End of season Top 50 prospects
The youth movement is in full effect, and there is more talent arriving very soon. Some of the very top prospects in the system, and even in the entire minors, are in the upper levels of the Yankees' system. Here's a list of the top 50 prospects in the system right now. There's so much talent that I will again have to create a not top 50 list that will likely be another 50 players long. I hope you enjoy the list.
Please try not to get too hung up on the numerical rankings, as I don't hold too much stock in them anyway. I'd like to think that the quality of information in the write-ups will allow you to make your own judgments on who you believe belongs at which ranking. I'd be happy to discuss in the comments any disagreements. Usually if you have good reasons why you would rank someone differently than me, I won't disagree with you too hard. The truth is this is an opinion piece, and anyone who says a ranking list is not just that is a terrible liar. I'd also be glad to hear about who you all think got snubbed from the list. I'm nearly certain rankings 40-50 would be highly interchangeable with many of the players who I will rank 51-100 in terms of ranking. I welcome the debate and enjoy it very much.
1. Gleyber Torres – SS, 6-foot-1, 175-pounds, RHB, 20-years-old – Torres was having a great year in Double-A and Triple-A when he went down with season ending surgery. He will be back for the start of Spring Training next season, and will compete for a job at third base, most likely. If he hadn’t gotten injured, he may have already supplanted Chase Headley at third base. He’s a good enough shortstop to stick at the position, and on top of that he has speed, power, and patience at the plate. He was hitting .287/.383/.480/.863 with 14 doubles, two triples, and seven homeruns in just 55 games. He also stole seven bases. If he’s able to remain healthy, he will almost definitely play for the Yankees at some point next season. He’s the definition of a super prospect.
2. Chance Adams – RHP, 6-foot-1, 210-pounds, 23-years-old – I think people are seriously underselling Chance Adams as a prospect. You’re talking about a guy who carries mid to upper 90’s velocity late into games and has the secondary stuff (plus curveball, plus slider, plus changeup) to strike guys out and get outs. He has thrown 150.1 innings on the season, and has 135 strikeouts, 58 walks, and a 2.45 ERA. Batters are hitting just .193 against him. So far in his career, he has done nothing but dominate at every level. There’s only one level left, the major leagues. Scouts are not all that high on him right now, but I’m not sure why. He’s a potential number two starter in the majors, and definitely a top 100 guy to me.
3. Estevan Florial – CF, 6-foot-1, 185-pounds, LHB, 19-years-old – He has had, and continued to have an amazing season even after being promoted to High-A at just 19. It’s no wonder scouts and other teams are drooling over Estevan Florial. He has 5-tools and knows how to use them. What more can you ask for from a prospect? Florial finished the season with a .298/.372/.479/.850 line. He had 13 homeruns, 23 doubles, seven triples, and 23 SB. The one blemish on his season is that he struck out 148 times. Part of that is a result of his patience and bad umpiring though. He cut down on his strikeout rate from .322 (k/PA) to .282 (k/PA) after his promotion with no changes to his mechanics. That could be a result of a small sample size, but ask any minor league pitcher what happens to the strike zone as they move up in the minors. They’ll tell you it shrinks. There’s no doubt Florial has some serious swing and miss, but at his age I would hardly call that a red flag. He’s good power, speed, a good arm, patience, a good glove, and can barrel the ball with the best of them. Not only is he a top 100 guy, he is probably top 50, and is a budding super prospect. He will represent the Yankees in the Arizona Fall League this year, and I’m sure he will impress.
4. Justus Sheffield – LHP, 5-foot-11, 200-pounds, 21-years-old – I don’t think there’s any question Justus Sheffield would have liked to have thrown more innings this season, but nagging injuries kept him from a full workload. When he did pitch, however, he pitched really well. In 98 innings, he pitched to a 3.12 ERA and struck out 88 while walking 34. He had a .257 average against. Overall he did about what you would expect from a first round pick who was ranked in the top 100 the past two seasons. I’m sure he’ll continue to be ranked there after this season. Next year he’ll be knocking at the door to the majors, and might just get a shot to start. He’ll take his low-mid 90’s fastball, slider, and changeup to Triple-A in 2018. Since he only notched 98 innings, the Yankees are sending him to the Arizona Fall League so he can take on a full work load next season.
