Yanks place five on Law’s top 110 prospects list

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(Cliff Welch/MiLB.com)
(Cliff Welch/MiLB.com)

Keith Law published his annual list of baseball’s top 100 prospects today (subs. req’d), a list that was predictably topped by Rangers SS Jurickson Profar. Cardinals OF Oscar Taveras and Orioles RHP Dylan Bundy round out the top three while Rays OF Wil Myers and Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts crack the top five. Former Yankees first round pick and Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole ranks eighth while former Yankees farmhand and current Cubs RHP Arodys Vizcaino ranks 64th.

C Gary Sanchez ranks 18th and is the first of four Yankees prospects on the list. “Sanchez’ offensive potential is tremendous; despite an exaggerated leg kick, he gets his lead foot down in time, keeping his weight back enough to drive the ball, even showing doubles power the other way thanks to strong hands and excellent hip rotation,” wrote Law while also noting that he’s an aggressive hitter but not a total hacker who will chase off the plate. He also says Sanchez “improved his receiving substantially over the previous year” and is very likely to stick behind the plate long-term.

A little further down is OF Mason Williams, who placed 35th overall. Law says he’s improved at staying back on the ball but “can get a little power-happy and drop his back shoulder too much to try to elevate the ball.” He also cautions that he needs to improve his patience at the plate to reach his offensive ceiling. Williams draws high praises for his defense — “a 70 grade on the 20-80 scale thanks to above-average speed and great reads even on balls that slice away from him” — which Law touts as already big league caliber.

(Matt Burton/MiLB.com)
(Matt Burton/MiLB.com)

OF Tyler Austin ranks 52nd overall thanks to his bat. “Austin’s swing is fundamentally sound,” wrote Law, “shifting his weight just before contact, rotating his hips to drive the ball and staying balanced throughout with a short path to the ball and good extension, checking just about all of the boxes you want for a hitter’s mechanics.” His defense is adequate right now with a chance to become average in terms of range and arm. Austin’s bat is going to have to carry him, as was always the case.

The final Yankees prospect to crack the top 100 is OF Slade Heathcott, who wasn’t too far behind Austin at 57th overall. “[Heathcott] dominated the field in (the Arizona Fall League) and has a special mix of strength and quickness that might put him among the top 20 prospects in the game in a year,” said Law, who calls Slade a “maniac” because of his extremely all-out style of play. He also commends his sound swing, above-average speed, and strong center field defense. Injuries remain a concern, of course.

In addition to the top 100, Law also posted a list of ten prospects who just missed the cut (subs. req’d), a list that includes RHP Jose Ramirez. “He’s filled out quite a bit in the past three years,” wrote Law, “with more than 200 pounds on his 6-3 frame, and will work at 94-98 mph with big-time life and a hard mid-80s slider.” Injuries, specifically elbow and shoulder concerns over the last two seasons, kept him out of the top 100. Just getting consideration is pretty awesome.

I think four top-60 and five top-110 prospects is pretty darn good for the Yankees considering some of the pitching injuries this year and the fact that they’ve muffed some recent first round picks. Heathcott (first round) and Sanchez ($3M bonus) were high-profile additions, but Austin (13th round), Williams (4th round), and Ramirez (unknown but small bonus) were all shrewd pickups who have developed well. All five guys should reach Double-A Trenton this year and several (Austin, Heathcott, and Ramirez) should begin the season there.

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  • Blake

    Awesome

  • Donnie

    Very cool.

    Odd that he ranks NY substantially higher than Boston in his farm rankings, when his reasoning is Boston has very little upper level help. That seems to be true for the Yankees as well. Systems seem very similar to me.

    • Ted Nelson

      Three of the Yankees five on the list are in AA, which is the upper minors, and the other two are one level lower in high A. Having a bunch of studs just sitting around waiting in AAA is pretty rare.

      The Yankees do have a number of lower profile prospects in the high minors who could provide solid MLB contributions in the near future, especially Romine, Adams, CoJo, Marshall, Warren, Montgomery, Flores, Whitley, Turley, and maybe one or more of their various RH OFs (Mustelier, Garcia, Mesa, Almonte SH but better RH, Segedin…).

