The 2015 New York Yankees Top 10 Prospects

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For an explanation on the CAL, the Comparison And Likeness prospect classification system I derived, click here.

 

 

 

1.  Luis Severino, RHP

Born: 02/20/94  Age: 21   Height: 6-0   Weight: 195   B/T: R/R                                                        
Top CALs: Drew Hutchison, Brett Anderson, Chih-Wei Hu, Mat Latos, Noah Syndergaard
YEAR Age Level IP ERA FIP K/9 K% BB/9 BB% HR/9 LOB%
2013 19 A 17.7 4.08 2.52 10.7 27.3% 2.0 5.2% 0.51 67.8%
2014 20 A 67.7 2.79 2.70 9.3 25.3% 2.0 5.4% 0.27 72.5%
2014 20 A+ 20.7 1.31 1.55 12.2 35.0% 2.6 7.5% 0.00 76.5%
2014 20 AA 25.0 2.52 2.27 10.4 29.0% 2.2 6.0% 0.36 73.2%

Background: The Yankees’ latest promising minor league arm made stops at three levels last season en route to nearly doubling his previous career high in innings pitched. Severino, a 6-foot, 195-pound right-hander out of Sabana Del Mar, Dominican Republic, made 14 strong starts in the Sally, another four ridiculous appearances with Tampa, and capped the year off by posting a 29-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in the Eastern League. In total, he punched out 127, was stingier with the free pass than Little John collecting tolls to cross his forest bridge, and finished with a MiLB-leading 2.40 FIP.

Projection: An oblique injury didn’t even slow Severino’s rocket-like ascension through the minor leagues last season. The young right-hander shows an incredible feel for the strike zone, an above-average ability to miss bats, and has surrendered just six homeruns in his 221.2 career innings. What’s not to like? CAL suggests that there’s a #2-type ceiling, potentially even higher. Barring any injury – fingers firmly crossed – Severino could help front an aging New York rotation as soon as late 2015.

Ceiling:  3.5- to 4.0-win player

Risk:  Moderate

MLB ETA:  Late 2015/Early 2016

 

 

2.  Aaron Judge, RF

Born: 04/26/92  Age: 23   Height: 6-7   Weight: 230   B/T: R/R                                                        
Top CALs: Sebastian Elizalde, Marvin Lowrance, Sergio Pedroza, Brian Van Kirk, Byron Wiley
YEAR Age LVL PA AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO BB% K% wRC+
2014 22 A 278 .333 .428 .530 .958 .197 14.0% 21.2% 167
2014 22 A+ 285 .283 .411 .442 .853 .159 17.5% 25.3% 149

Background: Taken out of Fresno State at the end of the first round two years ago, Judge waited until last season to make his much anticipated debut. And the wait was definitely worth it. Judge, a massive athletic outfielder who swings a toothpick compared to his frame size, mashed in the Sally (.333/.428/.530), mashed through the Florida State League (.283/.411/.442), and battered the Arizona Fall League pitching (.278/.377/467).

Projection: Prior to the 2013 draft I wrote,

“Judge, a hulking 6-foot-7, will always have to contend with an abnormally large strike zone and the subsequent questions surrounding it. But he’s incredibly athletic, has a history of solid plate discipline, and could be another 20/20 candidate down the line. A reasonable comp might be Milwaukee’s Corey Hart, another gangly, athletic outfielder with a similar skill set.”

Before heading westward for the fall, Judge posted a .178 ISO and walked in 15.8% of his plate appearances. He’s not running as much as he was in college, otherwise the analysis still holds true.

Ceiling:  3.0- to 3.5-win player

Risk:  Moderate

MLB ETA:  Late 2016/Early 2017

 

 

3.  Gary Sanchez, C

Born: 12/02/92  Age: 22   Height: 6-3   Weight: 235   B/T: R/R                                                        
Top CALs: Austin Romine, Wilson Ramos, JR Murphy, Sebastian Valle, Juan Apodaca
YEAR Age LVL PA AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO BB% K% wRC+
2012 19 A+ 185 .279 .330 .436 .766 .157 5.4% 22.2% 117
2013 20 A+ 399 .254 .313 .420 .733 .166 7.0% 17.8% 108
2013 20 AA 110 .250 .364 .380 .744 .130 11.8% 14.5% 113
2014 21 AA 477 .270 .338 .406 .743 .135 9.0% 19.1% 108

Background: After a downturn – or really a side step – in production two years ago, Sanchez headed back to the Eastern League after a so-so showing in 2013. The results were…basically the same. Sanchez hit .270/.338/.406 while topping the EL offensive average by just 8%. And for the second consecutive year his ISO dropped, going from .195 in 2012 to .159 a year later and down to a career-low .136 last season.

