Top 50 Yankees Prospects

Here are the Top 50 Yankees' prospects. PinstripesPlus.com gives a little insight on each selection in our rankings but will follow up more in-depth with individual scouting reports on each player throughout this offseason, starting in descending order.

IMPORTANT NOTES about the Top 50 - Any player with any big league service time, no matter how little, was excluded from our rankings.

ALSO, DO NOT reveal the rankings, either partially or in full, on other message boards, blogs, sites, etc. Remember this is copyrighted material and we'd hope everybody would respect the other paying subscribers by not divulging any of the information in the rankings...

...including just a listing of the names of the players in the rankings! Basically read the rankings, talk about them on our subscribers forum here, and don't share any of the information anywhere else please.


1. OF, Mason Williams - One of the safest bets to reach his ceiling as a potential big league All Star type centerfielder, there's little Williams can't do on a baseball diamond. He is a plus runner, possesses plus big league plate discipline, he's an accomplished bunter, he's a plus-plus defensive centerfielder in every sense of the term, and he's added potentially average big league power to his game after putting on 30 pounds last offseason. He still doesn't walk a ton and he is coming off of shoulder surgery, and he has his moments where he doesn't run everything out, but he is a true impact ball player on both sides of the ball.

2. C, Gary Sanchez - People have every right to get excited about his offensive potential, especially after hitting a combined .290 with 18 home runs between low-A Charleston and high-A Tampa this year. However, it has been his complete mental transformation behind the plate that is more exciting. He has gone from a sullen, lackadaisical young backstop and done a complete 180 degree turnaround to a high-energy, more natural leader behind the plate in one short year and he still sports the same plus arm, accurate throws, and better blocking and receiving skills. He's Jesus Montero offensively but with real defensive prowess defensively.

3. OF, Tyler Austin - Like Sanchez, Austin was a completely different player in 2012 than he was in 2011. It doesn't have anything to do with his mental development, however, but more about a position change. He still hits like a madman [combined .322, 17 home runs, and 23 stolen bases over four minor league levels this year], but he has gone from a completely overwhelmed defensive corner infielder to an average to potentially above average defensive right fielder. He's no longer an all-offense, no defense player and that is huge for his future and for the Yankees as well. Don't be surprised if he's the Yankee starting right fielder at some point in 2014.

4. LHP, Manny Banuelos - Critics want to get down on Banuelos after a disastrous 2012 season that ultimately ended in Tommy John surgery. That's fair to a point but he is still just 21 years old and he seemed to have figured out how to control his plus fastball right before succumbing to his elbow injury. Even if he takes the better part of a full year to come back, he'll still be 23 years old with Triple-A experience, a stronger elbow, and have three plus pitches with pitch-ability. Lefties like that don't grow on trees.

5. OF, Slade Heathcott - There isn't a more talented individual in the Yankee farm system than Heathcott and that's including the aforementioned players. With above average power potential, plus-plus speed, plus defensive skills, and natural hitting ability that is only getting better after battling his way through two shoulder surgeries, he is about the closest thing to a Mike Trout type talent [we're not saying he'll have those kinds of big league seasons] as there is the Yankee organization. He has immense upside but he still needs some time to develop the mental part of his game to reach his vast ceiling.

6. RHP, Rafael DePaula - Rarely do we put newly signed prospects or ones from the Dominican Summer League in the Top 50 rankings at all, but DePaula, as was the case with Jesus Montero before he came States-side, is a special case. Able to sit in the mid-90s with his fastball with a plus breaking ball, he is simply electric on the mound. He could use better fastball command going forward and the changeup has a ton of room to get better, but he has "ace" type potential and that's rare. He could really start to move up the minor league ladder quickly.

7. RHP, Jose Campos - Kind of the forgotten man after missing most of the 2012 season with a nagging elbow injury that did not require Tommy John surgery, getting Campos from the Mariners in the Jesus Montero trade was a bit of a coup. When healthy he has a plus fastball-plus curveball mix that he throws with command and an effortless motion. While he sits mostly in the 91-94 mph range, he can hit 97 mph and there's some more projection left in the tank too. Like DePaula he could also use a better changeup from a consistency standpoint but that's normal for a 20-year old pitcher.

8. RHP, Bryan Mitchell - Critics point to Mitchell's somewhat pedestrian numbers in Charleston this year [9-11, 4.58 ERA] and come away less than impressed, but the fact is he might have the best stuff of any pitcher in the Yankee organization, and that's including the big league club as well. He sits mostly in the 94-96 mph range with good movement on his fastball, his curveball is a true big league strikeout pitch, and his changeup, while big league average most days, shows plus potential as well. For him it's all mental. In true Nuke LaLoosh fashion, he's at his absolute best when he doesn't over-think things on the mound and just throws with an effortless motion. He has real "ace" potential too.

9. RHP, Ty Hensley - A newcomer to the group, this year's first round pick is right up there with the likes of DePaula, Campos, and Mitchell when it comes from pure stuff from the right side. He sits mostly in the 92-95 mph range [BTW he hit 90 mph when he was barely in 9th grade], he too has a Mitchell-like knockout curveball, and his changeup is pretty advanced for a kid just coming out of high school. He gets dinged a little rankings-wise in comparison to others because of the lack of pro experience, but his ceiling is just as high.

10. OF, Ramon Flores - Arguably the most underrated Yankee prospect, the Venezuelan native has the closest thing to a Robinson Cano-like swing down in the farm system right now. He hit a combined .303 in 2012, mostly with the high-A Tampa Yankees, and he has always shown good plate discipline and a willingness to draw walks at a very young age. He gets knocked for his lack of power -- he hit just seven home runs this year -- but many scouts believe the power will come eventually [Cano had six home runs at similar age and level]. An average to above average defensive left fielder who also stole 24 bases this year, while Flores doesn't have a plus tool outside of hitting, he is very good at everything.

11. LHP, Nik Turley - A true progression guy, unlike the other names already mentioned, Turley is the byproduct of hard work and patience. A solid prospect coming up through the ranks, his stuff was more big league average than anything but many scouts believed it could blossom into the above average classification and that's what happened in 2012. He boosted his average velocity from 88-90 to more of the 91-92 mph range in 2012, saw a few ticks harder from his curveball, and both of his secondary pitches went from flashing potential to showing it consistently. Blessed with a brilliant pickoff move too, he's become quite the prospect over the years.