5. Domingo Acevedo – RHP, 6-foot-7, 250-pounds, 23-years-old – Acevedo had another excellent year for the Yankees. He has a fastball that sits 95-97 mph and touches 100 mph, and a plus changeup with a now above average slider and still improving. He pitched with surprisingly excellent control this season, and had a 3.25 ERA with 142 K : 34 BB in 133 innings. He had a .248 average against. I don’t see how you look at those numbers, with his size and his stuff, and say he’s not a top 100 prospect. Far be it from me to understand how these guys come up with their rankings though. He too will compete for a spot in the rotation throughout 2018.
6. Jorge Guzman – RHP, 6-foot-2, 182-pounds, 21-years-old – Guzman made rapid progress this season and learned to control his stuff much better while in Extended Spring Training. By the time he got to Staten Island, his stuff and control had made a huge jump. He regularly hits 103 mph on the radar gun, and he now has a 90 mph curveball. That’s right you heard me, 90 mph. He also throws a changeup which is rapidly improving. Next year he will shoot through the system, and I would be shocked if he’s not a top 100 prospect. This year, he threw 66.2 innings and had an 88:18 K:BB ratio with a 2.3 ERA. Pretty remarkable.
7. Miguel Andujar – 3B, 6-foot-0, 215-pounds, RHB, 22-years-old – Andujar has been in the system for a long time, since 2012, and is a great development story. He has improved every year and has now reached the point where he is almost major league ready, and actually has all-star potential. He just recently snuck onto MLB.com’s top 100 prospects list, placing exactly at 100. His contact and power numbers are almost unmatched in the entire minor leagues. This season he has a .315/.352/.498/.850 line with 16 HR, 36 doubles, and two triples. He doesn’t draw many walks, but still gets on base at a solid clip because he has such a great hit tool. The Yankees could turn to him at some point next season if there is an injury or they finally give up on Chase Headley. Defensively he has a great arm and will definitely stick at the position, but he has some fine tuning and adjustments to make there in order to be ready for next season.
8. Dillon Tate – RHP, 6-foot-2, 195-pounds, 23-years-old – After a very rough 2016 Dillon Tate had lost his status as a top 100 prospect and many had forgotten that he was the first pitcher taken in the 2015 draft. That could all change very soon. This season, after missing the beginning of the season with a non-serious injury, he has been back to his former self. He threw 83.1 innings and struck out 63 while walking 24. He sported a 2.81 ERA and a .231 average against over two levels, finishing the season in Double-A. All of this after the Yankees made a couple of adjustments with his pitching motion. With a mid to upper 90’s fastball, a knockout slider, and a changeup, he might have what it takes to break in with the Yankees. The Yankees are sending him to the Arizona Fall League to build up his innings some more.
9. Freicer Perez – RHP, 6-foot-8, 190-pounds, 21-years-old – Freicer Perez isn’t on any top 100 lists yet, but he could make an appearance very soon. Sitting upper 90’s with his fastball and topping out at 100, he also has two above average secondary pitches and good control. Now, on top of that he also has a successful full season under his belt. This year he spent the whole year in Low-A, where he had 117 K : 45 BB in 123.2 innings. He had a 2.84 ERA and batter’s hit .213 against him. Pretty amazing numbers. Next year he will start in High-A, but could move up quickly to Double-A.
10. Albert Abreu – RHP, 6-foot-2, 175-pounds, 21-years-old – Abreu was on the top of the list of breakout candidates to enter the season this year. He started off on fire, making a few starts for Charleston and then being immediately bumped to High-A because he was dominating the competition. Then he struggled in High-A, most likely because he was injured. Finally he was placed on the DL and returned in August, when he made several appearances and decreased his ERA from 5.09 to 4.19, finishing strong. Including his time in Charleston, he finished the season with a 3.38 ERA and 61 K : 18 BB in 53.1 innings. He had a .227 average against. He’s still a top prospect and next season he should move fast if he is able to remain healthy. The Yankees have said they are going to send two more pitchers to the AFL that they have not named yet. I hope he is one of them.
11. Clarke Schmidt – RHP, 6-foot-1, 205-pounds, 21-years-old – The Yankees took Schmidt with their first round pick this season, to many people’s surprise. He went down with Tommy John Surgery this season, and should be ready for play in the minors early next season. Prior to the injury, he was sitting 92-95 mph and topping out at 97 mph. He has a polished plus slider, and throws a curve and a change as well. He appears to be quite similar to James Kaprielian talent-wise, and it will be fun to follow him up the ranks.
