Saturday, February 15, 2014

This top forty list is based solely on  what I have read or observed about Yankee prospects over the last few years. I have not seen the majority of these players play, but have been following the system since each of their debuts. What follows is my opinion of which prospect have the best combination of MLB readiness, and overall potential. Next to each players name will be their position, their expected 2014 starting level, and their age on opening day.

1.Gary Sanchez, C/AA/21:

Gary Sanchez is a 21 year old catcher, for the Trenton Thunder, a AA affiliate. Sanchez signed for $3 million in 2009. This bonus was once thought to be the highest the Yankees would ever give, but Yankees have reportedly given Dermis Garcia that type of money.

This is a very easy choice, he is the only consensus top prospect in the system, and might have the highest ceiling. Additionally he is young and is already in AA. His combination or readiness, talent, and numbers make him one of the best prospects in baseball.

Sanchez is often compared to Jesus Montero, but in reality his bat is not that good, and his defense is better. Sanchez has the ability to stick at catcher, because of his strong arm, and quick release. Sanchez threw out a league leading 46 percent of base stealers in the FSL.

No one really questions Sanchez's bat, but is capable of putting up better numbers than the WRC+  of 108/113 that he put up in A+, and AA. It's interesting that he put up better numbers in AA, this may mean he didn't feel challenged in A+. Of course it is more likely to be the result of a small sample, either way people expect big things out of his offensive game.

2. JR Murphy, C/AAA or MLB/22:

Despite being just 22 years old, Murphy seems to be ready to be a major league ready starting catcher. It generally takes catching prospects a few years to put it all together, but Murphy has developed very smoothly over the years. Since signing for 1.25 million in 2009, Murphy has been one of New York's best developed prospects. The team really thought him how to play catcher, and seemed to have helped him reach his offensive potential

Last year he put up a WRC+ of 117 in AAA, and showed everyone he could handle the catcher position. According to ZIPS, Murphy would've been one of the most productive rookies in baseball in 2014, but with the signing of Brian Mccann, Murphy becomes expendable. Depending on the return, trading him could make a lot of sense, but keeping him as injury insurance, and as a player who could occasionally play third would be fine with me.

3. Manny Banuelos, LHP/AAA or MLB/22:

After spending two years on  the disabled list Banuelos's stock has dropped significantly. Some writers wouldn't even consider Manny a top 15 prospect, but I feel that's unfair. If he had shoulder surgery it be a different story, but Tommy John surgery doesn't really concern me. This list really focuses on a few important qualities, and Manny has every single one of them

Manny has three above average pitches: a fastball, a changeup and a curveball.All three pitches were considered at least above average offerings. Considering he was only 19/20 years old when he began to blossom; he still hasn't fully learned how to harness his stuff. Despite his poor control at AAA no one questioned his ultimate ceiling and he was considered a future front-line starter.

 Manny should begin the year at AAA, but might have an outside chance to make the majors as a relief option. While that option may scare some fans, they should remember that many successful starters came up that way. In my opinion Joe Giradi will do a much better job with Manny, than Joe Torre did with Joba Chamberlain.

4. Eric Jagielo, 3B/A or A+/21:

Jagielo was the first of three Yankee draft choices in 2013, and was considered the safest choice of the three. This safeness is the reason that he is ranked so high on this list. I feel he has a much better chance of making the big leagues than most of the other names on this list. And while he doesn't have the highest upside, he should be able to become an above average offensive player who gets selected to a few all-star games.

Jagielo proved his worth in the NYPL last season hitting for a WOBA of .388 and WRC+ of 153. He should get a chance to prove himself further in 2014, as he is slated to spend most of the year in High-A. At High-A Jagielo needs to show the Yankees that his strikeout numbers last season were a fluke and that he is capable of playing third. If he accomplishes that he should move through the system very quickly.

5. Greg Bird, 1B/A+/21:

Bird  was easily had the best offensive season in the Yankees system. He obliterated the South Atlantic league, and he did so in one of the worst hitting parks in baseball. Bird was among league leaders in essentially every offensive category, and had the highest on base percentage in the league (.428).

Despite his great season there are still some that question his ability. Different sources have different complaints. Some like his bat but think he will struggle to hit for power, while others think he has power but he strikes out too much. I'm not really in either camp, but I prefer the second group. I believe he has power potential, as that was the main reason the Yankees paid him so much after taking him in the 5th round.

