GCL Yankees1 Season In Review

The Gulf Coast League Yankees1 had an okay season in 2013, finishing the year with a 28-32 record and five games out from being in the playoffs. We take a look at where was the team's greatest depth, which prospects stood out, which ones could be 'sleeper' prospects down the road, and more.

The Team

Despite winning six of their first eight games, the GCL Yankees1 were hurt by two separate five-game losing streaks over the course of the season, and one four-game losing streak in the final week of the season to keep them out of the playoff mix.

They finished 11th in the 16-team league in ERA [3.82] and 11th in WHIP ratio [1.33], thanks in large part to allowing a league-worst 516 hits. Still, the staff issued the fifth lowest walk total [181] and struck out a league-best 550 batters, clear signs that they were around the strike zone.

Offensively, they finished 14th in batting average [.233] but still managed to rank in the middle of the pack in runs scored [8th, with 252 runs scored], total bases [7th, with 666], and walks [7th, with 198].

The Greatest Depth

While the GCL Yankees1 had some impressive individual offensive showings, the greatest depth of long-term prospects was on the mound, even with the unexpected retirement of high-ceiling hurler Hayden Sharp at season's end.

Top Prospects On The Mound

Forget for a moment that right-handers Luis Severino [3-1, 1.37 ERA, and 32 K's in 26 innings] and Brady Lail [4-1, 2.33 ERA, 51 K's in 54 innings] had the most eye-popping numbers, they each arguably had the most complete arsenal of any GCL pitcher in the league this year and did it with stellar control [they walked just eleven batters between them]. Both have long-term frontline starting potential with their high level of pitch-ability, control, and top-shelf stuff.

Throw in the high-ceiling talent of left-handers Rony Bautista [2.52 ERA, 48 K's in 35.2 innings pitched] and Ian Clarkin, this past year's first round pick who amassed just ten innings, the GCL Yankees1 team boasts a quartet of high-caliber pitching prospects, and that's not even including right-hander Dallas Martinez [4.03 ERA, 22 K's in 29 innings].

The GCL Yankees1 team also had the likes of Chaz Hebert and Omar Luis, two lefties who, despite their less than stellar statistical season-ending lines, have some significant upside of their own.

The Biggest 'Sleeper'

Nestor Cortes, this year's 36th round pick out of high school, could easily be the team's biggest long-term sleeper prospect on the mound. He doesn't throw particularly hard yet, sitting mostly in the mid-to-upper 80s with his fastball, but he has an advanced feel for his secondary pitches, a mature feel for pitching, and the kind of broad shoulders that could suggest some more power down the road.

The Bats

It wasn't as if the GCL Yankees1 club didn't have its fair share of bats either though. The club had two of the top ten home run hitters this season; Gosuke Katoh and Chris Breen, and third baseman Miguel Andujar finished the season just one home run behind Breen. The team also had two of the top ten hitters for average, including Katoh and shortstop Tyler Wade.

Top Position Prospects

Katoh, one of the league's top offensive performers in 2013, is clearly one of the top position prospects from the team. He finished his debut season hitting .310 with six home runs, not bad considering all pre-draft scouting reports questioned his supposed lack of power. He has a solid five-tool package, the room to fill out more, and a real knack for hitting

Had it not been for an ankle injury that sidelined Andujar for a month at the beginning of the season, the 18-year old and his .323 average would have been among the top offensive contributors in the league had he gotten more at-bats. He's getting stronger, quicker, and more consistent in both his offensive approach and defensive play. He has the chance to be very, very special.

Katoh's double-play tandem, shortstop Tyler Wade, could fit into the top prospect category in a lot of ways; defense, offensive approach, plate discipline, and speed. It may take some time, however, for the power to develop enough to become playable in games and that could keep him out of top prospect discussions for the time being, but he's a legit four-tool guy until that time.

The Biggest 'Sleeper'

The biggest 'sleeper' prospect among the position prospects for GCL Yankees1 is outfielder, Dustin Fowler, this year's 18th round pick out of high school. A left-left centerfielder, he has the potential to be the newest version of Jake Cave as a solid hitter with current gap power, above average speed, and the chance to develop some solid home run power down the road. He had twelve extra-base hits in his first 30 games in his debut season this year and there's a lot more in the tank.

If you're looking for a deep REM 'sleeper' it could possibly be outfielder Jordan Barnes, this year's 15th round pick out of community college. The 19-year old has a lot more speed than his seven stolen bases would suggest, the chance to be a plus defensive outfielder, and the bat isn't nearly as raw as some might think. Like Wade and Fowler, however, how far he goes will depend more on how his power ever develops, but the tool package is there to potentially become an impact player if things fall right for him.

Not Just Yet

Chris Breen [.214 but 18 extra-base hits] had a good season somewhat, at least in the power department, but there are still some holes in his swing and a need to use the whole field more. He proved to be serviceable defensively at first base and in left field, but he is going to need to be a more consistent offensive force in order to become the potential top prospect he could become down the road.

Shortstop turned outfielder Austin Aune, last year's second round pick, had a nightmarish season in his first extended taste of pro ball this past season. Not only did he hit just .192 in 41 games, but he struck out a whopping 72 times in just 156 at-bats, putting him on pace to accumulate over 200 strikeouts over the course of a full season. As a result his confidence spiraled downward to the point where it was nearly nonexistent and he needs to get some confidence back soon -- a non-confident player has zero chance at the plate. There's still some raw ability there and his ceiling is way too high to give up on at this point, but he needs to start taking some baby steps forward immediately.