12. RHP, Mark Montgomery - Outside of Mason Wiliams there might not be another safer bet to reach his ceiling than Montgomery. His numbers in his first full season were ridiculous -- 35 hits allowed in 64 innings with 99 strikeouts -- but his stuff, which compares favorably to David Robertson [92-94 mph fastball with late life and a plus breaking ball, a slider in Montgomery's case], is equally as impressive. He's proving the same thing out in the Arizona Fall League and he looks like he could step into the big league bullpen sometime soon.

13. 2B, Angelo Gumbs - To be fair, the scouting community does have mixed feelings on Gumbs' long-term future. Some don't like the hitch in his swing and some question his defensive abilities long-term. However, the fact is he is one of the best athletes in the farm system and has some of quickest hands in all of minor league baseball. He had 24 extra-base hits and 26 stolen bases in just 67 games for Charleston before a torn tricep ended his season prematurely, and he had shown vast improvement defensively. He has plus range, a plus arm for second base, and great offensive tools. He also has the innate burning desire to improve his game that brings it all together. It may take some time for his game to be ironed out but the upside is enormous.

14. 2B, Corban Joseph - Joseph is on the other end of the spectrum. He doesn't have the great tools like Gumbs possesses, but he's one of the safer bets to reach his ceiling and it's because of his natural hitting ability. He has superb big league plate discipline, great barrel control through the zone, and he hit a career-high 15 home runs in 2012, 13 of which came at the Triple-A level. He's more adequate than anything defensively, but he can flat-out hit and he's arguably the most big league ready position prospect down on the farm.

15. 2B, David Adams - The former University of Virginia standout is more like Joseph than Gumbs, showing an advanced hit tool more than anything else, but like Joseph it's his advanced big league plate discipline that makes him such a strong bet to be a viable productive big league hitter someday. It took him the better part of two years to come back from a gruesome broken ankle injury, but he did it and clubbed a career-high eight home runs in Double-A Trenton this year. While he does lack some defensive range, he is one of the best at the double-play pivots around and that's a nice feather in his cap to go along with his .300 hitting potential.

16. 1B, Greg Bird - It took most of the year in what was his debut season but his impact hitting potential did finally show up at season's end. He battled a nagging back injury while learning the ropes of playing catcher, but once the Yankees scrapped that and moved him to first base he started to tap his immense offensive potential. A gifted hitter like Adams and Joseph, one who shows advanced plate discipline, he has plus long-term power potential too. It's been a long time since the Yankees have had a young first baseman with his natural offensive talent.

17. C, J.R. Murphy - 'Murph' falls into the Ramon Flores category as truly underrated. Seemingly every long-term catching discussion involves Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez, and for good reason, but folks should not be sleeping on Murphy as a viable two-way player for the Yankees someday. Like Flores, Murphy has advanced big league plate discipline, a short but powerful stroke, and surprising power that has yet to materialize in minor league game situations. Defensively he has become a very, very good catcher. A natural leader with high makeup, an above average arm, and good all-around blocking and receiving skills, he's going to be a big leaguer someday. Bank on it!

18. 3B, Dante Bichette Jr. - Last year's first round pick had a year of adjustments in his first taste of the long-season leagues. Some will look at his less than stellar numbers this year [.248, three home runs] as the reason for his fall in the rankings when in actuality it's more about the better depth of high impact players rising through the ranks. He still has huge upside and he is proving to be a very good defensive player too, but he just needs to prove that he has found a swing load that works for him going forward before becoming a Top Ten prospect again.

19. OF, Ravel Santana - Like Bichette, 2012 was not a good year statistically for Santana [.216, three home runs], although Santana's gruesome broken ankle injury at the end of 2011 had something to do with it. Some critics are ready to jump ship entirely with Santana and that would be a mistake. It took David Adams the better part of two seasons to re-discover his game after a similar injury and that could be the case with Santana, who, like Bichette, still has huge upside. Patience is needed here but he still has amazing tools.

20. RHP, Jose Ramirez - The Dominican right-hander is the poster child for being rewarded with patience. Always boasting a plus fastball-plus changeup combination with command, it was his lack of a true plus breaking pitch that always kept him a bit down and he rectified that in a big way in 2012, lowering his ERA by more than two full runs from the previous season. We still like him better long-term as a back-end reliever type mentally, but he does offer some huge upside as well in a starting role now that he has three plus pitches.

21. LHP, Matt Tracy - We tabbed last year's 24th round pick as a 'sleeper' prospect and all he did in his first taste of the long-season leagues was skip two minor league levels, post a 3.20 ERA, and get all the way to Triple-A, even if it was just for one game. He has a plus fastball for a lefty, sitting 91-94 mph mostly, and both his curveball and changeup are big league average. He still has room to improve his secondary pitches but his overall pitch-ability, command, and efficiency on the mound give him the look a solid innings eater someday. The upside isn't quite as big here as it is with others but the floor is bigger and safer.

22. SS, Cito Culver - Not since the days of Brett Gardner has there been a more polarizing Yankee prospect than Culver. The switch-hitter batted just .215 in his first taste of the long-season leagues but his 71 walks not only led the Charleston squad this year, it was seventh in the 14-team South Atlantic League and he was one of the youngest players in the league. Throw in his outstanding defensive abilities, a position he will be able to man at the big league level someday, he's a much better prospect than his critics give him credit for. It will take some time for his bat to develop as it always tends to do with young switch-hitters, but his patience and plate discipline suggest it should come around at some point.

23. Brett Marshall - Here's a tell-tale sign of just how deep the Yankee farm system has gotten -- a pitcher who boasts an above average sinker, a plus changeup, and great mental makeup, one who puts up numbers at Double-A [13-7, 3.52 ERA, less hits than innings pitched] and shows great consistency -- finds residence in the middle of the organizational Top 50. His biggest bugaboo has been his slowly developing slider but he seemed to turn a corner with it in the second half with as many strikeouts as innings pitched. Like Tracy, while the upside isn't in the front-half of a big league rotation, he could be a real innings eater in the middle of one.

24. RHP, Branden Pinder - Montgomery gets all of the love among Yankee relief pitching prospects and that allows somebody like Pinder with his mid-to-high-90s fastball and a slider that can reach as high as 89 mph to fly under the radar. He also throws a power changeup sparingly that can fool hitters because it is the mirror image of his fastball. Stuff-wise he's superior to Montgomery. What he lacks though is the overall confidence and conviction with his pitches, and that sometimes gets him to be a little fine with his command when he's better served gripping and ripping. He's not a household name among the prospects but he could have a real big impact on the big league bullpen someday.

