The New York Yankees did more for their future in the span of one week than they have done in years by trading Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, and Carlos Beltran. The recent prospect additions have given the Yankees one of the top farm systems in baseball. They are deep at key positions like catcher and shortstop and have high-end talent that should soon impact the Major League level. Here are the Top 20 Yankees’ prospects after the trade deadline.
Hoy Jun Park, SS /2B – The Yankees signed Park from Korea during their 2014-15 international spending frenzy to a $1 million deal. Park is still working on hitting but there is a lot to like here. He plays superb defense and has some excellent speed which has produced nine triples and 23 stolen bases this season through 88 games with Charleston. The 20-year-old is often overlooked given the Yankees’ surplus of talent in the middle infield but Park could very well become a star if he continues to develop his hit tool. Some scouts see some power potential there if he bulks up a little. Right now, Park projects as a Major League shortstop who could have a few years of All-Star caliber play. There is a lot to like here and a lot of work that still needs to be done but things are looking good.
Luis Torrens, C – Lots of scouts love Torrens who converted from shortstop to catching after the Yankees signed him. At 20, he shows an excellent eye and won’t chase out of the strike zone. His body is still developing but there is some concern over whether or not he will develop enough power to be an offensive force. Defensively he looks solid and he is working on calling a game and learning how to handle a pitching staff. His arm behind the plate will keep basestealers honest. The main question is will he hit enough to be a starting catcher at the MLB level?
Dermis Garcia, 3B – Garcia was the prize of their international haul in 2014. Some had him ranked as the top international free agent that year and so far he is vindicating those lofty expectations. He is slashing .219/.333/.553 with the Pulaski Yankees. Yes, the batting average is low but his on-base and slugging numbers are very encouraging. So are the 11 home runs he has hit in 114 at-bats this year. The power tool is real. He has the best power tool in the Yankees’ system. He shows a keen eye for the strike zone and hammers mistakes. He is still just 18 and has the makeup of a future all-star. He came over as a shortstop but the Yankees have used him exclusively at third base and he has handled himself well there but there is room for improvement which should come. Don’t worry about his batting average right now. He may never hit .300 but the power is real. He is someone to keep an eye on.
Wilkerman Garcia, SS – Scouts love this 18-year-old Venezuelan and there is good reason for that. He was another member of the Yankees’ 2014-15 international haul. He has struggled to hit so far in his young career, posting a .165/.224/.233 slash line. However, he has shown pretty good recognition of the strike zone, whiffing only 28 times in 133 at-bats. Defensively he has shown he might stick at shortstop which was a concern for some scouts when he signed. So far his speed and defense are his most advanced tools. If the hit tool develops as the Yankees believe it will he could rocket up top prospect lists.
Jordan Montgomery, LHP – Montgomery has a chance to be a middle of the rotation starter and could get a shot soon. He mixes a mid-90s fastball which has some movement on it with a changeup that just drops at the end. His changeup is his best pitch and it keeps hitters off balance. Right now it is a legitimate out-pitch. He also mixes in a curve and a cutter which are both respectable right now. He is overshadowed by other pitchers in the organization because he doesn’t blow the ball past hitters but there is a lot to love here. He has posted a 2.55 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in Trenton this year. He does need to cut down his walks (he has 36 in 102.1 innings so far). He tends to nibble at the edges but this year he has done less nibbling and more attacking in the strike zone. He could be a rotation option as soon as next year.
Ian Clarkin, LHP – He was in the Top 10 before all of the trades. There is a lot to love with Clarkin but his curveball is what really stands out. He pitched only 80 innings in his first three pro seasons but has exceeded that this season. His fastball can top out around 95 but sits in the low 90s. He is still just 21 so even though he lost some development time early on he hasn’t shown any ill effects. He could be a rotation option for the Yankees within two years. More importantly, he is a lefty with three workable pitches and should see success in Yankee Stadium.
