Yankees top 10 Prospects through July

With the month of July 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 Shane Greene wasn’t considered. For hitting prospects, I also included their KATOH projection, which estimates their odds of making it to the majors based on their 2014 stats. Check back tomorrow for prospects 11-20.

#1 Luis Severino

Age: 20
Position: Right Handed Pitcher

MonthLevelK%BB%GB%ERASIERA
AprilA27%7%53%1.893.02
MayA24%4%56%3.912.50
JuneA/A+29%6%53%2.892.61
JulyA+/AA34%8%54%1.092.30

DownAfter a very brief, but very dominant, four game stint in High-A Tampa, the Yankees opted to push Luis Severino up to Double-A Trenton. Severino’s been up for the challenge so far, fanning 20 hitters while only walking four in his first three starts in Trenton.

The Yankees are being very aggressive with Severino, who’s now pitched for three minor league levels this year after spending all of 2013 in rookie ball. Severino’s stuff is excellent, but it’ll be interesting to see if he’s polished enough to succeed in Double-A given his limited experience. Severino’s developing into a pretty exciting prospect, and it’s not inconceivable that he could be in the majors by the middle of next year — much earlier than anyone had anticipated.

#2 Aaron Judge

Age: 22
Position: Right Field
2014 KATOH: 43%

MonthLevelBB%K%ISOBABIPLine
AprilA17%19%.127.441.354/.463/.481
MayA11%24%.189.320.264/.350/.453
JuneA/A+19%23%.293.446.354/.471/.646
JulyA+17%21%.130.375.300/.423/.430

Down

After he tore up the Sally league for two and a half months, the Yankees finally promoted Aaron Judge to High-A Tampa in mid June. Although he’s hit just four home runs since his promotion, he holds a very impressive .418 OBP.

As well as Judge has hit, its important to keep in mind that at 22, he’s been a little old for his competition level, especially for a first-round draft choice. Additionally, his .393 BABIP disguises his mildly concerning 21.4% strikeout rate, which may worsen as he climbs the minor league ladder.  Even so, Judge has loads of talent, and it’s hard not to get excited about his power potential.

#3 Gary Sanchez

Age: 21
Position: Catcher
2014 KATOH: 99%

MonthLevelBB%K%ISOBABIPLine
AprilAA9%15%.171.361.316/.388/.487
MayAA8%18%.184.215.214/.272/.398
JuneAA12%20%.135.218.270/.357/.405
JulyAA5%22%.094.389.313/.353/.406

Down

Gary Sanchez went through a rough stretch in May and June, but has turned it on since his 5-game suspension last month, and has hit .308/.353/.432 since his return.

Sanchez’s .275/.338/.421 line may not be the sexiest, but is still pretty darn good for a catcher who’s facing pitching three or four years older than he is. Sanchez will likely find his way to Triple-A before long, but with Brian McCann in tow, his future is probably with another organization.

#4 Ian Clarkin

Age: 19
Position: Left Handed Pitcher

MonthLevelK%BB%GB%ERASIERA
AprilN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
MayA25%5%37%4.233.21
JuneA28%8%52%1.802.86
JulyA27%10%47%5.113.42

Down

Ian Clarkin missed a couple of weeks with an ankle injury following a rough outing on July 1st, but has since returned to action and continues to pitch well. Overall, the 19-year-old holds a 3.46 ERA and has struck out an impressive 26% of batters faced since his early-May promotion.

There were some concerns about Clarkin’s control heading into the season — especially following his rough three start stint from last year — but those issues seem to be more or less behind him. Clarkin’s still years away from pitching in the majors, but he’s been everything the Yankees could have hoped for in his first year as a pro.

#5 John Ryan Murphy

Age: 23
Position: Catcher
2014 KATOH: 71%

MonthLevelBB%K%ISOBABIPLine
AprilAAA/MLB0%18%.154.258.231/.231/.385
MayMLB3%27%.030.500.364/.382/.394
JuneAAA/MLB4%28%.157.143.196/.226/.353
JulyAAA10%26%.113.320.254/.321/.366

Down

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 fared pretty well in his stint with the big club, but has struggled since his return to the minors.

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.

#6 Eric Jagielo

Age: 22
Position: Third Base
2014 KATOH: 39%

MonthLevelBB%K%ISOBABIPLine
AprilA+12%22%.163.277.239/.340/.402
MayA+9%25%.359.293.281/.338/.641
JuneInjuredN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
JulyR/A+8%22%.197.259.237/.330/.434

Down

image

Eric Jagielo has struggled to get going since returning from an oblique strain that sidelined him for six weeks. Since rejoining the Class-A Tampa, he’s hit just .245/.339/.415 while striking out a concerning 29% of the time.