I agree that a 132 strike outs are way too much, though I wonder if he is striking out swinging. It may be that he is looking for walks and is being too patient. During the season I will have to keep note of what kind of ks he gets, but as of now I'm not that concerned.

Bird should start the year in A+ and may be able to advance to AA by the all-star game if he progresses as the Yankees believe he can. If Bird could improve his defense, and prove his doubters wrong he could be the top prospect in this system in a year.

6. Slade Heathcott, OF/AA or AAA/23:

Prior to this season the 22 year old only played 197 professional games. His lack of experience stems from multiple shoulder and knee injuries. In 2013 he played a career high 103 games. This to me was a huge step forward for the centerfielder.

It may have taken some for Slade to adjust to AA, but by the end of the year he really seemed to have heated up. Unfortunately he didn't get the chance to finish the year because he had to undergo a minor knee surgery. Because of this surgery Slade may not be ready for spring training and may have to start in AA next year.

Slade is performance is very important for the Yankees, because they may lose Gardner next season. Slade would do a good job replacing Brett's value. That is if he could finally last a full season without hurting himself. Slade is a very similar player to Gardner as they both are slash hitters, who are known for their great d. Slade has a more power than Gardner, but doesn't have Gardner's eye at the plate. Slade really needs to learn to tone his game done, as his hustle just gets him injured.

7. Tyler Austin, OF/3BAA or AAA/22:

I will give Austin the benefit of the doubt after his dismal display in AA. This is because  I doubt he was ever really healthy. A bone bruise in his wrist appeared to affect his 2013 performance, his slugging percentage dropped about a 200 points from his 2012 season.

Because he played through this injury, he lost a lot of supporters. But I feel that his ceiling is still relatively high. He has the ability to be a decent defensive outfielder with a strong arm. Of course he also might have the ability to play third or first base. The Yankees want him to be versatile and it will be interesting to see how/what he performs defensively in spring training.

On offense he has shown good gap-to-gap power, and has the ability to hit over 15 homeruns. But his main strength is his eye at the plate, as he does a good job working counts. While his bat would play better at third, it's still expected to be good enough for right.

Austin will probably have to repeat AA next year, but there is the outside chance that he performs well during spring training and gets to start at AAA. If that happens I feel we might be seeing him in the Bronx at some point.

8. Aaron Judge, OF/A or A+/21:

Judge would have been ranked higher if he actually made his debut, or if I knew for a for a fact he was starting in High-A. Because Judge never played his ranking is based off solely off of his upside. And he has quite a bit of upside, as he is a power hitting centerfielder. Judge's swing may not allow him to hit for high average his eye at plate are  good enough to get his OBP to a respectable level. Judge really has no major weaknesses in his game and might have the ability to be the best prospect on this list a year from now.
9. Mason Williams, OF/AA/21:

Like Austin and Heathcott, Williams was extremely disappointing last season. Williams had a WOBA of .302 and struggled at every level he was in. The only reason he is still being ranked this high, here and elsewhere, is his reputation.

Williams is a year away from being considered a five tool prospect. A year ago people actually believed he was the best Yankee prospect, and one of the best prospects in baseball. Now all scouts can agree on, is that he has plus speed and plus defense. Mason showed little power last year, and started slashing at the ball.

He has a small excuse in the fact that he was coming off of shoulder surgery, but he really should've been better. Mason will begin the 2014 season in AA, where he will probably be kept for most of the year. Fans should be able to see any improvements in his game during spring training

10. Luis Severino, RHP/A/20:

Severino was signed as 17 year old in  2011, he was only throwing 91 MPH, last year he was reaching 97 on the radar gun. This shows just how difficult it is to project pitchers when they are teenagers. In addition to throwing hard, Severino has a good delivery, and great control.

The only thing stopping me from placing Severino higher on this list is the fact that his highest level was A-Ball. But I feel that he is one of the Yankees best pitching prospects, because of his ability to throw strikes. His control is much better than other high end Yankee pitching prospects, and it allowed him to dominate the lower minors. Severino is a three pitch power pitcher, that throws a hard fastball, a changeup and a slider. Severino will begin the year at A-Ball and should stay there for a while.Severino is truly the most exciting pitching prospect the Yankees have developed in a long time, and he might be their best international pitching signing since Banuelos.

