Tuesday, October 13, 2015

2015 Postseason Yankees Farm System Top 30 Rankings

by: Ben Embry (guest contributor from The Bronx Empire)

The Yankees farm system had a terrific year in 2015. Luis Severino forced his way to the Majors and met even the most optimistic fans' expectations. Greg Bird similarly arrived in the Bronx and quite possibly Wally Pipp'ed the team's All Star 1B stalwart Mark Teixeira, (ok probably not but on a team more progressive than the Yankees it might be possible). Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, Rob Refsnyder and other prospects all gave the team strong contributions. The future is bright. Ironically this will result in the farm system being ranked lower next year than it did at the beginning of 2015 because Severino and Bird graduated due to their service time in August and September.  This just goes to show: farm system rankings aren't the end-all-be-all.

First, before the rankings I have a disclosure: I am not a scout. I do not communicate directly with scouts. I do not regularly watch the prospects in person, on television, or on the Internet. My opinions are informed by websites and publications such as Baseball America, Fangraphs, and ESPN.com and interactions with fans and writers on social media. I am simply a fan who is expressing his opinion; take it for what it's worth.

Ok, here are the Yankees' top 30 prospects:
Rank Name POS
1 Aaron Judge RF
2 Jorge Mateo SS
3 Gary Sanchez C
4 James Kaprielian SP
5 Wilkerman Garcia SS/3B
6 Domingo Acevedo SP
7 Jacob Lindgren RP
8 Rob Refsnyder 2B/LF
9 Eric Jagielo 3B/1B
10 Rookie Davis SP
11 Tyler Wade SS
12 Ian Clarkin SP
13 Hoy-Jun Park SS
14 Miguel Andujar 3B
15 Abiatal Avelino SS/2B
16 Luis Torrens C
17 Jake Cave CF
18 Mason Williams CF
19 Brady Lail SP
20 Angel Aguilar SS/3B
21 Slade Heathcott CF
22 Drew Finley SP
23 Domingo German SP
24 Dustin Fowler CF/RF
25 Austin DeCarr SP
26 Juan de Leon CF/RF
27 Dermis Garcia 3B
28 Leonardo Molina CF
29 Thairo Estrada SS
30 Nelson Gomez 3B
Let's compare the last list to this one.  First, players who were in the previous rankings but not this one, (including previous ranking):

1. Luis Severino (graduated)
4. Greg Bird (graduated)
22. Kyle Holder (out of top 30)

And now, the players who were not in the previous ranking but are now in this one, (including current ranking):

5. Wilkerman Garcia
14. Hoy Jun-Park
30. Nelson Gomez

For those who like deep dives, here's a top 30 hitters list:

Rank Player Position Born
1 Aaron Judge RF 1992
2 Jorge Mateo SS 1995
3 Gary Sanchez C 1992
4 Wilkerman Garcia SS/3B 1998
5 Rob Refsnyder 2B/LF 1991
6 Eric Jagielo 3B/1B 1992
7 Tyler Wade SS 1994
8 Hoy-Jun Park SS 1996
9 Miguel Andujar 3B 1995
10 Abiatal Avelino SS/2B 1995
11 Luis Torrens C 1996
12 Jake Cave CF 1992
13 Mason Williams CF 1991
14 Angel Aguilar SS/3B 1995
15 Slade Heathcott CF 1990
16 Dustin Fowler CF/RF 1994
17 Juan de Leon CF/RF 1998
18 Dermis Garcia 3B 1998
19 Leonardo Molina CF 1997
20 Thairo Estrada SS 1996
21 Nelson Gomez 3B 1997
22 Jhalan Jackson OF 1993
23 Kyle Holder SS 1994
24 Tyler Austin RF/1B 1991
25 Ben Gamel RF 1992
26 Miguel Flames C/3B 1997
27 Diego Castillo SS/2B 1997
28 Trey Amburgey OF 1994
29 Alexander Palma RF 1995
30 Tony Renda 2B 1991

And now, the pitchers:

Rank Player Position Born
1 James Kaprielian SP 1994
2 Domingo Acevedo SP 1994
3 Jacob Lindgren RP 1993
4 Rookie Davis SP 1993
5 Ian Clarkin SP 1995
6 Brady Lail SP 1993
7 Drew Finley SP 1996
8 Domingo German SP 1992
9 Austin DeCarr SP 1995
10 Jordan Montgomery SP 1992
11 Cale Coshow SP/RP 1992
12 Jonathan Holder SP 1993
13 Jeff Degano SP 1992
14 Simon de la Rosa SP 1993
15 Ty Hensley SP 1993
16 Vicente Campos SP/RP 1992
17 Nick Rumbelow RP 1991
18 Nick Goody RP 1991
19 James Pazos RP 1991
20 Josh Rogers SP 1994
21 Tyler Webb RP 1990
22 Gilmael Troya SP/RP 1997
23 Alexander Vargas SP 1997
24 Johnny Barbato RP 1992
25 Luis Cedeno SP/RP 1994
26 Jordan Foley SP/RP 1993
27 Chance Adams RP 1994
28 Miguel Sulbaran SP/RP 1994
29 Chaz Hebert SP 1992
30 Caleb Smith SP/RP 1991

Well, let me know what you think. My Twitter handle is @thebronxempire and my email is bembry24@gmail.com. I'll update the list this fall after the season. Ok, have a good day!

