Yankees prospects 11-20 through June

Yesterday, I ranked and analyzed the Yankees’ top 10 prospects through the first three 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
JuneAA5%31%.188,238.198/.250/.386

Down

With 25 home runs so far this season, Pete O’Brien‘s proven that he has big boy power. He absolutely destroyed High-A pitching out of the gate, and the dingers haven’t stopped following a promotion to Double-A Trenton last month. Unfortunately, his early-season BABIP luck seems to have dried up, leading to a pitiful .263 OBP since his promotion. Despite his recent struggles, O’Brien’s gaudy home run totals earned him a spot in this year’s future’s game in Minnesota.

The power’s great, but the rest of O’Brien’s game is pretty underwhelming. He strikes a little too frequently and rarely gets on base when he doesn’t hit a homer. O’Brien’s also tumbled down the defensive spectrum and will likely be limited to first base duties from here on out. He’s put up sexy home run numbers, but his lack of a second tool severely dampens his value, and might render him a platoon player 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

DownManny Banuelos‘ left arm has had a rough go of it the last couple of years. He sat out most of 2012 and 2013 with elbow problems, and is on the shelf yet again with blisters on his pitching hand. The lefty’s been limited to just 23 innings so far in 2014.

While not serious, his latest malady further prevents him from getting some much-needed innings under his belt. It’s hard to say what the Yankees have in ManBan, who’s thrown just 35 innings since he his elbow first started acting up some 26 months ago. He’s on the 40-man, so I suppose he could be a factor out of the big league bullpen come August or September, but he’d need to prove he can stay healthy first.

#13 Abiatal Avelino

Age: 19
Position Shortstop

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

Down

Abiatal 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 rejoin the Charleston RiverDogs sometime soon.

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.

#14 Slade Heathcott

Age: 23
Position: Center Field

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.

#15 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
JuneA+27%6%49%6.292.96

DownRafael De Paula got off to a strong start to the year, but hasn’t been quite as effective in recent weeks, causing his season ERA to balloon to 4.86. Although the results haven’t been there, De Paula’s peripherals have been excellent of late. Most notably, he’s managed to cut down significantly on his walks, which had been an issue for him in the past.

De Paula’s stuff allows him to strike guys out, but his lack of command has prevented him from being consistently dominant so far. He seems to have made improvements in this area, but at 23, he’s a little old to still be mastering A-ball. His future may be in the bullpen, where his lights-out stuff would play up, and his spotty command would be less of an issue.

#16 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

Down

The Yankees selected Jacob Lindgren in the second round of this year’s amateur draft out of Mississippi State. Lindgren promptly signed and reported to the Yankees’ Gulf Coast League affiliate where he’s made made one relief appearance to date.

Already 21, Lindgren’s supposed to be relatively close to the big leagues, and could be coming for Matt Thornton‘s job by this time next year. He throws in the mid 90s with a wipe-out slider that was nearly unhittable for college hitters, but his command could be what makes or makes him against better competition.

#17 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
JuneAAA17%7%55%5.043.90

Down

Although he was very sharp in his most recent outing, where he struck out four over seven shutout innings, Shane Greene has been very hittable this year.  On the bright side, he’s managed to cut down on his walks of late, which hints that he might be turning a corner.

There have been plenty of opportunities in the Yankees rotation for someone like Greene, but he’s done nothing to warrant a callup so far. With Vidal Nuno starting every fifth day, the bar is set pretty low, but Greene hasn’t shown he has what it takes to clear it.

#18 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

Down

After a strong start to the year, things have really fallen apart for Bryan Mitchell over the last month or so. The hard-thrower’s command has seemingly completely abandoned him, and he’s yielded 14 walks in as many innings over his last four starts.

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 the holes in the big league rotation, and Mitchell’s spot on the 40-man, he could easily make a start or two at some point this year.

#19 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
JuneInjuredN/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, Flores is still a ways away from returning to action.

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. 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 once his ankle heals up. He could even see some time at first base if Mark Teixeira were to go down again.

#20 Jake Cave

Age: 21
Position: Center Field

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

Down

Jake Cave sat out the entire 2012 season due to injury, but hasn’t stopped hitting since his return. Although he hasn’t hit for much power, Cave’s done an excellent job of getting on base: He’s leads all High-A batters in hits and holds a very impressive .364 OBP on the season.

Cave’s bat has been relatively punchless so far, but that’s not to say the power won’t come as he grows stronger. At the very least, Cave’s a guy who can get on base and cover a lot of ground in the outfield.

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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