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Royal Curve Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nThe Team
\r\n
\r\nDespite winning six of their first eight games, the GCL Yankees1 were hurt by two separate five-game losing streaks over the course of the season, and one four-game losing streak in the final week of the season to keep them out of the playoff mix.
\r\n
\r\nThey finished 11th in the 16-team league in ERA [3.82] and 11th in WHIP ratio [1.33], thanks in large part to allowing a league-worst 516 hits. Still, the staff issued the fifth lowest walk total [181] and struck out a league-best 550 batters, clear signs that they were around the strike zone.
\r\n
\r\nOffensively, they finished 14th in batting average [.233] but still managed to rank in the middle of the pack in runs scored [8th, with 252 runs scored], total bases [7th, with 666], and walks [7th, with 198].
\r\n
\r\nThe Greatest Depth
\r\n
\r\nWhile the GCL Yankees1 had some impressive individual offensive showings, the greatest depth of long-term prospects was on the mound, even with the unexpected retirement of high-ceiling hurler Hayden Sharp at season's end.
\r\n
\r\nTop Prospects On The Mound
\r\n
\r\nForget for a moment that right-handers Luis Severino [3-1, 1.37 ERA, and 32 K's in 26 innings] and Brady Lail [4-1, 2.33 ERA, 51 K's in 54 innings] had the most eye-popping numbers, they each arguably had the most complete arsenal of any GCL pitcher in the league this year and did it with stellar control [they walked just eleven batters between them]. Both have long-term frontline starting potential with their high level of pitch-ability, control, and top-shelf stuff.
\r\n
\r\nThrow in the high-ceiling talent of left-handers Rony Bautista [2.52 ERA, 48 K's in 35.2 innings pitched] and Ian Clarkin, this past year's first round pick who amassed just ten innings, the GCL Yankees1 team boasts a quartet of high-caliber pitching prospects, and that's not even including right-hander Dallas Martinez [4.03 ERA, 22 K's in 29 innings].
\r\n
\r\nThe GCL Yankees1 team also had the likes of Chaz Hebert and Omar Luis, two lefties who, despite their less than stellar statistical season-ending lines, have some significant upside of their own.
\r\n
\r\nThe Biggest 'Sleeper'
\r\n
\r\nNestor Cortes, this year's 36th round pick out of high school, could easily be the team's biggest long-term sleeper prospect on the mound. He doesn't throw particularly hard yet, sitting mostly in the mid-to-upper 80s with his fastball, but he has an advanced feel for his secondary pitches, a mature feel for pitching, and the kind of broad shoulders that could suggest some more power down the road.
\r\n
\r\nThe Bats
\r\n
\r\nIt wasn't as if the GCL Yankees1 club didn't have its fair share of bats either though. The club had two of the top ten home run hitters this season; Gosuke Katoh and Chris Breen, and third baseman Miguel Andujar finished the season just one home run behind Breen. The team also had two of the top ten hitters for average, including Katoh and shortstop Tyler Wade.
\r\n
\r\nTop Position Prospects
\r\n
\r\nKatoh, one of the league's top offensive performers in 2013, is clearly one of the top position prospects from the team. He finished his debut season hitting .310 with six home runs, not bad considering all pre-draft scouting reports questioned his supposed lack of power. He has a solid five-tool package, the room to fill out more, and a real knack for hitting
\r\n
\r\nHad it not been for an ankle injury that sidelined Andujar for a month at the beginning of the season, the 18-year old and his .323 average would have been among the top offensive contributors in the league had he gotten more at-bats. He's getting stronger, quicker, and more consistent in both his offensive approach and defensive play. He has the chance to be very, very special.
\r\n
\r\nKatoh's double-play tandem, shortstop Tyler Wade, could fit into the top prospect category in a lot of ways; defense, offensive approach, plate discipline, and speed. It may take some time, however, for the power to develop enough to become playable in games and that could keep him out of top prospect discussions for the time being, but he's a legit four-tool guy until that time.
\r\n
\r\nThe Biggest 'Sleeper'
\r\n
\r\nThe biggest 'sleeper' prospect among the position prospects for GCL Yankees1 is outfielder, Dustin Fowler, this year's 18th round pick out of high school. A left-left centerfielder, he has the potential to be the newest version of Jake Cave as a solid hitter with current gap power, above average speed, and the chance to develop some solid home run power down the road. He had twelve extra-base hits in his first 30 games in his debut season this year and there's a lot more in the tank.
\r\n
\r\nIf you're looking for a deep REM 'sleeper' it could possibly be outfielder Jordan Barnes, this year's 15th round pick out of community college. The 19-year old has a lot more speed than his seven stolen bases would suggest, the chance to be a plus defensive outfielder, and the bat isn't nearly as raw as some might think. Like Wade and Fowler, however, how far he goes will depend more on how his power ever develops, but the tool package is there to potentially become an impact player if things fall right for him.
\r\n
\r\nNot Just Yet
\r\n
\r\nChris Breen [.214 but 18 extra-base hits] had a good season somewhat, at least in the power department, but there are still some holes in his swing and a need to use the whole field more. He proved to be serviceable defensively at first base and in left field, but he is going to need to be a more consistent offensive force in order to become the potential top prospect he could become down the road.
\r\n
\r\nShortstop turned outfielder Austin Aune, last year's second round pick, had a nightmarish season in his first extended taste of pro ball this past season. Not only did he hit just .192 in 41 games, but he struck out a whopping 72 times in just 156 at-bats, putting him on pace to accumulate over 200 strikeouts over the course of a full season. As a result his confidence spiraled downward to the point where it was nearly nonexistent and he needs to get some confidence back soon -- a non-confident player has zero chance at the plate. There's still some raw ability there and his ceiling is way too high to give up on at this point, but he needs to start taking some baby steps forward immediately.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

\r\n

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