New York Yankees Top 20 Prospects 2015
The calendar has flipped and spring training is fast approaching once again, meaning it is time for the baseball world to go crazy over prospect rankings for the forthcoming season. Based primarily on stats and potential, below is our list of the New York Yankees’ top 20 prospects for 2015.
1. Luis Severino RHP: The unanimous number one this year, Luis Severino has reached the summit of the organization’s prospects through hard work and sheer ability. Signed as an international free agent in 2012, Severino boasts a three-pitch arsenal that are all above average. His electric fastball sits at 95mph and tops out at 98mph, while his ferocious slider and change up leave hitters confused at the plate.
Severino’s precocious repertoire was good enough to strike out 127 batters in just 113.1 innings across three teams in 2014. He was most impressive with the Double A Trenton Thunder, posting a 2.52 ERA in 6 starts while surrendering just a 1.06 WHIP. Severino possesses unusually mature command for his age, and will look to get a full season in at Double A under his belt in 2015. The righty will be just 21 years of age in spring training, so expect him competing for a spot in 2016.
2. Rob Refsnyder 2B: Refsnyder is ready to be tested in the majors immediately. The 23 year old was drafted out of the University of Arizona in 2012 when they selected him in the 5th round. Despite leading Arizona to the College World Series and earning the Most Outstanding Player award as an outfielder, Refsnyder has successfully moved to second base as a professional.
The right-hander split 2014 between the Double A Trenton Thunder and Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Rail Riders, and hit for a .342 average and 6 home runs and a .300 average and 8 home runs respectively. Refsnyder will no doubt compete for a spot at second base in spring training, however the Yankees may opt for additional seasoning in Triple A.
3. Gary Sanchez C: Yankees fans may know Sanchez for being the 16 year-old Dominican who received a $3,000,000 signing bonus back in 2009. Though he has been a top prospect in the Yankees’ farm system ever since, the now 22 year-old is almost major-league ready.
Measuring in at 6’3, Sanchez owns a laser of an arm behind the plate and, without a mainstay at the backstop position, the Yankees front office feel they have their catcher of the future. Sanchez performs well with the bat too, and in 2014 he posted a .270 average along with 13 home runs and 65 RBIs at the Double A level. The Yankees will look to give their prized catching prospect some time at a Triple A before seriously considering making Sanchez their backstop of the future.
4. Aaron Judge OF: Anytime a player that’s 6’7 is available in the draft, he is always going to be a major consideration for any front office. In 2013, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman didn’t think twice by selecting Aaron Judge in the first round. Judge owns considerable power and has lived up to those expectations thus far in his professional career.
In 131 games in 2014, split across two Single A levels, the 22 year old slugged 17 dingers and 24 doubles, good enough for a .308 average and .419 on base percentage. The Yankees will look to start Judge with the Double A Trenton Thunder to start 2015 and, if he can continue his plus power and average, he could be seeing time with the big league club before long. A mountain of a man, Yankee fans should be very excited.
5. Ian Clarkin LHP: Drafted in the first round in 2013, Ian Clarkin is the top left-handed pitching prospect in the Yankees organization. At just 19 years of age, Clarkin may be rushed to the upper levels of the farm system to fill the gap that currently exists. Clarkin has the talent to make in the big leagues, but needs a lot of refinement and seasoning first.
Armed with a three-pitch arsenal that are all above average pitches, the Yankees front office love his make-up and polish for a teenager. In 2014, he put together an impressive season in Single A, producing a 3.12 ERA in 75 innings across 17 games (16 starts), while striking out a batter per inning. Clarkin can be expected to be competing for a rotation spot in approximately two years.
6. Jacob Lindgren LHP: Every so often, a flamethrower will become available in the draft, and the Yankees selected theirs in 2014 in the second round. The name of said fireballer: Jacob Lindgren. Lindgren helped Mississippi State storm their way to the 2013 College World Series, and then switched to their bullpen last spring. In the summer of 2014 with the Yankees, Lindgren soared through the minor league ranks to reach Double A in his first professional season.
In 25 innings scattered across 19 relief appearances, the 21 year old struck out 48 hitters, while surrendering an ERA of just 2.16 and an average of .135. The lefty does so with a fastball in the upper 90s and a wipeout slider. Though much smaller in height and weight, he will be compared to former Yankee, Joba Chamberlain, who also entered the majors with meteoric expectations. It will be interesting how Cashman plays this one.
