Top 10 Prospects (2019): New York Yankees: A Once Impressive System Is Now Lacking…

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Whether it’s due to graduating some of their top prospects or trades in an effort to bolster their playoff opportunity or just the players that were expected to emerge faltering, the Yankees’ system isn’t quite what it used to be. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t value to be found, but do they have that true impact player? There may be names that you can argue for, but even those players come with questions. Keeping that in mind, let’s take a look:

1) Jonathan Loaisiga – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B+
ETA – Already Arrived

Loaisiga burst onto the scene in 2018, despite some underwhelming numbers (5.11 ERA, 1.54 WHIP over 24.2 IP).  The skills were obvious, both in the Majors and the minors:

LevelK/9SwStr%BB/9GB%
Minors10.7712.3%1.2943.4%
Majors12.0413.0%4.3849.2%

Health is the big question (you would think the groundballs would be a concern, though he owns a minor league GO/AO of 1.25) and his season was cut short due to injury.  Standing 5’11” people are going to wonder if he can hold up to a full workload, and thus far he hasn’t proven capable.  If he can he should get an opportunity, with James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia making up 60% of the rotation.  The stuff is there, he just needs to show it off consistently.

2) Estevan Florial – Outfielder
Grade – B
ETA – 2020

There are obvious questions with Florial, after he missed time due to hamate surgery and managed a meager .361 SLG over 75 games at High-A (.422 overall in ’18).  You would think that the power will return, as he heals, and it should soon start to present itself in games.  There also is speed, though he still needs development in that area after going 16-for-26 in stolen bases last season.

Throw in a 12.6% SwStr% and it’s fair to have questions over his ability to figure things out.  Now 21-years old, he needs to translate the raw talent to on-field production.  It was easy to get excited about 13 HR and 23 SB in ’17, but a .426 BABIP and 15.5% SwStr% loomed large.  There’s still potential and you don’t want to ignore him, but you also have to downgrade him at least slightly.

3) Everson Pereira – Outfielder
Grade – B
ETA – 2022

The Yankees have been aggressive with Pereira, so we have to take that into account when you look at the numbers for the 17-year old (he doesn’t turn 18 until April 10).  He did have significant swing and miss in his game, with a 20.2% SwStr%, but he was facing advanced competition.  As he develops there’s power and speed that could come together, and that skillset has the potential to develop into a difference making prospect.  That’s all projection, however, and he’s a long way away. 

4) Clarke Schmidt – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B
ETA – 2020

Selected in the first round of the 2017 draft, Schmidt didn’t debut until 2018 due to Tommy John surgery.  However he quickly showed why the Yankees were willing to make the investment anyways, showing off the three skills we look for from a pitcher (albeit over 23.1 IP):

  • Strikeouts – 11.57 K/9
  • Control – 2.31 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 49.0%

It will be interesting to see how far the Yankees push him in 2019, though he’ll be 23-years old before the start of the season and could ultimately move quickly.  He may not profile as an ace, but seeing him back and have some success is key as it answers some of the questions we generally have for a pitcher coming back from the injury.

5) Anthony Seigler – Catcher
Grade – B
ETA – 2022

Siegler was drafted 23rd overall in the 2018 draft as a catcher (he was also a switch-pitcher in high school).  He only had 95 PA in ’18 and he didn’t show much, hitting .266 with 1 HR and 9 RBI.  That said he showed he had an idea at the plate, as he walked (14) more than he struck out (12) and showed an ability to make consistent contact (7.0% SwStr%).  It obviously was a small sample size, but it’s a positive nonetheless.  The expectation also is that he can stick behind the plate, with his defense already seen as a strength and should only continue to improve.

The Rest:

6) Michael King – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – B-)
You can argue that King doesn’t have the best pure stuff, but he just keeps producing and rising up the ranks.  Pitching between High-A, Double-A and Triple-A (161.1 IP) he posted a 1.79 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. His control is his best skill, and you have to wonder if he’ll be able to maintain the strikeout rate as he advances through the system.  We saw a decline as it is as he advanced:

  • High-A (40.1 IP) – 10.04 K/9
  • Double-A (82.0 IP) – 8.34 K/9
  • Triple-A (39.0 IP) – 7.15 K/9

That’s going to bring significant questions, though all he needs is a 7.50ish K/9 with his control and ability to generate groundballs (50.8%).  There are limitations and risks, though he’s the type of prospect who could make a quick splash before struggling the third or fourth time around the league.

7) Albert Abreu – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – B-)
Abreu had a poor season, missing time due to injury and posting a 5.20 ERA over 72.2 IP.  He continued to show strikeout stuff (9.17 K/9) and enough groundballs (45.1%), though his control wavered (3.96 BB/9) pitching mostly at High-A.  Staying on the mound has been the biggest question, with 101.2 innings being the highest total of his career (coming in 2016).  Given that, would it be surprising if a move to the bullpen was in his future?  It’s something that can’t be discredited, and limits his ranking.  If he sticks as a starter the upside is there, so time will tell.

8) Luis Medina – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – C+)
When it comes to pure stuff Medina has the potential to be dominant, but he needs to learn how to control it.  Over 36.0 IP last season he walked 46 batters…  That’s not a typo, and obviously brings huge risk to his future role.  He’s young (still just 19-years old) and has ample time to learn and mature.  Given his pure stuff we don’t want to overlook him, but don’t expect it to come immediately.

9) Antonio Cabello – Outfielder (Grade – C+)
He played 2018 as a 17-year old, so we have to keep that in mind before dwelling on a 26.0% SwStr% (especially since he paired it with a 14.1% walk rate).  Obviously there’s a lot of projection at play in terms of his power, and there’s potential for him to develop a good amount (he had 9 doubles, 5 triples and 5 HR).  Currently his carrying tool is his speed, and while he’s a long ways away that intriguing blend of upside puts him solidly on radars.

10) Delvi Garcia – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – C+)
In 74.0 IP between Single-A, High-A and one appearance at Double-A (5.0 IP) he showed strikeouts (12.77 K/9 courtesy of a 14.5% SwStr%) and control (2.43 BB/9).  The question is going to be whether or not he can keep the ball in the ballpark consistently, standing at 5’10” and generating a meager 30.6% groundball rate.  That could be crippling and ultimately send him to the bullpen, though time will tell.

Sources – Fangraphs, MLB.com, MILB.com, Baseball Reference

Make sure to check out all of our 2019 Top 10 Prospect Lists:

AL EastAL CentralAL West
Baltimore OriolesChicago White SoxHouston Astros
Boston Red SoxCleveland IndiansLos Angeles Angels
New York YankeesDetroit TigersOakland A's
Tampa Bay RaysKansas City RoyalsSeattle Mariners
Toronto Blue JaysMinnesota TwinsTexas Rangers
NL EastNL CentralNL West
Atlanta BravesChicago CubsArizona Diamondbacks
Miami MarlinsCincinnati RedsColorado Rockies
New York MetsMilwaukee BrewersLos Angeles Dodgers
Philadelphia PhilliesPittsburgh PiratesSan Diego Padres
Washington NationalsSt. Louis CardinalsSan Francisco Giants

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