Baseball America’s Top Ten Yankees Prospects


Heathcott. (Jordan Megenhardt/

Baseball America published their list of the top ten Yankees prospects today, and the list is free for all. The scouting reports, however, are not. You need a subscription for them. The four names atop the list shouldn’t be a surprise (the order might), but things do get a little wacky after that. Let’s break it down…

  1. OF Mason Williams
  2. OF Slade Heathcott
  3. C Gary Sanchez
  4. OF Tyler Austin
  5. RHP Jose Campos
  6. RHP Brett Marshall
  7. 2B Angelo Gumbs
  8. LHP Manny Banuelos
  9. RHP Ty Hensley
  10. RHP Rafael DePaula

Two things stand out about the list. First, the Yankees are suddenly very top heavy with position player prospects, particularly outfielders. Outside of Jesus Montero, their recent top tens were mostly dominated by upper level arms. The Yankees are going to need that infusion of young bats and relatively soon, but Heathcott is only position player on the list who I think will open next year at Double-A. Austin has a chance, but it would surprise me a bit.

Williams. (NY Daily News)

Secondly, everyone’s hurt. Five of those ten guys missed significant time this season due to injury, and that doesn’t include Hensley’s shoulder “abnormality” or the month Austin missed with a mild concussion. Heathcott (shoulder) obviously came back healthy and Gumbs (elbow) has as well (based on the fact that he’s playing winter ball), plus Williams (shoulder) was just cleared to resume workouts. Banuelos will miss all of next season with Tommy John surgery though, and a club official said Campos (elbow) will “hopefully” be ready for Spring Training in the subscriber-only write-up. That doesn’t sound promising, but what can you do.

The write-ups include scouting grades (on the 20-80 scale) for each team’s top prospect and the grades for Williams are just insane — 60 hit, 60 power, 70 speed, 70 defense, 50 arm. That’s four above-average tools and one average one. Those are future grades and not present — they think he’ll grow into a 60 hitter, not that he is one today — but they still seem a little optimistic, particularly the power. A 60/60 bat is a .290-.300 hitter with 25 or so homers. Add the 70 speed and 70 defense and you’ve got 30+ steals and near Gold Glove defense. That’s a star player, it’s Grady Sizemore in his prime, but again the grades strike me as optimistic based on everything we’ve heard about Williams to this point.

Elsewhere in the write-up they note that Heathcott offers “explosive tools” — yesterday Keith Law said Heathcott has louder tools than Williams, though Mason is more refined — and that while Sanchez doesn’t stack up to Montero offensively, he has a much better chance of sticking behind the plate. Campos was “electric” before getting hurt while Banuelos was still struggling to command his fastball. They call DePaula the biggest x-factor in the system and say his “ceiling is as high as any Yankees minor league pitcher.” He’ll make the big jump to High-A Tampa next year.

With Banuelos essentially out for the season, the only top ten prospect who figures to spend significant time at Triple-A next year will be Marshall. The Yankees will have Adam Warren and maybe a veteran signing or two ahead of him on the call-up depth chart, possibly even Dellin Betances if things break right. The talent gap that has been slowly climbing the ladder in recent years has hit Triple-A, meaning the Bombers will have to make sure they bring in some depth pieces via free agency to shore up potential holes on the big league roster. The team’s top prospects just aren’t in a position to help next year, and maybe not in 2014 as well.

Categories : Minors


  1. Slugger27 says:

    Don’t see how Banuelos cracked the top 10… but other than that not a bad list. It’s sobering to think the yankees don’t have 10 better prospects than Rafael DePaula, though.

    • Bo Knows says:

      it really depends on how you look at the situation, De Paula reportedly has the stuff and present command that people dream of, if he comes out like gang busters, for whatever level they assign him to, despite his odd career path, this is great for the yankees

    • Ted Nelson says:

      It’s TJS… I don’t see how he was so low.

  2. Tampa Yankee says:

    Interesting 2016 lineup. Surprised they have the Yankees holding onto Granderson past next year. Also, no Brett Gardner or Arod.