25. RHP, Nick Goody - This year's sixth round pick often gets compared to Montgomery because of the insane numbers he posted in his debut season -- 1.13 ERA, 52 strikeouts in 32 innings pitched over three minor league levels -- but they do it differently. Goody's slider is quite good but it's not on Montgomery's effectiveness level, but he makes up for it with better fastball command and a heater that, while it will remain mostly in the 91-94 mph range, it will routinely pop at 96-97 mph more frequently than Montgomery. Bottom line; he too is going to soar through the minor leagues and be a quality back-end big league reliever.

26. RHP, Corey Black - Drafted in the fourth round this year, he moved up three different minor league levels as a starting pitcher, posting a combined 3.08 ERA and nearly striking out a batter per inning pitched. At 5-foot-11 though and able to hit 100 mph, he projects better as a long-term reliever than starter. He has a big league changeup at his disposal too, but while he has both a curveball and slider, both need some work to become better strikeout pitches at the professional level. He could move fast if he's converted to the bullpen but the temptation might be to stick with him in the starting role to allow him time to hone his breaking balls.

27. LHP, Evan Rutckyj - The Canadian native grew up playing hockey and he brings the same intensity with him to his development as a pitcher. He has gotten a long stronger over the past couple of seasons and now sits in the 91-94 mph range with his fastball. His slider has become a quality big league pitch and his changeup has made progress but still needs work. More than anything he just needs to harness his fastball command better and not walk as many batters. Once that comes around he could see his current projection as a middle of the rotation type starter begin to slide a bit higher like Nik Turley has done.

28. RHP, Giovanny Gallegos - The Mexican native was arguably the best kept secret at the entire Gulf Coast League level in 2012. Signed in 2010, he didn't make his debut until this season because of a knee injury but when he finally debuted he showcased a 92-93 mph fastball with an effortless delivery and an above average big league league curveball. It's his command and pitch-ability that really stands out, however, and there's potentially more room to fill out as he gets older. He resembles a young Ivan Nova at similar stages in their careers.

29. RHP, Gabe Encinas - Throw out his numbers in Staten Island this year [3-7, 4.97 ERA] because this was a case of a young man learning to better control a significant uptick in his stuff for the first time. Once sitting in the 90-93 mph range, Encinas began sitting mostly in the 93-95 mph range and also saw a couple of ticks extra on his curveball. That added power, while it's a welcomed addition, takes time to control and he started doing that at Instructs. It may take some more time in the immediate future but his long-term ceiling has jumped from a middle to back-end staring pitcher to one who could pitch atop a rotation should he begin throwing his stuff with command.

30. C, Peter O'Brien - Plus big league power and plus arm strength are two huge positives with the former University of Miami standout. He clubbed ten home runs in Staten Island this year, seven of which came in the last 20 games after getting his feet wet. Some question his ability to remain behind the plate long-term and for good reason; he's a bigger catcher who isn't extremely agile and he's already 22 years old. And the overall plate discipline needs work too to become a more refined hitter, but the ceiling is huge, even if he has to move to left field down the road. He's a project in the short-term but the long-term dividends could be very big.

31. LHP, Daniel Camarena - A smallish left-handed starter, Camarena has plus command of three big league pitches at a very young age. Both the curveball and changeup are above average offerings, and he knows how to use them to keep hitters guessing. His fastball, however, sits more in the 88-90 mph range and with his smaller frame there's not a whole lot of projection left that leads many to believe he could throw harder. Should he do that though and get his fastball up to the 90-92 mph range like he did in Instructs a year ago, he could be a quick mover up the rankings because the pitch-ability is outstanding.

32. OF, Jake Cave - Last year's sixth round pick has been plagued by a broken knee cap that he suffered in his very first plate appearance a year ago and he's still seeking his first professional at-bat. When he was healthier in Spring Training though, he had every look of an impact player on both sides of the ball. He could be the 2013 version of Greg Bird as a player who comes back from a nagging injury to initially break out as a truly productive hitter. He has all of the tools, he just needs to get healthy again.

33. LHP, Rony Bautista - The 6-foot-7 Dominican native had always been known for his power fastball, hitting as high as 97 mph in the Dominican Summer League a year ago, and for his wild command and inconsistent delivery. He was anything but that in his first taste of the United States this year, sitting mostly in the 88-91 mph range, showing good command of his fastball, and a quality breaking ball. He smoothed out his mechanics, rid himself of his grip and rip it mentality, and became a pitcher. Once the mechanics become second nature to him his velocity should creep back up into the plus range again.

34. 3B, Miguel Andujar - The 17-year old Dominican native bypassed the Dominican Summer League entirely and did an admirable job in the Gulf Coast League, hitting .232 with ten extra-base hits. The numbers are a little misleading though -- he wasn't nearly as over-matched as they suggest. Last year's top International signing has a knack for barreling the baseball at a young age, shows good plate discipline, and he made some remarkable defensive plays in the field. He's pretty advanced already and he has a ton of room to fill out physically.

35. SS, Austin Aune - This year's second round pick, like Andujar, has a very high offensive ceiling. He hit .273 with 14 extra-base hits in his debut season and the former high school football standout, who had a commitment to play quarterback at TCU this season, has just started playing baseball full-time for the first time ever. He has a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball, especially defensively, and while it remains to be seen if he can stick at shortstop long-term, few scouts question his potential to be an offensive standout someday.

36. RHP, Jordan Cote - Statistically few pitchers had better seasons than Cote had in 2012, posting a 0.98 ERA for the Gulf Coast League Yankees with a better than six to one strikeout to walk ratio. He shows advanced strike-throwing ability and his offspeed pitches, while they remain raw, have gotten better. As good as the numbers were, however, he's still more in the 88-91 mph range and his command was a bit too high in the strike zone that he got away with. There's still plenty of upside here but there's also a lot of work to do.

37. RHP, Tommy Kahnle - Few pitchers outside of Turley had a better year development-wise than this power reliever. Always boasting a plus arm, one which could hit 98 mph with regularity, command of his fastball and a slow developing slider were always his downfalls. He threw a ton more quality strikes in 2012 though and his slider became a big league average pitch, and he has always had the plus big league changeup. Another year of showing that type of improved command and he'll shoot up the rankings in a hurry because the arm is special.

