Top 33 Prospects: New York Yankees

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the New York Yankees farm system. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from my own observations. The KATOH statistical projections, probable-outcome graphs, and (further down) Mahalanobis comps have been provided by Chris Mitchell. For more information on thes 20-80 scouting scale by which all of my prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this. -Eric Longenhagen

The KATOH projection system uses minor-league data and Baseball America prospect rankings to forecast future performance in the major leagues. For each player, KATOH produces a WAR forecast for his first six years in the major leagues. There are drawbacks to scouting the stat line, so take these projections with a grain of salt. Due to their purely objective nature, the projections here can be useful in identifying prospects who might be overlooked or overrated. Due to sample-size concerns, only players with at least 200 minor-league plate appearances or batters faced last season have received projections. -Chris Mitchell

Other Lists
NL West (ARI, COL, LAD, SD, SF)
AL Central (CHW, CLE, DET, KC, MIN)
NL Central (CHC, CIN, PIT, MIL, StL)
NL East (ATL, MIA, NYM, PHI, WAS)
AL East (BAL, BOSNYY, TB, TOR)

Yankees Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Gleyber Torres 20 A+ SS 2018 60
2 Clint Frazier 22 AAA OF 2017 55
3 Blake Rutherford 19 R OF 2019 55
4 James Kaprielian 23 A+ RHP 2018 55
5 Aaron Judge 24 MLB RF 2017 55
6 Jorge Mateo 21 A+ SS 2018 50
7 Dustin Fowler 22 AA CF 2018 50
8 Justus Sheffield 20 AA LHP 2018 50
9 Albert Abreu 21 A+ RHP 2019 45
10 Chance Adams 22 AA RHP 2018 45
11 Miguel Andujar 22 AA 3B 2018 45
12 Dillon Tate 22 A RHP 2018 45
13 Tyler Wade 22 AA UTIL 2017 45
14 Jordan Montgomery 24 AAA LHP 2017 45
15 Chad Green 25 MLB RHP 2017 45
16 Estevan Florial 19 R CF 2020 45
17 Jonathan Holder 23 MLB RHP 2017 45
18 Domingo Acevedo 23 A+ RHP 2018 40
19 Wilkerman Garcia 18 R SS 2021 40
20 Dermis Garcia 19 R 3B 2021 40
21 Nolan Martinez 18 R RHP 2022 40
22 Ronald Herrera 21 AA RHP 2018 40
23 Ian Clarkin 22 A+ LHP 2018 40
24 Gio Gallegos 25 AAA RHP 2017 40
25 Kyle Higashioka 26 AAA C 2017 40
26 Tyler Austin 25 MLB OF 2017 40
27 Rony Garcia 19 R RHP 2020 40
28 Kyle Holder 22 A SS 2021 40
29 Jeff Hendrix 23 A+ CF 2018 40
30 Ben Heller 25 MLB RHP 2017 40
31 Billy McKinney 22 AA OF 2018 40
32 Johnny Barbato 24 MLB RHP 2017 40
33 Leonardo Molina 19 A OF 2021 40

60 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Venezuela
Age 20 Height 6’1 Weight 175 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/60 55/60 35/55 50/40 40/50 60/60

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Slashed .270/.354/.421 in 2016.

Scouting Report
When I first saw Gleyber Torres shortly after I moved to Arizona during the summer of 2014, I thought he was a nice little middle-infield prospect with a good feel to hit and a chance to stay at short. I also thought the offense might not profile to another position. Two years later, Torres has already grown into more raw power than I initially projected (by a full grade) while also remaining potentially viable at short. He has become one of baseball’s best prospects.

Torres’s prodigious offensive abilities hinge largely on a few remarkable traits. First, he has plus-plus bat speed. Despite loading his hands at a spot that would be too high and deep for most other prospects to maintain, Torres is able to get the barrel of the bat where it needs to be on time because of how quick and explosive his hands are. When Torres is late on pitches, he ends up hitting the ball on the ground but, again because of the bat speed, the contact is still hard. He showed glimpses of opposite-field extra-base power in the Fall League, either by fileting low liners down the first base line for doubles or threatening Scottsdale Stadium’s right-field wall with incoming missiles. His strong, torque-heavy lower half contributes to the power output, as Torres naturally collapses his back side, allowing for some extra in-game uppercut.

Torres’ impressive 2016 AFL performance, though not really indicative of anything (Dustin Ackley taught me that the hard way) was still impressive considering that Torres was tinkering with his swing throughout the fall. He doesn’t have great breaking-ball recognition (though he does have a good sense of the strike zone) and can end up off balance, out on his front foot, when he’s fooled by one. In what seemed to be a response to this issue, Torres ditched his leg kick with two strikes. It wasn’t pretty, and Torres took several unbecoming swings during this experimental phase, which ended after about two weeks (although it has resurfaced sporadically during his at-bats this spring).

On his combination of bat speed, barrel control and hand-eye, Torres projects as a plus hitter. He has above-average raw power right now and, while the body has already grown beyond the projections I placed on 17-year-old Gleyber and looks close to being maxed out, there might be another half-grade in there as he ages into his 20s.

With that offensive profile, Torres will be a perennial All-Star if he can stay at shortstop. He has the arm (comfortably plus) and athleticism for it, but is already an average runner at best and his body has thickened rapidly. His range is questionable and early reports from this spring indicate this issue remains. Given the state of batted-ball data and Torres’s age, there are reasons to be optimistic about his ability to improve and stay there, even if he’s just an average defender. I have him projected as such for now, but I think there’s a chance he eventually moves to second or third.

Fall League scouts were turned off by some of Torres’ defensive actions, which were often cavalier if not altogether sloppy and lackadaisical. But it was the Fall League and, by November, three-quarters of the prospects there are ready to go home, especially the ones like Torres who had already played a full, healthy season. It’s not something about which I’m concerned, but consider it worth monitoring.

A passable defensive shortstop who hits around .270 with some walks and 20-plus home runs is a star, and that’s in play for Torres, whose season will begin in Trenton but could end 80 miles northeast of it.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 10.5 WAR

55 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2013 from Loganville HS (GA)
Age 22 Height 6’1 Weight 185 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 60/60 50/60 50/50 45/50 60/60

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
ZiPS projects .238/.299/.433 slash line in 2017.

Scouting Report
Frazier was the fifth-overall pick in the 2013 draft out of Loganville High School in Georgia. He was signed away from his commitment to Georgia with a $3.5 million bonus, the most lucrative bonus in Indians draft history. In high school, Frazier was a high-effort spark plug with elite bat speed, though he didn’t look like your typical high-upside prep draftee.

Before the draft, most organizations were correctly skeptical about Frazier’s long-term ability to play center field — despite some of the run times he was posting (he ran a 6.6-second 60-yard dash at East Coast Pro) — because of the way they anticipated his body to fill out. Frazier was listed at 5-foot-11, 185 pounds as an amateur but has grown into a listed 6-foot-1, 190, though he’s probably heavier than that. Despite his likely corner-only profile, Frazier’s bat speed and advanced feel for hitting made him a worthy top-five selection, even if he had atypical physical projection (as in, none) for a prep bat.

Because of the superhuman circumference of his biceps and his generally muscular physique, Frazier is most often body-comped to Popeye the Sailor Man, a reference I hope doesn’t elude the youngest of our readers. Though he posts some plus run times to first base because of a natural jailbreak, he’s only about an average runner whose middling speed is masked by visible effort and good baserunning instincts. Frazier’s speed and feel for playing center field are good enough that I think he’d be passable there in an emergency, but I wouldn’t advocate him playing there every day. I think that, given his size and build at age 22, Frazier is likely to slow down as he enters his prime. His arm strength should allow him to play in either outfield corner, where I believe he’ll be an average defender at maturity.

