Archive for Prospect Lists
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.
Jason Parks at Baseball Prospectus released his 2013 organizational rankings a few days ago (no subs. req’d), and the Cardinals unsurprisingly claim the top spot thanks to their bevy of high-upside, MLB-ready prospects. The Rangers and Padres round out the top three while the Angels are deal last.
The Yankees placed 14th, with Parks saying the system “has some impact talent and several high-risk prospects that could develop into high-end players, but the field thins out quickly after the top tiers erode.” He lists righties Rafael DePaula and Ty Hensley as breakout prospects and High-A Tampa as the affiliate to watch, though I disagree there. Double-A Trenton is where it will be at with the Ramon Flores/Slade Heathcott/Tyler Austin outfield and Jose Ramirez/Nik Turley/Francisco Rondon led pitching staff.
All of the major farm system rankings are out and they all have the Yankees in the 10-14 range — Keith Law (10th), Baseball America (11th), and Minor League Ball (14th). I guess that means the consensus has them middle of the road but slightly better than average, no? Seems reasonable.
Baseball America released their organizational rankings today, with the Cardinals unsurprisingly claiming the top spot. The Mariners and Rangers round out the top three while Angels bring up the rear and rank 30th. The list is free for all.
The Yankees placed 11th in the rankings, which is exactly where they were in the preliminary rankings back in January. “In (Mason) Williams, (Gary) Sanchez, (Slade) Heathcott and (Tyler) Austin, the Yankees have some quality replacements on the way for the lineup — but they’re not going to be ready in time to help this year. Many of their top pitching prospects (Campos, Banuelos, Hensley) have health questions that detract from their upside,” said the publication in their subscriber-only write-up. Pretty typical, everything seems fair to me.
Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus posted his list of the top ten Yankees prospects late last week (subs. req’d), a list C Gary Sanchez unsurprisingly tops. OF Mason Williams is second and RHP Jose Ramirez sneaks in at three, with Parks saying the “fastball is an impact major-league offering, with plus (to plus-plus) velocity and good life … one source called the changeup a future 7 pitch.” You can click the link to see the rest of the top ten even if you don’t have a subscription.
As for prospects on the rise, Parks lists OF Ben Gamel (“fluid swing from the left side of the plate and good gap pop”) and 3B Dante Bichette Jr. (“[for] a guy that slugged .331, Bichette has plenty of backers”). The list of the team’s top ten players under the age of 25 is exactly the same as the top ten, which is odd. RHP Michael Pineda should be in there somewhere despite the shoulder injury — I’d take him in his current state over a completely healthy Rafael DePaula (#10) pretty easily. Eh, whatever. To each his own.
Mark Hulet posted his list of the top 15 Yankees prospects at FanGraphs earlier this week, a list that is topped by OF Mason Williams. C Gary Sanchez, OF Slade Heathcott, and OF Tyler Austin round out the top four to no one’s surprise. Things get a little weird after that because everyone has their own preferences, but it’s nothing outrageous. Make sure you check it out, Hulet’s lists are always well worth the read.
Ben Badler at Baseball America posted a list of the 20 best prospects in the Dominican and Venezuelan Summer Leagues today (no subs. req’d), though it’s just an alphabetical listing and not an actual ranking. RHP Rafael DePaula unsurprisingly made the list after his dominant showing this summer, and in the subscriber-only write-up Badler says he “has an electric fastball that sits at 93-96 mph and touches 98-99 (plus he) mixes in a sharp, power curveball that should be an out pitch and shows feel for a changeup.”
The only other Yankees farmhand on the list is SS Abi Avelino, who New York signed for $300k back in 2011. Badler says he “could be an above-average defender at shortstop (because) his actions are clean, his hands and feet work well and he has good body control.” Avelino’s offensive approach is described as “a simple, line-drive swing with good bat path that helps him make plenty of contact … He squares up balls regularly but doesn’t have much power, so his offensive game will be more about getting on base than extra-base hits.” Both Avelino and DePaula should make their stateside debut in 2013, the former with the Rookie GCL Yankees and the latter with Low-A Charleston.