    Catcher Gary Sanchez
    First Base Tyler Austin
    Second Base Angelo Gumbs
    Third Base Robinson Cano
    Shortstop Eduardo Nunez
    Left Field Curtis Granderson
    Center Field Mason Williams
    Right Field Slade Heathcott
    Designated Hitter Mark Teixeira
    No. 1 Starter C.C. Sabathia
    No. 2 Starter Phil Hughes
    No. 3 Starter Ivan Nova
    No. 4 Starter Jose Campos
    No. 5 Starter Brett Marshall
    Closer David Robertson

  3. Phil says:

    How about Mark Montgomery as the closer; Ramon Flores in left no way they hold on to Granderson..Does Slade have the arm for RF? Probably Austin in rf…

    Where is Nick turley? if Cano is signed and Gumbs moves to the of!

    With their 1st round pick and at least 2 comp picks they better get a college first baseman and third baseman that should be ready by 2015 at the earliest.

  4. Drew says:

    Well this is upsetting…

    • Slugger27 says:

      why? it’s pretty much exactly what was expected. i thought romine would be on there (not sure if he still qualifies?), but where is your beef with it?

      • Andy Pettitte's Fibula (formerly Manny's BanWagon) says:

        Brett Marshall for one as the number 6 ranked prospect is pretty disappointing.

        The guy is like a number 5 starter or more likely bullpen arm so if he’s the 6th best prospect, it doesn’t speak too well about the depth of the system.

        • jjyank says:

          True, but if Banuelos wasn’t injured, that wouldn’t be the case. I would also imagine DePaula and Hensley could leap from Marshall by the time 2013 midseason rankings come out. Maybe even Romine too if he comes back from the back injury well.

          • Bo Knows says:

            I agree with everything you’ve said, it is also worth noting that guys like Cote, and Sharpe could leapfrog as well with continued good showings this upcoming season, same can be said with Ramirez if he stays healthy

          • Andy Pettitte's Fibula (formerly Manny's BanWagon) says:

            Everything you said it true but it’s all hypothetical. Heathcott, Williams and Campos could get injured in spring training and Marshall could end up the 3rd best prospect too.

            On November 9, 2012 if a low ceiling player like Marshall is the 6th best prospect, I find that somewhat disappointing.

            • jjyank says:

              Fair enough. I get you, but I don’t blame the organization’s strategy if the reason Marshall is there is due other player’s injuries.

        • Slugger27 says:

          well yes… but we already knew that. we knew the yankees had a top heavy system without a lot of quality depth. his comment implies hes upset with the order of the list. to me, youre jumping to a lot of conclusions taking a “this is upsetting” comment all the way to “brett marshall is listed too highly”

          • Andy Pettitte's Fibula (formerly Manny's BanWagon) says:

            I never said Brett Marshall is listed too high.

            I said that if Brett Marshall is indeed the 6th best prospect in the farms, the overall depth of the farm system is disappointing because I and many others don’t think much of Brett Marshall.

        • pat says:

          It’s not flashy, but a 22 year old who just threw 160 solid innings in AA is very valuable. If he keeps tweaking the slider and can bump his k/9 up into the mid 7’s with his power sinker he will be a solid 3rd or 4th starter in a year or two. That’s not really disappointing at all. Not to me at least.

          • Andy Pettitte's Fibula (formerly Manny's BanWagon) says:

            I’ve never once read that Marshall had the stuff capable of being a number 3 starter.

            More like number 5 starter/long reliever. He seems to me to be much closer to a DJ Mitchell level or a step below guys like Phelps and Warren.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              Would disagree that he’s a step below Warren. A step behind, sure.

              He has the chance to develop into a #3. That doesn’t mean it’s how he projects in a most likely case scenario. Just as he might fall short of that most likely case, he also might exceed it. He’s still very young and capable of improving.

        • Robinson Tilapia (IS Nate Silver) says:

          Then let’s see how that changes next season. Dante Jr could bounce back. Austin Aune could take the next step. Someone from the lower rounds could become Tyler Austin. Vidal Nuno might excel in AAA.

          In other words, we are where we are. I’d rather focus on where we hope to get better.

