Top 10 Prospects (2016): New York Yankees: Offensive Prospects Rise To The Top & More

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by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Yankees likely had the opportunity to make a move at the Trading Deadline, but at the end of the day they decided to hold onto their chips.  Luis Severino & Greg Bird has already paid dividends, but who else is on the horizon?  Who could make the biggest impact?  Let’s take a look:

1) Jorge Mateo – Shortstop
ETA – 2017
Grade – A-

Mateo’s name came up often around the Trade Deadline, most notably connected to the Padres in return for Craig Kimbrel, but at the end of the day he remained property of the Yankees.  When we look back three years from now chances are that the Yankees are ultimately happy that they failed to culminate the deal.

Across two levels in ’15 Mateo hit .278 with 82 stolen bases in 449 AB.  Right now we would draw the comparisons to Billy Hamilton, with Mateo’s struggles to make consistent contact (98 K) at the lower levels something well worth watching (this is a comparison we looked at, which you can read by clicking here).  As the old adage goes you can’t steal first base, and with his speed all he needs to do is put the ball in play and he should be able to use his speed and wreak havoc.  At 20-years old he has plenty of time to adjust and mature, we just need to be patient.

2) Aaron Judge – Outfielder
ETA – 2016
Grade – A-

Power is at a premium in baseball and Judge brings the potential to bring it to the table.  At 6’7” and 275 lbs. he’s certainly an imposing figure in the batters box, though that also means an enormous strike zone and he did struggle with strike outs between Double-A (25.0%) and Triple-A (28.5%) in 2015.  That’s a major concern, as it’s going to drag down his average (as it is he hit just .224 at Triple-A).  He also has yet to fully put his power on display, hitting “just” 20 HR in 478 AB last season.  That should develop, given more experience (he was drafted in 2013), but it’s possible that he ultimately develops into a .250-ish hitter with 25-30 HR upside.

3) Gary Sanchez – Catcher
ETA – 2016
Grade – B+

It feels like we’ve been waiting a lifetime for him to develop into a Major League catcher, doesn’t it?  After spending part of a third straight season at Double-A he finally graduated to Triple-A and was solid, hitting .295 with 6 HR over 146 PA and not being overmatched (19.2% strikeout rate).  With a .274 average and 18 HR in 365 AB overall he obviously brings enough potential behind the plate that he deserves attention.  The question is going to be where he plays, as Brian McCann is going to be the Yankees catcher for at least another season.

4) James Kaprielian – RHP
ETA – 2017
Grade – B

Kaprielian was the Yankees first round draft pick in 2015 and was viewed as a polished college pitcher who could move quickly through the system.  He only tossed 11.1 innings last season, with 14 K vs. 4 BB, but it’s too small of a sample size to draw any conclusions from.  Obviously the upside is there and it’s possible that he reaches the Majors late in ’16 in some role.

5) Eric Jagielo – 3B
ETA – 2017
Grade – B

A knee injury helped to limit Jagielo to 222 AB in ’15, but when on the field he looked good hitting .284 with 9 HR (as well as 16 doubles and 2 triples).  Project the power out for 500 AB you would get another 20+ HR campaign, after he hit 18 HR in 332 AB in ’14.  We’ll have to watch his contact rate (23.4% strikeout rate), but he’s shown an ability to draw a walk and power is at a premium.  Where he fits defensively will also need to be worked out, but that will come in time.

The Next Five:

6) Domingo Acevedo – RHP
Special Note – We want to be aggressive with Acevedo, who broke out in 2015, but he only threw 49.2 innings so there’s a significant amount of risk in how quickly he develops
7) Rob Refsnyder – 2B
8) Ian Clarkin – LHP
9) Wilkerman Garcia – SS
10) Tyler Wade – 2B/SS

Sources – MLB.com, MILB.com, Fangraphs

Make sure to check out our previous Top 10 Prospect Lists:

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