11. Ian Clarkin, LHP/A- or A/19:

Clarkin was the third of the Yankees first round picks last season. Clarkin is just the third left handed starter drafted in the first round by the Yankees since 1991. Due to an ankle injury last season, he was only able to pitch 5 innings. Fortunately, he was able to participate in the Yankees end of the year instructional league. Clarkin is a three pitch pitcher that is known for his plus curveball. Clarkin's curve was one of the best in last years draft. In addition to his curveball, he throws a fastball in the low 90s, and a fading changeup. Clarkin still has mechanical flaws to work on, but really has a high ceiling. Clarkin will probably work on his control and his mechanics in extended spring training and begin the year in the NYPL.

12, Abiatal Avelino, SS/A/19:

Avelino started the 2013 season injured, but that didn't stop him from putting up one of the best performances in the GCL. Avelino put up a WRC+ of 118 in his first full season in the minors. Avelino also had 28 stolen bases in 32 attempts. At the moment Avelino is believed to be an above average defender. On offense Avelino is line drive hitter with great contact skills. Avelino's strike out percentage was only 7.6 percent and he had 3 more walks than strikeouts. While he will need to develop more power, he is a very good shortstop prospect right now. He should start the year in Charleston making him one of the youngest players in the South Atlantic League. While the Yankees have a few interesting low level shortstop prospects, he is easily the best one.

13. Bryan Mitchell, RHP/AA/22:

Mitchell had a dreadful season in High-A last year, he put up a 5.12 ERA. However, his peripherals were better than that, and he looked a lot better in AA. But he really isn't being ranked 13th for his numbers, but rather for his upside. Mitchell has two plus pitches. Mitchell has a plus fastball that sits between 93-93, but can reach 97. And his second plus pitch is a power curveball that sits in the low 80s. Mitchell also has a changeup, but it isn't anywhere near as good as his other two pitches. Mitchell will begin 2014 in AA, and will probably stay there most of the year unless he finally has his breakout  season. Mitchell was added to the 40-man roster so fans should get a glimpse of what he could do this spring.

14. Jose Campos, RHP/A+/21:

Campos is similar to  Severino in the sense that he has three above average pitches and good command. Like Severino he was also one of the Yankees few bright spots last season. However he fell on this list because he missed the most of the 2012 season with an elbow injury. This injury affected his 2013 season, as he had to pitch with a strict innings limit. Despite these setbacks he had a very good season. He put an ERA of 3.42, a SO/9 of 8 and BB/9 of 1.7 (that's 16 walks in 87 innings!). Campos should be start the year in Tampa where he will be the ace of that staff. If he stays healthy he may become the biggest piece in the Jesus Montero trade.

15. Jose Ramirez, RHP/AAA or MLB/24:

Ramirez split time between AA and AAA last year and put up the following numbers, 73.2 IP, 3.67 ERA, 4.62 FIP. Ramirez low inning count is due to oblique and shoulder injuries. These injuries and numerous other injuries he has experienced over the years, has led to the suggestion that he isn't durable enough to be a starter. Ramirez has the stuff to be an elite reliever, and would probably make the Yankees out of camp in that role. Ramirez may have the best two pitch combination in the system. Ramirez has a plus fastball, a plus changeup and a decent slider. His fastball sits between 92-94 but occasionally is much harder. Ramirez will either begin the year as a starter in AAA or reliever in the big leagues.

16. Ramon Flores, OF/AA/AAA/ 21:

Flores is known for his advanced approach at the plate; despite having a down season he had a decent .353 OBP. His OBP was the result of  team high 77 walks. He is also a decent runner and adequate defender, as a corner outfielder. But his biggest problem is that he hasn't shown the type of power he would need to be a good starting player. If his power starts to develop he could shoot up this list. Flores will either begin the 2014 season in AA or AAA and he will be in camp with the Yankees.

17. Ty Hensley, RHP/A- or A/20:

The past two seasons couldn't have been fun for Hensley. First the Yankees had him take a below slot deal, because of a shoulder "abnormality", and then a year later the Yankees had him undergo surgery on both hips to prevent another genetic abnormality from injuring him in the future. Hensley ended up missing the entire 2013 season due to the surgery. There is some concern about how he will look after hip injury, but I don't think he'll look bad, as he now how more mobility in hips than he has ever had before. Hensley is a power pitcher who can throw three pitches. His fastball, sits between 92-94 and peaks at 98. His curveball was considered his best pitch coming out of high school; it sits around 80 MPH. Lastly he has a low 80s changeup that he was making great progress with at instructs. He will either begin the 2014 season in Staten Island or Charleston. 

