Not going to lie, this post should be in all caps. As any proud New Englander would, I got piss drunk before writing this opening. Was it convenient that there was a Patriots playoff game? Sure, but I could have limited myself. Instead I drank too many IPA’s and traded Gausman for Paxton, and can’t remember writing this as I answer your questions. If my grammar is correct, you should see how slow I’m typing. There is no fate for a tried and true Sox fan such as myself worse than writing up the Yankees farm system. Here’s the thing, this farm is sexy AF, as the kids say. I’m 35 Y’all! Things are changing, but I rap/write/live the fantasy life like I’m 22! So I am the kids! All right so maybe I’m trying not to say this, but….the Yanks might have the most exciting farm system for fantasy. Better than the White Sox, Astros, or Dodgers. They have legit high upside bats with close proximity. They have far out internationals. They have it all of course, it’s the Yanks. Their sellers mentality flew in the face of their traditional identity, but it was effective in obtaining a great deal of prospect talent. You know I got to drop the SEO bomb, it’s the Top New York Yankees Prospects, I repeat The Top New York Yankees prospects.
Tier 1: Specs On The Beach
Potential stars. Consensus T100 prospects with premium fantasy ceilings.
Gleyber Torres, SS | Age: 20 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: A+
The main piece acquired from the Cubs for Aroldis Chapman, Torres broke out in a big way in the Arizona Fall League. The shortstop slashed .403/.513/.645 with 3 homers and 4 steals during his vacation in the desert. Signed by the Cubs for $1.7 million out of Venezuela, during the 2013 J2 signing period, the same one that netted Eloy Jimenez. He possesses a legit 60 grade hit tool, complemented by developing above average power, and plus baserunning ability that plays up his average wheels. Gleyber has the defensive chops to stick at short, but will more than likely slide to the keystone, unless Didi Gregorius is traded. He batted .270/.354/.421 with 7 homers, 21 steals and 58 walks across two high-A stops. Playing in both the Carolina and the Florida State leagues. What sets Torres apart from other prospects is his excellent pitch recognition skills. He employed a pull happy approach early in the year, but ditched it for an all fields method to better results. The hype train has left the station and is chugging toward the tops of prospect lists. There’s a very good chance that if Gleyber continues on this trajectory, then we could be looking at the top overall prospect heading into the 2018 season.
Clint Frazier, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: AAA/AA
The elite bat speed king, also the ginger king, also a player’s player, a man’s man, and Head and Shoulders spokesman in waiting. The 5th overall selection in 2013 by the Cleveland Indians was acquired at the deadline for Andrew Miller. His plus raw power, speed, and across the board tools are driven by a muscular athletic frame. There’s legitimate 20/20 upside here, with a chance for even greater power totals. Frazier needs to improve his approach and cut down on the strikeouts in AAA this year. If he can do that then Frazier could be an early round pick for a decade in fantasy.
Aaron Judge, OF | Age: 24 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: MLB/AAA
You know Judge by now, or at least I hope you do. He’s been around for what seems like a lifetime. The huge power the 24 year old possesses is legendary, as are the whiffs. After destroying the lower levels of the minors, Judge stalled at AAA in 2015, and never really figured out the level until a few months into last season. Once he did the hype machine was back into full gear, and the homers were flying out of ballparks all over the International League. He then sustained an injury right around the time a callup was expected. This turned out to only be a slight delay as he returned, hit, and was called up to the big leagues in mid-August. There’s still swing and miss to his game, but it’s not to the extent it was in his brief 27 game callup. He took some time to get acclimated to AAA, it might be the same with the big leagues. Regardless, the early projections have him between 19-26 homers, with a .250ish average. Seems about right. Setup for a massive breakout in 2017, if he can adjust to major league pitching.
Justus Sheffield, LHP | Age: 20 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: AA/A+
The small lefthanded starter was a 2014 1st round pick of the Indians, and was the other top prospect acquired for Miller. Sheffield has an exciting arsenal, led by a mid 90’s fastball with good sink that he can ramp up to 97.
His secondary offerings feature a mid-80’s slider with short break, and an above average change he can throw for strikes in any count. Sheffield has number two starter upside, with a solid floor for fantasy due to the swing and miss stuff.
Jorge Mateo, SS | Age: 21 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: A+
A speed demon with 80 grade wheels, Mateo stole 80 bags in 2015, and burst onto the prospect radar popping up on top 50 lists everywhere. Unfortunately, he struggled to repeat his 2015 success at Tampa, and maturity issues left him suspended for two weeks. He possesses plus bat speed, but struggles with pitches on the corners and breaking balls. Many scouts this offseason have predicted that centerfield will eventually be his ultimate position. If Mateo can get his head right, and flash some of the raw potential with the stick, he could certainly regain his top prospect status. I view the best case scenario for Mateo, as he turns into Billy Hamilton style speedster with multi-position eligibility and low double digit homer pop.