12. Matt Sauer – RHP, 6-foot-4, 195-pounds, 18-years-old – The Yankees were able to throw enough money at Sauer in the second round to lure him out of his college commitment. The only reason he even slipped that far was his signability. The Yankees got around that by taking Clarke Schmidt in the first round, who they were able to sign at a discount due to his injury. Sauer only pitched 11.2 innings in his debut, but the Yankees are just happy they were able to get his feet wet. He did strike out 12, but also walked eight and had a 5.4 ERA, proving that he is still pretty raw. The book on him is that he is already sitting 92-95 mph and has been clocked at 97. He also has a plus slider, and is still developing a curve and a changeup. All the pieces are there for an ace, now it’s up to the Yankees to help him put them all together.
13. Nick Solak – 2B, 5-foot-11, 175-pounds, RHB, 22-years-old – Solak has proven to be able to do exactly what the Yankees knew he could when they drafted him, and that’s hit. This season he hit about as well as one could hope for, with a .297/.384/.452/.835 line and 12 homers, 26 doubles, and five triples. He finished the year in Double-A where he continued his success. The major question with him coming into this season was his defense, and he has proven that he is a solid defender at second; much better than Rob Refsnyder. He’ll start next season in Double-A, but will likely finish in Triple-A, one step away from the majors and one injury away from playing time.
14. Taylor Widener – RHP, 6-foot-0, 195-pounds, 22-years-old – Widener started off the season slowly, but as time wore on he became one of the most reliable pitchers on the farm. On top of that, he has been explosive. He reminds many, including myself, of Chance Adams. I think by this time next season he will be in a pretty similar position to Adams. He’ll start in Double-A, and by the end of the season he’ll find himself in Triple-A and knocking at the door to the majors. He threw 119.1 innings this season and had 129 K : 50 BB. The walk rate could stand to improve, but with a 3.39 ERA some control problems are acceptable. His biggest task going forward will be to limit the walks. If he can do that he could be the next in a long line of bigtime pitching prospects this system possesses currently. Why do I say that? Because he has a mid-90’s fastball that can hit 97 regularly, and an above average slider and changeup.
15. Thairo Estrada – SS, 5-foot-10, 185-pounds, RHB, 21-years-old – Thairo has always been consistent, but he saved his best season so far as a pro for this year, as a 21-year-old in Double-A. He hit .301/.353/.392/.745 with six homeruns, 19 doubles, and four triples. He also increased his versatility this season, playing second, third, and even outfield. With that defensive skillset and his ability to hit for average and get on base, he will be a major league asset in the near future.
16. Jake Cave – CF, 6-foot-0, 200-pounds, LHB, 24-years-old – Cave picked an opportune time to have a career year in the minors. Most guys would have been discouraged after being taken in the rule 5, sent back to the Yankees, left exposed again in the rule 5, and this time passed over. Not Jake Cave. He came out and had a career year, putting himself back on the map in a huge way. He hit .305/.351/.542/.893 over two levels this year, but mostly in Triple-A. He had 20 homeruns, 26 doubles, and five triples. He’s not much of a base stealer, but he does have the defensive chops to stay in centerfield. If he can be an average centerfielder and hit the way he did this season, he will be of huge value to some team. Now the Yankees have a serious decision to make in the offseason; put him on the 40-man and keep him, don’t and lose him, or trade him before the decision needs to be made. I’m looking forward to seeing what direction they go here, because I’d love to see him play in the majors.
17. Dermis Garcia – 3B, 6-foot-3, 200-pounds, RHB, 19-years-old – Garcia has unbelievable power for a 19-year-old. He hit an amazing 17 homeruns in just 63 games this year, and had an .899 OPS. Overall he had a very successful season in both Pulaski and Charleston. He has plenty to work on, but he successfully cut down on his strikeouts this season, which is a big improvement compared to last year. That’s what you want to see from a 19-year-old. He finished the season with a .249/.357/.542/.899 line, 11 doubles, and two triples. If he can stick at third base he could become a premium bat. First he will have to learn to hit for better average and cut down on the strikeouts though.