Projection:  A well-rounded backstop prospect, Sanchez has solid-average offensive tools across the board and can control the running game well (he tossed out a career-high 39% of would-be base stealers in 2014). In terms of a ceiling, think along the lines of Wilson Ramos’ 2011 season: .267/.334/.445. Throw in some defensive value and Sanchez should top out around 3.0 wins.

Ceiling:  3.0-win player

Risk:  Moderate

MLB ETA: Late 2015/Early 2016

 

 

4.  Ian Clarkin, LHP

Born: 02/14/95  Age: 20   Height: 6-2   Weight: 190   B/T: L/L                                                        
Top CALs: Greg Harris, Michael Main, Randall Delgado, Jameson Taillon, Jake Thompson
YEAR Age Level IP ERA FIP K/9 K% BB/9 BB% HR/9 LOB%
2013 18 R 5.0 10.80 10.06 7.2 16.0% 7.2 16.0% 3.60 55.6%
2014 19 A 70.0 3.21 3.74 9.1 25.0% 2.8 7.8% 0.77 75.7%
2014 19 A+ 5.0 1.80 2.39 7.2 20.0% 1.8 5.0% 0.00 87.5%

Background: The club’s third and final first round pick in 2013, following the selections of fellow top prospects Eric Jagielo (26th overall) and Aaron Judge (32nd overall), Clarkin spent the majority of the year taunting the South Atlantic League hitters by fanning 75, walking 23 and posting a 3.74 FIP. The club allowed the young left-hander to whet his appetite with a start in the Florida State League, where he’ll (likely) begin the 2015 season.

Projection: While the data’s pretty limited – he’s thrown just 80.0 innings in his career – CAL likes the southpaw’s chances to develop into a mid- to back-of-the-rotation-type arm, tying him to Randall Delgado, Jameson Taillon, and Jake Thompson. Clarkin showed a promising ability to pound the zone, especially for young left-hander.

Ceiling:  3.0-win player

Risk:  Moderate to High

MLB ETA:  Late 2018/Early 2019

 

 

5.  Eric Jagielo, 3B

Born: 05/17/92  Age: 23   Height: 6-2   Weight: 195   B/T: L/R                                                         
Top CALs: Jordan Betts, Mike Olt, Justin Baum, Chase Simpson, Yale Rosen
YEAR Age LVL PA AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO BB% K% wRC+
2013 21 A- 218 .266 .376 .451 .827 .185 11.9% 24.8% 152
2014 22 A+ 359 .259 .354 .460 .813 .201 10.6% 25.9% 132

Background: In Notre Dame’s illustrious history only four other players – Ken Plesha, Brad Lidge, A.J. Pollock, and Aaron Heilman – have been selected earlier in the draft than Jagielo, who was the 26th overall pick two years ago. Granted, Notre Dame’s not exactly a baseball powerhouse, but it has produced, Craig Counsell, who, by the way, totaled 22 wins above replacement, Jeff Samardzija, and John Axford as well as the aforementioned players.

Jagielo missed some time during his stint in the Florida State League last season but hit .259/.354/.460 with 16 homeruns, the fifth most total in the league despite playing just 85 games. Unfortunately for the lefty-swinging third baseman – and the Yanks as well – Jagielo took an errant 87 mph fastball to the face during Instructs in the fall and underwent surgery.

Projection: Assuming the injury doesn’t have any long lasting effects, both mentally and physically, Jagielo has a chance to be a good regular, something I wrote about during his pre-draft evaluation:

“He’s won’t be a star, but he could be solid-average everyday player, peaking with 15 or so homeruns and a .260/.330/.420 line. And, of course, a lot of that will hinge on his ability to hit southpaws.”

Well, Jagielo owns a career .283/.379/.464 against lefties, so he’s answered that concern. Now he just has to worry about the injury. Defensively, he remains a work in progress.

Ceiling:  2.5-win player

Risk:  Moderate

MLB ETA: 2016

 

 

6.  Greg Bird, 1B

Born: 11/09/92  Age: 22   Height: 6-3   Weight: 215   B/T: L/R                                                        
Top CALs: Chris Parmelee, Jonathan Rodriguez, Casey Gillaspie, Jeff Malm, Lars Anderson
YEAR Age LVL PA AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO BB% K% wRC+
2012 19 A- 47 .400 .489 .650 1.139 .250 12.8% 21.3% 229
2013 20 A 573 .288 .428 .511 .938 .223 18.7% 23.0% 170
2014 21 A+ 325 .277 .375 .442 .817 .164 13.8% 21.5% 133
2014 21 AA 116 .253 .379 .558 .937 .305 15.5% 23.3% 158

Background:  When Bird flashed on the scene in 2013 he immediately invoked memories of another former Yankees top prospect, Tyler Austin. Consider their age-20 seasons in the Sally:

