The New York Yankees have a poor farm system. Almost every one of the team’s top prospects underperformed last season, so it’s difficult to accurately assess the system moving forward. Sanchez and Murphy are good catching prospects. Judge is a mystery and could become a good power hitter. Austin, Heathcott, and Williams are all highly-regarded outfielders who performed poorly in 2013.
1. Gary Sanchez, C 6’3” 235 lbs.
Sanchez spent the majority of 2013 in the Florida State League and also played in the Eastern League. In 117 total games, he hit .253 with a .324 OBP and 42 extra base hits (15 HR). Sanchez has above-average power for his position, but his BA and OBP need to improve. Sanchez is a solid defensive catcher and his best attribute is his arm. He’s fairy inconsistent behind the plate, but he’s made improvements over the past few seasons. Sanchez has the tools to eventually become a good everyday catcher in the majors.
2. Aaron Judge, OF 6’7” 230 lbs.
Judge was one of the Yankees’ 1st round picks in 2013 and he didn’t play last season due to a quad injury. Judge is huge and has immense power. However, his size will most likely inhibit his BA in the long run. Judge is a solid defensive outfielder and should play in either RF or LF in the long run. As he doesn’t have any professional experience, Judge is difficult to project. He has the tools to be a good power hitter.
3. Eric Jagielo, 3B 6’2” 195 lbs.
Like Judge, Jagielo was one of the Yankees’ 1st round picks last year. Jagielo played well in his first professional season in both the New York-Pennsylvania League and Gulf Coast League. In 54 combined games, he hit .268 with a .381 OBP and 23 extra base hits (6 HR). He has above-average power and is adept at getting on base. However, Jagielo needs to improve his BA and reduce his strikeouts (56 K in 54 games). He’s a solid defensive third baseman, but his limited range may push him to the OF. Jagielo could become an everyday Major League player.
4. Tyler Austin, OF 6’1” 220 lbs.
Austin spent the majority of 2013 in the Eastern League and made a few appearances in the Gulf Coast League. He hit .265 with a .351 OBP in 85 games, showing a good eye, but subpar BA. Austin also had 24 extra base hits last season. He needs to generate more power, increase his contact rate, and reduce his strikeouts (79 in 2013) to become a solid player. He’s an average defensive outfielder and will most likely be relegated to a corner spot. Austin performed significantly better in 2012 and was hampered by a wrist injury last season. If he can return to form, he could become a good Major League player.
5. J.R. Murphy, C 5’11” 195 lbs.
Murphy played fairly well in Double-A and Triple-A in 2013, but struggled after getting promoted to the majors. In 108 minor league games, he hit .269 with a .347 OBP and 41 extra base hits (12 HR). Murphy needs to improve his BA, but he has a good eye and good power for his position. He has shown marked improvement defensively and profiles as an above-average defensive Major League catcher. Murphy should become a starting catcher in the majors.
6. Slade Heathcott, OF 6’1” 190 lbs.
Heathcott was the Yankees’ 1st round pick in the 2009 draft and he has yet to live up to expectations. Heathcott hit .261 with a .327 OBP in 108 games in the Eastern League in 2013. He also had 37 extra base hits and 15 SB last year. Heathcott is a good athlete, which allows him to play plus defense in CF. Unfortunately, the same aggression that he utilizes to excel in the field inhibits him at the plate. His poor approach leads to high strikeout rates, low walk totals, and a low BA. Heathcott has to improve his plate patience to become a relevant offensive player.
7. Mason Williams, OF 6’1” 180 lbs.
Williams had a poor season playing in the Florida State League and Eastern League in 2013. Hs combined stats were brutal as he hit .245 with a .304 OBP and 32 extra base hits (4 HR). Much like Heathcott, Williams is a good athlete who plays good defense. Moreover, Williams doesn’t generate much power or hit for average. He has to develop into a respectable hitter to become a Major League player.
8. Greg Bird, 1B 6’3” 215 lbs.
Bird hit well in the South Atlantic League in 2013. His BA (.288) was above-average and his OBP (.428) was excellent. Moreover, he had 59 extra base hits, 20 of which were home runs. Bird is difficult to evaluate as he drew a lot of walks (107), but also struck out almost once per game last year (130 K in 132 games). While Bird is a good hitter, he is a below average defensive first baseman and is best suited to play as a DH. If Bird can continue to perform as he did last season, he’ll be much higher on this list next year. He has the tools to be a good Major League hitter.
9. Jose Ramirez, RHP 6’3” 190 lbs.
Ramirez pitched well in 16 starts across the Eastern League and International League in 2013. In 73.2 total IP, he had a 3.67 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, and 9.5 K/9. His ERA and WHIP were above-average and his K/9 was good last season. His fastball works in the mid-90s and he has a plus changeup. His primary developmental obstacle is his durability and, if Ramirez can remain healthy, he could become a mid-rotation starter.
10. Luis Severino, RHP 6’ 195 lbs.
Severino pitched 44.0 total IP between the Gulf Coast League and South Atlantic League in 2013. He posted great combined stats with a 2.45 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 10.8 K/9. The combination of his low WHIP and high K/9 is indicative of Severino’s potential. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and he flashes an above-average changeup. Severino has excellent tools and high potential. If he can become more consistent, he’ll be a mid-rotation starter.
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