2015 Yankees: Didi Gregorius 2015 Highlights

If you look close enough you can see the ghost of Derek Jeter flying off his rocket right arm.

Will Rhymes, What Are Your Thoughts?

Much of the baseball world either went to sleep discussing or woke up to discuss the Chase Utley slide that ultimately ended Ruben Tejada's season for the New York Mets in the NLDS over the weekend. Utley slid late, bottom line, and whether the slide was dirty or technically in the rule book is being discussed around every water cooler this week but I'd prefer to focus on something else. As you remember when Jonathan Papelbon was seen on film choking Bryce Harper in the Washington Nationals writer and reporter CJ Nitkowski pooled many former and current MLB players asking their opinions on the situation in what quickly became a controversial article for Fox Sports.

I halfway expected to see a similar type article from someone out there either damning or defending Chase Utley and while I haven't seen a head-turner like CJ's I did see a tweet from a former member of the Washington Nationals organization, Will Rhymes. Rhymes hasn't seen the Major Leagues since the 2012 season but has been in the minor league system for Washington for the last two seasons and was one of the more vocal about the Utley slide.

Rhymes tweet can be seen above and his punishment would be pretty harsh if he were making the decisions, a suspension until Tejada is healthy again. Now in no way am I trying to compare the two instances, because they are different in almost every case, but I truly wonder what his opinion was on the choke of Harper. I asked him on Twitter but of course I have not received an answer as of the time of this writing.

Are the two instances in any way, shape or form similar? Should Utley be suspended for his late slide and for injuring Tejads? Honestly I don't know. The Utley slide wasn't all that much worse than Didi Gregorius's slide in the AL Wild Card game but the difference was Jose Altuve was not injured on the play. That may be the difference and I truly think Rhymes, being a second baseman, is a little sensitive to the subject since it could have been him. Maybe I'm wrong and maybe he will clear that up for me. If he does I'll update the post.

How Will Qualifying Offers Affect Yankees Free Agency Plans?

With the qualifying offer number set at $15.8 million and a laundry list of players that I predicted to receive said qualifying offer earlier today I wanted to take a stab at whether those offers would affect the Yankees free agency plans for 2016. Usually you can use the past as an indicator or a stepping stone for the future but honestly that won't help us here. Before the 2014 season the team wen't crazy on the free agent market surrendering draft picks for Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury while last year the team stockpiled draft picks in an effort to jump start and rebuild the farm system.

The Yankees are barely a season removed from their international haul that cost them $30 million for a crew of 16-year old international free agents and the team is also less than six months removed from adding James Kaprielian, Kyle Holder, Jeff Degano and others to the farm from the MLB Draft. With this season's free agency crop as deep as it has been in recent memory this may be the season that proves to be the first free agent market that's worth mortgaging the future for, especially with the Yankees picking at the end of the first round once again in the 2016 Draft. Below is a list of players that I feel like will receive a qualifying offer and the bolded players are players I believe the Yankees will be interested in, not necessarily sign.

LHP Wei-Yin Chen - Baltimore Orioles
1B/DH Chris Davis - Baltimore Orioles
C Matt Wieters - Baltimore Orioles
OF Jason Heyward - St. Louis Cardinals
RHP Jeff Samardzija - Chicago White Sox
OF Dextor Fowler - Chicago Cubs
RHP Zack Greinke - Los Angeles Dodgers (if he opts out)
OF Alex Gordon - Kansas City Royals (if he declines his player option worth $12.5 million)
RHP Hisashi Iwakuma - Seattle Mariners (They want him back anyway)
RHP John Lackey - St. Louis Cardinals
OF Justin Upton - San Diego Padres
RHP Jordan Zimmerman - Washington Nationals
LHP Brett Anderson - Los Angeles Dodgers
INF Ian Desmond - Washington Nationals
INF Daniel Murphy - New York Mets
OF Colby Rasmus - Houston Astros

The Yankees will not receive any draft compensation for their free agents this season, Stephen Drew, Chris Capuano and Chris Young, so any players signed that are attached to draft pick compensation will negatively affect the future of the farm system in my opinion. With that said I think the Yankees could target a David Price, a Mike Leake, a Ben Zobrist or a Johnny Cueto and avoid the draft pick compensation or the team may give up a pick for Justin Upton or Jordan Zimmerman. Other than that it looks like the Yankees will be picking somewhere around the #18-22 position next June for the 2016 MLB First Year Players Draft. There just isn't that's realistic enough to give up a draft pick for. Greinke is not coming to the Bronx, Zimmerman probably isn't either and Heyward is just a pipe dream that I will hold onto all offseason long.