The 2016 IIATMS Top 30: Prospects 30-21

[caption id="attachment_80233" align="aligncenter" width="600"]HoyJunPark Potential breakout prospect in 2016? Courtesy of Bryan Green/Pinstriped Prospects[/caption]

Well, we’ve covered the sizable list of players who fell off the top 30 from last year to this year and we’ve covered the shorter list of players who just missed the cut this year.  Nothing left to do now but get into the actual top 30 countdown.

Before we do that, a quick recap of our ranking system and format.  We tried to keep it as simple as possible, assigning a points system for every spot in the top 30.  The 1st ranked player gets 30 points, 2nd gets 29, all the way down to 1 point for the 30th spot.  Individual staff members filled out their personal rankings and the points totals from all individual rankings were tallied up for each player.  Dom, EJ, Scott, and myself did individual rankings to create this composite top 30.

For the individual player write-ups, we divvied them up among even more of the staff to give you different perspectives and different writing styles on each player.  Some of us like certain guys more than others and I think that will definitely come through as you read each player’s capsule.  We tried to put a little more into each one than just stats, tools, and potential, especially with this first batch of lower third guys.  For some of these players it’s more about why you should care about them as a prospect than what things combine to make them a prospect and we tried to convey that.

The MiL level listed for each player is my best guess at where I think they will open this season, so don’t read too much into that.  I’ll definitely be hanging around in the comments and on Twitter over the next few days to discuss the rankings and my thoughts on certain players, and I’m sure we’ll have the rest of the team pop in as time allows.  Without further ado, here are the first 10 spots in the 2016 IIATMS Top 30:

30) Jhalan Jackson– OF, Low-A Charleston
Age: 22, Bats: R, Throws: R
Drafted: 7th Round, 2015
2015 Stats: .266/.338/.452, 5 HR, 34 RBI, 35 R, 4-4 SB in 198 PA (SS SI)
ETA: 2017-2018

Dom’s Take- With the new draft system, signability issues are essentially a thing of the past, and the number of legitimate, high-ceiling prospects slipping into the later rounds has dwindled. As such, it seems almost counterintuitive that a nearly 23-year-old 7th rounder from this past draft would find his way onto this list and into my heart – but Jackson deserves this spot. Jackson has a prototypical right field profile, with plus or better power, a strong arm, and surprising athleticism for his size. The right-handed hitter has a great deal of swing and miss in his game (he struck out in 29.8% of his PA in his pro debut), but he has a solid approach at the plate and doesn’t get fooled too often. He’s Aaron Judge lite, and he’s my sleeper in this system (Editor’s Note- Dom had Jackson ranked 20th in his top 30).

29) Chance Adams– RHRP, Double-A Trenton
Age: 21, Throws: R
Drafted: 5th Round, 2015
2015 Stats: 1.78 ERA, 45 K/9 BB, 0 HR allowed in 35.1 IP (SS SI, A-, A+)
ETA: 2017

Dom’s Take- I debated calling Adams a right-handed Jacob Lindgren and moving on. They are similarly talented pitchers who feature big-time fastballs and wipeout sliders, and both were drafted with the hope that they would rocket through the minors. Lindgren’s stuff may be half a grade better, but I don’t think the gap is all that staggering (particularly if the uptick in velocity Adams found in his professional debut is legitimate). The key difference (aside from handedness) is that Adams has at least average command and control, and is far less prone to bouts of wildness. Is he the better prospect right now? It’s difficult to say with so little professional information – but it’s a fair question to ask. Continue reading The 2016 IIATMS Top 30: Prospects 30-21

Report: Yanks Have “Expressed Interest” In Carlos Torres

We’re a shade over a week away from pitchers and catchers reporting and the Yankees might not be done adding pieces to bring to camp.  According to a report by Brendan Kuty, the Yankees are among 20 teams who have contacted right-handed reliever Carlos Torres after he elected free agency on Monday.  He was designated for assignment by the Mets a few weeks ago to open a 40-man roster spot for Antonio Bastardo.

Torres, 33, was a late-blooming pro after scrapping starting and converting to a reliever in 2012.  He was a useful piece of the Met bullpen for the last 3 seasons, soaking up innings, working in a variety of different middle relief roles, and posting some decent numbers.  He posted a 4.68 ERA/3.53 FIP with a 19.8% K rate in 57.2 IP last season, his lowest IP total as a Met.  His flexibility would be valuable to the Yankees, who have a wide open competition for middle relief spots behind their big 3.  I don’t think they would experiment with Torres as a starter at this stage in his career.  But as a multi-inning, middle-leverage reliever capable of getting a big out every now and then?  Sure.

