Yankees Prospects 11-20 through July

Yesterday, I ranked and analyzed the Yankees’ top 10 prospects through the first four months of the 2014 season. Today’s installment includes prospects 11 through 20. Check back tomorrow for prospects 21-30.

#11 Abiatal Avelino

Age: 19
Position Shortstop
2014 KATOH: 71%

MonthLevelBB%K%ISOBABIPLine
AprilA8%17%.083.353.286/.348/.369
MayA7%13%.092.343.294/.349/.387
JuneInjuredN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
JulyR/A7%19%.111.302.241/.293/.352

Down

Abiatal Avelino had gotten off to a very nice start to the year before a quad strain sidelined him for two months. He recently finished up his rehab assignment, and has rejoined Class-A Charleston.

While the quad injury set Avelino back a bit, he still has a bright future ahead of him. He’ll 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. Pair that with strong plate discipline, and you have a pretty impressive offensive package for a middle infielder – especially if he’s able to stick at short long-term. 

#12 Manny Banuelos

Age: 23
Position: Left Handed Pitcher

MonthLevelK%BB%GB%ERASIERA
AprilA+/AA30%3%43%2.302.43
MayAA15%18%42%6.236.06
JuneAA28%5%53%2.452.68
JulyAA17%9%47%6.114.33

Down

Blisters and elbow problems limited Manny Banuelos to just 35 innings over the first three months of 2014, but he may be starting to lock in now that he’s pitching regularly again. The lefty hasn’t allowed a run over his last two starts, while fanning seven and walking one over nine innings.

The Yankees are still being understandably cautious with ManBan, who hasn’t thrown more than five innings in a start since May of 2012.  He still has some upside, but has fallen a long way since 2011 when he was the unanimous top pitching prospect in the system. With any luck, he’ll manage to stay healthy from here on out and log some much needed innings over the next few weeks.


#13 Jacob Lindgren

Age: 21
Position: Left Handed Pitcher

MonthLevelK%BB%GB%ERASIERA
AprilN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
MayN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
JuneR40%0%100%0.00-1.10
JulyA/A+52%9%88%0.790.46

Down

Jacob Lindgren has been nothing short of un-hittable so far in his professional career. Through 10 appearances, this year’s second round pick holds a laughable 0.73 ERA, has struck out more than half of the batters he’s faced, and has yet to allow a fly ball. His season SIERA sits at 0.34. That’s about as good as it gets. 

As a 21-year-old college arm, dominance was to be expected from Lindgren out of the gate. His devastating slider has been enough to baffle hitters in low minors, but it’ll be interesting to see how he handles the challenge of Double-A. Given what we’ve seen so far, you have to figure he’ll be pitching in the Bronx by mid-season 2015 at the latest, and possibly even this year as a September call up. He’d be a clear upgrade over David Huff, and might even be more effective than Matt Thornton as the team’s primary lefty specialist.


#14 Bryan Mitchell

Age: 23
Position: Right Handed Pitcher

MonthLevelK%BB%GB%ERASIERA
AprilAA31%11%54%4.262.99
MayAA19%4%49%4.503.28
JuneAA/AAA18%17%52%5.645.45
JulyAA/AAA18%7%51%3.213.83

Down

Although he’s struggled with his control at times, Bryan Mitchell‘s been more good than bad over the course of the season, and has pitched particularly well of late. He’s thrown 12 shutout innings over his last two starts and holds a 9:1 K:BB.

Mitchell has very good stuff, but through five professional seasons, it’s yet to translate into effective pitching. Mitchell’s future is probably in the bullpen, but he’ll likely remain a starter for now as the Yankees need all hands on deck in terms of rotation depth. Given Mitchell’s recent performance, along with his spot on the 40-man, he’ll almost certainly get some big league chances this year, even if only as an extra arm in September.


#15 Jake Cave

Age: 21
Position: Outfield
2014 KATOH: 59%
MonthLevelBB%K%ISOBABIPLine
AprilA+5%19%.112.365.290/.327/.402
MayA+8%16%.097.396.336/.400/.434
JuneA+9%22%.058.392.298/.360/.356
JulyA+/AA9%20%.162.389.316/.375/.479

Down

Following a strong showing with Class-A Tampa, the Yankees opted to bump Jake Cave up to Double-A Trenton following the All-Star break, where he’s continued his hot hitting. On the year, he’s hitting an impressive .311/.367/.470, and has also been hitting for power of late, with 12 extra-base hits in his last 22 games.