Overall, last year’s 26th overall pick has had a decent start to his pro career, but his performance hasn’t been without flaws. He’s struck out 25% of the time in nearly 500 plate appearances, and his defense at third has been pretty spotty, as evidenced by his 11 errors in 39 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, Right Field
2014 KATOH: 90%

MonthLevelBB%K%ISOBABIPLine
AprilAA9%21%.116.328.267/.344/.384
MayAA3%10%.265.378.354/.381/.619
JuneAA/AAA15%19%.253.300.400/.496/.653
JulyAAA11%20%.159.304.262/.342/.421

Down

After hitting an unbelievable .347/.413/.561 in the first three months of the season, Rob Refsnyder has cooled off a bit in July. Even in his down month, he’s still clubbed four homers for the Scranton Yankees on his way to a respectable 112 wRC+. He’s also played nine games in right field since his promotion to Triple-A

As well as he’s hit, Refsnyder’s defense at second is still a work in progress, which seems to be enough reason for the Yankees to hold him in the minors. He’ll might get a look in September, but probably wouldn’t see much playing time with Stephen Drew and Martin Prado in the fold. He might be ready to take over second base duties as soon as next year, but Prado’s presence clouds his future a bit.

#8 Greg Bird

Age: 21
Position: First Base
2014 KATOH: 57%

MonthLevelBB%K%ISOBABIPLine
AprilInjuredN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
MayA+14%24%.175.327.263/.362/.438
JuneA+14%22%.128.379.291/.390/.419
JulyA+14%20%.184.303.262/.364/.447

Down

Although he got off to something of a slow start, Gregory Bird has hit very well of late, especially in the power department, where he’s strung together seven extra base hits in the last 14 games.

Bird clearly has some offensive talent, but its not clear if he’ll be able to hit enough to be a productive first baseman. Much of his output to date has been via the walk, which aren’t much of a predictor of future success of hitters in A-ball. Take away the walks, and Bird’s stats suddenly look pretty ordinary. Health has also been a major issue for Bird, who also missed most of the 2012 and the first month of 2014 with back problems. He’s an interesting player, but the real test will come next year when he squares off against Double-A pitching.

#9 Tyler Austin

Age: 22
Position: First Base, Left Field, Right Field
2014 KATOH: 58%

MonthLevelBB%K%ISOBABIPLine
AprilAA12%22%.096.325.250/.333/.346
MayAA10%18%.086.313.259/.333/.346
JuneAA7%22%.165.194.242/.300/.407
JulyAA5%15%.136.333.301/.342/.437

Down

For the first time since 2012, Tyler Austin seems to be coming alive offensively. Since July 14th, he’s hit a torrid .386/.438/.561.

Austin’s monster 2012 season put him on the prospect map, but pretty much turned into a pumpkin as soon as he got to Double-A last year. Some of that was likely due to a wrist injury, but the further we get away from that season, the less likely it is that he’ll ever hit for that type of power again. Hopefully this recent hot streak is more than just a flash in the pan. Otherwise, he’s probably a future backup.

#10 Luis Torrens

Age: 18
Position: Catcher
2014 KATOH: 46%

MonthLevelBB%K%ISOBABIPLine
AprilA18%21%.115.167.154/.353/.269
MayInjuredN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
JuneR/A-4%12%.130.250.217/.308/.348
JulyA-4%19%.155.434.351/.388/.505

Down

After missing two months with a shoulder injury, Luis Torrens has really turned it on in Class-A Staten Island by scorching .337/.378/.500 in 26 games. He’s also completely shut down the running game by gunning down 41% of would-be base stealers.

Torrens’ performance is pretty impressive for an 18-year-old, and even more impressive considering he’s only been a catcher for two years — including the time he sat out due to injury. He still has a ways to go, but Torrens has the tools to develop into a very good player, both offensively and defensively.

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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7 Responses to Yankees top 10 Prospects through July

  1. David says:

    So is Yankees farm system as bad as the talking heads make it out to be?

    • Derek says:

      There’s no denying 2013 was a terrible year for the farm system. However, it’s bounced back pretty well this year buoyed by a good draft last year (namely Judge) and new top performers (Severino). I think most prospect evaluators acknowledge that the system is in better shape, albeit likely in the middle of the pack of 30 teams.

    • Chris says:

      Agreed. The system looked pretty terrible heading into the year, but has definitely taken a step forward. The big prospects of a yesterday — Heathcott, Williams, Austin, Banuelos, Hensley, etc. –have continued to disappoint, but the newest crop is fairly exciting, especially Severino.

  2. vic says:

    when and where will all the international free agents the yankees just signed begin there careers?

    • Chris says:

      This year’s signees will start playing next June, when the short season leagues start up. Most will probably start out playing for the Dominican Summer League Yankees, but the Yankees might start some of the more advanced players with the Gulf Coast League Yankees, like they did with Leonardo Molina this year.

      • vic says:

        Thanks, I see Molina is only 16, does he have a high upside?

      • Chris says:

        Molina’s a 5-tool talent and has a very high upside. His performance this season hasn’t been great, but he could develop into an excellent CF in time. He’s mostly projection at this point though, as he’s obviously quite a few years away from being big league ready.

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