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2017 New York Yankees Midseason Top 10 Prospects



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Yankees Midseason Top 10
1. Gleyber Torres, SS/3B
2. Clint Frazier, OF
3. Chance Adams, RHP
4. Estevan Florial, OF
5. Justus Sheffield, LHP
6. Dustin Fowler, OF
7. Clarke Schmidt, RHP
8. Miguel Andujar, 3B
9. Domingo Acevedo, RHP
10. Tyler Wade, UTL
For a good chunk of the first half of the season, the Yankees were performing well better than most expected. Buoyed by phenom Aaron Judge, who has performed at an MVP-caliber level, they reached a peak record of 38-23 on June 12. Then, they were hit by a combination of injuries and ineffectiveness. Starlin Castro, Didi Gregorius, Matt Holliday, Aaron Hicks, CC Sabathia and Aroldis Chapman each spent time on the shelf, and even some of their replacements—Tyler Austin and Dustin Fowler—quickly succumbed to injuries.

In the middle of all that, the bullpen lost its way. Dellin Betances and Tyler Clippard went from lockdown relievers to liabilities, and the last few innings of games became increasingly stressful.

With a team based around a young core of talent for the first time in years, the Yankees have moved aggressively to fix its problems. They traded away 2016 first-round pick Blake Rutherford in a deal that brought back Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson (and sent Clippard away) to bolster the bullpen.

With Kahnle, Robertson, Betances, Chad Green, Adam Warren and Chapman, the Yankees now have an extremely deep bullpen. The lineup should be fine as well, but the Yankees could use additional help for the starting rotation, especially with Michael Pineda sidelined.

With a farm system in its best shape since the early 1990s, the Yankees have the pieces to make further significant moves. Now it’s just a matter of deciding how aggressive they want to be. 1. Gleyber Torres, SS/3B Disabled List Age: 20

Were it not for season-ending Tommy John surgery for his left, non-throwing elbow, Torres would like have already made his big league debut. Acquired as part of the four-player package the Yankees received from the Cubs for closer Aroldis Chapman last summer, Torres nearly won the triple crown in the Arizona Fall League, then blitzed through Double-A in less than two months before arriving in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Though a natural shortstop, the Yankees were preparing Torres to see time at both second and third base when he reached the majors. Before the injury, he showed raw tools and the kind of ability to make quick adjustments more often seen in older, more veteran players. Despite the injury, the Yankees still expect Torres to be a future all-star once he returns next season.


2. Clint Frazier, OF New York Age: 21

A boatload of injuries, including a season-ender to Dustin Fowler, paved the way for Frazier’s first call-up. Like Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin last year, Frazier notched his first big league homer in his first game. At Triple-A, Frazier worked to better utilize his lower half and get himself in a better position to hit. He also added polish to his defensive game.


3. Chance Adams, RHP Triple-A Age: 22

Adams was a reliever at Dallas Baptist but has spent most of his pro career as a starter and stands as one of the Yankees’ biggest scouting and development successes. He’s lauded for his ability to hold both his delivery and his four-pitch arsenal together deep into games. He’s seen internally as a mid-rotation workhorse.


4. Estevan Florial, OF Low Class A Charleston Age: 19

An identification issue and a subsequent suspension cost Florial a seven-figure bonus, but the Yankees and international director Donny Rowland kept him on their radar. That persistence has paid off this year with Florial’s big season in Charleston that has seen him turn some of his top-end tools into production. He has all-star potential if he continues to develop, particularly with his hit tool. Florial’s development helped make it easier to trade away Rutherford, as Florial has louder tools than the 2016 first-round pick and is producing more at the same level at the same age.


5. Justus Sheffield, LHP Double-A Trenton Age: 21

Acquired with Clint Frazier in the mega-deal that sent Andrew Miller to Cleveland, Sheffield is currently on the shelf with a strained oblique but has had a solid season otherwise. The lefty owns a plus fastball and a slider and changeup that each flash plus as well. Now he’s mastering the fine points, like learning how to add and subtract velocity and continuing to develop his changeup to be more consistent.