          • Robinson Tilapia (IS Nate Silver) says:

            Also, Pat’s reply directly below me. Mark Montgomery isn’t on this list. If he is what people think he will be, will you care that he didn’t make this list?

            Same goes for Goody and whatever else hopeful-DRob-in-waiting they’ve got toiling around.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          You have to consider both probability and upside. This list is about both, not just upside. Marshall doesn’t have a high ceiling, but he does have good probability moving up to AAA.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            The Yankees do have a lot of depth behind Marshall with much higher ceilings. A ton. Every guy behind him on the above list has a higher ceiling, not to mention unproven young guys like Cote, Bird, Camarena, Adams, Romine, Murphy, Aune, Santana, Andujar, Torrens, Palma, Baez, Bichette, Cave, Davis, Sharp…

  5. pat says:

    Having a combo of Flores, Turley, Montgomery, Ravel Santana and JR Murphy as your 11-15th best prospects is a solid 1-15.

  6. mt says:

    Given none of these prospects are expected to be at AAA on verge of call-up to bigs in 2013 (some will hit AAA in 2014), I would seriously explore trade market for Granderson this off-season – I do not think we will get enough back and nothing will happen but we should at least explore it heavily to see if someone who loses out on Josh Hamilton or Swisher would be willing to give us 2 good AAA or almost major league ready prospects.

    The 40 homers are hard to give up but I am really worried about 2013 and 2014 (less pessimistic about 2015 and after because some of these position player names will be ready and I am (maybe foolishly) optimistic that we will be getting at least some return from at least one of Pineda, Banuelos, and Campos (otherwise known as our injured high-end trio).

  7. The Moral Majority is Neither says:

    I think the Yankee depth is fine. The big crop is getting closer and the lower levels are still interesting. Banuelos, Campos and DePaula are x-factors and Betances is looking like Brackman2.0, but given all the injuries I think the farm is in solid shape. Guys like Adams, Joseph, Warren and the Almontes/Mesa could all be useful and the blue chips are a year closer.

  8. The Moral Majority is Neither says:

    I still have high hopes for Bichette, but am wondering if the extra draft picks for Swisher, Soriano and maybe Kuroda will be used on ‘consensus’ 1st rounders, like the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Rays accumulate, or organizational choices like Culver and Bichette. Should be interesting.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Rays make plenty of picks that are less highly regarded than the Yankees picks, but no one mentions it because they have a blind love for the Rays’ FO.

  9. Benji says:

    Does it concern anyone that their top prospects are always in low a? Then nothing but replaced with other “top prospect” all too familiar.

    • Slugger27 says:

      the ones that make it above low A are traded. its how its been for quite some time now.

      • jjyank says:

        Or guys like Hughes, Joba, Nova, Robertson, Gardner, etc. that graduated to the bigs. If Banuelos didn’t get hurt and Betances didn’t completely lose the strike zone, they’d have 1 or 2 top prospects at AAA as well.

        • Slugger27 says:

          nova robertson and garnder werent “top prospects” … they were late bloomers. including them as “top prospects” the yankees held onto is incredibly disingenuous. they werent coveted trade assets in the higher level of the minors. hell, zach mcallister was regarded as the better prospect over nova both on this site and others.

          hughes and joba ill give you, but the other 3? cmon.

          • jjyank says:

            But they were prospects. Off the top of my head, 3-4 “top prospects” were traded recently. It seems instead disingenuous to me to extrapolate an overarching philosophy that the Yankees will trade any good prospect above A ball based on that.

          • Robinson Tilapia (IS Nate Silver) says:

            Absolutely ridiculous. Your prospects are your prospects, and having that less-regarded guy move his way up your system and onto your 25-man roster is just as important. Hell, if a guy like Vidal Nuno can be picked up from the indy leagues and quickly developed into a piece, that counts too.

            Random internet commenters want to find places in this organization to cut into, even when its not there. I hope their parents are proud.