If nothing else, signing Torres would put an end to the tired “the Yankees haven’t signed a single Major League free agent this offseason” talking point that has crept into almost everybody’s narrative over the last few weeks.  And in a large group of mostly unproven candidates, his track record would bring a little more sense of reliability to the middle relief competition.  But the Yankees are so deep in unproven candidates and seemingly committed to using that depth as the way to build a bridge to the big 3 that I don’t think we’ll see them sign Torres.  If there are 20 teams interested, one of them has to be more interested and more in need of Torres’ services than the Yanks. Continue reading Report: Yanks Have “Expressed Interest” In Carlos Torres

Quick Hit: Tanaka Throws Off A Mound For The First Time Since Surgery

A quick pause on the Prospect Week festivities to touch on something noteworthy.  Per an AP report earlier today, Masahiro Tanaka threw off a mound for the first time since having surgery in October to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow.  The bullpen session took place in New York, where Tanaka was presumably getting looked at by team doctors in preparation for his reporting to spring camp next week.  From the sounds of it, pitching coach Larry Rothschild was in attendance for the bullpen session, although no quotes were given and there was no report on the specifics of the throwing session that I saw.

Tanaka is the most important part of what could be a very volatile rotation mix again in 2016.  When he’s been healthy, he’s proven to be a very good starting pitcher capable of being unhittable when he has everything working.  The problem has been his inability to stay healthy and the rash of different arm injuries that have limited his workload in each of his first 2 seasons.  Even though there have been no reports of setbacks from the offseason surgery and he is on schedule for his rehab/offseason work according to the team, finding out that he just threw off a mound again for the first time less than 10 days from pitchers and catchers reporting doesn’t exactly give you a warm fuzzy.

I was already expecting Joe to take it easy on Tanaka this spring and actively seek out ways to manage his workload early in the season again.  Knowing this new bit of information, I’m curious to see how careful the Yankees are with him.  I admittedly don’t know enough about Tanaka’s normal offseason routine to know if he doesn’t throw off a mound until early February anyway, but knowing he hasn’t since the surgery makes me think the Yankees might err even more on the side of caution during ST. Continue reading Quick Hit: Tanaka Throws Off A Mound For The First Time Since Surgery

The 2016 IIATMS Top 30: The Honorable Mentions

[caption id="attachment_80213" align="aligncenter" width="575"]Heathcott HR vs TB II When you’re still on the radar. Courtesy of the AP[/caption]

One last piece of pregame business before we get into this year’s top 30.  The guys who didn’t make the cut.  We do a composite ranking based on all our individual rankings, and when you’re making a 30-player list you’re bound to get more than 30 different players.  These are the guys who made at least one individual list but didn’t accumulate enough points to make the final composite top 30.  it’s an interesting group of players too.  There’s some under-valued lower level guys, a couple 2015 draft picks, and a former longstanding top prospect list member who was one of many to make his MLB debut in pinstripes last year.  Here are the six 2016 IIATMS Top 30 honorable mentions:

31) Thairo Estrada– SS, Low-A Charleston
Age: 19, Bats: R, Throws: R
Ranked #21 on Brad’s list

In an organization that’s deep in up-the-middle prospects, it’s easy for a player like Thairo to get overlooked.  He doesn’t possess a single tool that stands out as individually impressive and his greatest strength at the moment is his defensive ability.  But that ability is legitimate, and Estrada is already acknowledged by scouts as having the arm and the range to stick at shortstop long-term.  And for all that he doesn’t offer in terms of power, Estrada has shown the ability to put the bat on the ball and he’s taken steps forward with his approach.  His .267/.338/.360 line at SS Staten Island wasn’t bad and was hurt by a slow finish, and if he can continue to develop as a contact hitter with speed he should start to get some more recognition.

32) Jeff Degano- LHSP, Low-A Charleston
Age: 23, Throws: L
Ranked #29 on Brad’s list, #27 on Dom’s list

Sandwiched between the flashier Kaprielian and Finley picks, Degano was mostly unheralded as the 2nd rounder.  He hardly pitched at all in 2013 and 2014 after blowing out his elbow, but he was pretty good in his redshirt junior year at Indiana State in 2015.  He pitched to a 2.53 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 10.2 IP over 4 appearances with SS Staten Island after being drafted, and the general consensus is that his stuff has gotten much better as he’s gotten further away from TJS.  If he can develop a reliable changeup to go with his fastball-curveball combo, Degano could profile as a mid-rotation starter.  Expect the Yankees to take it easy on him despite his age with a full season of A-ball in 2016.