Frazier’s 80-grade bat speed has helped him generate a .275/.355/.448 career batting line. He’s hit despite the excessive loop his hands take back to the ball, a mechanical hiccup that I think causes his barrel to arrive late and robs him of the ability to pull the ball consistently. This could dilute his game power a bit, but Frazier is strong enough to muscle some of those balls out to right field anyway, and Yankee Stadium will be particularly kind to this flaw. Though his swing features a good bit of effort and Frazier has struggled some with strikeouts throughout his minor-league career, he still projects as an average major-league hitter. Again, the bat speed is the primary reason for this, but Frazier has shown that he has some barrel control and the ability to make adjustments in the middle of at-bats, as well. Reports on his makeup are glowing.

Though I think he’ll always swing and miss at an above-average clip, I’m optimistic about Frazier’s chance to become an above-average regular in New York. I think his power will play there as well as it would anywhere and, even if he only hits around .260, he’s ticketed for 20-plus annual homers and adulation for his style of play.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 6.5 WAR

Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Chaminade Prep (CA)
Age 20 Height 6’3 Weight 195 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/60 55/60 40/55 50/45 40/50 45/45

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
None. Played just 33 games after signing.

Scouting Report
Rutherford was identified as one of the top prep bats in his class as a sophomore and, by his junior year, he was generating some admittedly premature 1-1 buzz. I saw him while he was still an underclassman at Chaminade Prep, on his 18th birthday. He pinch hit in an early-game bases-loaded situation, walked, and then was immediately replaced by a pinch-runner and had his shoulder wrapped on the bench. He only took one swing during that at-bat but was clearly a unique talent.

As a senior, Rutherford was passed in the eyes of many area scouts by Mickey Moniak but was still a consensus top-7 to -10 talent in the draft. Teams with large bonus pools entertained the idea of trying to move him to their second pick in the draft by offering him $3-plus million and forcing teams picking in the middle of the first round either to reconfigure the financial plans they’d arranged for the draft (in order to fit Rutherford into their pool) or pass on him. He lasted until pick No. 18, at which point the Yankees pounced and signed him for $3.2 million, roughly the slot value of pick No. 11. They fit him into their draft budget by signing second-rounder Nick Solak to a slightly below-slot deal and drafting $10,000 senior signs in rounds 7 through 10.

Rutherford’s innate feel for hitting is the most enticing aspect of his profile. Everything he does in the box looks natural and comfortable and he doesn’t need to overswing to produce loud contact. He can drop the bat head and golf out pitches down and in, even if they’re hard (he touched up prep prospect Hunter Greene last spring, when Greene was up to 98), adjust to breaking balls and takes patient, sometimes passive, at-bats. The contact/on-base profile is very favorable and, while some were slightly concerned about Rutherford’s age relative to his peers on draft day, his track record of hitting against them in travel ball and during showcases is indicative of future success.

Rutherford has above-average raw power right now, and his frame suggests at least another half-grade of it is coming. Given Rutherford’s ability to work himself into favorable counts, where he can have a rip or two at a hittable fastball, I think most of that raw power will actualize in games at maturity.

Defensively, Rutherford is currently a center fielder, but he’s a 50 runner (55 underway) who will likely slow down as he ages and move to a corner. I have a 45 on his arm based on what I saw on the showcase circuit last summer, something I watched closely after I was made aware of the shoulder issue he had as a junior. He fits in left field for me, and I think the bat will play. He’s a potential middle-of-the-order hitter and the odds-on favorite to be the first prep bat from the 2016 draft to reach the majors.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from UCLA
Age 23 Height 6’4 Weight 200 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command
60/60 55/60 45/50 55/60 45/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
None. Missed most of season with injury.

Scouting Report
At UCLA, Kaprielian sat 89-94 with a four-pitch mix that consisted of an average curveball, cutter-like slider, and an above-average changeup that Kaprielian could run back on the outer half of the plate against righties. The Yankees selected him in the middle of the 2015 draft’s first round.

Kaprielian’s first full pro season got off to a roaring start. His fastball was sitting in the mid-to-upper 90s all of a sudden and he blew away High-A hitters for three starts following a promotion to that level. Then he was shut down for the remainder of the season with a flexor-tendon strain. He picked up some innings in the Arizona Fall League, though, where was 94-97 in his first start, then back down in the 92-93 range in a later start before his velo resurged in Novemeber and he was touching 99. Over multiple looks throughout the course of the AFL, his fastball averaged 95 mph for me, a 70 on the scouting scale if you assume Kaprielian would be able to maintain that velocity over an entire season. I’m skeptical.

All of Kaprielian’s secondaries play up because of his deceptive delivery and because they all look the same as they approach the plate before darting in subtly different directions. His slider sits 85-87 and will touch 90 with short, cutter-like action. It’s oft used. The curveball is mostly 82-85 with a bit more downward depth, and he has the same above-average changeup he had in college and that he cuts at times.

Conservatively, there’s a chance for three plus pitches, a viable fourth weapon in the curveball and average control/command. That’s approaching a top-of-the-rotation arm. If the fastball velocity we saw throughout the Fall League is sustainable, and I’m light on the fastball grade, then we’re there. Kaprielian’s being babied along this spring but has a chance to crack New York’s rotation this year provided, of course, he can stay healthy.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2013 from Fresno St
Age 25 Height 6’7 Weight 255 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 70/70 55/70 50/45 50/55 60/60

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Slashed .270/.366/.490 at Triple-A in 2016.

Scouting Report
Judge’s junior year at Fresno State was marred with inconsistency. He had 70 raw power but struggled to get to it in games, especially against opposing Friday night arms. Scouts, many of whom had never seen a hitter this size at all, let alone one that succeeded in the big leagues, were worried about Judge swinging and missing in pro ball. It’s why Judge fell much farther in the draft than a college hitter with this kind of power and athleticism ever should.

Judge didn’t play at a New York affiliate that summer because of a hamstring injury and got his first taste of pro ball in 2014. He allayed concerns about his size/strikeouts by tearing through Low-A, High-A and the Arizona Fall League. He has required adjustment at each level, struggling at Double- and Triple-A upon promotion before refining his approach and hitting again with authority. He’s likely to do the same in the majors after struggling badly late last summer and is already showing signs of improvement this spring, laying off of pitches beneath the zone, getting to velocity on the inner half and spoiling sliders away.

While strikeouts are likely to be a career-long aspect of Judge’s profile, he’s shown an ability to make adjustments, and the quality of his contact is great when he’s making it. I have a future 50 on the hit tool and think he’ll get to his power in games, torching out 30 homers at peak with good defense in right field and some value on the bases. He projects as a low-risk, above-average regular.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 5.8 WAR

50 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2011 from Dominican Republic
Age 22 Height 6’0 Weight 188 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 45/50 30/40 80/80 40/50 55/55

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Slashed .254/.306/.379 at High-A.

Scouting Report
Mateo was a relatively unheralded signing from January of 2012, inking a $250,000 bonus. By 2014, he had grown an inch, added 20 pounds and started dominating the lowest levels of the minors. His skills have more or less tracked as expected since then. He remains an 80 runner, one of the fastest prospects in baseball, routinely reaching first in 4 seconds or less. While neither Mateo’s first step nor lateral range at shortstop are as superlative as his straight-line speed, he’s fine there and has the requisite arm strength, athleticism, footwork and actions to be an average defender at shortstop.

Of course, Gleyber Torres’ presence in the organization complicates Mateo’s defensive future, and he began playing second base last year. Scouts have varying opinions on who fits best at short. Mateo’s actions aren’t as flashy and sexy as Torres’s, but he’s twitchier and has a better first step. Others prefer Torres’s bigger, stronger body at short, which carries a heavier physical burden than second base does. And others just want to see Mateo run around in center field, where he played a bit during the fall, simply because they speculatively believe he could be an elite defender there with reps. Of all the recent speedy shortstop/center-field prospects (Roman Quinn and Billy Hamilton to name two), Mateo has the most viable combination of arm strength and infield actions. I have him graded out at shortstop as a future 50 for now (just because projecting him at either second or center right now is comparatively abstract, and Dustin Fowler is a factor in this conversation, as well) but obviously where he ends up on the defensive spectrum will be a significant determining variable for his ultimate value. Big-league shortstops and center fielders hit about .260/.320/.407 last year, second baseman hit .270/.330/.425. One of those is within reasonable reach for Mateo and the other might be a bit much.

