2016 Post-Draft Top 30 Prospects

(Justin K. Aller/Getty)
(Justin K. Aller/Getty)

Last Friday was the deadline for clubs to sign their 2016 draft picks, and for the first time in a long time, every single first round pick signed. There’s usually one or two who don’t sign for whatever reason. Not this year. The Yankees signed 28 of their 40 picks (here’s the list, PDF link) and pretty much maxed out their bonus pool. They had only $177 in pool space left over.

The signing deadline means a new wave of talent has been added to the farm system, and that’s always exciting. The Yankees have also had many of their prized 2014-15 international signees make their U.S. debut this summer as well, so that’s even more talent. The raw talent is there. Now it’s just a matter of developing it into productive big league players.

The 2014-15 international class made this an extremely tough top 30 list for me. It’s always difficult to determine where those players fit in the system because they’re so talented but also so far away from MLB. I did my best to get them in here. Something tells me I’m going to end up hating this list and completely revising it when it comes time to do the annual preseason list next February.

Anyway, one player from my pre-draft top 30 list has since graduated to the big leagues: Rob Refsnyder. He’s exceeded the rookie limit of 130 big league at-bats. (He’s at 136.) As always, this list is my opinion and my opinion only. This is nothing more than a snapshot in time. You’re welcome to disagree and bookmark this post for future mocking purposes. Time for the top 30.

The Top Four Five

1. OF Aaron Judge
2. C Gary Sanchez
3. SS Jorge Mateo
4. OF Blake Rutherford
5. RHP James Kaprielian

I put Mateo at No. 1 and Judge at No. 3 in my pre-draft list and I almost immediately regretted it. I overreacted to some small samples and didn’t keep the big picture in mind. Judge was showing power and is knocking on the door. Mateo was having a great season at the time but is still years away from MLB. Judge went on an insane hot streak after the pre-draft list and Mateo wound up getting himself suspended for violating team policy. Oops.

Rutherford turns the top four into a top five. He was a consensus top ten talent in the draft who fell to the Yankees with the 18th pick because of signability concerns, then agreed to an above-slot $3.282M bonus. That’s pretty much the max they could give him without forfeiting next year’s first rounder. Kaprielian is out with a flexor tendon strain and he was supposed to go for a second opinion at some point, but we haven’t heard anything since. I wouldn’t blame you for assuming the worst.

The Next Six

6. SS Tyler Wade
7. 3B Miguel Andujar
8. OF Dustin Fowler
9. LHP Ian Clarkin
10. C Luis Torrens
11. SS Wilkerman Garcia

Andujar’s in the middle of a big time breakout season and Wade is more than holding his own as a contact oriented middle infielder. I’m the high man on him. I can’t imagine you’ll see him sixth in the system in many other lists. Clarkin and Torrens have bounced back well from lost 2015 seasons, though it should be noted Clarkin left last night’s start with an apparent injury. Sucks. Torrens is really good. Really, really good. He’d be in the top five if not for the shoulder surgery last year.

The Far Away Six

12. RHP Domingo Acevedo
13. 2B Nick Solak
14. RHP Drew Finley
15. RHP Nolan Martinez
16. SS Hoy Jun Park
17. 3B Dermis Garcia

Solak and Martinez were the team’s second and third round picks this year, respectively, and I seem to like them more than most, especially Solak. He can really hit, and I think his glove will be good enough for second long-term. Acevedo has had a very good statistical season, but he still needs to make some strides with his secondary pitches before I buy into him as a starter long-term. If the rotation doesn’t work, Acevedo has the stuff to be an impact bullpen arm.

Garcia, who signed for $3.2M back in 2014, is a new name to the list. His huge raw power is already showing up in games — he leads the Appalachian League with nine homers in 21 games — but so are his swing-and-miss tendencies. Dermis has struck out in 37.4% of his plate appearances this year. Yikes. Still, he has an elite unteachable skill (power), and that’ll get just about anyone on a top 30 list.

The (Almost) MLB Ready Six

18. OF Ben Gamel
19. RHP Chance Adams
20. RHP Luis Cessa
21. RHP Chad Green
22. LHP Jordan Montgomery
23. OF Jake Cave

All six of these guys are very close to MLB ready. Adams is this year’s breakout pitcher after making the transition from reliever to starter. He still needs to make some strides with his changeup before I’ll feel good about him sticking in the rotation long-term, but his fastball/slider combo stays firm deep into games. Adams has thrown 34 Double-A innings and is furthest away from MLB among these six players. Gamel, Cessa, and Green have all appeared in games for the Yankees this season.

