Beyond The Top 50 Prospects

We had over 80 players considered for our Top 50 Yankee Prospects rankings. For those who barely missed the "Top 50", they have not been forgotten. As we take a look at the near misses we'll analyze how close they came, where they might rank next season and why they missed the list altogether. Now, let's look "Beyond the Top 50."

LHP, Rony Bautista: This Dominican monster [standing 6-foot-7 and a conservatively listed 200 pounds] has great size and even better stuff. He'll range anywhere from 92-97 mph with his fastball, with his reach and range makes him incredibly hard to barrel up, and he has a now plus slider to keep hitters swatting at flies. He had a solid campaign in 2014, striking out 68 batters in just 47 innings, but he still walks a few too many batters [31 this past season]. The former starting pitcher is now a reliever, he turned 23 years old in September, and his experience in the long-season leagues has been limited to just eleven appearances thus far. The ceiling is a left-handed version of Dellin Betances here but he has to start getting ahead in counts more frequently, start moving quicker and producing more if he's going to come close to tapping that kind of ceiling.

3B/1B, Drew Bridges: Last year's 20th round pick out of high school [pictured above] physically resembles top prospect Greg Bird, standing 6-foot-4 and a rock solid 230 pounds. Though he hit just .222 in his first full season this year in the Gulf Coast League there's some Bird-like potential long-term too. He led all GCL Yankee batters in doubles [15] and walks [29], and his five home runs this year are just scratching the surface of his plus power potential to all fields. Defensively he is getting better at third base but the sheer size of him suggests a move to first base seems more than likely down the road. Still, just like Bird in his younger days, he can get a little too patient at the plate and that can have behind in counts too frequently. If he can similarly learn to get a bit more aggressive and attack his pitches earlier in counts, he has the talent to be a top prospect someday.

SS, Ali Castillo: This Venezuelan native gets wildly overlooked by many and it's because there's some limited offensive potential, but the fact is he is a superb defensive shortstop in every sense of the term. Despite possessing average foot speed [perhaps a tick above average] he does boast plus range in the field, a very strong arm, and he simply has an innate feel for fielding his position. There isn't much power in his 5-foot-10, 180 pound frame, but he has proven to be a serviceable hitter in his career and an adequate runner on the bases. He won't strike out a lot, he puts the ball in play, and has okay gap power, but it's his second-to-none glove that could make it tough for a big league manager to not keep him in the everyday lineup. Don't count him out as a potential big league contributor.

OF, Kendall Coleman: Just like Bridges, last year's 11th round pick out of high school has an enormous ceiling that hasn't quite yet begun to be tapped. He reported to Spring Training camp this year a full 25 pounds heavier of useful muscle mass, saw his power begin to materialize, and his approach at the plate was very advanced for such a young hitter. However, he battled serious shin splints all season long and he was limited to just eight Gulf Coast League games in 2014. If he can stay out of the training room going forward [he played just ten games in his debut season in 2013] he has the kind of solid all-around game and huge upside that could make him a top prospect in the coming years.

LHP, Nestor Cortes: Last year's 36th round pick out of high school is already quite the 'sleeper' prospect. The similarities to Double-A southpaw Daniel Camarena are eery. He too stands just 5-foot-11 and weighs a respectable 190 pounds, the fastball will also range from 87-91 mph most of the time, he also flashes both a plus curveball and changeup combination, and he's a superb strike-thrower who is adept pitching ahead in the count frequently and keeping hitters guessing at the plate. He owns a 3.08 ERA through his first two seasons and has struck out better than a batter per inning pitched. The ceiling is limited given his smaller stature but he has the kind of advanced level of pitch-ability that could allow him to sneak up on folks as he climbs the minor league ladder.

SS, Claudio Custodio: This Dominican native has some really good tools, including plus-plus speed. He is an absolute burner! In fact it's his great speed that prompted the very good defensive shortstop to begin getting some reps in centerfield this past season and it's a huge reason why he was able to swipe 22 bases in just 66 games in 2014. However, battling an array of nagging injuries the past two seasons, he has missed a lot of development time and the bat has been slow to come around. There's some obvious potential as a super-sub given his defensive versatility and incredible speed, but he just recently turned 24 years old so time is running out for him regain his sliding prospect status..

OF, Taylor Dugas: The outfield version of Castillo, there aren't a whole lot of physical tools in this eighth round pick back in 2012 and therefore the ceiling isn't very considerable, but the all-time hits leader from the University of Alabama can do exactly that -- hit! He boasts a career minor league average of .295 and he has walked 29 more times than he has struck out in his 283 games. So while there is almost no power in his 5-foot-9 frame and merely average speed on the bases, he has the kind of highly advanced offensive approach and solid enough defensive game that it could give him some viable big league opportunities. There's some Sam Fuld potential here. It may not be sexy but he can contribute if given the chance.