Mateo’s stride-less swing is simple, and he avoids excessive strikeouts despite a lengthy bat path and aggressive, expansive approach. He has decent bat control and hand-eye coordination and projects as an average hitter whose average and on-base percentage might be inflated by his blazing speed. He still has some physical projection remaining and should have average raw power at peak, though the current iteration of his swing is unlikely to yield better than 40 power in games. That’s a potential above-average player at shortstop but closer to the fringes at second base. In center field, well, it depends on the quality of his defense there. There are several possible outcomes here, and they generally point to Mateo being a good everyday player.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 3.8 WAR

Drafted: 18th Round, 2013 from West Laurens HS (GA)
Age 22 Height 6’0 Weight 185 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/60 50/50 35/40 60/60 50/55 45/45

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Slashed .281/.311/.458 at Double-A in 2016.

Scouting Report
Fowler developed a bit of a tweener reputation in 2015 (as he was breaking out) because he didn’t hit for power in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, his first full, healthy season as a pro. In 2016, Fowler got out of Tampa and mashed at Trenton, tallying 56 extra-base hits and 25 steals during an injury-free year. He’s a plus runner and already average in center field, though he could be above with reps.

While he’ll occasionally pepper the opposite-field gap, Fowler is largely an up-the-middle and pull hitter and indeed much of the extra-base damage he does is to his pull side, down the line. He has average raw power but projects to run into around 12-15 homers annually with lots of doubles. He tracks pitches well, has good bat speed and projects as a plus hitter. Even with an aggressive approach that might hinder his ability to reach base, a 60 bat with 40 power plays in center field, where any kind of power is at a premium. I consider him a high-probability average everyday big leaguer.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 5.1 WAR

Drafted: 1st Round, 2014 from Tullahoma HS (TN)
Age 21 Height 5’10 Weight 196 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command
55/55 50/55 45/50 40/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Recorded 129 strikeouts over 125 innings in 2016.

Scouting Report
Sheffield made some changes to his repertoire last season. In high school, as well as early in his pro career, Sheffield’s secondary offering of choice was his curveball, but he was primarily fastball/slider when I saw him with Lynchburg last summer. The slider was 84-86 mph and, at its best, featured tight, late-biting, two-plane movement. Others had shorter, more cutter-like break. Sheffield is still getting a feel for how to locate the slider effectively to various locations, but has already shown a desire to attack right-handers in on the hands with it. It projects as an above-average offering.

Sheffield’s fastball sits 91-94 and touches 95 with some sink. The pitch comes in flat and hittable when Sheffield isn’t getting on top of it, an issue exacerbated by Sheffield’s height, which is listed at 5-foot-10. There’s some effort to his delivery and it does appear to inhibit Sheffield’s ability to throw strikes right now (his walk rate spiked in 2016), but the delivery is compact, Sheffield is a solid athlete and I’m comfortable projecting average control. The changeup, 83-86, comes in a little firm at times, but it too projects to average (and possibly above) given Sheffield’s arm action and athleticism.

Though his overall profile is in a bit in flux right now because of the repertoire changes and the way his walk rate has backpedaled last season, Sheffield still projects as a league-average starter. If the change maxes out, he’ll be better than that. He reached Double-A at age 20 last year and could reach the majors in 2018, provided his strike-throwing bounces back.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 3.0 WAR

45 FV Prospects

9. Albert Abreu, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic
Age 21 Height 6’2 Weight 175 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command
60/60 40/45 55/60 45/60 35/45

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Recorded 115 strikeouts, 58 walks in 101 innings.

Scouting Report
The centerpiece of New York’s return from Houston in November’s Brian McCann trade, Abreu is a somewhat undersized (on paper, anyway) righty with absolutely electric arm speed that he produces with little effort. Abreu’s fastball will sit in the low-to-mid 90s, usually 91-96, and touch as high as 98. He has well below-average command of his fastball (and the rest of his repertoire) right now, but the ease of Abreu’s delivery allows for optimism in this area. Of course,it’s not a foregone conclusion that he’ll develop starter-level command.

Abreu’s secondary pitches are also promising. His curveball, an upper-70s hammer, is already consistently plus and used heavily against both left- and right-handed hitters. His changeup is inconsistent but projects to plus because of arm speed is so deceptive and devastating when he releases one properly. Abreu also has a slider in the 83-86 mph range and he has some nascent feel for it, but its shape can get slurvy. It’s well behind his other three pitches both in present usage and future projection.

There are some scouts who worry that Abreu will be a reliever. He has issues repeating his release point, which has lead to inefficient strike-throwing, and some scouts wonder if Abreu has the frame to handle 200-plus innings. While his on-paper measurables (6-foot-2, 185) are unspectacular and below the prototypical 6-foot-4, 190 scouts prefer from righty starters, Abreu’s lower half is huge and his hips/thighs/butt carry a significant, torque-generating load in his delivery. Control/command development is certainly going to have to come, but I have no concerns about Abreu’s ability to start because of a perceived lack of physicality.

There’s a chance for three plus pitches here, though Abreu’s profile carries significant risk because the command is so far from starter viability. If his strike-throwing take a step forward in 2017 he’s a top-100 prospect.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.5 WAR

10. Chance Adams, RHP
Drafted: 5th Round, 2015 from Dallas Baptist
Age 22 Height 6’0 Weight 215 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command
60/60 55/55 45/50 45/50 40/45

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Threw 127 innings in 2016 — up from total of 90 innings, all in relief, between college and pro ball previous year.

Scouting Report
Adams’ 2016 season was full of helium, as he moved from the bullpen into Tampa’s rotation to start the year. Adams’ college career began at Yavapai, where his fastball sat in the low 90s. He later transferred to Dallas Baptist, where mid-90s bullpen fastballs grow like weeds, for his junior year. Adams’ fastball was sitting in the mid-90s there. He was drafted as a pure relief prospect in 2015 but moved to the rotation at the suggestion of Yankees player-development personnel to start 2016. He dominated both High- and Double-A.

Adams is short but thick and strong with a big lower half that he uses efficiently during his delivery. He has a short arm action similar to what you often see from converted catchers. Adams works up with his fastball, which has mostly been 92-95 this spring but was up to 97 last year. His release point varies heavily, suppressing his command, but Adams is mechanically compact and throws enough strikes to start, or at least continue developing as a starter for now. His slider — an above-average, vertically tilting slide piece in the 81-85 mph range — is his best secondary pitch, but he has promising feel for a fading mid-80s changeup that he throws away from lefties. Those three offerings, combined with a fringey, mid-70s curveball, give Adams a viable starter’s repertoire. On stuff he projects as a solid fourth starter.

His sequencing and usage of those pitches is raw, and I think some of the talk about Adams reaching the majors as a rotation piece this year are a little overzealous given how much work is left to do in those areas. He could conceivably get there in relief but that would mean robbing him of opportunities to hone his secondaries and command over multiple innings in the minors. I suppose there’s a chance Adams never quite develops the command to start or the pitchability required for his stuff to play as effectively as it looks like it should, but it’s more likely he finds a way to eventually squeeze into the back of New York’s rotation, which is a terrific outcome for a fifth rounder.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 3.1 WAR

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2011 from Dominican Republic
Age 22 Height 6’0 Weight 175 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/55 55/55 35/45 50/50 40/50 70/70

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Posted just 13% strikeout rate in 2016.

Scouting Report
I’ve had a hard time evaluating Andujar, whom I saw last summer with Trenton and then for six weeks during the Fall League. The physical tools are certainly there: Andujar has plus bat speed (something I initially misevaluated), is an average runner, has a 70 arm, and athletic but raw actions at third base. Despite a high-effort swing that features a lot of noise in the hands and movement above the shoulders (both of which are usually indicative of swing and miss), Andujar has favorable, career-long contact rates all the way through Double-A, though he does hit a lot of weak pop ups because of that violence. His bat path is downward sloping and requires him to catch balls out in front of the plate and pull them to do damage, or else pound the ball into the ground. He projects as an above-average hitter with fringe game power right now. The ceiling is higher than that, just on bat speed, but it will likely require an adjustment to get him there.