  • jjyank

    Awesome to hear this stuff. Perhaps the thing that I (and I would imagine many of us on here) am most amped about is the praise of Sanchez’s defensive improvements. If he can stick behind the plate long term, that’s absolutely huge.

    5 top 110 prospects is great, especially considering that Banuelos would have been there if healthy and Campos might have had a shot if healthy as well.

    • Havok9120

      I was especially happy about the defense thing because, outside of the organization itself and a double handful of posters here, there really weren’t a lot of people saying Montero was a good bet to stick behind the plate, despite all the hype he got.

      And yeah, that a healthy Banuelos gets us at least 6 is definitely nice.

      Not doomed AND not a barren farm? How…strange.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Campos might have given us seven, easy.

        Add to that some solid non-sexy options with guys like Nuno and holyfuckwhatistheleftysname, as well as the bullpen guys that don’t typically make lists like these such as Montgomery, Goody, and Black, and there’s even more potential MLB contributors within the next 2-3 seasons than that.

        Yesterday, someone mentioned 65 potential MLB pieces in the minors and while, sure, that’s a stretch, it’s not too far a stretch to say there are more than a handful of guys who may have a fighting chance at contributing.

        • pat

          Turley.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Of course. Total “tip of my tongue” thing there.

            • Havok9120

              I always get him and Goody confused.

        • Havok9120

          Oh, we’ve definitely got a lot of guys with bench and bullpen potential coming up through the system.

          A good year DotF would be huge.

        • http://www.bronxbaseballdaily.com Greg Corcoran

          Let me be clear about one thing. I’m not saying 65 people from this system WILL be in the major leagues. I’m saying 65 players in this current system have scouting reports that could place them as an all-star in the future.

          • http://www.bronxbaseballdaily.com Greg Corcoran

            *if things break right.

          • Scout

            “I’m saying 65 players in this current system have scouting reports that could place them as an all-star in the future.” Please curb your enthusiasm. No organization in baseball history has ever had that kind of talent.

            • V

              :facepalm:

              I can’t say I agree with the guy, but I see what he’s trying to say.

              99% of players who ever play baseball in the minors have 0% chance of being MLB all-stars.

              If a player has a 5% chance of being an MLB all-star, he’s a prospect. The odds of doing that is still small, and the odds of 20 of those guys all hitting is insanely small, but having 20 guys with 5% chances is pretty good.

              • http://www.bronxbaseballdaily.com Greg Corcoran

                Exactly. The chances are small, but this system has incredible depth. They are literally going to have two full GCL teams of players who are legitimate prospects. In addition, Staten Island and Charleston are both going to have rosters filled with legitimate prospects.

                This system goes 65 deep with legit prospects. Don’t deny that unless you have the knowledge to argue with me, because I have a good argument for every guy on that list.

                • Robinson Tilapia

                  I understood what you were trying to say.

                  I think you’re being a bit, as we say in my field, “strengths-based,” but you’re looking at players with abilities that, if they’re developed to their fullest extent, could be more than org guys. That’s how I imagine most people on the scouting end see things, knowing that a large chunk of these guys will wind up being just that in the end.

                  • http://www.bronxbaseballdaily.com Greg Corcoran

                    Right… it’s a percentages game, and that’s exactly my point. If you have 65 guys with good tools a certain percentage of those will succeed. Same goes for if you took 40, 20 etc. Thus, depth is the most important issue. The more guys with the proper tool set your system possesses, the higher the number of those guys who develop those tools into top prospects will be. I am certainly not arguing that the Yankees will have 65 top prospects. I’m arguing that they have more lower minors depth than most, if not all of the other systems right now.

                    As much as we’d all like to think that it’s a coaching thing and that orgs with elite minor league coaches are going to develop a higher percentage of prospects, that increase in percentage is minimal, and whether or not it is even statistically significant is highly debatable.

