Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Yankees Land Four Players On Baseball America Midseason Top 100 Prospect List

Yesterday, Baseball America released their Midseason Top 100 Prospects list. If you'd like to see the entire list, you can do so by clicking here. However, as if it's a surprise to anyone here, I just wanted to talk about the Yankees on the list.

"He never talks about the Mets."

The Yankees landed three guys on the preseason list, including Aaron Judge (76), Gary Sanchez (36), and Jorge Mateo (26). Not only did none of these guys drop in the rankings, but another Yankees prospect sneaked onto the list.

Despite getting injured in April, James Kaprielian was included in the list at number 99. The write-up on him says that he was looking like the steal of the 2015 Amateur Draft before the injury, which tells me that if it weren't for his bum elbow he'd be much higher. Kaprielian has started six games between the Gulf Coast Yankees, Stanton Island, and Tampa, throwing to an ERA of just 1.55, while carrying a strikeout rate of 11.2/9 innings pitched, and a walk rate of just 1.6/9. Unfortunately, updates on how James is doing are few and far between. The best I can tell is that he should avoid Tommy John surgery, as there is no damage to his ulnar collateral ligament, but it's the flexor tendon which most times simply needs time and rest to repair.

Aaron Judge actually made a nice jump in the rankings, moving from #76 to #42. Baseball America notes that they are still concerned about his huge strike zone, and his ability to control it. However, Aaron has shown improvement in that area by lowering his strikeout and raising his contact rates. Judge's overall slash line in AAA is not impressive (.245/.337/.429), but after a slow start to this year he's now slashing .261/.357/.469 to go along with a league-leading 16 home runs (tied with Chris Marrero of the Pawtucket Red Sox).

Gary Sanchez is ranked #36 in the midseason list, which is exactly where he landed in the preseason list. This is where my comment about none of the Yankees players dropping in the list is actually a little off. See, six players from the Preseason list graduated to the Majors, meaning Sanchez was jumped by six players who started the season behind him. But I'm not too worried about that, as Gary is still the top ranked catcher. He actually lost a few weeks earlier this season to a broken thumb, however he's returned and is hitting .286/.328/.489 at AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

"Who's ready for me in Major League Baseball? Because I'm coming."

Jorge Mateo is the final Yankee on Baseball America's Midseason Top 100 Prospect list, landing at #19. The write-up mentions his versatility, speed, and offensive upside. A couple days ago Jorge was suspended for two weeks for violating team rules. We don't know exactly what he did to get suspended, but I'm sure the Yankees weren't pleased with him voicing his displeasure at not getting promoted. But I don't see that as any sort of problem, and apparently neither does Baseball America. Mateo's batting line of .266/.323/.396 is not great, but his nine doubles, eight triples, and 26 stolen bases are sure to open eyes. And his power has even improved, as he has 5 home runs, which is much better than the two he hit in 41 more games last season.

While this year's Yankees have been pretty frustrating, I don't understand how anybody can't see how bright their future looks. Within the next two years the Yankees will shed four of their largest contracts, and clear up nearly $86 million a season in payroll. Combine that with a good foundation of young players like Didi Gregorious, Greg Bird, Starlin Castro, Rob Refsnyder, Dellin Betances, Luis Severino, and the aforementioned four prospects, and I think better things are coming.

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