The Injured Three

24. RHP Bryan Mitchell
25. OF Mason Williams
26. LHP Jacob Lindgren

Well, technically Williams is no longer injured. He was activated off the 60-day DL and optioned to Triple-A just yesterday. Missing close to a full year is a pretty huge deal, especially for a guy like Williams, who was in the process of rebuilding value before getting hurt. The tools are still outstanding. We saw them last year. Now Mason needs to stay healthy and show the improved maturity we saw a year ago is here to stay. Mitchell is currently rehabbing from his toe injury and Lindgren … well he’s pretty much disappeared. He’s out with an elbow injury and no one’s heard from him since April.

The Last Four

27. RHP Vicente Campos
28. SS Kyle Holder
29. OF Leonardo Molina
30. OF Estevan Florial

Welcome (back) to the top 30, Vicente Campos. Last time he was here he was still Jose Campos. He’s healthy, he’s having success as a starter, and he’s reached Double-A. Very promising year for Campos, who looked like a lost cause a year or two ago because he couldn’t stay on the field. I’m not sure if he can start long-term given his injury history, but at least now the chances are “slim” and not “none.”

Florial is another new addition to the list and he was a late signing during that 2014-15 signing period. He hasn’t been great statistically in rookie ball this year but a) it’s barely 100 plate appearances, and b) the reports are off the charts. Florial has power and speed, a good approach, and the defensive chops for center field. I’m always conservative with international guys in their first year stateside because there’s no much misinformation out there, so it’s possible I am hilariously low on Florial right now.

DotF: Rutherford, Garcia homer; Clarkin hurt in Tampa

The Yankees have signed RHP Curtiss Pomeroy as an undrafted free agent out of Georgetown, reports Matt Eddy. He was a two-way player in college who only threw eight innings total for the Hoyas.

Triple-A Scranton (5-1 loss to Charlotte)

  • CF Mason Williams: 0-4, 2 K — there’s room for him now, but I wonder what happens with Aaron Judge returns
  • DH Ben Gamel: 0-4
  • C Gary Sanchez: 1-3, 1 BB, 2 K — updated travel schedule: he’s gone from Scranton to San Diego to Charlotte to Gwinnett to Charlotte in the last ten days thanks to the Futures Game and Triple-A All-Star Game
  • 1B Ike Davis: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K
  • LF Jake Cave & RF Cesar Puello: both 1-4 — Cave scored a run
  • RHP Kyle Haynes: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 9/0 GB/FB — 61 of 101 pitches were strikes … 50/35 K/BB in 71.2 innings for the guy the Yankees got from the Pirates in the Chris Stewart trade
  • LHP Phil Coke: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 3/0 GB/FB — 20 of 32 pitches were strikes

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DotF: Dermis Garcia homers again in Pulaski’s win

Got a bunch of notes to pass along:

  • Several minor promotions, per team announcements: OF Jeff Hendrix, RHP Andrew Schwaab, and RHP Jose Mesa Jr. have been bumped up from Low-A Charleston to High-A Tampa while RHP Anyelo Gomez, RHP Eduardo Rivera, and RHP Greg Weissert all go from various rookie ball clubs to Low-A Charleston.
  • Both RHP Brady Lail and RHP Matt Wotherspoon were demoted from Triple-A Scranton to Double-A Trenton, reports Shane Hennigan. Also, RHP Angel Rincon, RHP Joey Maher, LHP Jonny Drozd, and RHP Manolo Reyes were all released, the affiliates announced.
  • Carlos Beltran called SS Jorge Mateo soon after Mateo was suspended for violating team policy, writes Dan Martin. “I said, ‘You know what you did wrong and it’s up to you to fix it.’ Now, how do you fix it? You show them. You play hard. Get there early. Do your best and run balls out. Be a leader. That’s how you show the organization you’ll go the extra mile,” said Beltran.

