Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (13) | 2013 (11) | 2012 (6) | 2011 (5) | 2010 (22)
2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [84-78] AL East
AAA: [68-76] International League – Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
AA: [67-75] Eastern League – Trenton
A+: [71-68] Florida State League – Tampa
A: [71-69] South Atlantic League – Charleston
A(ss): [37-38] New York-Penn League – Staten Island
The Yankees had major contributions from two rookie arms in 2014. When healthy, Masahiro Tanaka was dominant – posting a 2.77 ERA with 141 strikeouts in 136.1 innings pitched. An elbow injury ended his season prematurely, and while he never succumbed to Tommy John surgery, the health of that elbow is a big question mark heading into 2015. Meanwhile, Dellin Betances was a force in the bullpen where he racked up 135 strikeouts in 90 innings. The Yankees were major players on the international market this past July with ten of Baseball America’s top 30 J2 signees going to New York. They are also in the running for Cuban phenom Yoan Moncada, who is expected to sign with a team later this month.
Top Ten Fantasy Prospects
1. Aaron Judge, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016
Judge has enough power and hitting ability to sit comfortably within the top 50 overall fantasy prospects and on top of this organization’s list. He’s a very large man, and that in combination with his double-plus raw power from right field makes Giancarlo Stanton an easy comp. Just Google “Aaron Judge Giancarlo Stanton” and you’ll see what I mean. But the comp ends with his frame. Judge isn’t the same hitter as Stanton, and he’s not going to hit the majors at the same young age as Stanton did either. The man in Miami had hit 93 major league home runs by the end of his age-22 season while Judge has yet to reach the bigs. Still, an outfielder with 30+ homer potential that doesn’t tank your average is going to be a valuable asset in fantasy.
2. Greg Bird, 1B | Age: 22 | ETA: 2015
When it’s time for Mark Teixeira to ride off into the sunset, Bird should be more than ready to assume the role of everyday first baseman for the Yankees. He split time between High-A and Double-A in 2014 and posted nearly identical on-base percentages at both levels. He also smacked seven homers at both stops. Bird topped off his successful season with a trip to the Arizona Fall League, where he hit another half-dozen homers to lead the league. He was also a top ten hitter in batting average this fall. Bird could be a 25+ homer/.280 hitter in the majors. When you consider the other fantasy prospect options out there at first base, that’s pretty appealing.
3. Jorge Mateo, SS | Age: 19 | ETA: 2018
Mateo’s best tool is his 80 speed, but he’s more than just empty steals. He also has a good approach and enough pop to one day get to double-digit homers. That offensive upside paired with an ability to stick at the shortstop position make Mateo a worthy dynasty add despite the distant ETA. If anything, now might be a great time to buy his stock before he generates more buzz with another season here in the States. Missing most of 2014 with a broken wrist put him out of sight and out of mind in a lot of dynasty leagues. If you like to have fun with comps, BA said “the total package evokes comparisons to Jose Reyes”. That’s tasty, but still a few years away from becoming a reality.
4. Luis Severino, RHP | Age: 20 | ETA: 2016
Severino is a risky arm in fantasy since there is still some chance he ends up in the bullpen. His upside is that of a #2/#3 starter thanks in part to a double-plus fastball and plus changeup, but his floor is just another setup guy. The latter would make him almost worthless in most shallow fantasy leagues. He’ll need another plus pitch to really cement himself in a rotation and reach his ceiling, and 2015 could see him take another step forward in that development. Severino should see Triple-A this season with a major league arrival sometime early next year.
5. Rob Refsnyder, 2B | Age: 23 | ETA: 2015
Refsnyder’s value is tied to his proximity to the majors at a position that’s relatively shallow. While he doesn’t have one elite tool to get excited about, he does a little of everything well. There is enough power to get to 12 or so homers and enough speed to chip in a handful of steals. How that translates in 2015 is a big question mark, so he wasn’t somebody that I included in my Top 30 prospects for 2015. However, in deeper leagues or dynasties this type of high-floor prospect with a major league opportunity can have surprising value.
6. Eric Jagielo, 3B | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016
Jagielo doesn’t seem to be getting much love on traditional lists this year, but I’m still happy to include him on this fantasy list thanks to his plus power. A first round pick in 2013, last year was just his second pro season. Some of the low rankings seem to come from his defense, which doesn’t really matter to us in fantasy outside of the fact that he may move off of third to a less “valuable” position. If he gets the strikeouts under control and shows even small improvements at third base, I think you’ll see him bounce back into the top tens. His left-handed power is a great fit at Yankee stadium.
7. Gary Sanchez, C | Age: 22 | ETA: 2015
Sanchez is a catching prospect who may not spend all of his time behind the plate. Should he split time between 1B and DH in addition to catching duties, Sanchez could end up being a better fantasy asset than real-life one. Most reports on him mention lousy makeup, which I personally don’t put too much stock in for fantasy purposes. The other side of this coin is just how long we’ve been waiting for Sanchez, who signed as a teenager out of the Dominican Republic back in 2009 (the same year as Miguel Sano). His time is coming soon, and with plus power and at least average hitting ability, he could make an impact quickly regardless of his defensive role.
8. Ian Clarkin, LHP | Age: 20 | ETA: 2017
Clarkin’s upside is more of a mid-rotation starter, but he’s a relatively safe bet to stick in the rotation thanks to three plus offerings in his fastball, curve, and changeup. He has also shown good control of all of his pitches with under three walks per nine. The ceiling and strikeout potential aren’t what you’d typically want in a fantasy pitching prospect, but the boring guys who fill out the back end of major league rotations have value in deeper formats. Clarkin got a taste of High-A in 2014, and that’s likely where he’ll return to start the 2015 season.
9. Miguel Andujar, 3B | Age: 19 | ETA: 2017
With a longer ETA Andujar makes a better play in deeper dynasty formats, but he has already shown signs of a solid fantasy prospect in the making. His defense could be good enough to stick at the hot corner down the road, and he flashed above average power with enough speed to matter in his first full season. He has a good approach at the plate already, and could be a breakout candidate in 2015 if he handles himself against the older competition in High-A.
10. Leonardo Molina, OF | Age: 17 | ETA: 2019
If you’re looking for a lottery ticket in this system, Molina is as good as any. At just 17 years old, he’s obviously light years away from the majors, but his upside is pretty intense. All of his tools grade out at 55 or better, it’s just that everything is still raw. If you are in a league that has the minor league slots to stash players like Molina, he’s a great option despite the lackluster numbers in his stateside debut – where oh by the way he was the second youngest player in the GCL.