Tier 2: Floorboreds
Lacking the “star” upside. They might have some warts, but their ETAs are on the horizon.
Dustin Fowler, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: AA
One of the most underrated power/speed prospects not only in the Yankees system but for all of fantasy. A 2013 18th round pick out of Dexter, Georgia. He’s on the fast track to being the Yankees centerfielder of the future, as long as he can replicate his 2016 AA production in Scranton. Though in order to break through as a full time player he might need to polish up on his pitch recognition skills, as he walked just 22 times last season. He definitely employs a contact-centric approach, but with his base stealing ability you’d like to see a better on-base tool. Last year Fowler slashed .281/.311/.458 with 12 homers, and 25 steals, and was one of the more unheralded breakouts.
James Kaprielian, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: A+
A strained felxor tendon in his throwing elbow cost Kaprielian his 2016, making just three starts. He returned in the Arizona Fall league, and the velocity was up again. Too bad his results were inconsistent. Kap has three plus pitches in his fastball, curve, and slider, and he also throws an average change. The arm slot and mechanics are high effort, putting stress on his arm. Which is why he looks like he could be plagued by injury risk his entire career. Injuries aside, there is legitimate ace makeup and stuff, but bad mechanics could hinder his progression.
Chance Adams, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: AA/A+
The 2015 5th rounder out of Dallas Baptist, is a “Ralph Special” small righthander at 6’0, but his stocky build means he’s not someone you would describe as slight. Adams brings a four pitch arsenal, and throws all his pitches for strikes. Led by a fastball that sits in the mid-90’s, a slider that is his best out pitch and secondary offering, as well as a change he throws from the same arm slot as the fastball, there’s a solid skill set. There’s a lot of pen talk due to the violent delivery and height, but so far the results have been excellent, and he’s stayed healthy. Has a solid shot to make some starts in the Bronx in 2017.
Domingo Acevedo, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: 2016 Level: A+/A-
A huge steal when he signed for just $7,500 out of the DR in 2012. Acevedo’s game is predicated on the massive velo his 6’7 frame generates on his heater. He can touch triple digits with ease, and typically works 95-98 with good downhill plane. His above-average changeup gives him a second weapon, but ultimately his future as a starter will be decided by the development of his raw breaking pitch. Has yet to throw over 100 innings in a season, but the ability to generate whiffs (102 K’s), throw strikes (22 walks), and induce grounders (45.3% GB rate), make his fantasy upside unique.
Dillon Tate, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: A
The stock has dropped significantly since he went 4th overall in the 2015 draft. The opinions are split on Tate’s long term potential, and ultimate role. During his collegiate career at UC Santa Barbara he played many roles first as the team’s closer, then ace his junior year. During his year as a starter his results were excellent with a 9.6 K/9, 2.26 ERA, and a .91 WHIP. His fastball is a weapon, particularly now that the velocity has returned. Where Tate really gets into trouble is with the inconsistency of his slider and change. If he can throw those for strikes more consistently, my prediction of a career in the pen won’t come to fruition.
Tier 3: Long Shot Lolitas
Sexy ceilings, but these youngsters also come with risks and distant ETAs
Blake Rutherford, OF | Age: 19 | ETA: 2020 | 2016 Level: R
Was considered by many the best prep bat in the draft, even though Mickey Moniak went #1. He dropped to the Yankees at 18 due to the large price tag attached to signing him. The Yanks, never ones to bargain shop paid him a shade under $3.4 million, and added a nice long term spec to their system rebuild. Rutherford’s smooth lefthanded swing effortlessly produces plus power, and was built for Yankee Stadium’s short rightfield porch. I’ve seen his hit tool and power graded at 60, and it showed across two levels of rookie ball last season.
Estevan Florial, OF | Age: 19 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: A-/ Rk
The crown prince of Hati, Florial has received off the charts comps, and scouts grades. With some going as high as 70 on the raw power and speed. Had 8 homers and 10 steals in his brief debut stateside, is certainly the sort of player that could breakout in 2017.
Wilkerman Garcia, SS | Age: 19 | ETA: 2020 | 2016 Level: Rk
Could be the year he breaks out or falls off the map. I feel like I’m just repeating this is a big year in development, but it’s really true of many of the top options in the system.
Check Out Our Minor League Preview Index for all articles and podcasts on all 30 teams!s—————-