Yankees top 10 prospects through June

With the month of June in the books, its time for the monthly re-ranking of the Yankees’ prospects, starting with the top 10. I did not include players currently in the majors, regardless of whether or not they’ve reached the cut-offs for rookie eligibility. So rookies Jose Ramirez and Chase Whitley weren’t considered. The arrows represent the player’s performance in the month of May. Check back tomorrow for prospects 11-20.

#1 Luis Severino

Age: 20
Position: Right Handed Pitcher


DownLuis Severino‘s excellent first half has vaulted him to the top of organizational prospect lists. Severino was promoted to high-A Tampa last month, but hasn’t missed a beat, and now holds an impressive 2.76 ERA and 27% strikeout rate on the year — enough to earn him a spot on this year’s Futures game in Minnesota.

Severino’s been nothing short of excellent so far, but still has a lot left to prove. Plenty of pitchers make A-ball hitters look silly, only to struggle in the higher levels. As we’ve seen with Rafael de Paula, the move to High-A can sometimes be a challenging one, so it’ll be interesting to see if Severino can remain dominant for the rest of the summer. But up to this point, he’s given us little reason to doubt his abilities.

#2 Gary Sanchez

Age: 21
Position: Catcher



June was a rough month for Gary Sanchez. In addition to struggling at the plate, he was also benched for five games due to an undisclosed disciplinary issue. Who knows what he did, but the length of his punishment suggests it was something at least moderately serious.

All in all, Sanchez’s recent performance does little to suggest he’s a star in the making. Makeup issues aside, he’s hit .237/.313/.407 since the calendar turned to May, and hasn’t hit for much power since his 2012 promotion to high-A Tampa. At this point, it’s not even clear he’ll hit enough to be of much value if he ends up needing to move out from behind the plate. At 21, Sanchez still has age on his side, but it’s starting to look like he may never live up to his top prospect billing.

#3 Aaron Judge

Age: 22
Position: Right Field



After an excellent showing in Charleston, Aaron Judge received a mid-June promotion to High-A Tampa, and he’s kept right on hitting. Judge had somewhat of a power outage to start his pro career, but is starting to buck that trend, belting 7 homers in his last 32 games.

Judge’s 6’7″ frame allows him to hit for gobs of power, but his long swing makes him a strikeout risk. With a 22% strikeout rate, Judge has done a good enough job of making contact so far, but its something to monitor going forward. Otherwise, it’s very hard to poke holes in his performance to date.

#4 John Ryan Murphy

Age: 23
Position: Catcher



John Ryan Murphy (formerly J.R. Murphy) spent most of the first half backing up Brian McCann, but was optioned to Triple-A Scranton when Francisco Cervelli returned from injury. Murphy hit well in his stint with the big club, but is probably best suited for Triple-A at this point, where he can get everyday reps.

Although he’s struggled a bit of late, Murphy’s developing into a pretty solid player. Not only can he hit a little bit, but he’s also a fine defensive catcher despite being just 23 years old. Murphy probably has a future as an everyday catcher, but with McCann locked up for the next five years, that future’s probably not with the Yankees.

#5 Ian Clarkin

Age: 19
Position: Left Handed Pitcher


DownAlthough he started the year in extended spring training, Ian Clarkin‘s proven that he belongs in class-A Charleston. The 19-year-old holds a 3.08 ERA and has struck out an impressive 26% of batters faced since his early-May promotion. He’s been even better recently, striking out 32% in his last four starts on his way to a 1.80 ERA.

There were some concerns about Clarkin’s control heading into the season — especially following his rough three start stint from last year — but he seems to have put those problems behind him. Clarkin’s still years away from the Bronx, but he’s been everything the Yankees could have hoped for in his first year as a pro.

#6 Eric Jagielo

Age: 22
Position: Third Base




Eric Jagielo‘s sat out the last six weeks with a lingering oblique strain, but is expected to return to action in the next week or so.

Last year’s 26th overall pick has had a decent start to his pro career, hitting .261/.360/.437, but his performance hasn’t been without flaws. He’s struck out a mildly concerning 24% of the time as a pro, and his defense at third has been pretty spotty, as evidenced by his 9 errors in 30 games this year. It’s still very early in Jagielo’s career, but considering his age and draft pedigree, it’s a little disappointing that he’s not particularly close to mastering A-ball.

#7 Rob Refsnyder

Age: 23
Position: Second Base



An unheralded prospect headed into the season, Rob Refsnyder has broken out in a big way thus far. He earned a much-deserved promotion to Triple-A Scranton three weeks ago, and the hitting hasn’t stopped. All told, he’s hit a stupidly good .413/.478/.670 since May 8th and is starting to force his way into the Yankees’ immediate plans.

As great as Refsnyder hit in Double-A Trenton, it was a little concerning to see his walk rate dip to 6% –less than half of his 2013 rate. He’s since quelled those concerns, though, by walking a remarkable 19% of the time since his promotion. As a converted outfielder, Refsnyder’s defense at second is still a work in progress. Even so, its hard to think that he wouldn’t be an upgrade over Kelly Johnson, Brian Roberts, and Yangervis Solarte.

#8 Tyler Austin

Age: 22
Position: First Base, Left Field, Right Field


Down Tyler Austin continues to underwhelm offensively. His power still hasn’t returned to 2012 levels, and his plate discipline stats have also started to slip in recent weeks.

Austin’s been a little banged up these last couple of years, but even so, he’s been a massive disappointment. It’s starting to look like he may never be the above-average hitter we had hoped for following his 2012 campaign. It’s hard to envision him ever being more than a platoon player at this point, especially since his latest attempt at playing third base seems to have flopped.

#9 Greg Bird

Age: 21
Position: First Base



Gregory Bird absolutely raked in the Sally League last year, but has unexpectedly had some trouble adjusting to more refined pitching in the Florida State League. After missing the first month of the season with back problems, he’s slashed .277/.377/.428 in 47 games.

Bird’s hit decently in Tampa, but as a first baseman, he’ll need to do a little better than that. The walks won’t probably won’t stick around if he’s only slugging .420 or so, so he’ll need to recapture some of the power he showed last year to remain relevant in prospect conversations.

#10 Mason Williams

Age: 22
Position: Center Field



Mason Williams has been extraordinarily overmatched since his promotion to double-A Trenton last August. He had a nice 15-game stretch in early June where he hit .306/.323/.406, but quickly reverted back to his punchless self by hitting .159/.224/.273 since.

Williams’ power has been nonexistent for a while now, and he hasn’t gotten on base at a respectable clip since low-A ball. His speed and outfield defense are the only tools left standing at this point, which likely means he’ll be at best a fourth outfielder.


About Chris

Chris works in economic development by day, but spends most of his nights thinking about baseball. He writes for Pinstripe Pundits, and is an occasional user of the twitter machine: @_chris_mitchell
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