Jason Parks at Baseball Prospectus released his list of baseball’s 101 best minor leaguers today (no subs. req’d), which is topped by Rangers SS Jurickson Profar. Cardinals OF Oscar Taveras ranked second while Pirates RHP and former Yankees first rounder Gerrit Cole placed third. He’s an easy top ten guy, but top three? Might be pushing it. Orioles RHP Dylan Bundy is fourth.
The Yankees landed just two prospects on the top 101, C Gary Sanchez at #47 and OF Mason Williams at #51. It’s seems odd that OF Slade Heathcott didn’t make the list, especially since Parks admits “a bias against safe and secure in favor of high and hazardous.” I can understand leaving OF Tyler Austin off using that criteria, but Heathcott too? In Park’s defense, he did say he doesn’t believe Heathcott’s ceiling is as high as some others. Either way, all four guys were among the top 100 prospects in baseball according to Keith Law and Baseball America.
Baseball America published their annual (and long-awaited) list of the best 100 prospects in baseball today, a list that is predictably topped by Rangers SS Jurickson Profar. Unlike last year, when their were two legitimate number one candidates in Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, Profar is the clear top prospect this year. Orioles RHP Dylan Bundy and Cardinals OF Oscar Taveras round out the top three.
Like last year, the Yankees placed four players on the top 100. OF Mason Williams ranked the highest at #32, and was followed by C Gary Sanchez (#57), OF Slade Heathcott (#63), and OF Tyler Austin (#77). Those four were ranked #35, #18, #57, and #52, respectively, by Keith Law earlier this month, so Baseball America isn’t quite as high on them. Here is the publication’s top ten prospects list for reference.
The crew at Baseball America slapped 20-80 scouting scale grades on each of the top 100 prospects in a subscriber-only feature, which is nice and easy for the Yankees since they’re all position players.
Those are future grades, not present, meaning the players are expected to grow into that kind of power, etc. down the line. Three of the four project to have five average-or-better tools down the line, which is pretty amazing. Baseball America may be high on Austin’s right field defense and speed and a little low on Sanchez’s bat, but they’re the experts. Still a nice collection of tools, especially in the hit and power departments.
The Yankees ranked 11th in Baseball America’s preliminary farm system rankings back in January, and the official list will be released in the coming weeks. There haven’t been many big farm system-altering trades since the preliminary rankings came out, so I don’t expect them to change much. As I wrote in my Top 30 List a few weeks ago, the Yankees have a top-heavy farm system with quite a big drop-off between these four and everyone else. Four top-100 guys is still pretty strong though, not many organizations can match that.
Prospect season is in full swing now that pitchers and catchers are due to report next week, so it’s time for my annual look at the Yankees’ top 30 prospects. Before we do that though, we have to look at some players who are on the outside looking in. New York has a fairly deep system, especially when it comes to power arms, so there are always a few players I want to highlight even though I don’t consider them one of the organization’s 30 best prospective big leaguers.
Just one of last year’s Not Top 30 Prospects jumped into the Top 30 this year, but three others were among the very last cuts and could have easily snuck in. The fifth player missed the entire season due to injury and wasn’t a serious consideration for the list. As a reminder, these are not prospects 31-35. They’re five prospects who I believe have a chance to jump into next year’s Top 30 with a healthy and strong season in 2013. That’s all. The players are listed alphabetically — ages are as of April 1st — so don’t bother to read anything into the order.
RHSP Gabe Encinas, 21
Given a $300k signing bonus as the team’s sixth round pick in 2010, Encinas put together a generally underwhelming campaign — 4.97 ERA (5.31 FIP) with 14.8 K% and 12.0 BB% in 70.2 innings — with Short Season Staten Island last year. Despite that, he’s a guy worth following because his raw stuff has improved considerably since his days of hugging 90 mph with his fastball back in high schooler. Encinas, who is listed at 6-foot-3 and 195 lbs., now lives in the 93-95 mph range with that fastball, which bores in on righties. He even hit 98 a few times last summer. His curveball and changeup lag though, as does his overall command. Encinas is still learning to harness is newfound power stuff and will need quite some time to climb the ladder, likely spending a year at each level. He is ticketed for the Low-A Charleston starting rotation when the season begins.