    • Mike HC

      Agreed. Thankfully the Cervelli/Stewart era is looking to be a short lived stop gap for the Romine/Sanchez era.

      • trr

        Let’s hope so!!!

  • Mxkekkdirjdje

    Fuck them young bitches. Trade them and get proven talent.

  • Mxkekkdirjdje

    Fudge them young dudettes. Trade them and get proven talent.

  • Murderers’ Row Boat

    At least the 2015 season and beyond has promise other than who will be free agents.

  • Hmmm

    I thought the Jose Ramirez train took a hit? Good to see i was wrong

  • Hmmm

    I thought the Jose Ramirez train took a hit? Good to see i was wrong

    • pat

      He came back healthy towards the end of the year and at instructs and was awesome. Didn’t even mention that his changeup is his 2nd best pitch and considered plus already.

  • Johnny O

    Didn’t see the jose ramirez thing coming, but i didn’t pay as much attention to DOTF last year as i have in the past. great news (finally) about heathcott.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    11:50 AM and at work. What am I going to do with this massive erection?

    • nsalem

      know when to hold em know when to fold em!!!!

    • jjyank

      I’m guessing the Work Wife is not an option?

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Ah, that invited a wifey reference, didn’t it?

        She is hard at work at doing some of my bidding at the moment, and she will always be a platonic wifey. I may be a lot of things, but “stupid” is not one of them.

        • jjyank

          Just messin’ with ya R-Tils.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            RT needs to show, in all public places that, at the end of the day, he is a one-woman guy. :)

        • Dalek Jeter (formerly: Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle AKA True Yankee(TM))

          yes…hard at work doing your bidding, good to know that erection is being taken care of ;)

    • Mister D

      Just fake like you’re looking at porn.

  • Mister D

    Its weird that at the MLB level we have nothing resembling a long term OF but are sitting with a fully functional, nicely complementary, all top 100 OF in AA.

    (Please, don’t respond just to tell me what a longshot all three making it is. I know math, I know its a longshot. I’m not saying its likely, just more likely for us than for most any other team at any other time and weird how all the pieces fit. Ok? Thanks.)

    • Havok9120

      Weird and also awesome, not unlike myself.

      My Dad’s most common complaint (and really the only “grumpy old man” baseball complaint he has) is that the team hasn’t managed to raise a prototypical corner OF in quite some time despite it supposedly being so easy to do. Well, BAM, outfielders for everybody!

      • Mister D

        Think he’d still be pissed if we brought up two CFs and a converted 3B?

        • Havok9120

          He likes the sound of Slade more than Mason (does like Mason though). Austin is the prototypical RF that he’d like to see us raise just to prove we can do it.

          Which I used to find ridiculous, but when I thought about it, he was kinda right. I mean…I love Gardner, but how hard is it to produce a guy with good pop and an overall decent bat who isn’t a total butcher in right?

          Answer: apparently a lot harder than it sounds.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Your dad sounds awesome.

            My father-in-law wants every player to be “lythe and willowy……like Derek Jeter” and laughs whenever I bring up any prospect.

            • Havok9120

              The stories people tell of their baseball fan fathers on here has made me extra thankful for my own.

              As if I needed further reasons to be so grateful for my parents being who they are, but still.

          • Mister D

            Its probably more that its not really worth producing them. Swisher cost us nothing, before him Abreu cost us nothing, before him we went out and signed an elite bat in Sheff. It would be awesome to get the kind of huge bat, huge arm RF your dad wants but if you look around the majors, they seem to be identified early and go in the top half of the 1st round (Upton, Heyward, Bruce). The next step down isn’t worth investing in until they’re proven. Atleast that’s my speculation.

            • Havok9120

              That’s more or less the conclusion we’ve come to. We’ve had a combination of good luck and good signings that have let the Yanks keep a guy like that around most of the time.

              And then came 2013.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      The MiLB system is currently going through puberty.

  • Barry

    Wonder if Sanchez regrets that tattoo yet? Good to see that he’s got what it takes to stay behind the plate. Sounds like Slade will be a gritty NY favorite one day?

