigger picture. LHP Manny Banuelos and several other injured pitchers were ineligible for Law’s list, but I confirmed with him that Manny would have cracked the top 50 if healthy. RHP Dellin Betances is healthy but obviously wasn’t close to the top 50, especially after ranking just 83rd before the season. Either way, three and potentially four top 50 guys is pretty darn good.

Second Half Needs
Thursday Night Open Thread
  • Smart Guy

    I think Austin is mad

    • Gonzo

      He looks like he’s going to be the next MFIKY.

  • Vinnie Gagliano

    somebody post the top 10?

  • Paul VuvuZuvella

    Do you have any word on the severity of Austin’s concussion (severe…out for the season, minor…back in a couple of weeks?)

    • Smart Guy

      judging by his picture he looks pretty bad

  • m1kew

    Can someone list the top 50 players whose parent team is in the AL East? Or simply list the number each AL East team placed on the list. Thanks

    • yooboo

      Now I understand why subscription exists online. lol.

      My best suggestion is check out each team’s blog.

  • JohnC

    Now all we have to do is trade them all for Justin Upton right?

    • Will The Thrill

      For Upton I’d trade all three. I’d be hardest to let go of Sanchez though.

      • Gonzo

        What would you trade for Kate Upton?

        • yooboo

          2012 penny.

        • DM

          Is she signed thru next season — or is this a rental?

      • yooboo

        Austin and Sanchez packed for Upton? ABSOLUTELY NO!

        • Mike

          Agree with yooboo. I really hope Cashman hangs on to all 3, if not at least 2 (with 1 certainly being Sanchez)

          • G

            I’m a fan of Upton and all and I know prospects are lottery tickets, but I’m slapping the “untouchable” label in Sanchez. The potential is just much too high there to give away.

      • RetroRob

        Would you trade all three for Nick Swisher?

      • Ted Nelson

        I would not. Might not trade two of three.

  • jjyank

    Always cool to see the top prospects moving up on the list.

    I’m thrilled to read that part about Sanchez. if he can stick behind the plate and his bat is for real….*drools*

    • Paul VuvuZuvella

      Agree. Sanchez winning supporters as a possible Major League catcher is the brightest development for the Yank’s Farm System all summer.

  • Jersey Joe

    I’m kind of new to Tyler Austin’s real skillset.

    Does anyone have an MLB similar player (defensively and offensively) who defines Austin’s potential?

    • A.D.

      Maybe he could be a Hunter Pence

    • yooboo

      Maybe Miguel Cabrera. Where will he play on the field remains up in the air but I think he will end up a corner infielder in long run.

      He was a catcher when he was drafted so defense may be an issue right now.

      • http://twitter.com/#!/AngeloInNY Angelo

        He’s been solid in the outfield, I’m guessing he’ll stay there. Also, Miguel Cabrera is a top 5 hitter in all of baseball, I seriously doubt Austin will hit that well. He may be a very good hitter in the future, but Cabrera is ridiculously good.

        • yooboo

          Matt Holliday is the one I was supposed to compare Austin.

          I have a nasty habit of carrying over from a recent conversation into another conversation without resetting thinkable.

          Can you believe that I did actually say Derek Jeter was the best defensive SS in MLB.

        • RetroRob

          Miguel Cabrera? We wish. Cabrera is one of the most talented righthanded hitters in the history of MLB.

          The last Yankees prospect to be compared to Cabrera is triple slashing along somehwere out in the Great Northwest to the unsightly line of .245/.281/.376, not that I expect that’s his true level as a hitter. In fairness, even Miggy was not anywhere near the hitter he is today when he first came up, tripling at .268/.325/.468, although that is still almost 150 OPS points higher Montero, and he did it two years younger at age 20, compared to Montero being 22.

          It’ll be interesting if Jesus follows his trend shown the past two years of having strong finishes. He might simply be one adjustment away from being the hitter many of us here throught he was.

          Maybe when the season is done Cash can call up Jack Z and offer Betances for Montero!

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Why stop at Cabrera? Does he remind you of a young Willie Mays?

        • yooboo

          As I have tried to find a prospect that is compared favorably to Ty Cobb.

        • FIn

          Eh, seemed half the fans on this website, were convinced the Yankees gave up the next M. Cabrera for Pineda, its nice to see we have another left in the system.

          • yooboo

            yeah.. there are too many players for hostage. It is all matter of WHEN and WHERE.

      • yooboo

        I mean Matt Holliday.

        Above average hitability.
        Above average power.
        Decent stealing base.

        Defense remains unknown due to catching by trade. If he gets bigger and slower then he could be a notch lesser Miguel Cabrera.

        He hit an opposite home run like it is nothing.

    • Brian S.

      According to Mike Newman of fangraphs he’s like Ryan Ludwick. People here expecting him to turn into Matt Holliday or Miguel Cabrera are setting themselves up for disappointment.

      • Ted Nelson

        I think Holliday is a reasonable best case. Most prospects will fail and if you expect great things from prospects you’ll usually be disappointed, but there’s no top 50 prospect in baseball whose ceiling is Ludwick. Austin is also a guy who has raised his profile this season and impressed some doubters. Hanging on to pre-full season projections is often faulty logic.