            • Slugger27 says:

              you serious?

              what was the topic at hand? is it concerncing the yankees top prospects typically are found in the low minors?

              that was the topic i addressed. nobody said turning less touted prospects into solid mlb players wasnt useful, it just wasnt part of the conversation until you and jjyank made it one. the fact that they turned nova and gardner into good mlb players has nothing to do with what we were talking about (that top prospects have been traded when they start reaching the upper levels)

              and get off your high horse with the “hope their parents are proud” comment. ive always thought you came across as a douche, but this is bad even for you. your like-mindedness with the regular commenters and mike is less useful than any other commenter on here, including the trolls. so, go fuck yourself.

    • Reality says:

      Six of their top ten played in Tampa or higher in 2012.

    • Robinson Tilapia (IS Nate Silver) says:

      You have to get through low-A to get to the other levels.

      We know the history of the franchise. We know why we’re here. The organization has done a good job at remedying it, even replacing most of the MiLB pitching braintrust in the off-season.

      I don’t see what the point of pointing at the same hole in the ground and saying “look! there’s a hole in the ground!” is when we know how the hole got there and how it’s trying to get fixed.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      There are 6 guys above low A on that list…

  10. Kvothe says:

    Will teams spend more on player development and nutrition now that they can’t blow wads of money in the draft and IFA? Don’t know if it’s still true or not, but I remember reading minor league tales of post-game spread of PB&J sandwiches or pizza or burgers and small per diems for food. Seems like hiring nutritionists and providing better good for minor league players is an easy and relatively cheap way to help development, as is providing good facilities for working out and whatnot.

  11. Austin Aunelowitzky says:

    I’m going to jump on the Baseball America Yankee Prospect Q&A with John Manuel 2:30pm ET. Anyone got any pressing questions you want me to ask?

    • viridiana says:

      See if you can get an idea from Manuel as to where Yank farm might rank overall. Seems like a lot of high-end strength but less depth than a bunch of other systems. Middle of pack?

    • Kosmo says:

      Yes – of the top 4 Yankee prospects mentioned above, what level will they advance to individually, barring injury, by seasons end 2013 ? and What kind of production can he project for Tyler Austin? Thanks!

  12. MannyGeee says:

    Thank you Baseball America… I would fully expect the “Let the Kids Play” campaign to suggest (demand) that Mason Williams start in RF this season. should be fun

  13. Robinson Tilapia (IS Nate Silver) says:

    Lost in all this is that this is definitely the most position player-heavy list on the organization I’ve seen in a few years. Injuries are absolutely a concern but it was a few years ago where the talk was about developing better position players and they are now on the cusp of it.

  14. Robert says:

    What minor leagurers will we see in the Bronx in 2013?

    I say Mark Montgomery, Adam Warren, David Adams and Austin Romine!

  15. Beggar says:

    Yankees, please do not trade all of your prospects!! We need more homegrown players, like the mid 90′s!

  16. Tom says:

    If anyone has the subscription to baseball america and if they want to post the grades of austin and heathcott that would be great

  17. Billy says:

    Wonder how many guys have actually seen Marhsall throw? Scouts are not too high on him but he just keeps putting up numbers. I will reserve judgment until I see how he transitions to AAA. There are enough guys in this org with million dollar arms with no work ethic or just can’t put it all together.

  18. Steve (different one) says:

    Mike, would you trade this list for TB’s top 10? I don’t think I would. Has that ever been true before?

    • Mike Axisa says:

      I wouldn’t and yeah, it’s been a while since that’s been true. Since the Devil Rays years at least. In the write-up, they said TB is the only team who has not gotten a big leaguer from their 2008-2012 drafts. I know the last few years don’t really count, but yikes.

  19. The Moral Majority is Neither says:

    I am in favor of ‘playing it out’ in terms of letting prospects make it or not, letting contracts expire and taking the picks, etc.

  20. Ted Nelson says:

    I wouldn’t really say that there’s a talent gap in AAA. Romine, Adams, CoJo, Mesa, Almonte, Marshall, Warren, Montgomery, Cervelli, Betances, Whitley, Mustelier, Pirela, Garcia… there’s some talent at that level even if they’re not in the organizational top 10. Certainly they should look at MiLB deals, but they have solid depth.

  21. viridiana says:

    Did anyone ask John Manuel where Yanks system ranks overall? Any other juicy tidbits from BA chat?

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