    • Dalek Jeter (formerly: Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle AKA True Yankee(TM))

      I love tattoos, but I saw that, and CC’s back piece…I just don’t understand why anybody gets a name, especially their own, tattooed onto them. It just looks ridiculous.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      Ive noticed that a lot of players from the DR are getting that kind of tattoo

  • LK

    Did not expect Ramirez to rate that highly.

    That report on Sanchez’ defense is just about the best news we could get prospect-wise.

    • Havok9120

      Yeah. That’s what I’ll be once again fruitlessly hoping for more news on all season, just like I did with Montero 2-3 years ago only to have Newman and Oppenheimer be the only people offering opinions on it.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        Montero caught a no-hitter last year. only 3 more to go to catch Captain Ameritek

        • jjyank

          Yeah, but that was one of the best pitchers on the planet. I have a hard time making that out to be some sort of vindication of Montero’s abilities as a catcher.

          • Havok9120

            Don’t let MWD catch you talking like that. It’ll be the Great Trade Debate all over again.

            • jjyank

              Oh please no. I’m so sick of talking about that trade.

          • Steve (different one)

            Kevin Millwood is that good?

    • Preston

      Yeah, when I saw the headline I assumed that Law was still ranking Banuelos even with the injury. That’s exciting that he likes Ramirez so much.

  • pat

    I hate how you have to use Facebook to leave comments on ESPN articles now.

  • Gonzo

    Trenton must be ecstatic.

  • Mike HC

    Looks like there is lots to be excited about in the minors. Should be a fun year following RAB and Mike’s great minor league coverage.

  • Vern Sneaker

    Here’s how dumb I am: Even though I’ve been a Yankees fan for around 150 years (okay, I’m old) and have followed their minor leaguers in detail since Baseball America got going around 1980, and know all too well from a zillion disappointments that propsects regularly wash out or get traded, I find myself this time around with way-more-powerful-than-usual visions of a new core three or four or more coming up soon. Maybe my memory is gone (and I’m too lazy to research it), but I can’t recall an entire outfield and a catcher this highly rated at the same time. (And let’s not forget Ramon Flores, who might just pass one or two of these guys.)It’s sure tasty Kool-Aid.

    • Havok9120

      Yeah, it is. It sure does seem like there are enough pieces with enough upside to make it happen if things break right.

      Man would it be awesome if things broke right.

      • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

        Please refrain from using the word broke when discussing our prospects.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          What if they have no money?

    • Steve (different one)

      I feel a lot more confident having a “top 10″ system headed by OFers/C than one headed with pitching, like a few years ago.

      Some of these guys will make it.

    • AndrewYF

      This is what people were saying about Hughes, Kennedy and Joba too – and those guys were higher on the prospect lists than any guy here.

      True, pitchers are less reliable prospects than hitters overall, but it’s quite possible that Heathcott’s shoulder blows up, Austin’s bat slides into mediocrity in the higher levels, and Mason never developers his power and turns into a crappier version of Gardner. Then Sanchez gets traded for a nobody. In fact, I’d say those are all much more likely than any of these guys actually hitting their ceiling.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Sure, but it never stops being the best way to develop your franchise for the long term.

      • Preston

        They all have really high ceilings so hitting their ceiling should not be the end all be all. We don’t need them to be Mike Piazza, two Grady Sizemores, and Matt Holliday for them to be successful. Along those lines can we stop talking about Hughes, Joba and Kennedy as a failure? Hughes is a solid mid rotation starter, Joba is a quality reliever and Kennedy is a solid starter who was traded for a position player who has produced over 12 wins in 3 seasons with the team. They were not a failure.

        • The Big City of Dreams

          They didn’t become what many thought they were. Hell the Yankees had higher hopes for them than this.

      • ClusterDuck

        Hughes, Kennedy and Joba all had major talent and all have done well in the majors despite injuries.

        This new quartet of prospects reminds me of those three. I think that they will do well.