18. Rony Garcia – RHP, 6-foot-3, 200-pounds, 19-years-old – Including the post season, Garcia has thrown 81 innings, struck out 61 while walking 17, and had a 2.33 ERA. These numbers are fantastic for a 19-year-old who spent most of the season in Low-A. He already sits at 92-95 mph and hits 96 with the fastball, and has a plus curveball and a rapidly improving changeup. He’s still very young and has the size to add more velocity on his fastball too. I think he will be a star in the system before long, probably by the end of next year.
19. Billy Mckinney – RF, 6-foot-1, 205-pounds, LHB, 23-years-old – After a down year last year, Mckinney showed why he was ranked in the top 100 prospects before the beginning of last season. He hit .277/.338/.483/.821 with 29 doubles, seven triples, and 16 homeruns. He struck out just 94 times in 124 games, although he also did not draw many walks. Make no mistake this was a career year for him though. He too put himself back on the map, and he too needs to be protected from this year’s rule 5 draft. It’s going to be tough for McKinney to break in with the current talent the Yankees have in the outfield, so his best chance at the majors may be in a trade. Still, his will be an interesting story to follow in the offseason, and he made it a lot more intriguing with his performance this year. He has always had a good contact tool, and scouts have always believed he will develop power. Now he’s done just that.
20. Jose Mesa Jr. – RHP, 6-foot-4, 230-pounds, 24-years-old – Jose Mesa Jr. has gone from a 24th round pick to a guy who is one of the best under the radar prospects in the Yankees’ system. He may not be under the radar for too much longer. He threw 84 innings during the regular season and had a 1.93 ERA and 101 K : 32 BB. He had a .166 average against. He followed that up with a tremendous playoff performance where he threw 5.0 innings in relief and allowed just two hits and a walk, with five strikeouts and no runs. With his 95-98 mph fastball, slider, changeup, and curveball, he has a starter’s repertoire and he might be as close to the majors as any of the top prospects the Yankees had. The only thing I see holding him back is his current innings limitations.
21. Brian Keller – RHP, 6-foot-3, 170-pounds, 23-years-old – One of the biggest sleepers going into this season was 2016 39th round draft pick Brian Keller; and boy did he deliver. Keller split the season between Low-A and High-A and had tremendous success at both levels. He finished the season with a 3.13 ERA and 157 K : 28 BB in 144 innings. I think it’s safe to say no one saw that one coming. Prior to the season he had a low-90’s fastball with several above average secondary pitches he can locate with the best of them. As the year wore on, he picked up a couple of ticks on his fastball though, now sitting in the 93-95 range. That’s a game changer, and you have to consider him a legitimate prospect now. The Yankees found a late round gem with Keller, and if he ends up a major league starter he will be the steal of the 2016 draft.
22. Jio Orozco – RHP, 6-foot-1, 210-pounds, 20-years old – Jio started the season in Charleston, where he struggled mightily with control. He had 34 walks in just 56.1 innings. After that though, he was sent down to Pulaski and caught fire. He still has to work on his control in a major way, but he made a ton of progress this season and will look to improve even more next year. At the time of the trade for Ben Gamel, he had a 92-95 mph fastball and good sinking movement. He also had an above average 12-to-6 curve, and a good feel for the changeup. Based on the statistics, he has improved those offerings, but just needs to learn to control them. He finished the season with a 3.5 ERA and 111 K : 65 BB in 118.1 innings.
23. Jonathan Loaisiga – RHP, 5-foot-11, 165-pounds, 22-years-old – The fastball sits at 95 mph and hits 98. He also has a plus curveball and a rapidly developing changeup. He’s actually been in the system since 2013 but went on an almost four year hiatus with injuries. He came back for two innings last season, but this season he was able to throw 32.2 innings over 11 starts. During that time, he had a 1.38 ERA and 33 K : 3 BB, with batters hitting just .148 against him. He definitely has the whole package for a successful starter, it’s just a matter of building up innings and staying healthy from this point on.