RHSP Gio Gallegos, 21
Depending on who you ask, Gallegos was coming off either Tommy John surgery or knee surgery when the Yankees signed him for $100k in 2011. Listed at 6-foot-2 and 175 lbs., the Mexican-born Gallegos was healthy enough to post a 1.67 ERA (2.50 FIP) with 22 strikeouts and just two walks in 27 innings for the club’s Rookie Level Gulf Coast League affiliate last year. He’s primarily a two-pitch pitcher who throws easy low-90s gas with a hard, low-80s curveball that can be a true put-away pitch at times. A nascent changeup rounds out his repertoire. Gallegos has good command and excellent control, though he might be the type of guy who throws too many strikes and gets hit more than his stuff says he should. There’s a good chance the Yankees will have him join Encinas in the Low-A Charleston rotation this year.
RHSP Brady Lail, 19
The Yankees only signed three players to above-slot bonuses last season, and one of those three was Lail. New York paid him $225k as their 18th round pick, then watched him allow two runs with ten strikeouts and two walks in 12.2 innings for the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League team after signing. Lail is big and projectable at a listed 6-foot-2 and 175 lbs., and the Yankees are hopeful he will add some velocity to his mid-to-high-80s fastball as he fills out. His big-breaking curveball is already an above-average swing-and-miss pitch, and his changeup is advanced for a high schooler. All of his pitches play up because of a deceptive delivery. If Lail adds a few ticks to his fastball, he could rocket up prospect lists as a kid with three average or better pitches. The Yankees figure to hold him back in Extended Spring Training before sending him to Short Season Staten Island in 2013.
RHSP Zach Nuding, 23
Nuding signed for $265k as the team’s 30th round pick in 2010. He missed time with a sore shoulder in 2012, but otherwise pitched to a 3.89 ERA (3.20 FIP) with 18.0 K% and 7.1 BB% in 85.2 innings for High-A Tampa last year before a stint in the Arizona Fall League. Nuding is an intimidating presence on the mound at a listed 6-foot-4 and 250 lbs., and his fastball cashes the check his frame writes by sitting in the 93-96 range with a few 98s. He throws downhill well and hitters have a hard time hitting the pitch in the air. A low-80s slider and low-80s changeup are his two secondary offerings, and both lag behind his fastball. His delivery is a little violent but he’s not wild. The Yankees have had Nuding start throughout his career just to accumulate innings, but it’ll soon be time to take off the reigns and let him cut it loose in the bullpen. A ticket to Double-A Trenton is in the cards for this season. Don’t be surprised if he’s in the big league bullpen mix at this time next year if they shift him to relief at some point this summer.
2B/OF Rob Refnsyder, 22
Refsnyder was named the College World Series Most Outstanding Player after leading Arizona to the national championship last summer, then he signed for a little more than $205k as the Yankees fifth round pick. He hit just .247/.324/.370 (95 RC+) with four homers and eleven steals in his 182-plate appearances cameo with Low-A Charleston at the end of the season. Refsnyder, who is listed at 6-foot-1 and 205 lbs., has a level right-handed swing that is gearing for contact and capable of slashing line drives all over the field. He isn’t expected to hit for much power and has just decent speed, but his instincts and aggressiveness make him a stolen base threat. There was talk of the Yankees shifting Refsnyder back to second base — he played the position in high school but moved to the outfield in college — but he played right field exclusively for the River Dogs late in the season even though Angelo Gumbs had been on the DL at that point. To get into my Top 30, Refsnyder will have to shift to the infield because he just doesn’t hit enough or defend well enough to hold down an outfield corner. He’s expected to join High-A Tampa along with Gumbs this summer, so a move back to second seems unlikely at the moment.