Defensively, Andujar’s arm strength and athleticism make him a potential impact defender at third base, though his footwork, actions and arm accuracy are very inconsistent. He turned 22 last week and has plenty of time to iron those out. If he does, even without monster offensive output, he’s a potential above-average regular. If he doesn’t, he’s a fringe everyday guy.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 2.9 WAR

12. Dillon Tate, RHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from UC Santa Barbara
Age 23 Height 6’2 Weight 210 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Command
55/55 55/60 45/50 40/45

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Mostly none due to lingering injury issues, but recorded 30% strikeout rate at Fall League.

Scouting Report
In the spring of 2016, Tate looked every bit the potential No. 2 starter he was drafted to be, sitting 94-96 with a plus, mid-80s slider and working in a plus-flashing changeup, all of which he was commanding. After two dominant starts at Low-A, Tate went down for a few weeks with a hamstring injury. When he came back, his stuff was bad. Texas sent him to New York in the Carlos Beltran deal, and the Yankees sent him to pick up innings in the Fall League.

He was 92-95, touching 97 in the AFL, often without movement, his slider again flashing plus but with less consistency than in the spring and the changeup a bit less impactful but still showing average. It was better but hadn’t returned to the level of a few months earlier. There’s still ceiling here, it’s just harder to see. And Tate’s developmental background already had several strange twists and turns. (He was a reliever until his junior year at UCSB, suffered a trap injury in the weight room that year, then barely threw in pro ball after signing to keep his innings down, then had the hammy issue in ’16 which derailed him.) He carries an extreme risk profile, especially for a college arm.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 0.2 WAR

13. Tyler Wade, UTIL
Drafted: 4th Round, 2013 from Murrieta Valley HS (GA)
Age 22 Height 6’1 Weight 180 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 40/40 20/30 60/60 45/50 55/55

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Slashed .260/.352/.349 at Double-A.

Scouting Report
Wade trekked onward toward his destiny as a high-end super utility man during 2016, spending more time at second base than he had before and beginning to get his feet wet in center field during the Fall League. Wade is a good athlete and plus runner with an above-average arm and passable hands at short. He projects as an average defender at short and could probably be a fringe everyday player there if the Yankees need him to be, but there’s added value in moving him around the diamond with superior talents climbing the minor-league ladder behind him.

Wade can hit a little bit, too. He lacks physicality and power, but his all-fields, contact-oriented approach reflects self-awareness of his physical limitations. He has above-average bat speed and bat control and projects as an above-average hitter with 30 game power. He’s likely to continue expanding his defensive horizons at Triple-A this year and see his first action in New York. He’ll be a valuable utility big leaguer for a long time.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 2.0 WAR

Drafted: 4th Round, 2014 from South Carolina
Age 24 Height 6’4 Weight 225 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command
55/55 50/55 50/50 50/55 50/55

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Has allowed just 10 homers in 292 pro innings.

Scouting Report
At South Carolina, Montgomery often sat 87-90, maybe touching 92, with an above-average changeup and a healthy diet of strikes despite an ugly, high three-quarters delivery. His velocity has spiked in pro ball, now sitting 90-93 and touching just above that. Montgomery’s combination of size and newer vertical arm slot has resulted in a stratospheric release point and extreme downhill angle on his fastball. He struggles to work down in the strike zone with his heater because of this but Montgomery has never been homer prone. In fact, quite the opposite: he’s allowed just 10 home runs in nearly 300 minor-league innings.

While he lacks a true swing-and-miss secondary, Montgomery’s command of a diverse pallet of junk should allow him to negotiate through big-league lineups multiple times. He has an average 12-6 curveball, usually 78-81, with solid depth and middling bite. It acts more as a cheap strike when Montgomery is behind in the count than a true putaway pitch. His changeup is also average, 82-85 mph, with identical arm speed compared to the fastball but little fade. I think the separator for Montomgery is his cutter/slider, which was short and hard last year, topping out around 89-90 mph. This spring that pitch has been more regularly 83-86 with longer, two-plane tilt and Montgomery has worked it down beneath the strike zone consistently, including down and in to righties. He’s able to locate his fastball up and in to righties and then drop that late breaking slider beneath their hands in sequence. I think Montgomery’s command will allow him to thoroughly squeeze all of the juice from his stuff. He’s a low-risk No. 4 or 5 starter for me with a chance to be a solid 50 on inning-eating volume or if the changeup develops past my projections.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 3.2 WAR

15. Chad Green, RHP
Drafted: 11th Round, 2013 from Louisville
Age 26 Height 6’3 Weight 210 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Cutter Command
60/60 55/55 40/45 50/55 45/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Allowed 12 homers in 45 big-league innings.

Scouting Report
Like several pitching prospects in this system, Green’s stuff spiked in pro ball. He has sitting low 90s without a great secondary pitch at Louisville and was drafted in the 11th round by Detroit. The Tigers traded him (along with Luis Cessa) to New York for Justin Wilson during the winter of 2015. Green began 2016 with Triple-A and dominated, showing a huge uptick in velocity and flashing impact secondary stuff. He made eight big-league starts in 2016, sitting 92-96 and touching 98 with his fastball before he was shut down with elbow soreness in September.

Green’s secondaries are inconsistent, but he flashes a plus low-80s slider that will touch 85 with biting, two-plane movement. It’s more consistently above average than plus but Green uses it well, running it away from righties and back-dooring it to lefties for cheap strikes. His cutter is relatively new, something Green only focused on developing last year. It sits in the upper 80s and will touch 92 with varying amounts of length. He’s able to work from the middle of the plate and out toward his glove side with that cutter. He rarely uses a below-average, low-80s changeup.

Green’s elbow injury from last fall wasn’t viewed as a long-term issue and he was throwing over the winter. The premium velocity of 2016 hasn’t shown up yet in spring games, where Green has been mostly 90-93 and showing noticeable arm deceleration while throwing his breaking ball. It’s early and probably not worth any concern, but rather something to monitor as the spring goes along. If the velocity remains from last year and Green can improve his command (usually a necessary component for pitchers without good changeups, as locating that cutter and slider will be vital versus lefties), Green is an above-average big-league starter. If not, he’s more of a No. 4. There’s some risk here due to the elbow issue and the possibility that Green’s 2016 stuff was a short-lived mirage, both of which diluted his FV for this list.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 3.9 WAR

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Haiti
Age 19 Height 6’1 Weight 185 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 55/60 30/55 60/55 40/50 60/60

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Recorded 29% strikeout rate, 10% walk rate, and .140 ISO as 18-year-old at Pulaski.

Scouting Report
Florial’s identity falsification as an amateur (chronicled here by Joel Sherman) forced him to miss a year of action. When he came to the states, though, he was already too advanced for the GCL and went right to the Appy League as an 18-year old in 2016. He has high-end tools as well as intriguing secondary skills that were on display in spurts throughout the year.

Florial has above-average raw power and is likely to grow into more as his body matures. His swing (which a scout compared to Gregory Polanco’s) has natural, pull-side uppercut, and the power plays in games either in the form of golfed homers down the right-field line or doubles sliced the other way. Scouts question his bat control and vulnerability against offspeed stuff away but think he’ll patiently hit for power in games even if the strikeouts are an incurable issue.

And with a likely long-term future in center field, that will be fine. Florial is a plus runner with a plus arm and, while his feel for center field is unmistakably raw, he only turned 19 in November and has plenty of time to become more a more efficient defender and, potentially, an impact one.

The ceiling here is high, but it comes with volatility because of Florial’s distance from the majors. He’s as talented as any prospect from that Yankees 2014 J2 class (he signed the following March, so it was during the same signing period but not on July 2) and is more advanced than anyone from that group except for Hoy Jun Park, who can’t touch his upside.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 0.8 WAR

Drafted: 6th Round, 2014 from Mississippi St
Age 24 Height 6’2 Weight 235 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Cutter Command
60/60 55/55 60/60 50/55

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Recorded 50% strikeout rate in 20 innings at Triple-A last year.