Cave’s done nothing but hit so far, but hitting for power hadn’t really been part of his game up to this point. If the power’s here to stay, Cave could be a very interesting prospect, who could help the big club as soon as next year. Otherwise, he might be a “tweener”, who’s not quite fast enough to get by as a punchless center fielder.

#16 Mason Williams

Age: 22
Position: Outfield
2014 KATOH: 37%

MonthLevelBB%K%ISOBABIPLine
AprilAA9%13%.087.253.223/.292/.311
MayAA16%10%.056.205.180/.311/.236
JuneAA5%13%.101.217.242/.280/.343
JulyAA5%12%.035.210.183/.223/.217

Down

It’s becoming more and more obvious that Mason Williams just isn’t a very good hitter. The toolsy outfielder has been vastly overmatched by Double-A pitching, and has only been able to muster a .201/.240/.274 batting line since joining the Trenton Thunder last August.

Mason  Williams batted ball heat mapWilliams’ strikeout and walk numbers haven’t been terrible, but his .073 ISO and .229 BABIP at the Double-A level speak to how weakly he’s hitting the ball. His batted ball heat map shows that he rarely gets the ball out of the infield. Unless he starts hitting the ball with some authority, it’s hard to see him being anything more than a glove-first reserve outfielder.

 


#17 Slade Heathcott

Age: 23
Position: Center Field
2014 KATOH: 3%

MonthLevelBB%K%ISOBABIPLine
AprilInjuredN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
MayAA8%36%.061.300.182/.250/.242
JuneInjuredN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A

Down

Slade Heathcott simply can’t stay healthy. The outfielder’s season came to an end just 9 games after it started, when it was announced he would need surgery on his right knee for the second time in the last year. All told, he’s missed nearly three year’s worth of games over his first five professional seasons.

Heathcott has loads of talent, but there’s no replacing all of that missed development time. He’ll be 24 in September, so next season may be his last chance to redeem some of his prospect status — if he can stay on the field, of course.


#18 Ramon Flores

Age: 22
Position: Outfield, First Base
2014 KATOH: 95%

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

Down

Ramon Flores was off to a solid start with Triple-A Scranton before injuring his ankle. Most exciting was 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, there’s no word on an expected return date.

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 a bit. Prior to his injury, he seemed to be just about ready for the show, and considering he’s already on the 40-man, he might get a look in the outfield if he ever gets healthy. He could even see some time at first base given Mark Teixeira‘s inability to stay on the field.


#19 Gosuke Katoh

Age: 19
Position: Second Base
2014 KATOH: 55%

MonthLevelBB%K%ISOBABIPLine
AprilA16%41%.131.355.180/.329/.311
MayA14%33%.111.233.153/.274/.264
JuneA7%30%.105.421.291/.337/.395
JulyA16%23%.130.357.273/.389/.403

Down

Gosuke Katoh got off to a terrible start this year, but has hit progressively better as the year’s gone on. Most notably, Katoh’s finally putting the ball in play at a decent clip, and has struck out just 15% of the time since July 10th.

Katoh’s come a long way since April when he struck out an embarrassing 41% of the time, and its encouraging to see that he’s made the right adjustments to turn around his game. Katoh gets rave reviews for his defense, and could develop into a very good player if his strikeout woes are behind him. But as a 19-year-old in A-ball, he’s still very far away.

#20 Ty Hensley

Age: 20
Position: Right Handed Pitcher

MonthLevelK%BB%GB%ERASIERA
AprilInjuredN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
MayInjuredN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
JuneR29%13%29%1.693.34
JulyR/A-29%10%32%3.313.81

After sitting out most of the last two years with injuries, Ty Hensley is finally pitching again. Although its still a tiny sample, Hensley’s shown some signs of life in eight appearances, striking out 29% of the batters he’s faced.

The Yankees are understandably taking things slow with Hensley, limiting to just two or three innings per appearance so far. He had a lot of promise coming out of high school, but all of these injuries have really dimmed his prospect star, and its anyone’s guess if he’ll be able to rebound. He was recently promoted to Class-A Staten Island, and his performance there should give us some idea as to what he has to offer.

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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