  • Bird: .288/.428/.511,  7% BB-rate,  23.0% K-rate,  .223 ISO,  170 wRC+
  • Austin: .320/.405/.598,  0% BB-rate,  22.0% K-rate,  .278 ISO,  170wRC+

The big tradeoff between the pair was Bird walked at a better clip and Austin slugged for more power. Their overall production according to Weighted Runs Created Plus, though, was identical. Both would spend some time plowing through the Florida State League (133 wRC+ vs. 144 wRC+). But their paths diverged in Class AA, with Austin completely flaming out, hitting .267/.340/.398 in over 800 plate appearances, and Bird hitting .253/.379/.558 in a short sample size last season (27 games).

A fifth round pick out Grandview HS in 2011, Bird hit an aggregate .271/.376/.472 between his stops with Tampa and Trenton in 2014, slugging 30 two-baggers, one triple, and 14 homeruns.

Projection: CAL isn’t a fan of the lefty-swinging first baseman, tying him to a couple of top prospect busts (Chris Parmelee and Lars Anderson) and two non-descript minor sluggers in Jonathan Rodriguez and Jeff Malm – despite the 22-year-old’s .283/.407/.488 career triple-slash line. The power has 20-HR, 35-double potential and the plate discipline is phenomenal. The hit tool, though, seems to be lacking at the moment. Bird has a solid ceiling, but he’s fairly combustible.

Ceiling:  2.5-win player

Risk:  Moderate to High

MLB ETA:  Late 2016/Early 2017

 

 

7.  Jacob Lindgren, LHP

Born: 03/12/93  Age: 22   Height: 5-11   Weight: 180   B/T: L/L                                                        
Top CALs: N/A
YEAR Age Level IP ERA FIP K/9 K% BB/9 BB% HR/9 LOB%
2014 21 R 1.0 0.00 0.49 18.0 40.0% 0.0 0.0% 0.00 100.0%
2014 21 A 5.0 1.80 0.21 19.8 57.9% 0.0 0.0% 0.00 50.0%
2014 21 A+ 7.3 0.00 0.39 20.9 54.8% 4.9 12.9% 0.00 85.7%
2014 21 AA 11.7 3.86 2.58 13.9 36.7% 6.9 18.4% 0.00 60.0%

Background: Lindgren, the Yankees’ top pick last June, flip-flopped between the bullpen-to-the-rotation-and-back-to-the-pen during his career at Mississippi State. After showing some promise as a reliever during his freshman campaign, the little lefty shifted into a fulltime starting role during his second season and the results were damn impressive: 56.0 IP, 65 strikeouts, 18 walks, two homeruns surrendered, and a misleading 4.18 ERA.  Manager John Cohen, for reasons unbeknownst to me, pushed Lindgren back into the bullpen and his numbers – to the utter shock of no one – took another step forward during his final season: 55.1 IP, 100 strikeouts, 25 walks, and a miniscule 0.81 ERA. You just have to wonder what he could have done out the rotation…

Projection:  Prior to the draft I wrote,

“If left in the bullpen Lindgren could very easily be pitching in the big leagues by the end of the year a la Chris Sale in 2010. And make no mistake about it the Mississippi product has all the tools to become a dominant backend reliever – namely above-average control and an elite ability to miss bats.”

Well, Lindgren is definitely on pace to appear in a big league game very, very soon. He began his debut with an appearance in the Gulf Coast League and finished it in Class AA, totaling 48 punch outs and 13 free passes in 25.0 innings.

Ceiling:  1.5 to 2.0-win player

Risk:  Low to Moderate

MLB ETA:  Mid-2015

 

 

8.  Robert Refsnyder, 2B/RF

Born: 03/26/91  Age: 24   Height: 6-1   Weight: 205   B/T: R/R                                                        
Top CALs: Jason Kipnis, Nick Franklin, Ryan Flaherty, Nate Spears, Corban Joseph
YEAR Age LVL PA AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO BB% K% wRC+
2012 21 A 182 .241 .319 .364 .683 .123 8.8% 13.7% 91
2013 22 A+ 507 .283 .408 .404 .812 .121 15.4% 13.8% 140
2014 23 AA 244 .342 .385 .548 .933 .206 5.7% 15.6% 159
2014 23 AAA 333 .300 .389 .456 .845 .157 12.3% 20.1% 137

Background: Every once in a while there’s a prospect that quietly moves through the minor leagues with good, sometimes great- production and never garners a lot of attention for whatever reason. Meet Rob Refsnyder, a 2012 fifth round pick out of the University of Arizona and a career .297/.389/.444 minor league hitter. The then-23-year-old second baseman/moonlighting right fielder burned through the Eastern League competition, hitting .342/.385/.548, and didn’t stop mashing after his mid-season promotion to the International League (.300/.389/.456). Refsnyder hit an aggregate .318/.387/.497 and finished with a 146 wRC+.