Tyler Wade, SS/2B – Wade doesn’t do anything spectacularly but that is okay. He is a player you have to see day in and day out to really appreciate. He plays solid defense, can hit, has a little power, and is just a smart baseball player. He is still just 21 but is considered a clubhouse leader who just goes out and plays hard every day. The Yankees have their fair share of dynamic shortstop prospects and the Yankees have used Wade at second base at times to see where they can use him in the future. Wade could be an option for the Yankees as early as next year if he makes the move up to AAA this season. They don’t need to rush him, however, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him stay at AA for the year and play mostly in AAA next year.
Billy McKinney, OF – McKinney was highly regarded entering this season but has struggled a little bit this season in his first taste of Double-A. There is still a lot to like about McKinney. He can flat out rake and it should be noted that he is just 21 and is three years younger than the average Eastern League player. He has the talent to rebound and much of his struggles might be attributed to a hairline fracture he suffered in his knee last August. He could get back to raking as soon as he gets comfortable again and regains strength. He is kind of similar to other outfielders in the Yankees’ system as he is a lefty who doesn’t show much power. He also lacks the speed tool that a Dustin Fowler has. However, if he gets back to raking like he was last year he could be a truly special player. The power should continue to develop and double digit homer numbers aren’t unreal.
Miguel Andujar, 3B – Andujar just turned 21 in March and is already in AA Trenton after he took the next step in his development. With Single-A Tampa this year he hit 10 home runs in 230 at-bats. He got off to a hot start at Trenton but pitchers adjusted to him and he will need to make his own adjustments but that shouldn’t be much of an issue. He has improved his defense at third and has shown a much more discerning eye at the plate. The power should continue to develop and 20 home runs should be the standard for him. If he lives up to his potential he should be a cornerstone at the hot corner.
Dustin Fowler, OF – The Yankees seem to love left-handed hitting outfielders with speed and little pop. Fowler is intriguing because some scouts see the 21-year-old developing some power. He does have six home runs and 25 doubles with AA Trenton to go along with 10 triples and 19 stolen bases. He has raised his slash line to .283/.319/.438 with a hot end of July. His tool set might be among the best in the Yankees’ system and despite being about three years younger than the average Eastern League player he has shown no signs of being overmatched. He should continue to rise on prospect lists.
Chance Adams, RHP – In 21 starts this season, the 21-year-old has posted a 12-0 record, 2.41 ERA, .166 average against, 0.89 WHIP, and struck out 123 in 108.1 innings while walking just 33. Adams is the best Yankees’ prospect you’ve probably never heard of but you will soon become familiar with him. He was a reliever in college but was the rare case that saw an uptick in velocity when he became a starter. His fastball can hit 98 but consistently sits 94-96 with good movement. He has really developed his off-speed stuff with a changeup that looks dominant at times. The only real question is how his body will hold up under the strains of starting. However, he has a solid frame and a delivery that is easy to repeat and reduces stress on the arm. He could be a rotation option in a year or two and has the potential to be an ace and at worst an elite arm out of the bullpen.
Domingo Acevedo, RHP – Acevedo’s fastball is big league ready right now, hitting 100 mph on the regular. His secondary pitches need work but they have shown improvement this season. He has struck out 98 batters and walked only 20 in 88.2 innings so far this season between Charleston and Tampa. He is a tall kid but very thin, standing 6’7” but weighing in under 200 pounds. His delivery has a lot of moving parts but he hasn’t had the kinds of struggles Dellin Betances did. Acevedo could be an ace or he could be an elite bullpen arm. The only real question is whether the Yankees keep him in the rotation or if they move him to the bullpen. Either way, as long as he stays healthy, he could dominate.
James Kaprielian, RHP – Injuries have derailed his promising first full pro season but there is a lot to love here. He has shown a polish that one expects from a college pitcher but he has also shown increased velocity since turning pro. He was expected to be a call-up candidate before he suffered strained ligaments in his elbow. He has essentially been shut down for the year but he did hold hitters to a .136 average, walked only three, and struck out 22 in 18 innings with a 1.50 ERA. The lost year will hurt a little but Kaprielian could still be an option for the Yankees next year if he is healthy. He should be a reliable starter moving forward with the potential to be a number two starter.
