Despite indications he would remain with High-A Tampa all season, the Yankees have promoted top prospect C Gary Sanchez to Double-A Trenton. He is expected to be with the Thunder tonight. The 20-year-old hit .251/.311/.417 (105 wRC+) with 13 homers in 399 plate appearances for High-A Tampa before the promotion. The Yankees supposedly wanted Sanchez to work with their harder-throwing pitchers in Tampa for the rest of the season, but I guess plans changed.
Keith Law posted his midseason update of the top 50 prospects in baseball yesterday (subs. req’d), and Twins OF Byron Buxton occupies the top spot. Here’s a clear number one prospect in baseball at the moment. Cardinals OF Oscar Taveras and Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts are two prospect list mainstays who round out the top three.
The Yankees have just one prospect on the list — C Gary Sanchez snuck on as #49. “His stock has taken a hit as his receiving, much improved last year, has regressed, while his explosive hands and raw power haven’t produced offensive results yet, either,” wrote Law. It’s worth noting Baseball America, who ranked Sanchez 34th on their midseason update, had a more optimistic outlook on his defense. Baseball Prospectus was another detractor, however. Sanchez dropped from 18th on Law’s preseason list while OF Mason Williams (#35) dropped out of the top 50 all together.
Baseball America published their midseason list of baseball’s top 50 prospects today (no subs. req’d), a list that is topped by Twins OF Byron Buxton. The second overall pick in last year’s draft has taken over as the game’s consensus top prospect with Jurickson Profar now a big leaguer. Cardinals OF Oscar Taveras and Twins 3B Miguel Sano round out the top three. Yeah, Minnesota has two of the three best prospects in the game.
The Yankees placed two players on the top 50: C Gary Sanchez (#34) and RHP Rafael DePaula (#45). “Reports are more optimistic that he could stay behind the plate long-term.,” they said about Sanchez, who climbed from #57 on the preseason list. It’s not surprising that none of the team’s top three outfield prospects made the list, especially since only one (Mason Williams at #32) was in the top 50 of the preseason list. None of the three has done anything to improve their stock this year. Sanchez and DePaula definitely have though.
Via Jorge Arangure: Gary Sanchez has been traded for infielder Pedro Ciriaco … in the Dominican Winter League, where each player is contracted to play winter ball. The trade has no impact whatsoever on their big league affiliations — Sanchez remains with the Yankees and Ciriaco with the Padres. I just felt the need to freak some people out, sorry.
Jason Parks at Baseball Prospectus published his midseason list of the the top 50 prospects in baseball yesterday (subs. req’d), a list that is predictably topped by Twins OF Byron Buxton. The second overall pick in last year’s draft put up a 173 wRC+ with eight homers and 32 steals in 68 Low-A games before being promoted a few days ago. Cardinals OF Oscar Taveras and Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts round out the top three.
The Yankees have just one player on the list: C Gary Sanchez ranks 26th overall. That is up from 47th overall on the preseason list. “[Sanchez] somehow feels overrated at the mid-season point … high upside but equally high risk; bat is very good; positional home is still subject of debate,” wrote Parks. With nearly every one of New York’s top prospects taking a step back this year, their only real candidates for a top 100 list right now are Sanchez, RHP Rafael DePaula, and CF Slade Heathcott. That’s it.
Keith Law posted an updated ranking of the top 25 prospects in the minor leagues today (subs. req’d), with the top spot belonging to Cardinals OF Oscar Taveras. Rangers SS Jurickson Profar was baseball’s top consensus prospect coming into the season, but he is ineligible the updated list because he’s currently in the big leagues. Twins OF Byron Buxton and Red Sox SS Xander Boegarts round out the top three.
C Gary Sanchez, who ranked 18th on Law’s preseason list, climbed two spots to 16th. “Although there’s still some question of whether he will remain a catcher long term, I think he’s going to stay there, as he’s enough of an athlete to become an adequate backstop in time — and his bat will be MVP-caliber for that position,” wrote Law. Sanchez is hitting .271/.345/.475 (131 wRC+) with eight homers in 199 plate appearances for High-A Tampa this year, and he’s in line for a midseason promotion to Double-A Trenton. That is probably a few weeks away. No other Yankee farmhands made the updated top 25.
I’ve decided to modify DotF (in an undetermined way) this year for the sake of saving time and my sanity, but one feature that will not be changed is the Prospect Watch. Well, the featured player may change, but the format will remain mostly the same.
Last year we tracked outfielder Mason Williams‘ progress through the summer, and he rewarded us by hitting .298/.346/.474 (~125 wRC+) with 11 homers and 20 steals in 397 plate appearances before separating his left shoulder diving for a ball in late-July. The Prospect Watch was unused after the injury. In prior years we’ve tracked Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Andrew Brackman, Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos, and a bunch of others I’m forgetting. It’s been a while.
We should have a healthy debate for this year’s watch subject because the Yankees have four pretty awesome position player prospects, all of whom are worthy of a spot in our sidebar. There’s not much on the pitcher side right now, but that’s alright. Position players are more fun because they play everyday anyway. Just as we did last year, let’s vote on the 2013 Prospect Watch. First, the candidates with their rank on my Preseason Top 30 Prospects List in parenthesis.
OF Tyler Austin (3)
I’m listing these guys alphabetically, but it’s also appropriate to start with Austin. The 21-year-old former catcher is the best statistical performer among the organization’s top prospects, hitting .322/.400/.559 (~163 wRC+) with 17 homers and 23 steals (in 25 attempts) in 472 plate appearances across four levels last summer. He’s expected to open the year with Double-A Trenton and has an outside chance of cracking the big league roster come September.
RHP Jose Campos (7)
I wanted to get at least one pitcher in the conversation, and the 20-year-old Campos was the obvious choice — Banuelos (#6 in my top 30) will miss the season due to Tommy John surgery while last year’s first rounder Ty Hensley (#8) could start the year back in Extended Spring Training and not even appear in an official game until June. Campos, who pitched to a 4.01 ERA and 3.24 FIP in five starts before a season-ending elbow injury last year, is healthy and ready to start the season back with Low-A Charleston. An assignment to High-A Tampa might even be in the cards, but that would be aggressive.
OF Slade Heathcott (4)
Heathcott, 22, is the old man of the group. He missed the first half with his second left shoulder surgery last year, then hit .307/.378/.470 (142 wRC+) in 265 plate appearances with High-A Tampa before destroying the Arizona Fall League (192 wRC+). Heathcott is healthy now (for the time being, anyway) and has the loudest package of tools in the organization. He’s slated to join Austin in the Double-A Trenton outfield.
C Gary Sanchez (1)
The team’s top prospect (in my opinion), the 20-year-old Sanchez hit .290/.344/.485 (~125 wRC+) in 474 plate appearances split between Low-A Charleston and High-A Tampa last summer. His 18 homers led all minor league catchers. Sanchez is expected to begin the season back with Tampa, but a midseason promotion to Double-A Trenton is well within reach.
OF Mason Williams (2)
We’ve never had a two-time Prospect Watch guy, but there’s no rule that says we can’t do it. Williams, 21, has recovered from his shoulder injury — an injury that required surgery — and will join Sanchez back with High-A Tampa to open the summer. Although I ranked him as the team’s second best prospect, Baseball America had Williams in the top spot.
* * *
A few times in the past the Prospect Watch choice was obvious, but that’s not really the case here. Some of these guys might put up gaudier stats than others, but they’re all quality prospects worth monitoring as the season progresses.