18. Gosuke Katoh, 2B/A-/A+/19:

Katoh was the Yankees second round pick in 2013. While many thought he was too tiny to be selected so high, all he did was mash in his debut. Hitting 6 homeruns in a league like the GCL is a big accomplishment. In addition to showing surprising power he produced a solid batting line. He is also regarded as good defender, and fast runner. His overall game is very promising, and while his critics were right to suggest that he needs to add muscle, he really looks like a good prospect right now. It is unclear where he will start next year. He could start the year at Staten Island, but has an outside shot at starting the season in Charleston.

19. Dellin Betances, RHP/AAA or MLB/25:

In 2013 the Yankees gave in and made Betances a reliever. The move was a couple years in the making, as Betances's control problems left the Yankees no other choice. As a reliever Betances has shown much better control and has put up great numbers. Betances has a big opportunity to make the Yankees out of spring training and his presence is a big reason why they shouldn't move any of there other starters into the pen. If Betances doesn't begin the year in the majors he has one more option year left, and would start the season in AAA.

19. Luis Torrens, C/RKL or A/18: 

When the Yankees signed Torrens in 2012 he was primarily a thirdbaseman, but the Yankees predicted that he had the ability to be a catcher. After just one year at the position it appears that they were right. Torrens has shown himself to be a very good but raw defensive catcher. He has a strong arm and shows good footwork behind the plate. Offensively he is a line drive hitter, who should be able to hit a good amount of homeruns a year. Despite his poor offensive season, scouts believe he will become a good offensive player, and he has shown that he has good approach at the plate and is a patient hitter. Torrens will begin his season in Staten Island or the GCL if the Yankees want to be extra conservative with him.

20. Miguel Andujar, 3B/A- or A/19:

Andujar is the reason I feel that the Yankees could put Torrens back in the GCL. After all the Yankees had Andujar repeat the level. Though to be fair, Torrens opened more eyes in his first year than Andujar had. With that said 2013 showed just how much talent this young thridbaseman has. Andujar put up the following stats 323/.368/.496, 4 HR, 4 SB, 144 PA. If he hadn't been injured for a bit during the early part of the season, his year would've been even better. Andujar is believed to be good enough defensivly to stick at the position and it looks like he has a very good bat. Andujar will begin the 2014 season at Staten Island or Charleston and his development may have a big effect on the career of Dante Bichette Jr.

21. Peter O'Brien, C/3b/A+ or AA/23:

O'Brien had a very good season last year, hitting for an OPS of .893 between A-ball and High-A. With such a great year one would expect him to be higher on the list, but I do not like the fact that he struck out 134 times last season. I also do not like the reports on his defense, as I am starting to doubt he can stick at catcher. He seems to me to be a Evan Gattis type player, as he has great power but can't really do much else. He was invited to spring training and should be given a shot to catch some games down there. O'Brien  will begin the year at A+ or AA, depending on if the Yankees want him to start at the same level as Gary Sanchez.

22.Rafael De Paula, RHP/A+/23:

De Paula's  2013, was the tale of two seasons. He dominated the South Atlantic League, but got lit up in the Florida State League. While a bit of his struggles in High-A were due to bad luck, it did show that he has significant problems controlling his pitches. This isn't a huge deal, as he is a very inexperienced pitcher, but it does lower expectations a bit.  De Paula is a three pitch pither, who has a great fastball but really needs to work on his slider and changeup. His fastball alone makes him a compelling relief prospect, as he averages between 92-95 MPH, but can throw faster when he needs to. In most likelihood De Puala will begin the 2014 season in High-A. The Yankees shouldn't even think about moving him to the pen, until he fails as a starter.

23. Shane Greene, RHP/AA or AAA/25:

Greene is a great example of why you shouldn't give up on guys like De Pula, Ramirez, and Mitchell. Sometimes it just takes time for good pitchers to get their act together and throw strikes. Last year Greene only walked only 1.7 batters per nine innings, that is down significantly from his 5.1 rate in 2012. Greene's improvement earned him a spot on the Yankees forty-man roster, and fans will get a chance to see his four pitch combination in live game action this spring. Greene throws a fastball that averages between 92-94 MPH, a curveball, a changeup, and a slider. Green should begin the year at AA, and if his control is really that much better now, he has an outside to make the majors at some point next year.