38. RHP, Angel Rincon - He was expected to be on the short list of top pitchers coming out of the Dominican Summer League program last year and he was just that in his U.S. debut season this year, posting a 1.59 ERA and allowing just eleven hits in nearly 23 innings pitched. He has an above average to plus big league fastball and a slider that can flash plus potential on any given day, and he can throw both of them for strikes. His changeup though remains a work in progress and the slider needs to be more consistent, but the upside is pretty huge.

39. RHP, Chase Whitley - The 2010 15th round pick does not have the same huge upsides as many of the other names here, but few offer the safeness in projection either. He has a solid three-pitch big league arsenal that includes a plus changeup, easily his best pitch. His slider has become big league average and his fastball can range from 90-94 mph. Projecting best as a middle reliever type, he looks like he could help the big league club soon after posting a solid 3.25 ERA in Triple-A this year.

40. LHP, Chaz Hebert - Last year's 27th round pick is starting to become a newer version of Nik Turley, not only because he throws left-handed but because the potential could take some time to develop and the pitch-ability is there at a young age. He still sits primarily in the 88-91 mph range but both his curveball and changeup made huge strides in his debut season this year. A little skinny right now, although he has gotten stronger over the past year, he still has room to fill out and there's a chance the velocity could creep up even more.

41. 2B, Anderson Feliz - To call him snake-bit in 2012 would be an understatement. He battled an array of injuries, including a right hamstring pull, a broken finger on his throwing hand, and elbow inflammation, and that led to just 140 at-bats at two A-ball levels this year. While it would be easy to write him of, it just would not be prudent given his many great tools. He has speed, plate discipline, plus defensive potential, average big league power, etc. Expect a big bounce-back season in 2013 because the talent is still among the best.

42. RHP, Zach Nuding - Going 9-3 with a 3.51 ERA over two minor league levels, most of which came in high-A Tampa, Nuding had a solid season overall. He has a bit more talent than the numbers suggest, however, especially considering he can crank it up to 98 mph with his fastball. His changeup is average and his slider is becoming average, but one of them, preferably the slider, needs to tick into the above average category soon for him to tap his potential and have success at the higher levels. He profiles better as a long-term reliever but has some starting potential too.

43. OF, Zoilo Almonte - Just looking at the main numbers -- .277 average, 21 home runs, and 15 stolen bases, all at the Double-A level -- one would think Almonte should rank higher. But his plate discipline and patience still remain a problem and the switch-hitter still has a tough time against left-handed pitchers. He is starting to look more like a left-handed side of a platoon situation rather than an everyday regular, but the good news is he is becoming more consistent as he gets older.

44. OF, Abraham Almonte - On pure talent and overall makeup alone Abe would rank much higher here but he simply can't remain healthy now over the past few seasons. It wasn't his shoulder this year, an injury that plagued him for the better part of two years, but his hamstrings gave him fits all year and he keeps losing development time. Everything else is in place for him to be an impact player; plus plate discipline, plus speed, good power for a leadoff type, etc. He just needs to stay healthy for an entire year, a feat he's accomplished just once over the past five years.

45. SS, Claudio Custodio - Custodio is one of the few Latin American players in Staten Island this year who struggled initially but then made the long-term adjustment. He hit just .107 in his first eight games but then hit .272 the rest of the way after getting glasses to help him see better at night. He's a plus defender at shortstop, boasts plus speed, and he has more power than his wiry 5-foot-11, 175 pound frame suggests. His plate discipline needs work as he can chase the outside pitch a little too often, but his plus bat speed and ability to barrel the ball could help overcome that as he moves up the minor league ladder and faces pitchers who are around the zone more.

46. RHP, Luis Niebla - An organizational favorite among team officials, the Mexican native went 5-2 with a 4.29 ERA for the Gulf Coast League Yankees in his first taste of the United States and has three big league pitches at his disposal. A little Hector Noesi-like in that regard, like Noesi, Niebla's future success is going to be directly affected by his ability to pitch lower in the strike zone. He can be very hittable when he's up in the zone but the pitch-ability is there at a young age.

47. LHP, Caleb Frare - Frare could be the newer version of Rutckyj as a left-hander who shows good arm strength at an early age and who may need some time to harness his secondary pitches. His curveball and changeup made some progress in his debut season, but the bigger change was in his mindset where he no longer worried about velocity and just wanted to throw quality strikes. Should he continue to do that and one of his secondary pitches become an above average offering, he could really begin to move up the rankings.

48. LHP, Francisco Rondon - The Dominican left-handed reliever seemingly has been on our 'sleeper' lists forever, thanks in large part to a plus fastball-plus slider combination, but could never quite crack the Top 50 because his fastball command was too inconsistent. While it could still be better, the fact is he has gone from plain wild to wildly effective and now he has also developed his changeup into such a good pitch that he no longer merely profiles as a potential left-handed specialist [righties batted .236, lefties batted .235]. It might not be long before he's in the big league bullpen but he could still benefit from limiting the walks more.

49. OF, Ben Gamel - Internally the Yankees are seemingly higher on Gamel than the rest of the scouting community, but there are a lot of positives; he can play all three outfield positions extremely well, he is a smart base runner with average to above average speed, and he can flat-out hit. He batted .306 this season in Charleston and was even better when the pressure mounted. He shows good power in batting practice but it hasn't translated just yet into game situations. Should his power become an average tool though, he could move up the rankings because that is really the only thing lacking in his game.

50. 2B, Rob Refsnyder - A true sign of the incredible depth the Yankees have built over the years is having the 2012 College World Series MVP book-ending the Top 50 rankings. His bat is so advanced that he skipped the short-season leagues entirely and even though he hit just .241 with Charleston, few scouts question his ability to hit because of his big league plate discipline. He's a high-energy, highly intelligent player with average speed and power, and should the transition from the outfield to second base become a successful one, the Yankees could have a dynamic two-way player on their hands who offers a solid and safe projection.