Scouting Report
Holder’s stuff might allow for high-leverage work in the future. He was 92-94 during his big-league cup of coffee in September but has been up to 97 since being moved back to the bullpen (his college role), while his fastball has exhibited swing-and-miss movement. He also has a plus cutter, 86-90, and an above average mid-70s curveball. He commands all three pitches. His early career reps as a starter helped tighten up the secondary stuff. Now Holder is basically ready for the big leagues and has uncommon repertoire depth for a reliever. I have him projected as a setup man.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 4.9 WAR

40 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Dominican Republic
Age 23 Height 6’7 Weight 242 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command
80/80 50/55 45/55 45/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Averaged 5.1 innings per start in 2016.

Scouting Report
Acevedo has relief-only projection for me, not because he can’t throw strikes (he can, though it isn’t usually pretty) but because he’s a below-average athlete with a weak lower half and can’t stay healthy. Acevedo is big and strong-looking, but he’s had several injuries over the last two years, including a shoulder issue in 2016. Big and strong as he appears, Acevedo’s lower half is weak and unbalanced throughout his delivery, and I don’t think he can hold up to a starter’s workload without significant development in this area.

He does throw really hard, though. Acevedo’s fastball is routinely 95-plus, often exceeding the century mark. He has some slider (which I prefer) and changeup (which others do) feel, both flashing above average, but they’re inconsistent. I think an elite fastball and two average or better secondaries will play at the back of a bullpen, but there’s significant injury risk here, as well.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 3.1 WAR

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Venezuela
Age 19 Height 6’0 Weight 176 Bat/Throw S/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/60 35/40 20/30 55/50 40/50 60/60

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Slashed .198/.255/.298 with .243 BABIP in Appy League.

Scouting Report
Scouts are still on Garcia’s bat despite a bad on-paper performance in the Appy League last year. His swing is compact, comfortable and viable from both sides of the plate. He could be a plus hitter at maturity, though it may take a while to develop both swings to that level of quality. He has all-fields ability right now as a right-handed hitter but is more pull-happy swinging left-handed. There’s relatively little physical projection left here, so unless an approach change is made it’s unlikely that Garcia will hit for much game power. Provided he can stay at shortstop, though, the hit/power profile is enough for everyday value.

Most scouts think Garcia will stay at short, even if he’s just a 45 or 50 defender there at peak, though speculate he could be an impact defender at second base if forced to move there. A move to second (which I’d say is a possibility, but not a likelihood, at this point) would put pressure on Garcia’s hit tool to max out, as it’s unlikely he’ll ever have prototypical power for anywhere but shortstop.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.5 WAR

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic
Age 19 Height 6’3 Weight 200 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 70/80 30/60 40/30 40/45 60/60

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Produced .247 ISO in 2016.

Scouting Report
Power is at a premium on the international amateur market, and Garcia’s elite raw thump was the chief reason he received the highest bonus, an even $3 million, among New York’s monstrous July 2 class of 2014. He wasn’t the consensus top player in the class, though, as scouts questioned his feel to hit and ultimate defensive home. Those questions remain, as Garcia struggled to make consistent contact and play good defense in the Appalachian League.

But the power is real and some scouts have a future 80 on the raw. Garcia, huge but not physically ill-composed for his age, has plus-plus bat speed, loose, whippy wrists and good extension through contact. He could rip out 30 annual homers if he ever finds a way either to hit or lay off breaking balls.

Garcia actually has promising ball/strike recognition, at least when he’s looking at a fastball, and his strikeout issues are largely due to struggles against breaking balls and exacerbated by his power-first approach. He’s only going to see more good breaking balls as he moves through the minors, though, and an adjustment is imperative if Garcia is going to reach the majors. Scouts and player-development personnel generally think breaking-ball recognition can be learned but not necessarily taught and instead consider it something that either comes with reps or does not. As such, Garcia’s prospecthood is the most volatile in the system, as there’s a chance he never hits and stalls out in A-ball. And if he has to move off of third base and to right field (a real possibility based on Garcia’s size alone) there will be even more pressure on the bat.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 0.5 WAR

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2016 from Culver City HS (CA)
Age 19 Height 6’2 Weight 165 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
40/50 50/55 40/50 40/55

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
None.

Scouting Report
There are a lot of traditional, right-handed prep pitcher traits here, just diet versions of them. Martinez was committed to play both ways at San Diego State but was coaxed away by a substantial overslot deal ($1.1 million, $500K over slot) at pick No. 98. He’s athletic, quick armed and has good curveball feel. The changeup is bad right now, and there were some durability concerns ahead of the draft because Martinez is so thin. He was young for the class, though, and won’t turn 19 until the end of this upcoming June. Physical maturity might add to currently fringe velocity, mostly 87-92 on the fastball right now. The athleticism lends favorable projection to the command and changeup. Even if Martinez holds serve on his current velocity, he’s a potential No. 4, and a mid-rotation piece if more heat comes.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2011 from Venezuela
Age 22 Height 5’10 Weight 168 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command
50/50 45/45 45/45 50/55 50/55

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Recorded 22% strikeout, 6% walk rate at Double-A.

Scouting Report
Oakland signed Herrera out of Venezuela back in 2012 and then sent him to San Diego in the Kyle Blanks trade. San Diego sent him to New York for Jose Pirela. The Yankees tuned up his delivery, which is now excellent and helps Herrera command three fringe-to-average pitches and an impact changeup. He made a cameo appearance in Triple-A as a 21-year-old last year. His best chance at missing bats right now is with the fading, low-80s changeup and by spotting either of his breaking balls. Even at 21, though, Herrera doesn’t have physical projection indicative of more velocity. He was flashing above-average command already last year and, while scouts are concerned about his size and middling velocity, this is a back-end starter’s repertoire. If the command exceeds my projections, it might be more than that.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 3.1 WAR

23. Ian Clarkin, LHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Madison HS (CA)
Age 22 Height 6’2 Weight 205 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command
45/45 40/45 55/55 45/50 45/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Posted 17% strikeout rate at High-A.

Scouting Report
Clarkin’s career has been mired by injury, including an elbow issue that cost him all of 2015 and a torn meniscus that cut his 2016 season short. His fastball sits 88-92 with a little bit of movement. He has an above-average, big-breaking curveball. He’s also shown an ability to pitch more heavily off of his fringe-average changeup on nights when the curveball isn’t working or as a change of pace in fastball counts. He also has a below-average slider with which he only began working last season.

With middling stuff, Clarkin’s ceiling is that of a No. 4/5 starter — maybe a solid No. 4 if his command maxes out — and he’s a good athlete (he was going to play baseball and soccer at San Diego had he not signed out of high school) with some projection in that area. He carries heavy risk because of the injury history.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.2 WAR

24. Gio Gallegos, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2011 from Mexico
Age 25 Height 6’2 Weight 175 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Command
55/55 60/60 55/60

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Recorded 106 strikeouts over 78 innings in 2016.

Scouting Report
Gallegos has a bat-missing 12-6 curveball and low-90s fastball that touches 95. He throws plenty of strikes and shows an understanding of how to set up hitters to offer at his curveball by changing hitters’ eye levels with his fastball. He’s a safe relief prospect (if there is such a thing) with an outside shot to be a setup arm. He had TJ in 2011 and a DL stint in 2014 and 2015 but was totally healthy last year.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 2.8 WAR

Drafted: 7th Round, 2008 from Edison HS (CA)
Age 27 Height 6’1 Weight 190 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/50 55/55 45/50 30/30 45/50 40/40

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Slashed .276/.337/.511 between Double and Triple-A.

Scouting Report
Higashioka has made several developmental strides and is now likely to yield some sort of big-league value as a backup/third catcher who hits for some power in games. He looks leaner than he did when I saw him in the Fall League a few years ago, and he’s now a solid receiver with surprising twitch and lateral quickness for his size. He’s also quieted the pre-trigger movement in his hands at the plate and is getting his barrel on plane earlier than he used to, resulting in more power. He has surprising bat control despite a stiff, deep load and, while he’s an aggressive hitter with limited on base ability, the power output is rare for a catcher.