Justus Sheffield, LHP – Sheffield was drafted by the Indians 31st overall in the 2014 Draft before being traded to the Yankees for Andrew Miller. He can hit 96 on the gun and mixes in a solid changeup and a very good curveball. His secondary pitches require some work but you can see them developing and the curveball has the potential to be a legitimate pitch. He stands only 5’10” but so far that hasn’t been an issue for him in creating a downward plane towards the plate. The 20-year-old lefty could be a solid middle rotation option or a strong bullpen arm. There is a lot to like with Sheffield and he could thrive in Yankee Stadium.
Blake Rutherford, OF – Rutherford fell to the Yankees in the 2016 Draft and they wasted no time scooping him up. He grew up a Yankees fan and even though he was committed to UCLA he decided to sign instead for just north of $3 million. Rutherford was one of those players that have been scouted for years. In fact, he was scouted so much that teams might have gotten bored with him. Some scouts said they were discouraged by his lack of power which they had expected him to develop. The Yankees saw a top talent in the draft and pounced. So far they haven’t been disappointed. In 25 games Rutherford has slashed to a .389/.447/.633 line with 12 runs scored, eight doubles, four triples, and two home runs. Rutherford should rake wherever he goes. The only question is whether or not he develops home run power. He has already been compared to Jim Edmonds and called a more athletic David Justice. That is some good company.
Gary Sanchez, C – The Yankees are officially moving towards youth and the 23-year-old catcher should get a decent amount of MLB playing time coming up. He has been around the Yankees’ organization since 2009 and seems to have been mentioned in top prospect lists ever since which might have created some folks overlooking him. He has been a Top 100 prospect for years and deservedly so. His defense is no longer a question and he owns a canon for an arm. He also could be a 30-home run threat in the Majors. Sanchez should start to see regular playing time this season for the Yankees. He has already been called up for the second time this season and already has his first MLB hit.
Jorge Mateo, SS – Mateo has speed, of that there is no doubt. Where there is doubt, at least for me, is whether he has the maturity to be a Yankee. He was suspended this season for breaking team rules which was apparently his second offense. On the field, there is no denying his talent. He can flat out burn down the line and make any ground ball a close play at first with him winning his fair share of those battles. He did lead the minors in steals with 82 last season but he needs to learn more about basestealing to be more effective at the MLB level. There is some developing power but it might be a stretch to expect double digit home run power from him but it isn’t needed. He does need to work on making more consistent contact. On defense he does have a good enough arm to stick at shortstop. There is still work that needs to be done on defense but most kids his age have the same problems. He could see the Major Leagues in two or three years.
Aaron Judge, OF – Judge should get called up at some point this season. He is now back healthy from a knee injury, coming back a little earlier than many expected. He was leading the International League in homers when he went down. With the trade of Carlos Beltran he should get a legitimate shot to win the starting right field job this season and there is no reason to think he can’t. He rebounded from an awful April this season and reworked his swing with Reggie Jackson which led to him making more consistent contact and driving the ball. He should be a 30-home run guy in the Majors.
Gleybar Torres, SS – Torres was the prize of the Aroldis Chapman trade with the Cubs. He was a target of the Yankees in the International market but the Cubs won and signed him. He is 19 and playing in High-A Tampa which tells you what the Yankees think of him as a prospect. He could become a third baseman if he continues developing power (he has nine homers and 25 doubles this year) or a second baseman. The Yankees are already trying him out at second in the minors for extra versatility. He has the talent to be a truly special player. One could easily label him the top prospect in the Yankees’ system and not be wrong.
Clint Frazier, OF – Frazier was the prize of the deal that sent Andrew Miller to the Indians. He is 21 and already in Triple-A. His bat speed is off the charts and should generate a lot of power to all fields. He was the first high school position player taken in the 2013 Draft at fifth overall. He will turn 22 in September but could see the Major Leagues as early as next year. He does have the speed necessary to play center field but also has the arm to play a corner outfield spot if needed. That speed also allows him to steal some bases and he could be a 20/20 threat. He should become a fan favorite very quickly and should represent the Yankees in All-Star games for years to come.