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The Cardinal Nation Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nIMPORTANT NOTES about the Top 50 - Any player with any big league service time, no matter how little, was excluded from our rankings.
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\r\nALSO, DO NOT reveal the rankings, either partially or in full, on other message boards, blogs, sites, etc. Remember this is copyrighted material and we'd hope everybody would respect the other paying subscribers by not divulging any of the information in the rankings...
\r\n
\r\n...including just a listing of the names of the players in the rankings! Basically read the rankings, talk about them on our subscribers forum here, and don't share any of the information anywhere else please.

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\r\n1. OF, Mason Williams - One of the safest bets to reach his ceiling as a potential big league All Star type centerfielder, there's little Williams can't do on a baseball diamond. He is a plus runner, possesses plus big league plate discipline, he's an accomplished bunter, he's a plus-plus defensive centerfielder in every sense of the term, and he's added potentially average big league power to his game after putting on 30 pounds last offseason. He still doesn't walk a ton and he is coming off of shoulder surgery, and he has his moments where he doesn't run everything out, but he is a true impact ball player on both sides of the ball.
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\r\n2. C, Gary Sanchez - People have every right to get excited about his offensive potential, especially after hitting a combined .290 with 18 home runs between low-A Charleston and high-A Tampa this year. However, it has been his complete mental transformation behind the plate that is more exciting. He has gone from a sullen, lackadaisical young backstop and done a complete 180 degree turnaround to a high-energy, more natural leader behind the plate in one short year and he still sports the same plus arm, accurate throws, and better blocking and receiving skills. He's Jesus Montero offensively but with real defensive prowess defensively.
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\r\n3. OF, Tyler Austin - Like Sanchez, Austin was a completely different player in 2012 than he was in 2011. It doesn't have anything to do with his mental development, however, but more about a position change. He still hits like a madman [combined .322, 17 home runs, and 23 stolen bases over four minor league levels this year], but he has gone from a completely overwhelmed defensive corner infielder to an average to potentially above average defensive right fielder. He's no longer an all-offense, no defense player and that is huge for his future and for the Yankees as well. Don't be surprised if he's the Yankee starting right fielder at some point in 2014.
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\r\n4. LHP, Manny Banuelos - Critics want to get down on Banuelos after a disastrous 2012 season that ultimately ended in Tommy John surgery. That's fair to a point but he is still just 21 years old and he seemed to have figured out how to control his plus fastball right before succumbing to his elbow injury. Even if he takes the better part of a full year to come back, he'll still be 23 years old with Triple-A experience, a stronger elbow, and have three plus pitches with pitch-ability. Lefties like that don't grow on trees.
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\r\n5. OF, Slade Heathcott - There isn't a more talented individual in the Yankee farm system than Heathcott and that's including the aforementioned players. With above average power potential, plus-plus speed, plus defensive skills, and natural hitting ability that is only getting better after battling his way through two shoulder surgeries, he is about the closest thing to a Mike Trout type talent [we're not saying he'll have those kinds of big league seasons] as there is the Yankee organization. He has immense upside but he still needs some time to develop the mental part of his game to reach his vast ceiling.
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\r\n6. RHP, Rafael DePaula - Rarely do we put newly signed prospects or ones from the Dominican Summer League in the Top 50 rankings at all, but DePaula, as was the case with Jesus Montero before he came States-side, is a special case. Able to sit in the mid-90s with his fastball with a plus breaking ball, he is simply electric on the mound. He could use better fastball command going forward and the changeup has a ton of room to get better, but he has \"ace\" type potential and that's rare. He could really start to move up the minor league ladder quickly.
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\r\n7. RHP, Jose Campos - Kind of the forgotten man after missing most of the 2012 season with a nagging elbow injury that did not require Tommy John surgery, getting Campos from the Mariners in the Jesus Montero trade was a bit of a coup. When healthy he has a plus fastball-plus curveball mix that he throws with command and an effortless motion. While he sits mostly in the 91-94 mph range, he can hit 97 mph and there's some more projection left in the tank too. Like DePaula he could also use a better changeup from a consistency standpoint but that's normal for a 20-year old pitcher.
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\r\n8. RHP, Bryan Mitchell - Critics point to Mitchell's somewhat pedestrian numbers in Charleston this year [9-11, 4.58 ERA] and come away less than impressed, but the fact is he might have the best stuff of any pitcher in the Yankee organization, and that's including the big league club as well. He sits mostly in the 94-96 mph range with good movement on his fastball, his curveball is a true big league strikeout pitch, and his changeup, while big league average most days, shows plus potential as well. For him it's all mental. In true Nuke LaLoosh fashion, he's at his absolute best when he doesn't over-think things on the mound and just throws with an effortless motion. He has real \"ace\" potential too.
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\r\n9. RHP, Ty Hensley - A newcomer to the group, this year's first round pick is right up there with the likes of DePaula, Campos, and Mitchell when it comes from pure stuff from the right side. He sits mostly in the 92-95 mph range [BTW he hit 90 mph when he was barely in 9th grade], he too has a Mitchell-like knockout curveball, and his changeup is pretty advanced for a kid just coming out of high school. He gets dinged a little rankings-wise in comparison to others because of the lack of pro experience, but his ceiling is just as high.
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\r\n10. OF, Ramon Flores - Arguably the most underrated Yankee prospect, the Venezuelan native has the closest thing to a Robinson Cano-like swing down in the farm system right now. He hit a combined .303 in 2012, mostly with the high-A Tampa Yankees, and he has always shown good plate discipline and a willingness to draw walks at a very young age. He gets knocked for his lack of power -- he hit just seven home runs this year -- but many scouts believe the power will come eventually [Cano had six home runs at similar age and level]. An average to above average defensive left fielder who also stole 24 bases this year, while Flores doesn't have a plus tool outside of hitting, he is very good at everything.
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\r\n11. LHP, Nik Turley - A true progression guy, unlike the other names already mentioned, Turley is the byproduct of hard work and patience. A solid prospect coming up through the ranks, his stuff was more big league average than anything but many scouts believed it could blossom into the above average classification and that's what happened in 2012. He boosted his average velocity from 88-90 to more of the 91-92 mph range in 2012, saw a few ticks harder from his curveball, and both of his secondary pitches went from flashing potential to showing it consistently. Blessed with a brilliant pickoff move too, he's become quite the prospect over the years.
