Yankees Overflowing with Prospects

This is our last review of the prospects for all 30 teams. The Yankees appear to have changed their focus from spending money on older washed out free agents, to bringing in a glut of young talent who will compete for major league roster time. That young talent has started to pay off with stars like Aaron Judge, Luis Severino and Gary Sanchez. More are on the way.

The best may be Gleyber Torres. Tommy John surgery last year limited him to 55 games. If not for that he could have been starting for the Yankees in April either at second or third base. The position he was groomed at was shortstop but with Didi Gregorius there his best bet for a roster spot is second or third. His bat has the power to play third, though that power has yet to manifest itself in games. Last year he slugged close to .500 at AA and AAA. This year he has started at AAA where he is hitting .389 with a .583 slugging. The Yankees could be calling him up before April turns to May.

Miguel Andujar is already up with the Yankees. He has more power than Torres but may not hit for as high an average. Last year he tore through AA and AAA hitting over .300 at each level with a .571 batting average in a September callup with the Yankees. His defensive footwork at third is still a bit shaky. Last year his 16 homeruns were a career high. Migraines for Brandon Drury gave Andujar an opportunity to play with the Yankees. So far it has been a struggle (.156). If he continues to struggle expect Torres to be called up to take his place at third.

Thairo Estrada may be best used in a utility role with all the talent the Yankees have in the infield. He doesn’t show a lot of power, but does have the ability to get on base with a .301 average last year at AA and a .353 OBA. He has the tools to play short, but they won’t be enough to unseat Didi. During the offseason he went back home to Venezuela where he was shot in the hip. This put him on the disabled list to start the 2018 season. He should start the season in AAA once he is healthy.

In the outfield the Haitian born Esteven Florial has an abundance of tools. His speed allows him to cover a lot of ground in centerfield. It has yet to accumulate in stolen bases, but allows him to take the extra base. Last year the power was there to hit 13 homeruns. An inability to make consistent contact (148 whiffs in 110 games) could prevent him from hitting for a high average. Last year he had a break out year hitting close to .300 at the Low and High A levels. This year the Yankees are repeating him at the High A level with a quick promotion to AA if he achieves early success.

Billy McKinney was a first round pick of the Athletics in 2013. He’s bounced around between the Cubs and Yankees, coming to the Yankees as part of the Aroldis Chapman trade. He is not blessed with a lot of tools. His power may be a bit short for a corner and his arm could be best suited for left. But he has a lefthanded bat that was able to produce 16 homeruns last year between AA and AAA. The Yankees are loaded with talented outfielders, so if McKinney wants to play on the major league club he may have to move to first base.

Pitching is the Yankees strength and they have a boat load of arms. It starts with Justus Sheffield who was a first round pick of Cleveland in 2013, who was acquired by the Yankees for another possible closer Andrew Miller. Sheffield is not tall at 6′0″ but he is left handed and that is not such a big deal. His fastball comes in hard at the mid-90s, excellent for a LHer and a slider which is his strikeout pitch. The Yankees expect Justus will be the first starter called up if the Yankees need to seek help at that position. In the meantime he is in AAA where he has a 3.60 ERA after two starts.

Chance Adams is another pitcher at AAA with an early callup possibility. At 6′1″ he is a smallish righthanded pitcher but he can still hum his fastball to hit the mid-90s, mostly sitting at 91-93. A good slider and solid command get bats to avoid sold contact. He was unhittable in AA with a 1.03 ERA in six starts and a .183 opposition average. A promotion to AAA saw his ERA rise (2.89) while his opposition average remained pretty impressive (.197).

At the lower levels the Yankees have three pitchers who can rattle the radars in the triple digits. Albert Abreu runs his fastball into the mid-to high 90s, hitting the radar in triple digits. His secondary pitches are above average with good command to get it over the plate. Luis Medina also sits in the upper 90s but has blessed the radars with 102 readings. His secondary pitches are also good but his command is shaky. Domingo Acevedo is another triple digit gem, sitting in the high 90s with a good change to tone up the velocity. Domingo has started the season in AA where he has shown shaky command.

At 6′8″ Frecier Perez brings an intimidating frame. The Yankees only shelled out $100,000 to sign him but the Dominican is waltzing through the minor leagues. His fastball resides in the mid-90s with decent secondary pitches and shaky command. He has started the season in High A where his command (6 walks in 8 innings) has seen his ERA rocket to 8.64 in his first two starts.

Dillon Tate (2014) and Clarke Schmidt (2017) are first rounders who fall down the prospect list. Tate was a first rounder for the Rangers but was acquired by the Yankees in the Carlos Beltran trade. He has a good arm that can hit the mid-90s but his results have not been awe inspiring. Clarke had Tommy John surgery prior to being drafted so will probably not pitch in 2018. At 6′1″ he is not a big pitcher for a righthander.

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