  • http://www.bronxbaseballdaily.com Greg Corcoran

    Glad someone acknowledged Jose Ramirez. I’ve been singing his praises since during the season. I guess it’s just real recognizing real by Keith Law.

  • http://AOL AMANDA

    Mike i been thinking that yanks have not made a catcher move cause they are hopeing sanchez wins the job with a great spring think theres any chance this could be the case ?

    • Preston

      No, Sanchez is way to young and has way to much swing and miss to skip AA and AAA. You’d basically be throwing him to the wolves. I don’t mean to speak for Mike, but he has said at one point in the off-season that he would send Sanchez back to A+ to start the season rather than getting an aggressive promotion to AA. So I doubt he advocates him starting the year in the majors.

  • Pat D

    KLaw is chatting right now. Couple of interesting Q’s and A’s.

    1) Phil (Orlando)
    Bichette Jr in the Majors by 2015?

    Klaw (3:43 PM)
    Borderline NP at this point. Can’t play third at all. Swing regressed back to its amateur state. He’s not on my Yankees top 10, and wouldn’t have been in the top 15.

    2) (maybe one that Mike needs to be aware of)
    Brian (NJ)
    How upset to you get when you see entire sections of your Top 100 cut and pasted on other websites. It would really piss me off, but I’m kind of easy to rile up.

    Klaw (3:57 PM)
    It’s theft. If you spot it somewhere, report it to the site admin or moderator – it violates federal law, and the site is liable if they don’t take it down. There’s no excuse for stealing content in any form.

    • Preston

      I’ve never heard anybody say that Bichette can’t stick at 3b. I wonder if he got that from contacts or in person scouting. As to the second one, privacy rights on the internet are definitely not that cut and dry, what Mike did here was post a link and give a preview of it, putting some select quotes in. No law breaking here.

      • ClusterDuck

        Posting an excerpt from an article with a link is pretty much how it’s done around the network. And I’ve worked several major forums.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      I’ve been doing this a long time, I’m well-versed in fair use laws. Plus I’m pals with a copyright lawyer who let’s me know when I’m out of bounds.

      • Pat D

        Good to know. It’s the first time I saw something like that brought up and since the guy identified from New Jersey, I thought it possible he’s a reader of this site and may have been referencing it. Way too many assumptions, of course, but something I figured I’d mention.

    • http://www.bronxbaseballdaily.com Greg Corcoran

      I also have never read that about Bichette before. I’m curious where that came from? I actually heard he is above average at third base, although there are long term questions on whether he can keep his weight under control enough to stick at third.

    • Steve (different one)

      Not that KLaw himself does this, but it’s a little rich considering that ESPN is notorious for reporting other people’s stories without citation (“sources tell ESPN”)…

      • Pat D

        I seem to recall KLaw himself giving a negative firsthand report of Bichette sometime last year, though I don’t remember when. I recall him saying that his swing was bad, don’t remember anything about his defense or body size.

        KLaw also said that the Culver pick was bad, something that he never liked.

        • http://www.bronxbaseballdaily.com Greg Corcoran

          At this point you have to say it was a bad pick. You have several guys picked after Culver who are already top 100 prospects. That said, Culver was dubbed a long term project when he was drafted, and he has a long time to go before I’d be willing to call him a bust. Also, he’s a SS, and gone are the days where power hitting shortstops dominate the game.

          Defensively, he is superb.

  • Wayne

    What will the ranking of Rafael de Paula be after this year who knows I think he is going to better than Jose Ramirez.

    • Preston

      DePaula is a wild card. He looks great on paper. But he hasn’t faced high level competition and he isn’t that young. So by the end of 2013 I think he will either be elevated to a big time prospect, or he will have lost most of his shine.

      • http://www.bronxbaseballdaily.com Greg Corcoran

        If I had to pick one, it would be that he’s a big time prospect. Guys with stuff like this don’t grow on trees and he is already one of the few who demonstrates the ability to control his stuff. I agree though, if he can’t compete with people his own age then he will not be a big time prospect.

  • Dropped Third

    With a healthy manban/campos combo I bet they had a good chance at cracking the top 10 organization list.