The large remaining hurdle for Higashioka is his arm strength. I had him popping 2.03-2.08 when I saw him with Trenton midsummer, and I can’t find a scout that had a time below two seconds during the season. His throws don’t have good carry and often sputter out and bounce ahead of the bag. It’s a below-average arm but not so fatally flawed that I’d move Higashikoa out from behind the plate, because that’s the only place his bat realistically plays. On a roster with enough positional versatility he could be your backup/third catcher and purveyor of bench pop.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 2.3 WAR

Drafted: 13th Round, 2010 from Heritage HS (GA)
Age 25 Height 6’1 Weight 220 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
60/60 55/55 45/45 30/30 45/45 50/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Career .287 hitter. Slugged 80 points above career norms in 2016.

Scouting Report
Austin can hit but he can’t stay healthy. He has plus bat speed, has actually quieted his swing since his breakout year in 2013, and is now able to get his barrel on plane with the baseball more regularly and produce more power in games. He could be a left-field/first-base doubles machine with fringe home-run totals and enough on-base ability to play every day, but he hasn’t been healthy for more than 110 games in any season (and that was back in 2012) as a pro and is probably just a bench bat/DH at this point. He’d be up with the 45s if he could just stay off the DL, which he did for all of 2016. He suffered a foot fracture in February and will miss six weeks.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.9 WAR

27. Rony Garcia, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic
Age 19 Height 6’3 Weight 200 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
55/60 50/60 30/40 40/55

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
None.

Scouting Report
A t 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, Garcia has a good pitcher’s frame. It’s less projectable than the typical 19-year-old body but still has a bit of room for more mass. He has a low three-quarters delivery and is a bit of a short strider, so some scouts think he’ll eventually end up in the bullpen. Nevertheless, he sits 91-94, will touch 96, show east/west fastball command and flash a plus, slurvy curveball. Garcia’s changeup feel is also sushi raw and scouts are mixed about its projection, but you don’t give up on a body like this with that fastball/curveball combo until you absolutely have to.

28. Kyle Holder, SS
Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from San Diego
Age 23 Height 6’1 Weight 185 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/30 30/30 20/20 45/45 60/70 60/60

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Slashed .290/.323/.347 line at Low-A Charleston.

Scouting Report
Holder is a great athlete with a multi-sport background (hoops) and is arguably already a plus defender at short. Though some of his actions can look a bit awkward, Holder has a plus arm, exceptional hands, a lightning-quick transfer, and an efficient first step that allows him to have viable range despite being a fringe-average runner. If you put a future 70 on his glove, I wouldn’t argue with you. But Holder can’t hit. He has 30 bat speed and an extreme ground-ball approach.

Empty wizards like Holder hold down major-league jobs all the time, but unless you’re willing to project liberally on the bat because of Holder’s multi-sport background (I’m not, this isn’t a skill refinement issue but one of ability), his ceiling is that of a low-end regular. Considering Holder’s purported makeup and defensive wizardry, he’s likely to reach the big leagues and stay there for a while, he’ll just hit eight or ninth in every lineup to which he belongs.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 0.6 WAR

Drafted: 4th Round, 2015 from Oregon State
Age 23 Height 6’0 Weight 195 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 40/40 20/20 70/70 50/60 40/40

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Has recorded 34 career steals in 40 attempts.

Scouting Report
A 70 runner who plays great defense in center field, Hendrix’s offensive performance between Low- and High-A was an encouraging sign for a prospect who was a little old for a college bat on draft day in 2015. Hendrix’s swing does not produce power in games. He’s a slashing ground-ball hitter who has been able to pick apart low-level minor-league pitching and defenses with his eye for the strike zone and speed. Upper-level pitching and defenses will stress test Hendrix’s on-base ability, which has no doubt relied — at least, in part — on A-ball defenses and command to this point. His swing can get long but the hand-eye is there, and I do think Hendrix has impact speed that will allow for a 50 hit at peak. The power isn’t coming and Hendrix is likely a fifth outfielder and pinch-runner because of how little there is, but there’s a chance his glove in center is good enough that he plays every day for someone.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 0.5 WAR

30. Ben Heller, RHP
Drafted: 22nd Round, 2013 from Olivet Nazarene
Age 25 Height 6’3 Weight 205 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command
70/70 55/55 40/45

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Steamer and ZiPS projecting FIPs in mid-4.00s for 2017.

Scouting Report
Acquired as part of the return from Cleveland for Andrew Miller, the fidgety Heller is a middle-relief prospect with a mid-90s fastball that sits 93-97. He has an above-average slider in the 80-84 range. It’s slurvy but moves quite a bit and plays up due to the funky moving parts in Heller’s delivery.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2013 from Plano West HS (TX)
Age 22 Height 6’1 Weight 195 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 50/50 35/40 50/40 45/50 40/40

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Max single-season home-run output was 10, recorded during 75-game stint in Cal League in 2014.

Scouting Report
McKinney was a hit-before-power corner-outfield prospect as an amateur. While his body has filled out, the power has not come because the swing really isn’t geared for it. He has good bat speed and hand-eye and I think he’ll hit enough to have some sort of big-league role, but it might just be as an extra outfielder. He’s hit for power so far this spring. If he’s made a substantive mechanical change that’s causing it, though, I haven’t been able to pick it out. He has a 40 arm and projects in left field.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.5 WAR

Drafted: 6th Round, 2010 from Felix Varela HS (FL)
Age 24 Height 6’2 Weight 185 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Cutter Command
60/60 45/45 55/55 40/40

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Struck out 15 in 13 big-league innings in 2016.

Scouting Report
Barbato throws hard, 94-97, but it’s straight. He has an above-average cutter/slider at 88-90 with late biting movement and horizontal length and a fringey upper-70s curveball. He’s a high-probability middle-relief arm.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.0 WAR

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic
Age 19 Height 6’2 Weight 180 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 55/60 30/45 60/55 30/45 50/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Owns sub-.300 career BABIP despite plus speed.

Scouting Report
Molina was pushed, aggressively, to Charleston to start last season and was demoted after just over a month of hitting beneath the Mendoza line. He was sent to Pulaski, where he was overshadowed by the Garcias even though Molina had signed for $1.4 million the year before. He’s quite talented in his own right, with some power/speed potential.

Molina reaches top speed quickly and is a plus runner, but is raw defensively in the outfield. He has a good baseball body and could have plus raw power at maturity. His hands are noisy; the swing and miss, quite severe. Molina only projects to a fringe hit tool. There are several prospects in this system who either play a premium position or have power. Molina has a chance to do both, but there’s a lot of volatility here because the feel for defense and hitting need to come if the power/speed are going to impact games.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 0.9 WAR

*****

*****

Other Prospects of Note (In Order of Preference)

Jorge Guzman, RHP – Acquired as the secondary piece from Houston in the Brian McCann deal, Guzman is another hard-throwing righty who’s likely to end up in the bullpen because of command and repertoire issues. He sits 95-98 and will kiss 103, but his slider is irregularly effective, the changeup more so. He turned 21 in January, so there’s time for these ills to be remedied, but for now Guzman is an elite-arm-strength lottery ticket.

Domingo German, RHP, 0.6 KATOH+ – A former Futures Game representative and potential fourth starter, German missed 2015 due to Tommy John and his 2016 innings were limited by an ulnar-nerve issue that arose in the spring. He was touching 95 late last year, albeit in short outings that never exceeded 80 pitches and in starts that were sometimes separated by 10-plus days. He’s been up to 95 this spring again with a fringe, upper-80s changeup and an above-average breaking ball. Given his injury history, German projects in a relief role where he could sit 93-plus with a three-pitch mix.

Freicer Perez, RHP, 0.6 KATOH+ – Signed for an innocuous $10,000 late in 2014, Perez’s velocity ticked up last year and he was sitting 94-96, touching 99, with a more athletic delivery than one might expect from a 6-foot-8 20-year-old built like an Andean Condor. He’s raw in all facets except the velocity, has very little breaking-ball or changeup feel, and is likely a future reliever, but there’s hope for starter development because of the athleticism. Scouts aren’t too sure what the body is going to do because they haven’t had to project 6-foot-8, 190 very often.

