The 2016 IIATMS Top 30: Last Year’s Graduating/Dropout Class

Severino vs TOR 2015

Valedictorian of the IIATMS prospect class of 2015. Courtesy of Getty Images

I mentioned earlier that there was a high level of turnover in the Top 30 this year and I was serious.  Only 14 players carried over from the 2015 edition to the 2016, with 16 new guys joining them to complete the list.  What happened to those other 16 players from last year?  Good question.  Some of them have moved into regular roles with the Major League club, some of them were parts of this offseason’s trade activity, and some of them just fell off because they were injured and unable to play.  Before we fully dive into the 2016 list, let’s take a quick look back at those players from last year who have moved on.

Luis Severino– RHSP, 2015 Rank: 2nd

He was almost at the top of the class to start the 2015 season, and Severino definitely graduated at the top when it was over.  … Click here to read the rest

Welcome To IIATMS Prospect Week 2016

We barely snuck it in before pitchers and catchers had to officially report, but that almost works out perfectly as another outlet to bridge the gap between then and the end of football season.  Welcome back to IIATMS Prospect Week, folks, the one week out of the year where we put a dedicated focus on the Yankee farm system and rank our top 30 organizational prospects.  As time allows, we’ll try to sneak in a few more prospect-centric posts around the top 30, but that’s the main focus and we’ll be rolling that out over the course of the next 5 days in a similar fashion to last year.

Later today we’ll start Prospect Week 2016 by looking back at 2015, more specifically the 2015 IIATMS Top 30, to review all the players who disappeared from last year’s rankings, either by graduating to the Majors, getting traded to another team, or not performing well enough to retain their spot.  There was a high amount of turnover from last year to this, so that post will be a long one.  … Click here to read the rest

Prospect Musings A Few Days Away From IIATMS Prospect Week

Dustin Fowler 2015

Courtesy of Mark LoMoglio/

It’s been a busy week preparing for Prospect Week 2016.  There’s wild stuff going on behind the scenes that you guys don’t even know about.  I’m talking serious spreadsheet action.  The festivities kick off on Monday and there will be some more details on the whole schedule for the week coming later, but to get the prospect juices flowing I thought I’d touch on some of the trends I’ve noticed as we’ve worked on the list and some of the individual players I’m higher on and lower on than most.  It’s like a free look into the Brad Vietrogoski IIATMS Top 30 war room.

– The first thing that stands out to me after putting together this year’s list is how much upper-level talent the Yankees have right now.  It feels like they’ve got more legit future potential MLB guys in Triple-A and Double-A than they’ve had in a long time, and that’s without Eric Jagielo, Rookie Davis, and Jake Cave, who all would have been top 20 guys in our rankings.  … Click here to read the rest

Prospect News And Notes: 2/1/16

Couple of quick updates on the prospect lists that came out late last week.

Aaron Judge was the final Yankee prospect to crack a positional top 10 list, coming in as the #8 outfielder.  The brief write-up on him praised him for being a better all-around hitter than originally advertised while acknowledging his struggles upon jumping to Triple-A, saying “… even though he profiles as a potential slugging run producer, he’s also shown an ability in the past to make adjustments. Once Judge does that, he should be ready for his New York debut.”

Judge is going to have a lot of eyes on him during ST this year and I feel like Joe could give him a lot of burn to get a firsthand look at how he’s changed his approach against upper-level hitting.  If Judge is able to learn from last year and improve his Triple-A production while cutting down on strikeouts, he could skip guys like Williams and Heathcott in line when it comes to being the first outfielder called up.… Click here to read the rest

Prospect News And Notes: 1/29/16

All prospects all the time.  Couple of things to touch on from yesterday:

– One, the top 10 positional prospects release party continued yesterday with the shortstops.  It’s a deep position, so Jorge Mateo did not crack the top 10.  He did, however, get a shout out in the honorable mentions, with the write-up comparing him to Jose Reyes and calling him the Yankees’ shortstop of the future.  I thought Mateo might sneak into the bottom third of the list, but it’s understandable that he didn’t after what was his first year of full-season ball.