24. Chris Gittens – 1B, 6-foot-4, 250-pounds, RHB, 23-years-old – Gittens is becoming an older prospect but boy can he hit and boy does he have some major power. This season he hit .266/.372/.472/.844 surrounding an injury over 73 games. He had 13 HR and 12 doubles. Expand that over a full season and he’d hit 26 plus homeruns and 24 plus doubles. He’s a very patient hitter, although he strikes out a lot which is somewhat acceptable for a guy with his power. He’s still a work in progress at first base but for the time being appears as though he will stick there as long as he can maintain his weight. The Yankees just announced he will play in the Arizona Fall League this season, which is a huge deal for a guy like him. Hopefully it helps him hit the ground running in 2018 in Double-A.
25. Isiah Gilliam – RF, 6-foot-3, 220-pounds, SH, 21-years-old – Gilliam had what I would call a breakout year in 2017. He hit .275/.356/.468/.825 with 15 HR, 33 doubles, and four triples this season. He even stole nine bases, showing that the big guy actually has some speed too. He’s still pretty young and his power will definitely play up if he can stick in right field. He has the requisite power and patience to be an impact hitter in the majors. Even his contact tool is solid, and I’m excited to see what he’s able to do in High-A next season.
26. Juan De Paula – RHP, 6-foot-3, 165-pounds, 19-years-old – De Paula will be part of a young, extremely talented rotation in Low-A next season. He pitched extremely well this year in short season Staten Island, finishing with a 2.9 ERA and a 53 K : 23 BB ratio in 62 innings. He had a .191 average against. He should be ready for big innings next season, and with his size and build he should improve his stuff as he gets older. Right now he sits low to mid-90’s, and has a curveball and changeup which are improving and beginning to turn heads. Don’t be surprised to see him take a big leap next season.
27. Canaan Smith – CF/LF, 6-foot-0, 215-pounds, LHB, 18-years-old – Smith had an amazing first season in the GCL. He hit a very impressive .289/.430/.422/.853 with five homeruns (plus I believe two more in the playoffs) and 10 doubles, while walking an incredible 46 times in 57 games. He also stole five bases. The Yankees liked his patience and hit tool when they drafted him, and I’m sure they like it even better now. Unfortunately Smith got hurt in the playoffs for the GCL and is now listed on the 60-day DL. I haven’t heard anything about the injury yet, but I hope it is something he can recover fully from.
28. Trevor Stephan – RHP, 6-foot-4, 210-pounds, 21-years-old – Yankees got him in the third round this season, and he’s been totally dominant in his first taste of professional baseball. He has a mid-90’s fastball that can hit 97 mph and he throws from a deceptive, low arm angle. He also has a slider and a developing changeup that are both already good pitches and making rapid progress. This season in Staten Island he threw 34.1 innings, struck out 44 while walking six, and had a 1.31 ERA. Batters hit .168 against him. His first season was a resounding success. He threw 91 innings this year for Arkansas, so in combination with the professional innings this year he should be in line for a full, 150 innings work load next season. I would imagine he will start in the rotation for either Charleston or Tampa.
29. Donny Sands – C, 6-foot-2, 190-pounds, RHB, 21-years-old – Drafted as a third baseman, Donny Sands has come a long way in a short time at catcher. There is little doubt now that he will stick at the position. It’s always going to be his top developmental priority to improve defensively at catcher, but he’s no slouch with the bat either. This season he hit .276/.328/.374/.702 with four homeruns and 22 doubles. Those numbers are not Gary Sanchez numbers, but that’s never been the type of hitter Sands is supposed to be. I see him as very similar to Austin Romine with a chance to hit for a bit more power if things break right.
30. Hoy Jun Park – SS, 6-foot-1, 175-pounds, LHB, 21-years-old – Overall it was not a bad season for Park, as he did nothing to detract from his prospect status. He definitely struggled against his first taste of High-A pitching, but his numbers greatly improved across the board compared to last season. As a guy with fantastic tools, both defensively and offensively, I still have high hopes for him. He has speed, power, patience, contact, and the defensive chops to stick at SS and play other positions if needed. He hasn’t had the tools translate to the field completely, but he’s on the brink of breaking out. He finished the season with a .251/.348/.359/.707 line with seven homeruns, 12 doubles, six triples, and 25 SB. Hopefully his stint in High-A will allow him to hit the ground running next season.