Abiatal Avelino, UTIL, 1.6 KATOH+ – An above-average athlete with a plus arm, Avelino fits defensively at shortstop but doesn’t quite reach the offensive bar for everyday duty there, with a future 50 ceiling on the hit tool and 20 power. He started working at second base more often after his promotion to Trenton and projects as a utility man.

Drew Finley, RHP -Finley’s 2016 was cut short by elbow fatigue that limited him to half-a-dozen starts. The silver lining for Finley is that he was already advanced for a prep arm entering his first full pro season, showing aptitude for locating and sequencing his above-average, picturesque mid-70s curveball. Finley’s upside is relatively limited. His fastball sits 87-92 with some movement and might touch 93 or 94 on occasion up above the strike zone. It’s likely to remain in that range, though, as Finley’s frame has mostly maxed out. He has solid-average changeup projection due to a quick, deceptive arm action. Scouts were mixed on the delivery. I like the way Finley’s arm works, but others saw some cross-body and head violence they thought might inhibit Finley’s command. Finley projects as a No. 4/5 starter, same as when he was drafted, there’s just more risk here now because of last year’s elbow issue.

Donny Sands, C – Drafted as a third baseman and converted to catcher, early returns on Sands’ conversion are good. His receiving improved over the course of last year, and he’s looking ready for a full year at an affiliate by the end of instructional league. He has some power and feel despite a noisy swing. Catcher development often takes a while, and Sands is already a little old relative to his peers (he was a high-school draftee in 2015 and turns 21 in May), but there are interesting tools here.

Isiah Gilliam, OF – 0.8 KATOH+ WAR – Gilliam has a good baseball body and monster raw power, but his positional limitations (the outfield corners, or potentially first base/DH, as scouts dislike his feel for the outfield) won’t forgive the excessive swing and miss inherent in Gilliam’s aggressive, uppercut hacks. He’ll have to prove he can maintain his power output and reach base — in spite of all the whiffs — as he moves through the system.

Yefrey Ramirez, RHP, 1.8 KATOH+ – A minor-league Rule 5 pick in 2015, Ramirez was added to the Yankees’ 40-man roster in November. He locates his boring, low-90s fastball in on the hands of righties consistently and shows feel for manipulating his breaking-ball shape, mixing a two-plane slider look off the plate away from righties and a 12-6 curveball in the dirt. His changeup is below average, flashes a half-grade above that and scouts tend to think the breaking-ball/command combo is going to be his best weapon against left-handers. Ramirez throws a high-volume of strikes and profiles as a back-end or up-and-down starter.

Nick Solak, 2B, 1.1 KATOH+ – Solak is a hit-before-power second baseman with plus, high-effort bat speed and a ground-ball/line-drive bat path that produces little game power. He hit well at Louisville and on the Cape and scouts think it will continue, but he’s a below-average defender at second. If the bat doesn’t max out, it’s not an everyday profile.

Hoy-Jun Park, SS, 1.3 KATOH+ – Signed out Korea as part of New York’s big 2014 J2 class, Park is the most advanced of that group. He has an almost excessively patient approach, is a plus runner with a good first defensive step and footwork. His arm is average and doesn’t feature prototypical left-side arm strength. Park is very slightly built and most of his contact is soft. Scouts who think the arm disqualifies him at short don’t consider him a prospect because the bat is unlikely to offer much moving forward. If Park can maintain his ability to reach base at upper levels and stay at short, he’ll be a big leaguer. That said, it’s looking more like a utility profile at this point.

Jio Orozco, RHP, 2.1 KATOH+ – Acquired from Seattle in the Ben Gamel deal, Orozco was high-school teammates with Donny Sands in Tucson. He was 90-92, touching 94, with a good curveball in high school, and his changeup took a significant step forward in pro ball and is now his best pitch. He has fringey strike-throwing ability and the body is maxed out, but he might get there as a back-end starter just on the change/curveball quality.

Juan De Leon, OF – De Leon has a prototypical right-field profile (above-average speed, raw power, plus arm) but missed most all of 2016 with an injury and the Yankees instructional league roster was very advanced, so he didn’t pick up at-bats there.

Rashad Crawford, CF, 0.6 KATOH+ – Crawford was a nice little flier picked up from Chicago in the Aroldis Chapman deal. He’s a plus runner, makes athletic plays in center field, has average raw power and a good idea of the strike zone. Nevertheless, his feel to hit is very raw. Crawford is 23 and hasn’t played above A-ball, but he has interesting tools. If an adjustment can be made to get him hitting, he instantly becomes a dude.

Austin DeCarr, RHP – DeCarr had a bone chip removed from his elbow as a high-school junior, and his fastball wasn’t as hard as a senior. He went undrafted, but his velocity started ticking up that summer. Teams that had leftover pool money from the draft tried to sign him. DeCarr instead attended a post-grad program in Connecticut the following spring, was touching 96 with some curveball feel, and got a cool $1 million to sign as a third rounder. Then, in 2015, another injury. This time Tommy John was required and DeCarr missed all of 2015 and much of 2016 before he made 10 short starts at Staten Island. His fastball was mostly in the low 90s there, but he struggled with strike-throwing.

Eduardo Torrealba, SS – Torrealba was one of the prospects from Boston’s 2015 class with whom they were forced to part after MLB found out they’d been fixing bonuses with trainers. The Yankees signed him in mid-July, shortly after he was made available. He’s a small but polished defender who might not have the pure explosion necessary for shortstop long term. If there’s a conversion, Torrealba will become another of the very popular hit-before-power second-base prospects who will need to rake to remain a prospect.

Nick Green, RHP, 1.6 KATOH+ – Acquired from Texas as part of the 2016 return for Carlos Beltran, Green has a slight frame but a loose, quick arm and has been 91-93 and touching 95 on occasion. His changeup sits 81-83 and is average. He throws it both to left- and right-handed hitters. Green has some feel for spinning a traditional 12-6 curveball in the 75-77 mph range. It has average depth, shape and bite but also some arm deceleration, which may tip off upper-level hitters. He projects as an up-and-down arm.

Diego Castillo, SS – Castillo stands out defensively at short because his hands and actions are quite polished. His range and arm are fine for short, and he’ll likely remain there throughout his career. Offensively, Castillo has natural feel for opposite-field contact. He lacks current power or physical projection and profiles as more of a utility type than everyday player at peak.

Oswaldo Cabrera, SS – Signed out of Venezuela in 2015, Cabrera spent the final month of the season in the Appy League at age 17. He’s polished for his age on both sides of the ball and, a switch-hitter, has feel to hit from both sides of the plate. He’s not a lock to stay at short because of his arm strength. If he has to move (he played a lot of second base in 2016 but there are a lot of shortstop reps to go around in New York’s lower levels), his profile will hinge on how much pop the body has to give. He’s currently a slender 5-foot-10, 145.

Zack Littell, RHP, 2.6 KATOH+ – Acquired in a November trade with Seattle, Littell is a pitchability righty with fringey stuff. He pitches heavily off of a loopy, early count-curveball and sequences well, but the stuff is that of a depth arm.

Antonio Arias, CF – A plus-running center fielder, Arias was wire thin as an amateur and optimistic scouts thought he had favorable physical projection at a sinewy 6-foot-2. Others saw a narrow build and were skeptical. Arias showed little improvement repeating the DSL in 2016 and turns 19 in June. He’s worth monitoring this year because of the speed and likely defensive home but is still eons away from even making the main section of this list.

Jonathan Amundaray, OF – Signed for $1.5 million In 2014, Amundaray has one of the class’s louder collection of tools, flashing above-average speed, arm strength and average raw power. He also had some of the group’s more obvious physical projection and was likely to grow into more power as he aged. He looked surprisingly comfortable in center field during his first fall instructional league but spent all of last year, repeating the DSL, in right field. This is a high-risk, traditional right-field profile with power, arm strength and strikeout issues due to a raw feel to hit and general stiffness about the swing.