– Two, Baseball Prospectus put out their Top 101 prospects list and the consensus top 3 Yankee prospects all made the cut.  Aaron Judge came in at number 18, Mateo at 65, and Gary Sanchez was 92.  Personally I think Sanchez should be at least 25 spots higher, but I’m also a Yankee fan.  The complete list and the capsules on each player are completely free.  … Click here to read the rest

Quick Hit: Refsnyder Ranks 9th On’s Top 10 2B Prospects List

More top positional prospects lists, more Yankee representation.  We probably would have seen it at first base too had Greg Bird not exceeded the rookie eligibility PT level last year, but the second base list came out yesterday and Rob Refsnyder made the cut, coming in at number 9.  The scouting report praised him for his pitch recognition skills and line drive hitting approach while acknowledging his defensive deficiencies at second base and low future ceiling as a defender.  Nothing we haven’t read about Refs before.

2015 was an up and down year for Refsnyder.  He hit .271/.359/.402 in his return trip to Triple-A SWB, a big step down from his 2014 production level.  That regression along with the defensive concerns surely influenced the Yankees’ decision to not call him up and give him a shot at the everyday second base job despite how poorly Stephen Drew played in the first half of the year.  Refsnyder did get more time in September and he did finish with a .302/.348/.512 slash line with 5 XBH in 47 MLB plate appearances.… Click here to read the rest

John Sickels Releases His 2016 Top 20 Yankees Prospects List

We haven’t had a good prospect ranking list in a while.  Luckily for us John Sickels came through and dropped his top 20 Yankees prospects for 2016 late on Sunday night.  I always appreciate Sickels’ rankings because he does the extra 10 and he always has a few selections that are off the beaten path, so it’s a good read.  This year is no exception.

For starters, Sickels doesn’t have Aaron Judge as his number one.  That spot went to Gary Sanchez, with Jorge Mateo coming in at 2 and Judge at 3.  I can’t argue with the decision to put Sanchez over Judge, especially with the way each of them performed upon their promotions to Triple-A.  But I’m not willing to say Mateo is a better prospect than Judge right now even with Judge’s struggles in Triple-A.  That’s just me.

Other highlights include Wilkerman Garcia at 7, Kyle Holder at 9, Ben Gamel at 15, and Hoy Jun Park at 17.  … Click here to read the rest

Quick Hit: Baseball Prospectus’ Top 10 Yankee Prospects List

If you weren’t aware that prospect season had arrived before this week, you better be aware by now.  Following up on Baseball America’s unveiling of their top 10 Yankees prospects on Monday, the gang at Baseball Prospectus did the same yesterday.  You can find the full list here, and I believe everything is free, but if you don’t have the time for that here’s the top 10:

1) Aaron Judge
2) Jorge Mateo
3) Gary Sanchez
4) James Kaprielian
5) Dustin Fowler
6) Rob Refsnyder
7) Drew Finley
8) Eric Jagielo
9) Brady Lail
10) Ian Clarkin

The love for Mateo continues, although the BP staff didn’t put him above all.  That top spot went to Judge and I think that’s the right decision.  Some struggles in his first Triple-A experience shouldn’t overshadow everything else he’s done in his MiL career or his well-rounded tools set, and they shouldn’t be enough to rank him below a guy in A-ball.  This list in general is a little more in line with what I’ve been working on putting my top 30 together.  … Click here to read the rest

New Kids on the Block: Offensive Prospects’ Likely 2016 Impact

Baseball America’s new top prospect list for the Yankees isn’t inspiring, but that’s partly because many 2015 prospects (Severino, Bird, Williams, Heathcott…) no longer qualify as “prospects”; they’ve arrived. While Severino is definitely a rotation starter, a bunch of offensive prospects have less clear 2016 roles. So here’s my take on the likely role, or lack of role, of the Yankees’ ready(ish) offensive prospects. Feel free to disagree in the comments! This is all more art than science, but it’s interesting and fun to think through who’s ready, and who has an actual opening, to be part of the team for the next 5-10 years.

First, an easy one: Gary Sanchez’s strong AAA performance, and the Murphy trade, make his 2016 role obvious. Absent a February 2016 DWI in Tampa that dislocates his throwing shoulder, he’ll back up Brian McCann. McCann’s second-half fade in 2015 (.802 OPS, then .701) may be bad luck, or a sign that it’s not bright to expect more than 120ish games out of a 32 year-old catcher, even if he suffers no DL-stint injury.… Click here to read the rest