Triple-A Scranton (4-3 win over Gwinnett)

  • RF Ben Gamel: 1-5, 1 2B, 1 K — 27-for-74 (.365) during his 16-game hitting streak … this snaps a six-game multi-hit streak
  • LF Cesar Puello: 1-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K — threw a runner (Ronnie Mustelier!) at third
  • 1B Tyler Austin: 0-3, 1 BB, 2 K
  • CF Jake Cave: 1-4, 1 K
  • LHP Dietrich Enns: 5 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 3/3 GB/FB — 59 of 96 pitches were strikes (61%) … one of his worst starts of the season, which tells you how good he’s been
  • RHP Johnny Barbato: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GB/FB — eleven pitches, nine strikes … 16/3 K/BB in his last 14.1 innings
  • RHP Mark Montgomery: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K — 14 of 30 pitches were strikes (47%)

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Yankees drop second straight to Red Sox, lose 5-2

Source: FanGraphs

This was another one of those games where the Yankees were the inferior team on offense, on defense, and on the mound. What is this team good at, exactly? Besides protecting those occasional leads after six innings? I’m pretty sure the answer is nothing. Saturday’s loss to the Red Sox came with a 5-2 final. Let’s recap with bullet points since it’s Saturday night:

  • Sabathia Hit Hard Again: For the fifth straight start, CC Sabathia allowed 5+ runs Saturday. The Red Sox tagged him for five runs (four earned) in 5.1 to give him a 3.94 ERA on the season. Remember when he had a 2.20 ERA? Good times. Yes, Sabathia gave up an inordinate number of weak ground ball singles, but he also gave up a three-run moonshot to Sandy friggin’ Leon, and had more than one line drive hit right at an infielder. Sabathia’s renaissance earlier this season was awesome. It seems over now.
  • Two Token Runs: Solo homers by Brett Gardner and Chase Headley. That was the offense. The Yankees could only muster four hits and a walk against Eduardo Rodriguez, who came into the start with an 8.59 ERA. He threw 97 pitches and got four swings and misses total. A decent offense would have hammered him. The Yankees didn’t put up much of a fight.
  • Leftovers: Gardner went 2-for-3 with the homer and a walk. The rest of the Yankees went 3-for-28 with a homer and a walk … Anthony Swarzak threw 2.2 hitless innings. No, really … the Yankees sent 33 batters to the plate. Eleven saw no more than two pitches. Remember when the Yankees worked the count? … the Yankees were charged with two errors (Headley, Didi Gregorius) and it could have been more. Not the best afternoon in the field.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Here’s our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages too. The Yankees will look to avoid being swept by the Red Sox for the second time this season Sunday night, in the ESPN game. Those are the worst. Masahiro Tanaka and David Price are the scheduled starters.

Minor League Update: No DotF tonight. Sorry folks. I’ve had a busy weekend and I’m beat. DotF will be back to normal tomorrow. Here are the box scores and here’s the short version: Ben Gamel had two hits (again), Luis Cessa allowed two runs in six innings, Chance Adams struck out eight and allowed one hit in six innings, Luis Torrens had two hits, and Dermis Garcia mashed a tater. Oh, and the GCL Yanks West lost 10-0 and were no-hit. Their only baserunners were two hit batsmen. That feels like something that would happen to the big league team this year.

Sanchez: Astros sign Yulieski Gurriel to five-year, $47.5M deal

(El Nuevo Herald)
(El Nuevo Herald)

According to Jesse Sanchez, the Astros agreed to sign Cuban infielder Yulieski Gurriel to a five-year contract worth $47.5M yesterday. The deal is expected to become official later today. Houston’s infield is full, plus they have infielder and top prospect Alex Bregman knocking on the door, so this is a case of add talent and sort it all out later.

The Yankees were among the teams to bring Gurriel in for a private workout. International scouting director Donny Rowland is said to be a longtime fan of the former Cuban league star. It’s unclear if the Yankees were outbid or simply didn’t even make an offer. I have some thoughts on all of this.

1. He got less money than I thought. Five years and $9.5M a year strikes me as a pretty good deal for the Astros given other recent contracts for Cuban players. Rusney Castillo, Hector Olivera, and Yasmany Tomas all received $10M to $12M annually across six years. They all kinda stink though, plus Gurriel is a few years older, so I guess his contract is something of a market correction.

