Yankees prospects 11-20 through May

Yesterday, I ranked and analyzed the Yankees’ top 10 prospects through the first two months of the season. Today’s installment includes prospects 11 through 20. Check back tomorrow for prospects 21-30.

#11 Pete O'Brien

Age: 24
Position: Catcher, Right Field
MonthLevelBB%K%ISOBABIPLine
AprilA+4%23%.374.355.330/.361/.703
MayA+/AA4%23%.374.217.252/.286/.626

 DownAlthough he’s cooled off a bit in the last week or so, Pete O’Brien‘s had an incredible start to the 2014 season, crushing a remarkable 20 homers in the season’s first two months. It’s hard to poke holes is O’Brien’s performance, but with 48 strikeouts and just 8 walks, his plate discipline numbers leave a little to be desired.

O’Briein can rake offensively. He’s made that much clear in the last two months, but it’s his defense that’s his biggest detractor. With 38 passed balls in 133 games, O’Brien’s probably not destined to be a catcher. The Bombers also tried him out at third base last summer, but that experiment came to an end after 18 errors in 38 games. This year they’re trying him out  in right field, but given O’Brien’s size and lack of speed, its hard to imagine him being much of an outfielder. Thanks to his defensive shortcomings, O’Brien really needs to hit order to carve out a role in the big leagues. That might happen, but anything less and he’ll be a fringy platoon-type with no real position.

#12 Abiatal Avelino

Age: 19
Position Shortstop

MonthLevelBB%K%ISOBABIPLine
AprilA8%17%.083.353.286/.348/.369
MayA7%13%.092.343.294/.349/.387

Down

Abitial Avelino was hitting very well before straining his quad on May 10th. Through 29 games, the Dominican-born shortstop slashed .294/349/.387, while going 11 for 16 on the basepaths. Although he wasn’t hitting for much power, his performance was pretty encouraging for an uber-raw teenaged shortstop. Avelino should be rejoining the Charleston River Dogs in the next two or three weeks.

Avelino will probably never be a power hitter, but his bat speed is supposed to be the real deal, which should enable him to hit his share of line drives. Coupled with his strong plate discipline, that’s an impressive offensive package for a middle infielder – especially if he’s able to stick at short long-term.

#13 Bryan Mitchell

Age: 23
Position: Right Handed Pitcher

MonthLevelK%BB%GB%ERASIERA
AprilAA31%11%54%4.262.99
MayAA19%4%49%4.503.28

DownAlthough he missed a couple of weeks with elbow pain, Bryan Mitchell has pitched well in the eight starts he’s made with double-A Trenton. Although his season ERA sits at 4.35, his peripheral stats — especially his 26% strikeout rate — suggest he’s been significantly better than that.

Mitchell throws very hard, and he seems to be translating his raw velocity into effective pitching this year. With the litany of injuries to the Yankees’ starting rotation, Mitchell’s 2014 performance puts him in position for a call-up if another starter were to go down with injury. Given his stuff, and his spot on the 40-man, the Yankees might also consider using him out of the bullpen later in the year.

#14 Shane Greene

Age: 25
Position: Right Handed Pitcher

MonthLevelK%BB%GB%ERASIERA
AprilAAA/MLB27%12%55%7.113.14
MayAAA17%10%51%4.604.27

Down

Shane Greene spent much of the month of April riding the shuttle between Scranton and New York, only throwing six and a third of an inning between triple-A and the majors. He’s finally gotten regular work in May, but hasn’t been overly impressive thus far.

Greene’s only pitched around 100 innings above A-ball, so he’s probably best suited to hone his craft in triple-A for now. Of particular concern has been his command. Walks were a big problem for Greene in 2012, but he seemed to reign them in last year. A move to the bullpen may be in order if he’s unable to keep the walks under control this year.  Greene’s still pretty raw, but the Yankees seem to really like him. He’s also on the 40-man, so odds are we’ll see him in the majors again sooner rather than later.

#15 Ramon Flores

Age: 22
Position: Outfield, First Base

MonthLevelBB%K%ISOBABIPLine
AprilAAA16%20%.183.355.280/.394/.463
MayAAA10%14%.190.253.241/.315/.431

Down

After a torrid start to the year, Ramon Flores has continued to put up solid numbers for triple-A Scranton. Most exciting has been his power output, which has been the missing piece of his offensive game since he signed out of Venezuela back in 2009. Flores’ 2014 ISO of .187 is easily the highest he’s had as a professional. Unfortunately, Flores will need to miss the next month of games with an ankle injury.