      • G

        Would you mind asking him who’s gonna win the World Series this year? I’d like to make some money using his clearly infallible foresight.

        A best case Ludwick doesn’t make this many top prospects list. No ones saying he WILL be Holliday, but he has the tools to be that. Unlikely, but that potential is what puts him in the list.

        • RetroRob

          Ryan Ludwick was considered a better prospect than Matt Holliday when in the minors. Ludwick was a second-round draft pick, while Holliday was a seventh-round pick. Holliday never even made it into BA’s top 100 ranking, while Ludwick did once.

          Go take a look at Holliday’s minor league numbers, and if any of you see a future MLB all-star, then 30 MLB Clubs would like to hire you as talent evaluators! There is no indication he would turn out to be the hitter he is, either in his pedigree, his on-field results and judging by his non-BA rankings, his projectability. Now go take a look at Miguel Cabrera’s minor league numbers. His are equally unimpressive, yet notice how he skyrockets up BA’s rankings every year, despite pedestrian numbers, and was rapidly being pushed to higher levels. Clearly the talent was there and was obvious. He was in the majors by age 20. Tyler Austin at age 20 has two ABs above low-A ball.

          That’s not a knock on Tyler Austin. He might go on to a tremendous MLB career. He might be something less than Ryan Ludwick. A nice reminder of how difficult it is to project the development of players, and certainly impossible for us just looking at numbers. Professional scouts don’t look at the numbers.

  • Strat

    30 teams in baseball, and the Yankees have three guys in the top fifty… And it would have been four, but for Banuelos’ injury. That’s damn good!

  • http://thecarsboneblog.tumblr.com Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

    What about Campos, and Bichette JR? I know Campos is hurt, but he’d definitely have to figure into probably the top 25 if healthy and as for Bichette would he be on the top 100 list?

    • Fin

      Last I saw a week or so ago, Bichette was hitting ~.225 with 3hrs. Hard to believe he is going to be in anyones top 100 without a huge second half. Not sure there will be enough info on Campos to put him in the top 100, he hasnt started throwing yet so, even if he makes it back in the second half there wont be much of a sample.

      • SDM

        Bichette’s hitting .252 not .225

    • D23

      Most likely not. He has been overmatched at times. Lacked the power they expected. Doesn’t mean he a bust nor over-rated, the key in good players is making adjustments. I expect him to turn around.

      Campos remain to be seen. Don’t be surprised if he doesn’t crack top 100 next pre-season. Rebounding is not an issue, its staying healthy in my opinion for Campos.

      Personally I think Gumbs has more upside than Bichette. I expect in two years that Gumbs may significant strides.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Bump in the road this year for DBJ. I wouldn’t bet against him, though. Anyone whose work ethic gets constantly mentioned will earn the benefit of the doubt from me.

      That being said, I’m sure Carmen Angelini had an amazing work ethic as well.

      • RetroRob

        Derek Jeter in his first season of pro ball hit .210/.311/.314, I can only imagine what fans would have been saying about that pick if RAB existed back then.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Stick failed.

  • Ro

    We should keep our eyes on Rapael DePaula. BA rates him very well even without any minor league innings logged. This could be our top pitching prospect by the end of next season. He’s already older too and could possibly immediately contribute once he acclimates to the league.

    In order of possible date of arrival:


    That’s some list and with very good odds of positive results.

    Gary Sanchez is the real money prospect here. Montero made it to #3 primarily based on his bat alone. Catchers with a big bat and longevity behind the plate are some of the most valuable prospects/position in baseball. I’m excited to see him continue his progress and hopefully get much better. He’s probably the only prospect the Yanks can’t afford to trade and perhaps the only truly untouchable guy we have.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Very possible, although “immediately contribute” is a stretch.

      • JohnnyC

        He’s already 21 and he’s only in the DSL. So the clock is ticking. The Yankees ought to be very aggressive with his development.

        • http://twitter.com/#!/AngeloInNY Angelo

          He hasn’t even played in the states yet. We have no idea how far along he is in his development. If he does well, they can be aggressive, but that’s not guaranteed.

        • Ted Nelson

          There’s no rush.

        • RetroRob

          The age of the prospect means little if the prospect has little experience. There would be cause for concern if he was pitching for the past three years in pro ball and was only in Charleston and stagnating at the lower levels. Even though he’s 21, he still needs to gain both experience and build up his innings.

    • D23

      I agree that Gary Sanchez is becoming the real deal and in my opinion is he untouchable because there is no catcher like him. Sanchez compared Montero in 160 games played in Charleston produced similar numbers. Sanchez stayed longer than expected but with a very productive 2nd half in Tampa could easily start him in Trenton next season.

      Like DePaula. Yankees have very intruiging players in Dominican League, lots of high potential 17-18-19 year olds both in pitching and position players. Plus coupled with recent International signings, Yankees should be very deep in prospects in 2-3 years and be back to top 5 in deepest minor league prospects. That being said, in my opinion Ty Hensley may be worth losing next years’ number pick by giving him an extra money to get him in GCL and SI this year.