31. Steven Sensley – RF, 6-foot-1, 220-pounds, LHB, 22-years-old – The Yankees snagged Sensley in the 12th round of this year’s draft, and it seems they got a nice bargain. He dominated in Pulaski and had continued success in Charleston in his first taste of professional baseball. He hit .292/.370/.584/.954 with 13 HR, 15 doubles, and 49 K in 50 games. Most of the homeruns came in Pulaski, but he continued to show power in his Charleston stint. The Yankees knew what they were getting with Sensley when they drafted him, as Damon Oppenheimer called him his favorite draft sleeper. He cited the exit velocity, power, and athleticism as his reasons for the high praise. Hopefully this foreshadows big success from the big lefty.
32. Nick Nelson – RHP, 6-foot-1, 195-pounds, 21-years-old – Let’s start with the positives. Nelson has excellent tools. He has a mid-90’s fastball, a curveball with plus potential, and a changeup that is average and flashes plus at times. Nelson was enigmatic in 2017, one game throwing a gem and the very next start walking the whole team. Overall he had a 4.56 ERA with 110 K : 50 BB in 100.2 innings. Safe to say he walked way too many pitchers. It’s worth noting that Nelson finished the season much stronger than he started. He had a 3.47 ERA over his last 13 starts. He continued to walk batters at the same rate, but definitely showed more promise. If he can find some consistency with his control, however, you’re looking at a guy with potential big league starting stuff; we’re talking front half of the rotation stuff too.
33. Nick Green – RHP, 6-foot-1, 165-pounds, 22-years-old – Coming over in the Carlos Beltran deal, Green was another enigmatic pitcher this year for the Charleston RiverDogs. He too would have on start where he’d throw five scoreless innings and strikeout nine, and then the next outing let up eight runs in two innings. He has a 92-95 mph fastball, a plus curveball, and a burgeoning changeup. His overall stuff is very similar to Nelson, and his performance has been too. He finished with a 4.49 ERA and 112 K : 39 BB in 126.1 innings this season. He too could have mid-rotation starter potential if he can put together some consistency. He did also fade in the second half in a season where he threw a career high in innings. Definitely seems like he tired out.
34. Glenn Otto – RHP, 6-foot-5, 240-pounds, 21-years-old – In my opinion, the Yankees got a huge bargain getting Otto in the fifth round. To get someone with his size, and with his stuff in the fifth round was a good find. He throws a 92-95 mph fastball that tops out at 97, and has a spike knuckle-curve that is devastating. The Yankees plan to use him as a starter, so I suspect he will be tasked with developing a changeup and/or slider to round out his repertoire. There’s a good chance he adds a tick or two with professional coaching at his size too, so his potential is certainly enough to dream on. In addition to the 60 innings he threw in college last season, the Yankees had him throw 20 in professional ball. In those 20 innings, he struck out 30 and walked five with a 1.35 ERA. That puts him in line for 100-110 innings next season.
35. Deivi Garcia – RHP, 5-foot-10, 163-pounds, 18-years-old – He’s a bit undersized, but he packs a punch. Still just 18, he already throws a 92-94 mph fastball and an above average curveball, while mixing in a changeup which is improving. The Yankees obviously like him, as they promoted him from the DSL to the GCL, and then again to Pulaski. He had an excellent season overall, striking out 85 and walking 19 in 60 innings, while pitching to a 3.3 ERA. This is definitely a guy to look out for next season, and he could even sneak in and steal a spot in the Charleston rotation at some point in 2018.
36. Luis Medina – RHP, 6-foot-1, 175-pounds, 18-years-old – It was a disappointing debut for the highly touted Luis Medina, but you have to remind yourself, he is just 18. Sure, he finished with a 5.35 ERA and 24 walks in 38.2 innings, but he did manage to strike out 39 and had a .214 average against. Those things do count for something, especially in an 18-year-old. He already sits in the mid to high 90’s with his fastball, and he has a feel for his breaking ball as well. If he can gain some control going forward he will rapidly ascend on this list and could even get national recognition.
37. Oswaldo Cabrera – SS/2B/3B, 5-foot-10, 145-pounds, 18-years-old – I know Cabrera is far down on the countdown, and I know he didn’t have the best statistical season in 2017. The trends, however, showed that after a slow start he finished the season strong. For an 18-year-old, that improvement is probably the most important thing at this level. After the terrible start he got off to, he managed to bring his numbers up to .252/.306/.321/.628 on the season. By the end of the first half of the season, he was batting .208. The second half of the season, he hit .280/.333/.353/.687. On the season he hit four homeruns, 14 doubles and a triple, while stealing eight bases. I believe within a couple of years he will be one of the best prospects in the system.
