Yankees Prospect Watch
Added by Jason Mast on July 23, 2013.
After reviewing the Mets pre-season top ten prospects on
its time to look at the Yankees farm system. With the Yankees scrambling to
find a veteran hitter at the deadline to stabilize an offense that
currently ranks 12th in the American league, – to the point of even being
in negotiations to acquire Alfonso Soriano, and the 25 Million dollar price
tag that comes with him – their prospects will likely pop up more and more
in trade talks and rumors.
Prior to the season, ESPN’s Keith Law ranked their top prospects as
1. Gary Sanchez, C
2. Mason Williams, CF
3. Tyler Austin, RF
4. Slade Heathcott, CF
5. Jose Ramirez, RHP
6. Ty Hensley, RHP
7. Manny Banuelos, LHP
8. Jose Campos, RHP
9. Mark Montgomery, RHP
10. Angelo Gumbs, 2B
1. *Gary Sanchez*
After a breakout year in 2012 that saw him named as the 18th best prospect
in baseball by ESPN and the 36th best by MLB.com, Sanchez has struggled
this year in his first full season in A+ ball. While his hitting has still
been solid, – 13 homeruns and a .781 OPS – the numbers don’t match those of
the previous season where he hit .290 with 18 homeruns and an .829 OPS. In
addition, his fielding behind the dish has sparked some adverse reactions
this season as Baseball America views him as a competent receiver while
ESPN reported that his play behind the dish has regressed this season.
Ultimately, his value to the yankees will be determined by his fielding; if
he can remain at catcher then he will likely develop into an MLB regular,
but if not, he may not hit enough to start in the majors.
*Stock Down *
2. *Mason Williams*
A glove first outfielder, Williams, came into the season needing, according
to Keith Law, “refinement at the plate.” Mason, however, has shown anything
but refinement as he’s had a dysmal season for the yankees A+ affiliate.
After showing some power year, to the tune of 11 homeruns in 397 at bats,
the young outfielder has looked like a slap hitter this season, hitting
just 3 bombs in almost as many at bats. Furthermore, his average has
dropped off against older pitching as he’s hit just .272, a sharp decline
from the .304 average he posted in A ball last year. The only bright side
of William’s season has been his patience, a tool all prospects need to
advance to the show, as he’s walked 33 times after only walking 24 times in
2012, and 20 times in 2011.
*Stock Down *
3. *Tyler Austin*
After advancing tearing apart the A and A+ leagues last year, hitting .320
with a .960 OPS, the former 13th round pick has run into a wall in AA. His
plus power has fallen off as he’s dropped from 17 home runs last season, to
only six this year. To add insult to injury, his line drive swing has
faltered as his average has fallen from .320 in 2012 to .254 in 2013.
Austin’s season has been halted snce July 12, when a wrist injury sidelined
4. *Slade Heathcott*
Slade, a former first round draft pick, has struggled like all the other
top Yankees outfield prospects. AA has not treated him kindly as he’s hit
only .260, a far cry from the .302 he hit last year, while showing only
nominal power in the form of 5 home runs. In addition, Slade is a plus
runner who could be a threat on the basepaths, but he has been unable to
harness that speed as shown by his mere 10 SB and dysmal 56% stolen base
percentage (75-80% is an ideal rate). Perhaps even more telling is his K:BB
ratio as Heathcott has struckout a dangerously high 92 times this season
while only walking 29 times. Jonathan Mayo stated before the year that
Heathcott, “had to become more selective at the plate and on the
basepaths.” This is not the way to do that.
*Stock Down *
5. *Jose Ramirez*
For most of the year Ramirez was one of the few yankees prospects having a
quality season. The young righthander channeled his low to mid 90′s
fastball, plus changeup, and plus curve into a 2.76 ERA and 10.6 K/9 in AA.
After 42 innings, however, Ramirez was promoted to AAA where he has
struggled. Through two months, he is averaging just 4 innings per start,
while posting a 4.45 ERA. Much of this has been due to a sky high walk rate
of 6.4 BB/9. If Ramirez can’t harness his control, he will undoubtly find
himself in the bullpen, where he may still be a very useful piece.
6. *Ty Hensley*
Not much to write here, the Yankees 2012 first round pick has missed the
entire season with after hip surgery in May. Only 19, Hensley primarily
features a low 90′s fastball and a hard curve, while also occasionally
mixing in an average changeup.
*Stock Even *
7. *Manny Banuelos*
The former top prospect has been out the entire season recovering from
Tommy John surgery he underwent last spring. Although he was once
considered one of the top prospects in baseball due to a plus fastball,
changeup, and curveball, injuries and command issues have lowered his
*Stock Down *
8. *Jose Campos, RHP*
Brought over in the deal that netted Michael Pineda, Campos is a young,
raw pitcher with a lot of potential. He throws an above average curve to go
along with his low to mid-90′s fastball and his still-developing changeup.
After missing most of 2012 with injury, Campos has had a stellar 2013,
putting up a 3.57 ERA with a 8.7 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 rate in A ball.
*Stock Up *
9. *Mark Montgomery, RHP*
Montgomery, a reliever in the Yankees farm system, has had mixed results
this year, posting a 2.72 ERA and an 11.4 K/9 but a scary-high 5.0 BB/9.
With a solid fastball and a devastating curve, Montgomery has a chance to
be shutdown reliever, but to get there he’ll need to harness at least some
of his command.
*Stock Even *
10. *Angelo Gumbs*
Still very raw, Gumbs has many tools but has yet to learn how to use them.
This year has not been kind to him as he’s hit only .236 with very limited
power – 4 home runs – between A and A+ ball. The second baseman is only 20
and still a long way from the majors, but he has to start hitting to become
much of a prospect.