7. Jorge Mateo SS: Another teenage prospect, Jorge Mateo is among the fastest in the game, not just the minor leagues. MLB.com grade him with a speed of 75 out of 80, which ranks better than most major leaguers currently. That speed transferred over to professional ball successfully in 2014, when the 19 year old stole 11 bases in just 15 games.
His .354 on base percentage is a good starting point and, as he improves with the bat at the plate, the number of stolen bases will only increase. Mateo has an above average arm, ranking 60 on MLB.com’s same 20-80 scale, and thus plays excellent defense. If his bat can produce a .280+ average from now on, you may just be looking at a major league all-star of the future.
8. Domingo German RHP: Originally signed by the Miami Marlins as an international free agent back in 2009, Domingo German is only just starting to find his feet in professional baseball. 2014 was his breakout year, which saw him earn a trip to the All-Star Futures Game, pitching to the best hitting prospects in the game.
In 25 starts with the Marlins’ Single A affiliate Greensboro Grasshoppers, the 22 year old posted a 9-3 record and 2.48 ERA. His plus fastball and change up combination was good enough to strike out 113 batters in 123.1 innings. German also gave up just 6 home runs all season. Expected to start 2015 with the Double A Trenton Thunder, German can be expected to compete for a spot in the rotation by 2016.
9. Jose Ramirez RHP: Ramirez is perhaps the most big-league ready pitcher in the Yankees’ minor-league system. Signed over 7 years ago as an international free agent, Ramirez has taken his time getting to the majors. He made his debut for the Yankees last June, appearing in 10 innings across 8 games.
The 24 year old fared pretty well, despite his bloated 5.40 ERA. His fastball-change up combo is among the best in the organization, and saw him strike out 10 major-league hitters a year ago. In 2015, General Manager Brian Cashman may look to develop his prospect’s slider further at Triple A, to give the Yankees a heck of a pitcher for the future.
10. Eric Jagielo 3B: As the highest left-handed batting prospect on the Yankees’ farm, Eric Jagielo may have a fast-track to the big leagues. It has been well documented that the right field wall at Yankees Stadium measures below average, favoring powerful lefties. After hitting 18 home runs in 92 games in Single A last season, Jagielo could not be in a more perfect situation.
The 22 year old also plays third base, a bit of a touchy subject now that Alex Rodriguez is expected to re-join the club following his season-long suspension. Nevertheless, Jagielo possesses the power and arm to hold down a place at the hot corner for years to come. He is expected to reach Double A in 2015, and watch out for a September call up.
11. Luis Torrens C: Torrens was one of the top prospects in the international market in 2012, and the Yankees rightly snapped him up. Torrens possesses an above average arm, so much so that they felt he was ready for his professional debut in America in 2014.
In time split between the Single A Charleston RiverDogs and Staten Island Yankees, Torrens averaged .255 with the bat and threw out 45% of base stealers. The 18 year old will not hit too many home runs at the major league level, but is among the top teenage prospects in the game and will look to get a full season of pro ball under his belt in 2015. With fellow prospect, Gary Sanchez, firmly established as the organization’s number one catching prospect, Torrens will have to wait his turn.
12. Alexander Palma OF: Palma represents the future of the outfield for the Yankees. Signed out of Venezuela as an international free agent in 2012, scouts adored his quick bat and deceptive speed in the outfield and on the base paths. At just 19 years of age, the Yankees have themselves a stud.
In every organization, there are prospects who fail to live up to expectations, and there are those who put it all together from an early age. Palma falls into the latter of those categories, and has shined thus far in his professional career. Palma has spent the past two years in the rookie leagues, producing a .298 average, 6 home runs and 61 RBIs in 89 games. The right-hander will be ready to tackle the next rung of Single A in 2015.
13. Bryan Mitchell RHP: 2014 was a strange year for 23 year old Bryan Mitchell. It was one that he struggled in the minor leagues, producing an ERA 4.37 in 103 innings split across Double and Triple A, but one that saw him ultimately pitch in the major leagues. In 3 games, 1 of which he started, he accumulated a 2.45 ERA in 11 innings.
