Thursday, August 31, 2017

My Thoughts on the Yankees Arizona Fall League Participants for 2017

The New York Yankees are sending some heavy hitters to the Arizona Fall League this winter and as a self-professed prospect humper, trademark pending, I am so damn excited for it. The Yankees organization announced that they would be sending one of their top outfield prospects Estevan Florial to the Scottsdale Scorpions as well as Justus Sheffield, Dillon Tate, Thairo Estrada, Chris Gittens and Kyle Holder. All these rosters are preliminary and subject to change and the Yankees have a couple extra slots they could add some players to, usually pitchers are the late additions to the team.

Florial was the subject of trade rumors this summer as the Oakland Athletics were asking for the 19-year old left-handed hitting outfielder in the Sonny Gray deal so the fact that he is still with the team and getting a chance to play for the Scorpions and represent the Yankees excites me. Florial represented Team World in the All-Star Game Futures Game this season and is currently the Yankees 4th best prospect according to Florial hit well in A-Ball splitting time with the Charleston Riverdogs and the Tampa Yankees and with his inclusion in the AFL the lefty may be on the fast track to the Major Leagues. See Gleyber Torres and the rocket he road to Triple-A after his breakout AFL campaign in 2016 before scoffing at that statement.

Right behind Florial on the Yankees prospects rankings is Sheffield and the lefty starting pitcher will be right behind Florial as well as his teammate down in Scottsdale. The Yankees likely want to give Sheffield some additional innings since the southpaw is currently rehabbing an oblique injury with the Gulf Coast Yankees but the team also likely wants to see what Sheffield can do against some advanced talent. Sheffield pitched 90.1 innings in Double-A this season before the injury and is slated to be in Triple-A as soon as the beginning of next season with his current progression. Sheffield may be the top Yankees pitching prospect in terms of projectability and if he isn’t he is right behind Chance Adams and Freicer Perez.

The Yankees have some 40 man roster decisions to make this offseason before the Rule 5 Draft which likely explains why Estrada, Holder and Gittens are on the roster this winter. It isn’t uncommon for teams to get an extended look at prospects they deem to be “on the bubble” in terms of 40 man roster protection so expect Estrada, Holder and Gittens to get extended looks, especially Estrada. It seems unlikely that any team would take Gittens or Holder at this point, although Holder’s defense and versatility could fit well with a rebuilding team in the National League like the San Diego Padres, but in my opinion Estrada would be chosen in the first round if left unprotected.

So what are my thoughts on this cast of Yankees players heading down to Arizona? I love the roster. I am so looking forward to seeing Sheffield pitch, Florial play the outfield, Dillon Tate make his second consecutive appearance and continue his climb back to being a top prospect in Major League Baseball and I look forward to watching the trio of Yankees infielders making progress as well. I’m a prospect humper, what did you expect me to say about this roster? Who wouldn’t want to see Tate, Sheffield and Florial on a big stage? It’s a no-brainer. Enjoy your day Yankees family.

For your information here is how each team is made up in the Arizona Fall League:

AFL club
MLB clubs

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