38. Adonis Rosa – RHP, 6-foot-1, 160-pounds, 22-years-old – He is easily one of the most underrated players in the system, even on my list. He only started half of his games this season, but that was partially because he had an innings limit. Overall, however, he had a phenomenal year. Including the playoffs, he threw 117.2 innings, struck out 109, and walked just 19. He finishes the year with a 2.92 ERA. He sits in the low-90’s and has a nasty changeup with a burgeoning curveball. Next year will be very telling as too what the organization thinks of him, but he deserves recognition and is ready for a full starter’s workload next season.
39. Daniel Alvarez – RHP, 6-foot-3, 228-pounds, 21-years-old – Alvarez had a very good season this year. The one blemish on his season is that he had a pension for giving up big hits, and thus his ERA is artificially bloated. His overall numbers actually look excellent, but he finished the year with a 4.16 ERA. He threw 71.1 innings and struck out 73 while walking 19. He had a .236 average against. I’m not sure what went wrong with his season, but I’d be willing to bet that he ran into some bad luck and bad defense at times. He’s not the highest ceiling pitcher in the system, as his stuff is more solid than spectacular. He is more of a polish pitcher, but he has managed to strike out a ton of batters this year even with his low-90’s stuff. That’s because his curveball and changeup are both nasty. As time goes on, it wouldn’t be out of the question for him to develop some more power, and that would cause him to shoot up these rankings quickly.
40. Mike Ford – 1B, 6-foot-0, 225-pounds, LHB, 25-years-old – Ford is a local boy from New Jersey who the Yankees got as an undrafted free agent back in 2013. Now five years later, he is eligible for the rule 5 draft. He managed to hit 20 homeruns and 24 doubles this season. He finished with a .270/.404/.471/.875 line. Ford has tremendous patience and average power for a first baseman. He doesn’t play a great first base, but he can hold his own at the position. With Greg Bird and Garrett Cooper ahead of him, and Chris Gittens behind him, I can’t imagine the Yankees protecting him in the offseason. There’s also not a great path to the majors for him. His best opportunity will come if he is traded, but he did a lot to increase his value in that department this season.
41. Jordan Scott – CF, 6-foot-0, 210-pounds, SH, 20-years-old – Drafted for his potential 5-tool skills and power hitting both lefty and righty, Jordan Scott had a bit of a breakout season this year. The Yankees got him in the 14th round of the 2016 draft, which could turn out to be a total bargain. He hit .244/.372/.466/.839 with seven homeruns, four doubles, and two triples in 40 games this year. He struck out 42 times. He’s still very raw, but if he can capitalize on some of that power and athleticism the Yankees might have something good here.
42. Erik Swanson – RHP, 6-foot-3, 220-pounds, 24-years-old – He has a mid-90’s fastball that tops out at 98 mph, and a changeup and slider to go with it. He threw 100.1 innings and struck out 84 while walking just 13 this season. It wasn’t a bad season for Swanson, but he did have a .291 average against, which is pretty high. Scouts say his pitches are all a bit too straight, although he has excellent command. The challenge for him going forward will be to find a way to get more movement on his pitches, otherwise hitter will continue to square him up too well.
43. Raynel Espinal – RHP, 6-foot-3, 199-pounds, 25-years-old – Espinal has been one of the great stories of 2017. He has ascended three levels this season and even pitched in Triple-A in the playoffs. He has been unstoppable at every level. He possesses a 94 mph fastball with tremendous movement. His secondary pitches are nothing special but they complement his fastball well, as is evidenced by his video game like statistics. On the season, he has 93 K to 15 BB in 74.1 innings, and a 1.09 ERA. It has taken him a long time to get to this point in his career, but he appears ready to contribute to the majors very soon.
44. Anyelo Gomez – RHP, 6-foot-1, 185-pounds, 24-years-old – Gomez had one of the better seasons among relievers on the farm. He threw 70.1 innings, struck out 87, walked 21, and had a 1.92 ERA and .199 average against. He pitched at all four of the long season levels this season, culminating in Triple-A, where he also pitched in the playoffs. He has low to mid-90’s fastball with secondary offerings that are getting the job done. He’s rule 5 eligible this season so the Yankees may lose him, but if they don’t it will be interesting to see if he can contribute to the majors next season.