6. Dustin Fowler, OF Disabled List Age: 21

Before suffering a season-ending injury, Fowler had shot up the Yankees’ ranks with a tantalizing blend of tools and skills. Fowler was seen as a true center fielder with contact skills, speed and power and the ability to make an impact on a game in many different ways. Now he has to recover from a serious patellar tendon injury that will sideline him until 2018.


7. Clarke Schmidt, RHP Disabled List Age: 21

Schmidt had Tommy John surgery before his season with South Carolina ended, but the Yankees were intrigued enough by his potential when healthy that they popped him with their first pick. When healthy, he couples a mid-90s fastball with an above-average slider and a changeup that flashes above-average as well. He should be ready sometime next season.


8. Miguel Andujar, 3B Triple-A Scranton Age: 23 Andujar got his first taste of the big leagues this year, and has shown tremendous growth on both sides of the ball. He’s learning how to stay behind the ball and drive it with the authority he can because of his quick bat and strong hands. He’s continuing to refine himself defensively at third base as well.


9. Domingo Acevedo, RHP Double-A Trenton Age: 23

Despite a massive frame, Acevedo has shown excellent control and command all season long. He deals a fastball that sits in the mid 90s and can reach even higher, and both his changeup and slider can flash above-average. He reached Triple-A this year, and is continuing to refine his arsenal to return there later this season.


10. Tyler Wade, UTL New York Age: 22

As has been the case since he was in low Class A, Wade has made his mark with a boatload of average tools, including hitting, fielding and throwing. He’s got below-average power but well above-average speed and an excellent batting eye. He’s defensively versatile and getting a chance to show what he can do with the Yankees dealing with a raft of injuries.


RISING

• RHP Zack Littell, acquired from the Mariners in the deal that sent outfielder Ben Gamel to Seattle, has dominated with a solid four-pitch mix at high Class A and Double-A.

• RHP Jorge Guzman has blazed through the short-season New York-Penn League with a fastball that has touched as high as 102 mph.

• INF Thairo Estrada can fly under the radar with all of the system’s higher-pedigree prospects, but the 21-year-old has done nothing but hit at Double-A.

• RHP Dillon Tate’s stuff has bounced back this summer, as he’s showing more of the form that made him the No. 4 pick in the 2015 draft.


FALLING

It’s been a great year for the Yankees farm system other than prospects sustaining injuries, as it’s hard to find a Top 30 prospect who has failed to perform.

• After two seasons spent mostly on the shelf, RHP James Kaprielian has reached a turning point of sorts in his career. Point blank, he needs to get healthy again and show the same high-octane arsenal he showed when he did get on the mound.

• SS Kyle Holder continues to impress with his glove, but scouts aren’t sold on the bat.


HURTING

• Top prospect SS Gleyber Torres was on the precipice of his first callup before he tore his left UCL in a collision at home plate and required Tommy John surgery.

• OF Dustin Fowler lasted two innings in his major league debut before a collision with an electrical box in right field in Chicago ruptured his right patellar tendon and required season-ending surgery.

• After missing nearly all of 2016 rehabbing a tender elbow, RHP James Kaprielian had Tommy John surgery before the season began.

• LHP Justus Sheffield is sidelined with a significant oblique strain.

• OF Tyler Austin missed most of spring training with a broken ankle, got back to the majors, then strained a hamstring and wound up on the DL again.

• RHP Albert Abreu is on the DL with a lat strain that is not considered particularly worrisome.

• RHP Clarke Schmidt had Tommy John surgery before his college season ended and should be ready to go sometime next season.


GRADUATING

• All OF Aaron Judge has done this year is lead the American League in home runs, on-base percentage, slugging and a number of other categories. He’s not only in the running for the rookie of the year, he’s the leading candidate for the AL’s MVP. Judge isn’t just graduating, he’s graduating with honors.

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• RHP Chad Green has been effective in the Yankees’ bullpen as has RHP Jonathan Holder.

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