24. Rob Refsnyder, 2B/AA/23:

Refsnyder like O'Brien would be a lot higher on this list if more people praised his defense. With that said he has a much better chance at being a good defender than O'Brien does. Considering the Yankees have a major need at second, it be really great if he repeated his dominating performance next season in AA. Refsnyder has shown that he has a great approach at the plate, and that he is a high contact hitter. Refsynder's power will result in more doubles than homers, but as a secondbaseman that isn't a real problem. Refsndyer should begin the 2014 season in AA, and should move quickly.

25. Gabriel Encinas RHP, A or A+/22:

Encinas was well on his way on a breakthrough year before succumbing to Tommy John surgery. If he didn't get injured he would have gotten a chance to play in High-A, and would be a lot higher on this list. Encinas  mostly throws three pitches: a fastball, a curveball, and a changeup, though he apparently used to throw a slider. Encinas still has to perfect his command and contol, but he has a solid combination of pitches. Once he is healthy next year he should begin the season in A-ball or High-A.

26. Nik Turley, LHP/AA or AAA/24:

Turley is one of New York's steadiest prospects, and his development has gone very smoothly since being drafted. Turley was taken in the 50th round, a round so uneventful it no longer exists. The only reason he dropped so far is because most felt he would not sign. People assumed he would go to college and spend to years in a missionary program. The Yankees signed him for $125,000, and have turned him into a nice back-end starter. Turley has a fastball that sits that is usually between 88-92, a curveball and a changeup. While he has generally had good control in his career he was a bit too wild last season. Turley is on the Yankees 40 man roster, and will start the 2014 season in AA.

27. Corban Joseph, 2B/AAA or MLB/25:

Like Zoilo Almonte and Mark Montgomery, Joseph missed a major opportunity last season due to an injury. I really think Joseph has the ability to be a good offensive player, and his last full season at AAA shows why. He had a WRC+ of 134 in his final season at AAA, and I feel that if he was healthy last season he would be the favorite to win the second base job coming out of spring training. Joseph was invited to spring training, so he will have a chance to play third and second, and prove that his bat is good enough for the majors.

28. Zoilo Almonte, OF/AAA or MLB/24:

While his overall numbers last year weren't special he did show signs of being a decent player. Almonte might actually be a more productive player than Ichiro at this point in their careers.This is because Almonte is a switch-hitter with decent power. While he isn't the type of defender or base-threat as Ichiro is, he is the overall better player. Almonte will begin the season in AAA, assuming he doesn't get cut to make room on the forty-man roster for someone more valuable.

29. Vidal Nuno, LHP/AAA or MLB/26:

Not to long ago Nuno was pitching in the Independent league, with little hope of ever pitching in the majors. However the Yankees signed him a couple years ago, and he has progressed through the system at a quickened pace. Nuno throws three separate fastballs: 4 seamer, sinker and cutter. His fastball ranges from 87-91 MPH. In addition to his fastball he throws a changeup and a curveball. Nuno will probably be given a shot in the Yankees fifth starter competition but his future is probably in the pen.

30.Brady Lail, RHP/A- or A/20:

Lail has quietly performed very well since being drafted in 2012. Lail was only an 18th round pick, but after gaining over 20 pounds as a Yankee he has become a new pitcher. Lail throws four pitches: a sinker(89-91), a four-seamer(90-93), a curverball, and a changeup.Lail is thought to have great control, and his BB/9 in the GCL was .84 last season. It is unclear where Lail will start in 2014, but considering he put up a FIP of 1.64 in the GCL last season he should be pushed aggressively. There are a lot of worthy names for the Charleston Riverdogs rotation, but I feel the Yankees would really be snubbing him if he weren't included.

31. Mark Montgomery, RHP/AAA/MLB/23:

Montgomery didn't have an awful season last year, but it was still a very disappointing one.  Montgomery is primarily a two pitch pitcher, as he throws a slider and a fastball. His slider is regarded as one of the best in the system, and it is the reason that he was considered a borderline top 10 prospect last season. His slider was fine last year but a shoulder injury seemed to sap some of power. Instead of throwing his fastball at 93 MPH he was topping out around 90. This is a major reason why the team called up Preston Claiborne over him. If he regains some MPH on his fastball he has a great shot of making the majors this year.

