Yankees' All-Prospect Team -- Third Team
Catcher, Isaias Tejeda: It wasn't all that long ago that the Yankees had some of the best catching depth in all of minor league baseball. However, the trading of Jesus Montero to the Mariners and the promotions of both Austin Romine and J.R. Murphy to the big leagues in recent years has taken its toll on the overall catching depth. While there is no debating the top two spots at the position, things begin to be a little bit more muddied afterwards. Tejeda, now 22 years old, precariously beats out the likes of Eduardo De Oleo, Kyle Higashioka, and others simply on the merit of his further advanced bat right now [he hit .276 with 21 doubles for Staten Island this season] but that's more of a dubious honor given his advanced age. Newly signed Miguel Flames could eventually make his way up with his advanced bat too if he can make the necessary defensive adjustments but is just too raw right now to be considered in such company.
First Base, Chris Breen: First base has never been a position of great depth for the Yankees over the years at the minor league level and it still isn't for the most part, but Breen gives the Yankees a real solid third option prospects-wise. He's played some left field and he may continue to get some reps there going forward, but his lack of foot speed will most likely limit him to mostly first base and designated hitter duties as he continues to get older. The good news is he has the power potential to man the position. The 20-year old hit .281 with eight home runs for short-season Staten Island this year and is just a better bet at this point than the oft-injured Matt Snyder.
Second Base, Gosuke Katoh: Like Tejeda, last year's second round pick finds precarious residence on the third team in part because the other prospects in the system at the position haven't exactly lit it up. A strong argument could be made for Angelo Gumbs and his sky-high ceiling to fit in here and a similar debate could be made for Anderson Feliz as well, but neither has been able to stay healthy long enough to develop their games in recent years. Another strong argument could be made for this year's tenth round pick, Ty McFarland. The former college third baseman has the requisite hitting skills needed to be a standout at the position -- he struck out just 37 times in 62 games and has more power than folks realize -- but his transition defensively to second has been a work in progress. Katoh hit just .222 in his first taste of the long-season leagues this year but he played the entire year as a 19-year old and was among the league leaders in walks. He's shortening up his swing, has off the charts makeup, and a projectable frame.
Shortstop, Tyler Wade: Pictured above, Wade gives the Yankees some newly impressive depth at the shortstop position. A strong argument could be made to put either Thairo Estrada or Angel Aguilar on the third team at this position given their advanced hitting abilities and better 'now' power, and neither should be overlooked, but Wade is a bit of a throwback at the position given his consistent play on both sides of the ball. He is a very solid defensive player in the field and offensively, while he will never be confused with a home run hitter, he strings together quality at-bats, gets on base consistently, and has above average speed that can make him a bit of a difference-maker. Throw in a growing body with power that is getting better, there isn't a real weakness in his game outside of occasional home run power.
Third Base, Dante Bichette Jr.: The former first round pick had a nice bounce-back season in 2014, hitting a combined .264 with 30 doubles and ten home runs between high-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton. Like first base, third base isn't a position of real depth for the Yankees and there isn't a whole behind Bichette in terms of quality third base prospects. Somebody like Dermis Garcia or Nelson Gomez, both new International free agent signings this year, could eventually become one of those guys but it's too premature to include them now. Bichette still has a lot of work to do defensively to project playing there at the big league level and there's still some offensive kinks to be worked out at the plate, but he is a real solid third option for the Yankees right now.
Outfielders; Dustin Fowler, Leonardo Molina, and Alexander Palma: This could wind up being the most volatile position team in due time given the amount of talent being thrust into the system recently with the signings of players like Juan De Leon, Jonathan Amundaray, and others, the high ceiling of oft-injured Kendall Coleman, and the safeness in the projections of the likes of Taylor Dugas, Ben Gamel, and Mark Payton. However, the trio of Fowler, Molina, and Palma all presently have the best combination of ceiling and safeness in their projections right now that they narrowly beat out the competition here. Fowler is the safest bet of the trio given his advanced ability to put the ball in play and above average power potential from the pull-side, two pluses that would play well in Yankee Stadium eventually. Molina hit just .193 in his debut season this year in the Gulf Coast League but bypassed the Dominican Summer League and was lauded for his professional approach as a 16-year old this year. He has all the earmarks of making a Ramon Flores-like jump in production in his second season. And Palma, not exactly toolsy, has shown a real knack for hitting [he hit .305 this year in the GCL and struck out just 15 times in 52 games] and his defensive game continues to grow into the adequate range.
Starting Pitchers; Daniel Camarena, Justin Kamplain, Jaron Long, Jordan Montgomery, and Matt Tracy: This quintet all have two things thing in common -- neither are overpowering and all five know how to pitch backwards. Montgomery [this year's fourth round pick] and Tracy have the better arms of the group, able to sit mostly in the 91-93 mph range with their fastballs, so they're not exactly soft-tossers, especially as left-handed pitchers. But none of the five will hit the mid-90s routinely yet all five have shown a propensity for getting outs consistently with secondary pitches that range anywhere from above average to plus. A strong argument could be made to put the likes of Rookie Davis, Gabe Encinas, Juan Jimenez, and other harder throwers on the third team here, but nearly everyone behind this group has some work to do with their overall pitch-ability before ascending the ranks.
Relievers; Nick Goody and Danny Burawa: We're selecting just two relievers for each All-Team squad and both Goody and Burawa, while still needing to iron out some kinks with their command and overall pitch-ability, bring some explosive stuff to the mound. Goody, back from Tommy John surgery this year, struck out better than a batter per inning pitch on the strength of a 92-94 mph fastball that reached 97 mph, a plus big league curveball, and a changeup that is noticeably better than his pre-surgery days. Burawa possesses a sinker that has hit 100 mph and a slider than can be unhittable at times. Both need to further better their command but both also have sky-high ceilings as potential back-end of the bullpen type pitchers. Branden Pinder makes a strong argument to land here, as does left-hander Dietrich Enns once he comes back from Tommy John surgery. And somebody like Conor Mullee, Reynaldo Polanco, or Philip Walby could force their way into these discussions eventually, but for now it's tough to beat out Goody and Burawa, both of whom are closing in on being big league ready.
Yankees' All Prospect Team -- Third Team
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