Projection: CAL’s a big fan of the former Wildcat, comparing his production over the last three stops to an All-Star (Jason Kipnis) and another former top prospect (Nick Franklin). Prior to the year the power was below-average, but it flashed 15-HR potential last season. Strong walk rates, solid contact skills, and sneaky speed all add up to solid, below-the-radar prospect. As far as his ceiling is concerned: think a slightly better than average offensive performer with decent, not great defensive ability.

Ceiling:  1.5- to 2.0-win player

Risk:  Moderate

MLB ETA:  2015

 

 

9.  Chasen Shreve, LHP

Born: 07/12/90  Age: 24   Height: 6-3   Weight: 190   B/T: L/L                                                        
Top CALs: Andrew Cashner, Tony Zych, Derrik Lutz, David Cales, Zach Stewart
YEAR Age Level IP ERA FIP K/9 K% BB/9 BB% HR/9 LOB%
2013 22 A+ 19.7 2.75 3.71 6.9 17.9% 3.7 9.5% 0.46 74.1%
2013 22 AA 42.7 4.43 3.45 5.9 14.6% 4.6 11.5% 0.21 62.9%
2014 23 AA 54.3 2.48 1.42 12.6 36.7% 1.5 4.4% 0.33 73.2%
2014 23 AAA 9.7 3.72 4.70 10.2 29.0% 2.8 7.9% 1.86 87.0%

Background: The southpaw had one of – if not the – most curious breakouts of the 2014 season. Shreve, a career reliever, averaged a steady 7.69 strikeouts per nine innings between 2011 and 2013, a span covering nearly 200 innings. Last season, though, he exploded – he punched out 87 in a combined 64.0 minor league innings. And he whiffed another 15 in 12.1 big league innings. So what the hell happened? Well, Shreve started throwing harder. How, you ask? He stopped trying to hit his spots and started rearing back and firing the damn ball.

Projection: The 6-foot-3 southpaw out of the College of Southern Nevada went from fringy big league arm to potential late-inning reliever. His fastball sat in the low-90s during his stint in Atlanta. He also featured a mid-80s slider and split. He’s a solid seventh/eighth inning guy.

Ceiling:  1.0- to 1.5-win player

Risk:  Low to Moderate

MLB ETA:  Debuted in 2014

 

 

10.  Domingo German, RHP

Born: 08/04/92  Age: 22   Height: 6-2   Weight: 175   B/T: R/R                                                        
Top CALs: Jose Guzman, Allen Harrington, Jon Kibler, Derek Thompson, Tyler Lavigne
YEAR Age Level IP ERA FIP K/9 K% BB/9 BB% HR/9 LOB%
2012 19 R 22.3 1.61 2.99 11.7 29.9% 6.5 16.5% 0.00 84.9%
2013 20 R 26.0 1.38 2.69 9.4 27.8% 1.7 5.2% 0.35 87.4%
2013 20 A- 41.0 1.76 2.10 7.5 20.5% 1.1 3.0% 0.00 66.7%
2014 21 A 123.3 2.48 3.26 8.3 22.4% 1.8 5.0% 0.44 75.9%

Background: Part of the club’s two-for-three deal with the Marlins during the offseason. New York sent Martin Prado and David Phelps packing for power-armed right-hander Nate Eovaldi, solid bench bat Garrett Jones, and the 6-foot-2 Dominican-born hurler. Miami, not known for taking a slow-and-steady approach with talented younger prospects, slowly pushed German through their system and kept him in the rookie leagues until his age-20 season two years ago. Finally getting a taste of full season ball, German proved he was up for the challenge. In 123.1 innings, a total that nearly doubled his previous career high, he punched out 113 and walked just 25 en route to posting a 3.26.

Projection: One of those lower level wild card arms teams so often gamble on. German has always performed exceeding well in each of his five pro seasons, but, again, he’s finally sniffing full season ball. Fringy backend starter with some additional upside. The 2015 season will likely go a long way in determining his future.

Ceiling:  1.0- to 1.5-win player

Risk:  Moderate

MLB ETA:  2017

 

 

 

**All Statistics Courtesy of FanGraphs**

 

 



About

After serving as a video scout/analyst for Baseball Info Solutions, Joe Werner began writing at his original site, ReleasePoints.com. He’s since transitioned into his current niche, prospect analysis, at ProspectDigest.com. He has been fortunate — and incredibly blessed — to have some of his work published and mentioned by several major media outlets, including: ESPN, Cleveland.com and the Baseball Research Journal. He can be reached at: JosephMWerner@yahoo.com.