32. Rookie Davis, RHP/A/20:

Like Lail, Davis was a 2012 draft selection that performed very well last season. Davis put up a 2.36 ERA, (2.72 FIP) and only walked 13 batters in 42 innings in the NYPL. His performance led to to a late season promotion to the SAL, where he performed very well in two starts. Davis gave up zero runs in those two starts while striking out 8 and walking none. Davis has three solid pitches: a fastball(91-93), a curveball, and a changeup. Davis should begin the year in A-Ball next year, and looks like the type of pitcher that progresses quickly. 

33. Jake Cave, OF/A+/21:

It took a few years, but Jake Cave finally played a full season with the Yankees. Considering how little he has played the past few years he really had a great season in 2013. He hit .282/.347/.401/with 2 homers, 6 triples, 37 doubles, and he had a WRC+ of 117. While he still needs to show more homerun power, he did have the third most doubles in the league. Additionally he is an adequate defender and stole 18 bases. Cave should begin the 2014 season in A+, and has established him self as an interesting sleeper prospect. 

34. Chase Whitley, RHP/AAA/24:

Whitley may not have the highest upside, but he is a very steady player and could earn a job in middle relief at some point during the season. Whitley is a three pitch reliever, who throws in the low 90s with his fastball, and also has a slider, changeup combination. While these three pitches aren't elite, Whitley has good control and has consistently performed well in the minors. Whitley was left unprotected during the rule 5 draft, and many feared he would get picked. But he is still a Yankee and is probably going to impact this Yankee season in one way or another.

35. Angelo Gumbs, 2B/A or A+/21:

Like many other players on this list, Gumbs really has to redeem himself next season. Gumbs has too much raw talent to be stuck in A-Ball for three years, but the Yankees may have to send him there if he doesn't perform in spring training. Gumbs really has all the tools imaginable but needs that one big breakout year that makes him a top prospect. 2014 is really a make-or-break season for him, and it will be interesting to see what level he gets to start at.

36. Cito Culver, SS/A+/21:

Culver made a big change to his game last season, as he opted to only bat right-handed. This change took a while getting used to, but at the end of the year he seemed to have figured something out.  He already is a pretty good defensive SS, who shows a good eye on the plate and average power. He doesn't have to be a great hitter to be valuable. Culver will start the 2014 season in High-A where we'll get to see just how much his bat really improved. Culver not being a complete bust would be a real boost to the Yankee farm system.

37.  Thairo Estrada, SS/A- or A/18:

Estrada's debut and and performance came out of nowhere last year. Estrada was a very cheap signing, and his physical characteristics don't jump out at you. His quick ascension to the league is one of the reasons he is ranked so low. I want to see him repeat his 2013 performance at a higher level, or at least come close to it. Estrada had a WRC+ of 130 last year making him one of the most productive players in the league, despite being one of the youngest players in the league. Estrada may be forced to remain in the GCL next season, but the NYPL is also a realistic possibility.

38. Ben Gamel, OF/AA/21:

Gamel is a lot like Flores and Cave in the sense that he will need to show more power to be considered a major league starter. Gamel game would become very well rounded if he could just develop a bit more power. He already shows good patience at the plate and good hitting ability. Additionally he is a good defender with adequate speed. But all these positives won't mean much if he can't hit more homeruns. Gamel should begin the 2014 season in AA, where he will probably stay for the duration of the year.

39. David Palladino, RHP/A- or A/21:

Palladino is one of the more intruguing 2013 Yankee draft picks, as he is a massive individual. At 6'9 he is one of the Yankees tallest pitchers. Despite his size he is able to repeat his delivery, allowing him to remain a starter. We've seen a couple guys in Andrew Brackman, and Betances who failed as starters because they were way too big to repeat their delivery.  Palladino throws a fastball at around 94 MPH, a slider, a changeup and a curveball. I feel that there is a good chance that he starts in the NYPL next year, as several Yankee pitchers are ahead of him on the depth chart.

40. Caleb Smith, LHP/A+/22:

Smith was drafted in the 14th round of the 2013 draft, and is considered one of New York's best sleeper picks. His draft stock seemed to drop because of his his high walk total in college. Because of this, some draft pundits thought he'd be an eventual reliever. However, he did have control problems upon debuting for the Yankees. His BB/9 rate was a miniscule 2.8. His other numbers also looked great, which is why he advanced all the way to AA last year. Smith throws a two seam fastball at around 93 MPH, a good circle change, and an inconsistent slider. The development of the slider is a focal point for Smith and it may determine just how high his ceiling is.


Josh Sabo is a Minor League writer for Yanks Beat Blog.


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