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\r\n12. RHP, Mark Montgomery - Outside of Mason Wiliams there might not be another safer bet to reach his ceiling than Montgomery. His numbers in his first full season were ridiculous -- 35 hits allowed in 64 innings with 99 strikeouts -- but his stuff, which compares favorably to David Robertson [92-94 mph fastball with late life and a plus breaking ball, a slider in Montgomery's case], is equally as impressive. He's proving the same thing out in the Arizona Fall League and he looks like he could step into the big league bullpen sometime soon.
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\r\n13. 2B, Angelo Gumbs - To be fair, the scouting community does have mixed feelings on Gumbs' long-term future. Some don't like the hitch in his swing and some question his defensive abilities long-term. However, the fact is he is one of the best athletes in the farm system and has some of quickest hands in all of minor league baseball. He had 24 extra-base hits and 26 stolen bases in just 67 games for Charleston before a torn tricep ended his season prematurely, and he had shown vast improvement defensively. He has plus range, a plus arm for second base, and great offensive tools. He also has the innate burning desire to improve his game that brings it all together. It may take some time for his game to be ironed out but the upside is enormous.
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\r\n14. 2B, Corban Joseph - Joseph is on the other end of the spectrum. He doesn't have the great tools like Gumbs possesses, but he's one of the safer bets to reach his ceiling and it's because of his natural hitting ability. He has superb big league plate discipline, great barrel control through the zone, and he hit a career-high 15 home runs in 2012, 13 of which came at the Triple-A level. He's more adequate than anything defensively, but he can flat-out hit and he's arguably the most big league ready position prospect down on the farm.
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\r\n15. 2B, David Adams - The former University of Virginia standout is more like Joseph than Gumbs, showing an advanced hit tool more than anything else, but like Joseph it's his advanced big league plate discipline that makes him such a strong bet to be a viable productive big league hitter someday. It took him the better part of two years to come back from a gruesome broken ankle injury, but he did it and clubbed a career-high eight home runs in Double-A Trenton this year. While he does lack some defensive range, he is one of the best at the double-play pivots around and that's a nice feather in his cap to go along with his .300 hitting potential.
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\r\n16. 1B, Greg Bird - It took most of the year in what was his debut season but his impact hitting potential did finally show up at season's end. He battled a nagging back injury while learning the ropes of playing catcher, but once the Yankees scrapped that and moved him to first base he started to tap his immense offensive potential. A gifted hitter like Adams and Joseph, one who shows advanced plate discipline, he has plus long-term power potential too. It's been a long time since the Yankees have had a young first baseman with his natural offensive talent.
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\r\n17. C, J.R. Murphy - 'Murph' falls into the Ramon Flores category as truly underrated. Seemingly every long-term catching discussion involves Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez, and for good reason, but folks should not be sleeping on Murphy as a viable two-way player for the Yankees someday. Like Flores, Murphy has advanced big league plate discipline, a short but powerful stroke, and surprising power that has yet to materialize in minor league game situations. Defensively he has become a very, very good catcher. A natural leader with high makeup, an above average arm, and good all-around blocking and receiving skills, he's going to be a big leaguer someday. Bank on it!
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\r\n18. 3B, Dante Bichette Jr. - Last year's first round pick had a year of adjustments in his first taste of the long-season leagues. Some will look at his less than stellar numbers this year [.248, three home runs] as the reason for his fall in the rankings when in actuality it's more about the better depth of high impact players rising through the ranks. He still has huge upside and he is proving to be a very good defensive player too, but he just needs to prove that he has found a swing load that works for him going forward before becoming a Top Ten prospect again.
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\r\n19. OF, Ravel Santana - Like Bichette, 2012 was not a good year statistically for Santana [.216, three home runs], although Santana's gruesome broken ankle injury at the end of 2011 had something to do with it. Some critics are ready to jump ship entirely with Santana and that would be a mistake. It took David Adams the better part of two seasons to re-discover his game after a similar injury and that could be the case with Santana, who, like Bichette, still has huge upside. Patience is needed here but he still has amazing tools.
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\r\n20. RHP, Jose Ramirez - The Dominican right-hander is the poster child for being rewarded with patience. Always boasting a plus fastball-plus changeup combination with command, it was his lack of a true plus breaking pitch that always kept him a bit down and he rectified that in a big way in 2012, lowering his ERA by more than two full runs from the previous season. We still like him better long-term as a back-end reliever type mentally, but he does offer some huge upside as well in a starting role now that he has three plus pitches.
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\r\n21. LHP, Matt Tracy - We tabbed last year's 24th round pick as a 'sleeper' prospect and all he did in his first taste of the long-season leagues was skip two minor league levels, post a 3.20 ERA, and get all the way to Triple-A, even if it was just for one game. He has a plus fastball for a lefty, sitting 91-94 mph mostly, and both his curveball and changeup are big league average. He still has room to improve his secondary pitches but his overall pitch-ability, command, and efficiency on the mound give him the look a solid innings eater someday. The upside isn't quite as big here as it is with others but the floor is bigger and safer.
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\r\n22. SS, Cito Culver - Not since the days of Brett Gardner has there been a more polarizing Yankee prospect than Culver. The switch-hitter batted just .215 in his first taste of the long-season leagues but his 71 walks not only led the Charleston squad this year, it was seventh in the 14-team South Atlantic League and he was one of the youngest players in the league. Throw in his outstanding defensive abilities, a position he will be able to man at the big league level someday, he's a much better prospect than his critics give him credit for. It will take some time for his bat to develop as it always tends to do with young switch-hitters, but his patience and plate discipline suggest it should come around at some point.
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\r\n23. Brett Marshall - Here's a tell-tale sign of just how deep the Yankee farm system has gotten -- a pitcher who boasts an above average sinker, a plus changeup, and great mental makeup, one who puts up numbers at Double-A [13-7, 3.52 ERA, less hits than innings pitched] and shows great consistency -- finds residence in the middle of the organizational Top 50. His biggest bugaboo has been his slowly developing slider but he seemed to turn a corner with it in the second half with as many strikeouts as innings pitched. Like Tracy, while the upside isn't in the front-half of a big league rotation, he could be a real innings eater in the middle of one.
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\r\n24. RHP, Branden Pinder - Montgomery gets all of the love among Yankee relief pitching prospects and that allows somebody like Pinder with his mid-to-high-90s fastball and a slider that can reach as high as 89 mph to fly under the radar. He also throws a power changeup sparingly that can fool hitters because it is the mirror image of his fastball. Stuff-wise he's superior to Montgomery. What he lacks though is the overall confidence and conviction with his pitches, and that sometimes gets him to be a little fine with his command when he's better served gripping and ripping. He's not a household name among the prospects but he could have a real big impact on the big league bullpen someday.