33) Slade Heathcott– OF, Triple-A SWB
Age: 25, Bats: L, Throws: L
Ranked #28 on EJ’s list

Calling Heathcott a prospect in the year 2016 is a rarity, and that’s understandable given how long he’s been around in the Yankee system and how impossible it’s been for him to stay healthy.  But there’s no denying that the talent that made Heathcott a top prospect as recently as a few years ago is still there.  He showed flashes of that talent in 64 games at Triple-A last season and even brighter flashes when he got his call up to the big league squad in late May.  All in all, Heathcott hit .400/.429/.720 in 30 big league plate appearances with 2 homers, 6 runs scored, 8 RBI, and one of the team’s most memorable home runs of the season.  He’ll be in the mix for a call up again this year as long as his body holds together. Continue reading The 2016 IIATMS Top 30: The Honorable Mentions

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

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

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.  Following that, here’s how the rest of the week lays out:

Tuesday- 2016 IIIATMS Top 30 Honorable Mentions

Wednesday- Players 30-21

Thursday- Players 20-11

Friday- Players 10-1

Check back a little later for the honorable mentions, where I’ll give a little spotlight time to the 6 players who didn’t make the cut for this year’s top 30.  And if you’d like to revisit last year’s top 30 one more time, you can do that here, here, and here. Continue reading Welcome To IIATMS Prospect Week 2016

Saturday Morning Links: 2/6/16

Two days.  We’re just two days away from the prospect ranking list that will put all other prospect rankings to shame.  I hope you’re ready. Now onto the links.

– On Tuesday, Chris Carelli of Yankees Unscripted hashed through the different paths the Yankees can take to address first base next season now that they know Greg Bird will miss all of this one.

– On Wednesday, Tanya Bondurant of Pinstripe Alley had the most brilliant idea I’ve ever read- the Yankees should sign Juan Uribe.

– El duque of It Is High… declared this a make-or-break season for Jacoby Ellsbury.  And I completely agree with him.

– On Thursday, Chad Jennings reviewed last year’s ST invite list to highlight the high turnover from then to now.

– Ben Diamond of BP Bronx recapped Cash’s recent trade history and compared WAR values to show how that history has been good. Continue reading Saturday Morning Links: 2/6/16

Yankees Announce List Of Non-Roster Spring Training Invitees

We’re less than 2 weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Tampa and that’s close enough for the Yankees to announce their list of non-roster Spring Training invitees.  They did so earlier today, officially inviting 25 non-roster players to big league camp.  The group was highlighted by top organizational prospects Aaron Judge, James Kaprielian, and Jorge Mateo, as well as notable prospects Dustin Fowler and Brady Lail and previous MiL signings such as Pete Kozma, Anthony Swarzak, and Vinnie Pestano.  Along with the players on the 40-man roster, the Yankees will have 65 players in Major League spring camp.

Here’s the full list of non-roster invites:

Catchers: Carlos Corporan, Francisco Diaz, Kyle Higashioka, Eddy Rodriguez, Sebastian Valle, Santiago Nessy

Infielders: Jonathan Diaz, Pete Kozma, Jorge Mateo, Deibinson Romero, Donovan Solano, Tyler Wade

Outfielders: Dustin Fowler, Aaron Judge, Cesar Puello

Pitchers: Richard Bleier, Tyler Cloyd, Domingo German, Chad Green, James Kaprielian, Brady Lail, Diego Moreno, Vinnie Pestano, Anthony Swarzak, Tyler Webb Continue reading Yankees Announce List Of Non-Roster Spring Training Invitees

Prospect Musings A Few Days Away From IIATMS Prospect Week

[caption id="attachment_80183" align="aligncenter" width="575"]Dustin Fowler 2015 Courtesy of Mark LoMoglio/[/caption]

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.  By my count, 5 of the top 10 and 8 of the top 15 Yankee prospects are going to open this year in Triple-A SWB.  That’s solid.

– As for those prospects lost to the trade market this offseason, if you’re wondering where I would have had them, here you go: Davis 6th, Jagielo 7th, Cave 21st.  I also had Bryan Mitchell 13th up until a few days ago when I finally realized he exceeded his rookie eligibility in 2015.

– Another overall organizational trend that carries over to this year is the high level of Triple-A outfield depth.  We saw Ramon Flores, Mason Williams, and Slade Heathcott all get shots in the big leagues last year and 2 of those 3 will be back in SWB this year along with Aaron Judge and Ben Gamel.  I’m curious to see how the playing time breakdown will work once the regular season starts, and I’m even more curious to see how the call-up pecking order settles out.  I have to think Williams is the early favorite, but Judge could easily jump him if he hits better and Gamel’s “do a little bit of everything” style makes him a very viable call up candidate now that he’s on the 40-man. Continue reading Prospect Musings A Few Days Away From IIATMS Prospect Week