In that start against the AL East champion Baltimore Orioles, the right-hander went 5 innings, surrendering 2 earned runs on 6 hits. Mitchell will compete for a spot in the rotation 2015, and provide the Yankees bull pen with depth at an absolute minimum. His electric fastball and supporting change up are good enough to succeed at the highest level, it just depends if he can put it all together when it counts.
14. Justin Kamplain LHP : Kamplain will be 22 at season’s start and has been a pleasant surprise since being drafted in the 18th round in 2014. Kamplain doesn’t possess as an impressive arsenal as some of the other prospects in the Yankees’ system, but has held his own thus far in pro ball.
The former Alabama Crimson Tide hurler got straight to work after being drafted in June, and performed well in 14 games in Single A. Across 43.2 innings, the left-hander posted a 1.65 ERA and managed to strike out over a batter per inning. Due to his experience in college, Cashman will look to start Kamplain at the upper levels of Single A in 2015, and progress him quickly to the majors.
15. Miguel Andujar 3B: Signed as an international free agent back in 2011, 19 year old Miguel Andujar has shown real promise on his journey to the big leagues. He spent the entirety of 2014 with the Charleston RiverDogs in the South Atlantic League, and had mixed results.
Andujar performed poorly early on, but impressed in the second half. His numbers for the year ended up being solid: .267 average, .318 on-base percentage, 10 home runs and 70 RBIs in 127. The Dominican native owns the above average arm needed to hold the hot corner and, with no mainstay at third base for the Yankees in the bigs currently, Andujar could hold the key for the short and long-term future.
16. Jake Cave OF: At number 16 on our list is 22 year old Jake Cave, who was selected in the 6th round in the 2011 draft. Cave fractured his right kneecap in his professional debut, and thus missed all of 2012. A year later, he produced modestly, with a .282 average and 2 home runs.
Scouts love his arm strength, which bodes well for an outfield prospect. In 2014, he split time between Single and Double A, producing a .294 average and 7 home runs in 132 games. The left-hander owns decent speed, but managed just 12 stolen bases a year ago. Cave is expected to start 2015 at Double, with a move to Triple A extremely realistic.
17. Dermis Garcia SS: Garcia was widely regarded as the top international free agent in 2014, and the Yankees managed to beat out the competition by signing him to a $3,000,000 bonus. The front office are in awe of his large frame, which allows him plus plus power with the bat and arm. As a shortstop, he is likened to a young Alex Rodriguez.
Garcia stands at 6’2 and might lack the speed and range of a traditional shortstop. Much like Rodriguez, a switch to third base may be on the cards for Garcia. The Dominican will spend the entirety of 2015 17 years of age, and will compete in the Dominican Summer Leagues for the next couple of years. Despite a long wait, Yankee fans should revel in excitement.
18. Miguel Flames C: Of the multiple international prospects the Yankees signed in 2014, Miguel Flames may be among the best. Though he wasn’t ranked as high as some of his fellow Yankee counterparts, Flames’ large and athletic build make him ideal for a career behind the plate.
Just 17 years of age, Flames needs match experience if he is to fully master the position. Due to his 6’1, 210 pound stature, Flames may well end up at first base or even at third, where he transitioned from just over a year ago. The Venezuelan has the arm to hold himself at any position, his offense will hopefully do the same.
19. Leonardo Molina OF: Despite not being ranked as the number 1 international prospect in 2013, Leonardo Molina may just turn out to be the best. Armed with a laser arm and above average speed, the righty has the potential to be an All-Star calibre outfielder in the big leagues in the future.
Molina batted just .193 in the rookie Gulf Coast League last year. Still just 17 years of age, Molina will need to prove to the Yankees coaching staff that his bat can stay with the rest of his plus tools. The Dominican will work to improve his offensive skills in 2015, at the Yankees’ academy in his home country.
20. Hyo-Jun Park SS: Park burst onto the international scene when his Yatap High School toured America to play some of the top equivalent talent. With only a month to impress, the 18 year old did exactly that. His display of above average offense and defense was enough to earn him a $1,000,000 bonus in 2014.
Park is your stereotypical player from South Korea, masterful with the glove and toolsy with the bat. The only attribute that he lacks is power. However, he has the potential to hit 10 home runs a season through sheer ability. The Korean will likely spend time with the Single A (short) Staten Island Yankees in 2015, giving him time to acclimatise and develop at his own pace.