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\r\n25. RHP, Nick Goody - This year's sixth round pick often gets compared to Montgomery because of the insane numbers he posted in his debut season -- 1.13 ERA, 52 strikeouts in 32 innings pitched over three minor league levels -- but they do it differently. Goody's slider is quite good but it's not on Montgomery's effectiveness level, but he makes up for it with better fastball command and a heater that, while it will remain mostly in the 91-94 mph range, it will routinely pop at 96-97 mph more frequently than Montgomery. Bottom line; he too is going to soar through the minor leagues and be a quality back-end big league reliever.
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\r\n26. RHP, Corey Black - Drafted in the fourth round this year, he moved up three different minor league levels as a starting pitcher, posting a combined 3.08 ERA and nearly striking out a batter per inning pitched. At 5-foot-11 though and able to hit 100 mph, he projects better as a long-term reliever than starter. He has a big league changeup at his disposal too, but while he has both a curveball and slider, both need some work to become better strikeout pitches at the professional level. He could move fast if he's converted to the bullpen but the temptation might be to stick with him in the starting role to allow him time to hone his breaking balls.
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\r\n27. LHP, Evan Rutckyj - The Canadian native grew up playing hockey and he brings the same intensity with him to his development as a pitcher. He has gotten a long stronger over the past couple of seasons and now sits in the 91-94 mph range with his fastball. His slider has become a quality big league pitch and his changeup has made progress but still needs work. More than anything he just needs to harness his fastball command better and not walk as many batters. Once that comes around he could see his current projection as a middle of the rotation type starter begin to slide a bit higher like Nik Turley has done.
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\r\n28. RHP, Giovanny Gallegos - The Mexican native was arguably the best kept secret at the entire Gulf Coast League level in 2012. Signed in 2010, he didn't make his debut until this season because of a knee injury but when he finally debuted he showcased a 92-93 mph fastball with an effortless delivery and an above average big league league curveball. It's his command and pitch-ability that really stands out, however, and there's potentially more room to fill out as he gets older. He resembles a young Ivan Nova at similar stages in their careers.
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\r\n29. RHP, Gabe Encinas - Throw out his numbers in Staten Island this year [3-7, 4.97 ERA] because this was a case of a young man learning to better control a significant uptick in his stuff for the first time. Once sitting in the 90-93 mph range, Encinas began sitting mostly in the 93-95 mph range and also saw a couple of ticks extra on his curveball. That added power, while it's a welcomed addition, takes time to control and he started doing that at Instructs. It may take some more time in the immediate future but his long-term ceiling has jumped from a middle to back-end staring pitcher to one who could pitch atop a rotation should he begin throwing his stuff with command.
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\r\n30. C, Peter O'Brien - Plus big league power and plus arm strength are two huge positives with the former University of Miami standout. He clubbed ten home runs in Staten Island this year, seven of which came in the last 20 games after getting his feet wet. Some question his ability to remain behind the plate long-term and for good reason; he's a bigger catcher who isn't extremely agile and he's already 22 years old. And the overall plate discipline needs work too to become a more refined hitter, but the ceiling is huge, even if he has to move to left field down the road. He's a project in the short-term but the long-term dividends could be very big.
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\r\n31. LHP, Daniel Camarena - A smallish left-handed starter, Camarena has plus command of three big league pitches at a very young age. Both the curveball and changeup are above average offerings, and he knows how to use them to keep hitters guessing. His fastball, however, sits more in the 88-90 mph range and with his smaller frame there's not a whole lot of projection left that leads many to believe he could throw harder. Should he do that though and get his fastball up to the 90-92 mph range like he did in Instructs a year ago, he could be a quick mover up the rankings because the pitch-ability is outstanding.
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\r\n32. OF, Jake Cave - Last year's sixth round pick has been plagued by a broken knee cap that he suffered in his very first plate appearance a year ago and he's still seeking his first professional at-bat. When he was healthier in Spring Training though, he had every look of an impact player on both sides of the ball. He could be the 2013 version of Greg Bird as a player who comes back from a nagging injury to initially break out as a truly productive hitter. He has all of the tools, he just needs to get healthy again.
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\r\n33. LHP, Rony Bautista - The 6-foot-7 Dominican native had always been known for his power fastball, hitting as high as 97 mph in the Dominican Summer League a year ago, and for his wild command and inconsistent delivery. He was anything but that in his first taste of the United States this year, sitting mostly in the 88-91 mph range, showing good command of his fastball, and a quality breaking ball. He smoothed out his mechanics, rid himself of his grip and rip it mentality, and became a pitcher. Once the mechanics become second nature to him his velocity should creep back up into the plus range again.
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\r\n34. 3B, Miguel Andujar - The 17-year old Dominican native bypassed the Dominican Summer League entirely and did an admirable job in the Gulf Coast League, hitting .232 with ten extra-base hits. The numbers are a little misleading though -- he wasn't nearly as over-matched as they suggest. Last year's top International signing has a knack for barreling the baseball at a young age, shows good plate discipline, and he made some remarkable defensive plays in the field. He's pretty advanced already and he has a ton of room to fill out physically.
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\r\n35. SS, Austin Aune - This year's second round pick, like Andujar, has a very high offensive ceiling. He hit .273 with 14 extra-base hits in his debut season and the former high school football standout, who had a commitment to play quarterback at TCU this season, has just started playing baseball full-time for the first time ever. He has a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball, especially defensively, and while it remains to be seen if he can stick at shortstop long-term, few scouts question his potential to be an offensive standout someday.
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\r\n36. RHP, Jordan Cote - Statistically few pitchers had better seasons than Cote had in 2012, posting a 0.98 ERA for the Gulf Coast League Yankees with a better than six to one strikeout to walk ratio. He shows advanced strike-throwing ability and his offspeed pitches, while they remain raw, have gotten better. As good as the numbers were, however, he's still more in the 88-91 mph range and his command was a bit too high in the strike zone that he got away with. There's still plenty of upside here but there's also a lot of work to do.
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\r\n37. RHP, Tommy Kahnle - Few pitchers outside of Turley had a better year development-wise than this power reliever. Always boasting a plus arm, one which could hit 98 mph with regularity, command of his fastball and a slow developing slider were always his downfalls. He threw a ton more quality strikes in 2012 though and his slider became a big league average pitch, and he has always had the plus big league changeup. Another year of showing that type of improved command and he'll shoot up the rankings in a hurry because the arm is special.