2. I get not going after a 32-year-old. Well, like I said, we don’t know what the Yankees offered, but I think you catch my drift here. Gurriel is not young. He’s 32 and he’s at the age where you’d expect his skills to decline anyway, so Gurriel is not someone you bring in if you’re rebuilding. He’s a win-now addition, and the Yankees are not a win-now team. Would he make them better in the short-term? Almost certainly yes. But the Yankees have focused on the short-term for too long. They have to take a step back and thing long-term now.

3. Where is the offense coming from the next few years? The Yankees are averaging only 4.20 runs per game this season, so they’re one of the lowest scoring offenses in the league. Next year they figure to lose Carlos Beltran (and Mark Teixeira) to free agency, and others like Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, and Brian McCann will be a year older. Unless Greg Bird doesn’t miss a bit following shoulder surgery and youngsters like Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez hit the ground running, the offense might be worse in 2017. Even the very best prospects can need an adjustment period, after all. Gurriel would have given the Yankees a much-needed bat going forward.

4. Don’t forget, Lourdes is the real prize. Yulieski and his brother Lourdes Jr. defected over the winter, and given his age (22) and skill set, Lourdes is the more promising player. He’s not Yoan Moncada, but his best years are ahead of him. With Yulieski you’re just hoping to get one or two peak years right away and a manageable decline. Lourdes is the better long-term buy. He’s not going to sign until his birthday in October — once he turns 23, he’ll no longer be subject to the international spending restrictions — and the Yankees should be all over him, though their recent track record with big name Cuban players suggests they’ll fall short.

Yanks start second half with a whimper, fall 5-3 to BoSox

Source: FanGraphs

Good to see not a whole lot changed over the All-Star break. The Yankees were the second best team on the field in their second half opening 5-3 loss to the Red Sox, which dropped their postseason odds to a mere 5.0% as of this writing. Not-so-fun fact: at 44-45, the Yankees are under .500 in the second half for the first time since 1995.

I didn’t see one pitch of tonight’s game and I checked the score on my phone only three times: 1-0, 3-0, 5-0. Those are the scores I saw. I didn’t bother to check again after seeing 5-0. The box score tells me Michael Pineda gave up five runs in five innings, including three homers, so it seems he’s back to his early season antics. That’s a big development for #TeamSell.

The Yankees mustered four hits, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch in nine innings against Steven Wright and various relievers. Eleven of the final dozen batters they sent to the plate made outs, so there was no late rally in this one. The Yankees went out quietly. The Red Sox offense averaged 4.28 pitches per plate appearance. The Yankees averaged 3.39. Yup.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Also check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. The Yankees and Red Sox resume this series Saturday afternoon. That’s a 4pm ET start. Lefties CC Sabathia and Eduardo Rodriguez will be on the mound.

Minor League Update: I have neither the time nor the energy for a full DotF tonight. Here are the box scores and here’s the short version: Ben Gamel had two hits, Luis Severino allowed three runs in 6.2 innings, Dustin Fowler had three hits, Vicente Campos tossed six scoreless, Domingo Acevedo struck out nine in six innings, Hoy Jun Park had three hits, Mandy Alvarez extended his hitting streak to 20 games, and Blake Rutherford had two doubles and a triple in Pulaski’s doubleheader.

DotF: Green dominates, Gamel stays hit in Scranton’s win

OF Blake Rutherford has been promoted to Rookie Pulaski, according to multiple reports. Those eight games in the Gulf Coast League were just a tune-up, apparently.

Triple-A Scranton (2-0 win over Gwinnett)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 2-5, 1 2B, 2 K — 19-for-46 (.413) in his last ten games
  • C Gary Sanchez: 0-4, 1 K — between the Futures Game and Triple-A All-Star Game, he’s traveled from Scranton to San Diego to Charlotte to Gwinnett in the last six days
  • DH Tyler Austin: 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
  • 1B Ike Davis: 2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K — second homer with the RailRiders
  • RF Cesar Puello: 1-4, 1 K
  • LF Jake Cave: 0-3, 2 K, 1 CS, 1 HBP
  • RHP Chad Green: 8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 8/6 GB/FB — 77 of 102 pitches were strikes (75%) … we know he can dominate at this level
  • RHP Kirby Yates: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 1/0 GB/FB — ten of 19 pitches were strikes

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