      • Ted Nelson

        I can’t take people who suggest giving up a pick for Hensley seriously.

        • BK2ATL

          You mean the dude who still hasn’t signed????? LOL!!!

          • Ted Nelson

            The point D23 was getting at was blowing him out ofthe water with an offer that would cost them a pick next year so that he would sign.

  • D23

    I think you are joking…But Yanks need to stock pile youth and blue chip prospects for future Yankees. If we are going to stay on top in after the 2014 season, we need immediate impact players ala Trout, Trumbo, McCutheon type guys because after that, Jeter will probably be done, Tex, Arod, CC, will be older, etc. In the past 10 years, we did rely and got some production out of some young guys, but other than Jeter and Cano, who else prospered? We’ll produce some Ledee, Melky, Mendoza, Hughes type guys for sure but we need impact type guys who will develop to be stars. Thus got to start stock piling with young guys and build depth, not lose depth for a guy like Upton who I see is no better than Granderson.

    • yooboo

      That is what I have thought. Austin and Sanchez could take over the mid line up when Arod and Teixeria become not enough power hitters to protect Cano.

      3rd Austin
      4th Cano
      5th Sanchez

      Give or take.

    • JohnnyC

      Fun Fact: Trumbo is 26 years old (6 months older than Phil Hughes and 1 full year older than Ivan Nova). He was ranked 11th among Angels prospects going into 2011. He was not even within sniffing distance of the BA 100. Far from a blue chip prospect. In fact, Keith Law, as late as 2009, called his chances to be an impact ML player as “absurd.” BTW, Leedee and Mendoza came up 15 years ago. Don’t understand how Hughes or even Melky are grouped in with them.

      • yooboo

        I guess we should keep all unknown prospects in bay. heh.

        The point is that we need prospects or minor leaguers to be ready and contribute by 2014 because it is the cheapest routine to build the team of 2014.

        Austin and Sanchez may or may not be ready by 2014. Upton could work but we have no catcher that will be ready for 2014. Romine and Murphy are only ones with that shot but fucked if they can’t hit in MLB level.

        • JonS

          Well, the catcher we have can’t hit a the major-league level so it’d be a wash there. lol

      • D23

        Well you are correct that Ledee and Mendoza came much earlier but the point is the Ledees, the Mendozas, were quality role players very much like the Melkys and the Hughes today. With slash payroll in the next couple of years and our current stars aging, these quality role players is not going to help us stay on top. These quality role players helped us tremenously in the late 90s and 2000s but with surplus stars. Also the Yankees haven’t produced star quality home grown prodcuts consistently over the last 15 years. there were few developed and then there were gap. All I am saying we need surplus or consistently top prospects in consecutive season who will become “future Yankee Stars” like Derek, Jorge, Bernie, Mo and Andy….

        • Ted Nelson

          They’re not really slashing payroll. It’s a pretty marginal change in payroll.

          Counting on someone just promoted to High A for 2014 is very optimistic, let alone three guys. I would love for the Yankees to produce a Trout and a McCutcheon… but that’s even more optimistic.

          Most prospects fail. Sometimes the best thing to do with a prospect is trade him. We’d all like for these guys to turn into stars, but Cashman can’t base his decisions on what he hopes will happen in the best case.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    *tucks erection in sock*

  • BK2ATL

    Great news on Sanchez, Williams and Austin. We tend to overrate our prospects around here, which is probably the same for all teams, so it’s pretty cool to see these 3 getting some national acclaim. Sanchez needs to come through for us, after the Montero situation. Great to see that external people think that he’s a legit C. Wishing them well in High A.

    Each appear approx. 3 seasons out. Hope they keep it up, continue to develop correctly, and make it hard for Cashman to keep them down. We really need Banuelos, Romine and Nunez to re-gain their health and develop as planned. Both to give us internal options for 2013-2014, and also to have some trade value. Also interested to see how Campos develops, and what the deal is with this 24 yr old lefty Vidal Nuno kid.

    Wonder what Elvis Andrus is worth on the open market. Profar is coming for that SS spot very soon.

    Pretty crazy that Baltimore has 2 of the top 3 prospects. Buck has that team contending this year. Future only looks brighter.

  • FIn

    It would be nice to know more about Pirela. Hes been having a very good year and hes above A ball (where all of the other healthy exciting players are). He’s only 22 so hes not to old for the competition. All I could find about him is that he moved from ss to utility guy this year. I mean, it would seem he has some fielding warts if hes a minor league utility player, but maybe they are just looking to find a positional home for him.

    • Ted Nelson

      I think the thing with Pirela is seeing if this is for real. In 200 PAs he’s suddenly become twice the hitter he ever was before. Might be a huge improvement and it’s not like he doesn’t have talent, but also might be a bit of a fluke. He’s kind of catching people off-guard after a miserable season in 2011, and will have to keep it up to really get on the radar.

      CoJo, Almonte, Phelps, Warren, and Marshall are all guys I’d consider more exciting than Pirela right now. Until he proves it out over a larger sample.