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\r\n38. RHP, Angel Rincon - He was expected to be on the short list of top pitchers coming out of the Dominican Summer League program last year and he was just that in his U.S. debut season this year, posting a 1.59 ERA and allowing just eleven hits in nearly 23 innings pitched. He has an above average to plus big league fastball and a slider that can flash plus potential on any given day, and he can throw both of them for strikes. His changeup though remains a work in progress and the slider needs to be more consistent, but the upside is pretty huge.
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\r\n39. RHP, Chase Whitley - The 2010 15th round pick does not have the same huge upsides as many of the other names here, but few offer the safeness in projection either. He has a solid three-pitch big league arsenal that includes a plus changeup, easily his best pitch. His slider has become big league average and his fastball can range from 90-94 mph. Projecting best as a middle reliever type, he looks like he could help the big league club soon after posting a solid 3.25 ERA in Triple-A this year.
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\r\n40. LHP, Chaz Hebert - Last year's 27th round pick is starting to become a newer version of Nik Turley, not only because he throws left-handed but because the potential could take some time to develop and the pitch-ability is there at a young age. He still sits primarily in the 88-91 mph range but both his curveball and changeup made huge strides in his debut season this year. A little skinny right now, although he has gotten stronger over the past year, he still has room to fill out and there's a chance the velocity could creep up even more.
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\r\n41. 2B, Anderson Feliz - To call him snake-bit in 2012 would be an understatement. He battled an array of injuries, including a right hamstring pull, a broken finger on his throwing hand, and elbow inflammation, and that led to just 140 at-bats at two A-ball levels this year. While it would be easy to write him of, it just would not be prudent given his many great tools. He has speed, plate discipline, plus defensive potential, average big league power, etc. Expect a big bounce-back season in 2013 because the talent is still among the best.
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\r\n42. RHP, Zach Nuding - Going 9-3 with a 3.51 ERA over two minor league levels, most of which came in high-A Tampa, Nuding had a solid season overall. He has a bit more talent than the numbers suggest, however, especially considering he can crank it up to 98 mph with his fastball. His changeup is average and his slider is becoming average, but one of them, preferably the slider, needs to tick into the above average category soon for him to tap his potential and have success at the higher levels. He profiles better as a long-term reliever but has some starting potential too.
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\r\n43. OF, Zoilo Almonte - Just looking at the main numbers -- .277 average, 21 home runs, and 15 stolen bases, all at the Double-A level -- one would think Almonte should rank higher. But his plate discipline and patience still remain a problem and the switch-hitter still has a tough time against left-handed pitchers. He is starting to look more like a left-handed side of a platoon situation rather than an everyday regular, but the good news is he is becoming more consistent as he gets older.
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\r\n44. OF, Abraham Almonte - On pure talent and overall makeup alone Abe would rank much higher here but he simply can't remain healthy now over the past few seasons. It wasn't his shoulder this year, an injury that plagued him for the better part of two years, but his hamstrings gave him fits all year and he keeps losing development time. Everything else is in place for him to be an impact player; plus plate discipline, plus speed, good power for a leadoff type, etc. He just needs to stay healthy for an entire year, a feat he's accomplished just once over the past five years.
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\r\n45. SS, Claudio Custodio - Custodio is one of the few Latin American players in Staten Island this year who struggled initially but then made the long-term adjustment. He hit just .107 in his first eight games but then hit .272 the rest of the way after getting glasses to help him see better at night. He's a plus defender at shortstop, boasts plus speed, and he has more power than his wiry 5-foot-11, 175 pound frame suggests. His plate discipline needs work as he can chase the outside pitch a little too often, but his plus bat speed and ability to barrel the ball could help overcome that as he moves up the minor league ladder and faces pitchers who are around the zone more.
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\r\n46. RHP, Luis Niebla - An organizational favorite among team officials, the Mexican native went 5-2 with a 4.29 ERA for the Gulf Coast League Yankees in his first taste of the United States and has three big league pitches at his disposal. A little Hector Noesi-like in that regard, like Noesi, Niebla's future success is going to be directly affected by his ability to pitch lower in the strike zone. He can be very hittable when he's up in the zone but the pitch-ability is there at a young age.
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\r\n47. LHP, Caleb Frare - Frare could be the newer version of Rutckyj as a left-hander who shows good arm strength at an early age and who may need some time to harness his secondary pitches. His curveball and changeup made some progress in his debut season, but the bigger change was in his mindset where he no longer worried about velocity and just wanted to throw quality strikes. Should he continue to do that and one of his secondary pitches become an above average offering, he could really begin to move up the rankings.
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\r\n48. LHP, Francisco Rondon - The Dominican left-handed reliever seemingly has been on our 'sleeper' lists forever, thanks in large part to a plus fastball-plus slider combination, but could never quite crack the Top 50 because his fastball command was too inconsistent. While it could still be better, the fact is he has gone from plain wild to wildly effective and now he has also developed his changeup into such a good pitch that he no longer merely profiles as a potential left-handed specialist [righties batted .236, lefties batted .235]. It might not be long before he's in the big league bullpen but he could still benefit from limiting the walks more.
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\r\n49. OF, Ben Gamel - Internally the Yankees are seemingly higher on Gamel than the rest of the scouting community, but there are a lot of positives; he can play all three outfield positions extremely well, he is a smart base runner with average to above average speed, and he can flat-out hit. He batted .306 this season in Charleston and was even better when the pressure mounted. He shows good power in batting practice but it hasn't translated just yet into game situations. Should his power become an average tool though, he could move up the rankings because that is really the only thing lacking in his game.
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\r\n50. 2B, Rob Refsnyder - A true sign of the incredible depth the Yankees have built over the years is having the 2012 College World Series MVP book-ending the Top 50 rankings. His bat is so advanced that he skipped the short-season leagues entirely and even though he hit just .241 with Charleston, few scouts question his ability to hit because of his big league plate discipline. He's a high-energy, highly intelligent player with average speed and power, and should the transition from the outfield to second base become a successful one, the Yankees could have a dynamic two-way player on their hands who offers a solid and safe projection.
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