Flores lacks a standout tool, but there also aren’t any glaring holes in his game, especially now that the power seems to be coming around. Flores seems to be just about ready for the show, and considering he’s already on the 40-man, I’d be surprised if he didn’t get a look this year once his ankle heals up. He might even see some time at first base if Mark Teixeira‘s wrist remains a problem.

#16 Rob Refsnyder

Age: 23
Position: Second Base

MonthLevelBB%K%ISOBABIPLine
AprilAA9%21%.116.328.267/.344/.384
MayAA3%10%.265.378.354/.381/.619

Down

Rob Refsnyder hasn’t been himself lately. Historically a high-walk, low-power hitter, Refsnyder has been doing just the opposite of late. In his last 12 games, he’s hit 12 extra base hits, while only drawing two walks.

Refsnyder’s hitting an impressive .317/.364/.518 on the year. No doubt this is a good thing, but the way he’s done it has been unusual for him. It’s obviously a small sample, but given what we know about how quickly stats become reliable, the homers are more likely to be a fluke than the walks – which doesn’t bode particularly well for his keeping up the pace. Refnyder’s power will definitely be something to keep an eye on. If it power proves to be more than a flash in the pan, he could develop into a very good second baseman.

#17 Luis Torrens

Age: 18
Position: Catcher

MonthLevelBB%K%ISOBABIPLine
AprilA18%21%.115.167.154/.353/.269
MayInjuredN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A

Down
Although he didn’t hit much in rookie ball last year, the Yankees aggressively promoted Luis Torrens to full-season ball this year. However, he’s been sidelined with a shoulder injury since mid-April, but is supposed to return to game action in the next week or two.

Torrens celebrated his 18th birthday just last month, and is all sorts of young for his level. So far he’s the third youngest player to play in the Sally League this year. Given his age and position, it would be pretty exciting if he were to provide anything offensively.

#18 Rafael De Paula

Age: 23
Position: Right Handed Pitcher

MonthLevelK%BB%GB%ERASIERA
AprilA+32%10%38%2.962.85
MayA+22%15%40%5.504.76

DownRafael De Paula got off to a tremendous start to the year, but walks have become a major issue for him in recent weeks. He’s also not pitching very deep into his starts. In eight games, he’s lasted more than five innings exactly once.

De Paula’s stuff enables him to strike guys out, but his lack of command has prevented him from being consistently dominant so far. He may be destined for a career as a late-inning reliever, where his lights-out stuff would play up, and his lack of command would be less of an issue. At 23, he’s a little old to be struggling in A-ball, so the clock is definitely ticking on his time as a starter.

#19 Jose Ramirez

Age: 24
Position: Right Handed Pitcher

MonthLevelK%BB%GB%ERASIERA
AprilInjuredN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
MayAAA23%15%43%1.174.67

DownAfter missing all of April with an oblique strain, Jose Ramirez has struggled in his first few games since moving to the bullpen, striking out nine but walking six over 7.2 innings.

The hard-throwing Dominican certainly has the stuff to thrive as a reliever, but his command is what’s holding him back for now. Now that he’s healthy, it will be interesting to see what he can do once he gets acclimated to pitching just an inning at a time. He’s already on the 40-man, so he’ll almost certainly get some chances out of the Yankees’ bullpen this year.

#20 Gosuke Katoh

Age: 19
Position: Second Base

MonthLevelBB%K%ISOBABIPLine
AprilA16%41%.131.355.180/.329/.311
MayA14%33%.111.233.153/.274/.264

Gosuke Katoh continues to scuffle in his first full season as a pro. The 2013 high school graduate has amassed 60 strikeouts over 44 games this year, and hasn’t hit for much power in the process. He’s drawn plenty of walks, but his offensive performance has been a complete disaster otherwise.

As bad as Katoh’s been, it’s important to remember that he’s still just 19-years-old. Sending him to full-season ball was an aggressive move by the Yankees, so some bumps in the road were to be expected. Katoh’s a defensive-minded middle infielder, which means he doesn’t need to hit much to carve out a successful career. Still, striking out at a 36% clip just isn’t going to cut it.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference, Fangraphs, and MLBfarm

About Chris

Chris works in economic development by day, but spends most of his nights either watching or thinking about baseball. He's also an occasional user of the twitter machine: @_chris_mitchell
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