45. Kyle Holder – SS, 6-foot-1, 185-pounds, LHB, 23-years-old – Kyle Holder got off to such a bad start that he quickly became a forgotten man by midseason. He was a first round pick and didn’t even make my midseason top 50. Since then, however, several things have happened to increase his value. Most importantly, he started performing. After hitting a low point of a .187 batting average on June 12th, he completely turned his season around and was able to finish with respectable numbers, and that was 2 and ½ months into the season! Since that moment, in 203 at bats, he has 73 hits (.360 avg), 16 walks (.406 OBP), 12 doubles, and three homeruns (.463 SLG, .869 OPS). Something obviously clicked for him on June 22nd, and it could be a huge step in his development. The other thing that happened was that Jorge Mateo got traded, clearing the path for Holder to move up to Double-A and have an actual path to the majors in the coming years. In other words, he’s no longer completely blocked. Next season the big thing for Holder will be to hit the ground running. If he can have a big season offensively he will be on the prospect map, especially with his defense at shortstop being possibly the best in the minors.
46. Gosuke Katoh – 2B/3B, 6-foot-2, 180-pounds, LHB, 22-years-old – It’s hard to believe Katoh is still only 22-years-old. It seems like forever ago when he was considered one of the best prospects in the system. That’s probably because his last good season was in 2013, in rookie ball. This year he had a major rebound season which is starting to put him back on the map. He hit .293/.376/.440/.816 with 20 doubles, three triples, and six homeruns in 84 games. He also stole 11 bases. These are not world beating numbers, especially now that he is getting a bit older. He has always been physically talented though, and it’s nice to see his performance finally catching up with his abilities. This isn’t a Kyle Higashioka 2016 level breakout, but it’s not that far off. It’s enough that I’ll be following him closely next season.
47. Brody Koerner – RHP, 6-foot-2, 220-pounds, 23-years-old – Koerner finished the season on a pretty bad downturn. In fairness to him, this was also a career high in innings by a substantial amount. He finished the season with decent numbers overall. Koerner had a 3.52 ERA, 71 K : 29 BB, and a .271 average against in 107.1 innings between High-A and Double-A this year. He has a starter’s repertoire, with a mid-90’s sinking fastball. This explains the low strike out rate, as he induces a lot of contact and forces batters to beat the ball into the ground. He also has a curveball, changeup, and slider. Hopefully he has built up some strength and can endure a bit longer next season.
48. Cody Carroll – RHP, 6-foot-5, 210-pounds, 24-years-old – Carroll had a breakout year in 2016, and then topped it in 2017. He was moved to the bullpen full time this year, and it payed major dividends. He threw 67.1 innings, had an 89:30 K:BB ratio, and a 2.54 ERA between High-A and Trenton. He also had a .191 average against. He actually dropped in the countdown from midseason, mainly because so much starting pitching talent rose to the occasion and surpassed him. He is a legitimate late inning relief option though, and the Yankees got him in the 22nd round. He throws a mid-90’s fastball which hits 98 mph, and has a curveball and changeup. At this point there is a high likelihood he will make it to the majors if he stays healthy. It will be fun to see what he can do.
49. Frederick Cuevas – CF, 5-foot-11, 185-pounds, LHB, 19-years-old – Cuevas had a breakout season this year in Pulaski, hitting .312/.373/.455/.827 with 11 doubles, a triple, and three homeruns. He’s still very young and has a long way to go, but he has some speed and some power with a good contact ratio. He’s a bit undersized but if he keeps hitting that will be overlooked. I look forward to seeing what he can do in the long season leagues, as he has a nice combination of speed, defense, and developing power.
50. Daniel Ramos – RHP, 5-foot-11, 184-pounds, 22-years-old – The Yankees signed Ramos back in October 2013 with little fanfare. Since then he has started to develop into something pretty special. This season he played the whole season in Pulaski, where he threw 52 innings, struck out 56, walked 16, and had a 3.81 ERA. Those are not eye-popping numbers, but when you consider his stuff he has a lot of potential. After going through shoulder surgery in 2015, he is now back to full strength. He has a 92-94 mph fastball, a plus curveball, and a newly developing changeup. He has a long way to go but now that he is fully recovered from shoulder surgery he could really ascend quickly.