Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Six Yankees Land On Top 20 Gulf Coast League Prospects List

Although it's only rookie ball, and the chances that these guys all make it to MLB are closer to "none" than "slim", it's still pretty cool that the Yankees placed six players on Baseball America's Top 20 Gulf Coast League Prospects list.

Thairo Estrada was 20th on the list, after hitting .278/.350/.432 this season. To that he added five triples and seven stolen bases, in only 50 games. Thairo only turns 18 next February, so there's plenty of time for him to improve and make an impact. Scouts point out that, along with playing great defense, Estrada is said to have excellent instincts as a hitter, with good bat control, leading to a lot of contact.

Luis Severino, who is actually in his second season with the Yankees, was #17. Luis had an ERA of 1.37 in the GCL before being promoted to the South Atlantic League (A ball). His WHIP was 0.835, and he struck out almost 11 batters per nine innings. He didn't fair so well in his low-A debut, but we'll hopefully hear more about him next season. Luis has a hard fastball, that at times touched 98, to go with a put-away slider. Severino's changeup has improved drastically this past season as well.

Gosuke Katoh, who was drafted in the 2nd round of this year's amateur draft, came in at # 15. Katoh had a very nice debut in pro ball, hitting .310/.402/.522, along with seven home runs, in his 50 games with the Gulf Coast Yankees. Gosuke also added 11 doubles and five triples. It hasn't been long, but he's made the Yankees look smart to have picked him in the draft. It's said that Katoh has incredible plate discipline and bat-to-ball ability, making him a tough out. Although he doesn't have the arm strength for shortstop, he fits very well at second base.

Like Severino, Abiatal Avelino is also in his second season as a Yankee prospect. The 18 year old was #13 on the list, but actually ended 2013 playing in the New York-Penn League (low-A ball). Before that Abi hit .400/.481/.586 in 17 games in the Gulf Coast League. He didn't fair so well in his debut in the New York-Penn league, batting .243/.303/.271, but nobody should be giving up on the talented shortstop.

Miguel Andujar, from the Dominican Republic, came in at #11. Miguel started his professional baseball career as a 17 year-old in 2012, and returned to the Gulf Coast League this past season. There, Andujar hit .323/.368/.496, to go with 4 home runs in only 34 games. Scouts have pointed out that Andujar has learned to hit to all fields this year, and doesn't chase pitches. His lack of power makes him questionable to stick at third base, but he has smooth hands, great footwork, and a very nice arm.

It should come as no surprise that the Yankee that finished the highest on Baseball America's list of Gulf Coast League prospects is a catcher. At #10 comes Luis Torrens, a 17 year-old Venezuelan. Although the numbers don't pop out at you (.241/.348/.299), but the Yankees gave him the most of any of their international signings last summer with $1.3 million. Scouts really like Torrens' approach to the plate, and ability to recognize pitches early. His swing is said to produce a natural loft, showing power potential.

On Friday Baseball America will release their list for the New York-Penn league. We'll let you know how that one looks.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)