Miguel Flames, 1B/C – Flames got $1.1 mil during the 2014 J2 spree out of Venezuela. He played third base as an amateur but signed as a catcher. That conversion hasn’t quite taken and Flames, a below-average athlete, has taken more reps at first base than from behind the plate in each of his two pro seasons. He has power, though, and a loose, natural feel to hit, so there’s a chance he gets there as a first baseman. It’s going to be much harder, though.

Nick Nelson, RHP – The Yankees’ fourth rounder from 2016, Nelson’s fastball sits in the low 90s and he has some breaking-ball feel. Scouts think he’s a reliever because of his stature, command and shallow repertoire, but he was a two-way player at Gulf Coast State, so there’s some pitch projection here as he focuses on pitching full time. He was signed away from a Florida commit for $350,000.

Heiner Moreno, LHP – A teenage lefty from Colombia, Moreno repeated the DSL in 2016 after he threw just four innings the year before due to arm soreness. He has a quick arm, low-90s fastball and good curveball feel. There’s not much physical projection/velo on the way and Moreno is extremely wild and needs to find mechanical consistency desperately.

Adonis Rosa, RHP, 1.5 KATOH+ – A frail-looking 22-year-old Dominican righty, Rosa began the year in extended but pitched well at Staten Island in June and was promoted to Charleston. He sits 90-92 with an average, low-80s curveball and above-average command. The body concerns scouts and it’s realistically fifth- or sixth-starter stuff.

Andres Chaparro, 3B – A thick-bodied converted catcher, Chaparro has above-average power potential but is a tenuous bet to stay at third base, as he’s only 17 and already very physically mature.

Deivi Garcia, RHP – An extremely undersized but lightning-armed righty, Garcia is only 17 but his fastball will touch 95-plus, and he has some curveball feel. He’s also got, at best, 30 control right now.

Argelis Herrera, LHP – Pure projection, Herrera is a huge 6-foot-5 lefty who has grown out of a mid-80s fastball and into something viable in pro ball (and there’s probably more coming), but he’s still young and huge and therefore has no idea where this newfound, upper-80s fastball is going.

Jhon Moronta, OF – A Venezuelan 17-year old with prototypical right-field build at a rangy 6-foot-3, Moronta has plus arm and raw power projection but is a fringe athlete and raw in the outfield. His swing is long, but there’s advanced strike-zone feel here.

Juan De Paula, RF- Acquired from Seattle in the Ben Gamel deal, De Paula pitched well in the AZL last year at age 18. He’s very thin at 6-foot-3, 165 and has significant physical projection, though it’s sort of an oddly built frame. He was 86-91, touching 93 for me in the AZL with a fringey but somewhat promising slider.

Travis Hissong, RHP, 0.9 KATOH+ – Hissong is an undersized righty with a plus, mid-80s circle change that has nasty, disappearing downward action. He’s slider-heavy, varying the shape of a fringey 80-84 in any count. He lacks prototypical fastball velocity, only sitting around 90-92 with fringe command, but might carve out a home in middle relief as a slider/changeup junk thrower.

Jeff Degano, LHP – Degano missed two years of college ball due to Tommy John and was a 22-year old redshirt junior in 2015. He pitched well that spring for Indiana State, made 15 starts and struck out 125 hitters in 100 innings while touching 95 and flashing an above-average breaking ball with varied shape in the 76-81 range. The Yankees drafted him in the second round. The 2016 season was a disaster. Degano stayed back in Tampa for extended spring and then went full Ankiel in Pulaski, walking 25 hitters in 5.2 innings. Obviously, this situation is unique and Degano needs to throw a strike, let alone several of them, before we can consider him a prospect again.

Nick Rumbelow, RHP – Rumbelow made his MLB debut in 2015 and sat 91-96 with a fringe curveball and changeup. He blew out last April and needed Tommy John. The Yankees DFA’d him in the fall and then brought him back on a minor-league deal. He profiles as an up-and-down reliever.

Erik Swanson, RHP, 0.5 KATOH+ – A big-bodied righty who throws really hard, Swanson won a national title with Iowa Western in 2014 and was up to 99 last year, mostly sitting 94-97 with some movement. The slider and changeup are both below average. If one of the two secondaries comes along (I think the changeup has some potential), then he could be a nice relief piece.

Cistulli’s Guy
Selected by Carson Cistulli from any player who received less than a 40 FV.

Thairo Estrada, 2B/3B, 2.1 KATOH+
Chris Mitchell, progenitor of KATOH, more or less insisted that, like a couple years ago, I once again reserve this space for first baseman Mike Ford (2.7 KATOH+). Nor is it difficult to understand why. Both the Ivy League player and pitcher of the year following his junior season at Princeton, Ford remained undrafted heading into the summer. After an impressive display on the Cape, however, Ford was signed by the Yankees.

As a hitter, Ford is nearly the perfect fringe prospect, lacking sufficient tools to earn much attention but nevertheless producing above-average contact rates and power numbers. Defensively, though, Ford is confined to first base defensively.

Estrada, on the other hand, began his professional his career as a shortstop and appears likely to remain on the productive side of the defensive spectrum. He also has similar contact skills to Ford. And while he hasn’t exhibited the same sort of power, he also reached High-A last year as just a 20-year-old — and acquitted himself admirably. He’s also already hit a home run this spring, if that means anything to anyone.

*****

System Overview

We can talk forever about the top of this system — much of which has been acquired via trade — and how it places New York’s system at or near the top of all systems in baseball. It’s great, I’ll acknowledge, but fawning over the system’s obvious talent ignores its most fascinating aspect: the bizarre collection of pop-up arms. New York appears to be in possession of a player-development machine that has conjured several interesting pitching prospects seemingly out of thin air. Adams, Green, Herrera, and Montgomery were all fringe prospects at best before the Yankees got a hold of them. Now they’re all suddenly potential major-league contributors. There’s so much viable big-league velocity in this system that they lost three arms in December’s Rule 5 draft because there wasn’t enough room for all of them on the 40-man.

My 2016 snooping yielded two more interesting observations about this org’s processes. First, New York is among the growing number of teams whose scouts use tablets with scouting software during games. Some software programs like this give scouts immediate access to all kinds of data while they’re watching players. Orgs have mixed opinions about how that impacts their scouts’ evaluations. I don’t know specifics about this as it pertains to New York, I’ve just seen some of their pro scouts using it and think the software looks really cool. Second, at least some of New York’s minor league affiliates’ stadiums are set up to collect data not dissimilar to what R.J. Anderson describes in a recent piece, tracking individual player movements. This org seems to be at the forefront of a new wave of scouting and player-development methods. Based on the quality of the farm system, it looks like it’s working.

We hoped you liked reading Top 33 Prospects: New York Yankees by Eric Longenhagen!

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Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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JimmieFoXX
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JimmieFoXX

Aaron Judge a future 55?

Making Aaron Judge “Cistulli’s Guy” wouldn’t be anymore of an exaggeration. Aaron Judge is nothing like Stanton. A good comp for Judge is John Mayberry Jr.

jruby
Member
Member
jruby

Umm what. Ok, no, I totally believe your unsupported assertion more than Eric, who does this professionally.

Listen, no one’s saying that Judge is a sure thing. But his *ceiling* is so sky high because of his ridiculous power and athleticism that a 55 FV could be selling him short. I’ve seen JMJ 10 times in person, and Judge 25 times in person, and, let me tell you… however you think Judge stacks up to other big strong players, Judge is *bigger* and *stronger* than anyone not named Stanton.

I guess what I’m saying is this: Judge may fail, but if he does, it will be a pretty unique, fun ride. It’s not going to be anything like Mayberry, whose career fizzled because he couldn’t get the ball out of the park (.200 average, 21-27% K rate, bad defense, 12% HR/FB). Judge is more like .220, 33% K rate, average-to-above average defense, and 20% HR/FB.

DBA455
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Member
DBA455

I very much like the Richie Sexson comp. Big guys, lots of power, willingness/ability to take a walk, lots of swing and miss.

I also like that some Yankee fans think this is somehow unduly pessimistic.

Cool Lester Smooth
Member
Cool Lester Smooth

Sexson with average RF defense and baserunning would be an incredible outcome.