LHP, Dietrich Enns: This 19th round selection out of Central Michigan University back in 2012 has been and remains one of the more intriguing left-handed pitchers in the Yankee farm system. Going back and forth between starting and relieving, he has shown the above average fastball-changeup combination that has allowed him to enjoy some significant minor league success [a career 2.45 ERA and 171 strikeouts in 150.2 innings]. The slider, which has shown plus potential, was just beginning to become a more consistent weapon for him too when he went down with Tommy John surgery this year. He will most likely begin the 2015 campaign on the disabled list but there is some Jame Pazos-like potential here once he returns. Don't be surprised if he's back in the Top 50 next season.

SS, Anderson Feliz: Health is the most important aspect in a player's development and nobody has learned that lesson more than this Dominican native. As toolsy as they come, boasting plus running speed and even better bat speed, he simply can't stay healthy. The former shortstop turned second baseman has recently even moved to the outfield in an effort to keep him healthier and nothing seems to be working. He has amassed a grand total of 372 at-bats combined over the past three seasons while dealing with a host of injuries and that lost development time has been a killer. There's still serious upside though but for now it's all about getting on, and staying on, the field. Until he can prove he can do that for a full year his prospect status is iffy at best despite the significant ceiling.

RHP, Jordan Foley: This year's fifth round pick out of Central Michigan University doesn't have the one plus pitch that allows him to stand out yet but the entire package collectively allows him to be one of the better 'sleeper' prospects. Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing a solid 215 pounds, he has the ideal pitcher's frame. Throw in a fastball that will range anywhere from 91-93 mph but with deceptively quick action and a solid slider, split-changeup combination that shows long-term above average potential, the former reliever turned starter could find his way among the better pitching prospects in the coming years.

LHP, Caleb Frare: The 11th round pick in 2012 has quickly become the forgotten man as he has missed essentially his first two professional seasons after succumbing to Tommy John surgery in his debut season and then getting sidetracked with a few injuries upon his return. The fact is though that he had some real arm strength from the left side and showed some serious potential with his secondary pitches. Throw in great makeup there is still the chance he could develop into one of the better pitching prospects once he gets healthy. He, like Coleman, just needs to stay out of the training room going forward and start tapping some of his considerable potential.

LHP, Chaz Hebert: There has always been some intriguing potential in this 2011 27th round pick but it has taken a little while for his entire game to mature. He has noticeably gotten better over the years, increasing his fastball velocity to a more respectable 90-92 mph range and he's seen steady improvement with curveball and changeup. He finally made his long awaited long-season league debut in 2014 and he did well, posting a combined 2.76 ERA over two A-ball levels and allowing less hits than innings pitched. He hasn't ascended to the top of the pitching prospect ranks just yet but there is some Phil Coke potential here as a possible late-bloomer, perhaps with a better chance to stick in a starting role given the fact he has three quality big league pitches.

RHP, Juan Jimenez: There isn't a huge drop-off here with this 21-year old Dominican native and the likes of Domingo Acevedo and Simon La Rosa, both of whom are Top 50 Yankee prospects. He sits anywhere from 92-95 mph with his fastball, one that also shows late-life explosion, and both his breaking ball and changeup are current solid offerings with room to get better. Neither secondary pitches are of the plus variety yet so he does pale in comparison in that regard, but should one of them begin to tick upwards and his overall fastball command begin to improve he could really become one of the better pitching prospects down on the farm. Like Acevedo and De La Rosa, however, he does need to start moving into the long-season leagues sooner rather than later to improve his prospect status.

LHP, Justin Kamplain: What a debut season it was for this year's 18th round pick out of the University of Alabama. He posted a combined 1.65 ERA over two minor league levels, advancing all the way to low-A ball in his first year, allowed a mere 26 hits in 43.2 innings, and struck out better than a batter per inning pitched. He isn't very big, however, standing just 6-foot-0 and weighing 175 pounds, so the ceiling isn't immense. Still, he'll average 90 mph with his fastball, displays a plus curveball, and the changeup is solid. He falls into the Camarena-Cortes category as a diminutive left-hander with a high level of pitch-ability, one who could carve out himself an eventual role as a back-end big league starting pitcher or potential middle reliever.

RHP, Jaron Long: The undrafted free agent signing out of Ohio State University and son of former Yankee hitting coach Kevin Long had about as good a season as anyone could have in 2014, posting a combined 12-5 record, a 2.18 ERA, and nearly a six to one strikeout to walk ratio over three minor leagues, all while ascending his way to Double-A in his first full season. Stuff-wise he's merely average, sitting mostly 88-90 mph with his fastball and none of his secondary pitches find their way into the above average or plus range. But he can command four big league average pitches with ease and he knows how to pitch. While there is an obvious disparity in stuff, he could carve himself a Chase Whitley-like role on a big league club as a spot starter, long reliever, or middle reliever with his current skill set.

2B, Ty McFarland: A strong case could be made to include this year's tenth round pick out of James Madison University among the Top 50 Yankees Prospects given his advanced approach to hitting. Though he hit just .278 in his debut season with the Staten Island Yankees, he struck out a mere 37 times in 62 games and racked up 17 doubles and five home runs. There's a chance this left-handed hitter could become an above average offensive contributor in the middle infield but, a third baseman in college, he is still learning the nuances of second base. There's some Rob Refsnyder-like potential here if he can successfully make the defensive transition but at 6-foot-3, while the offensive ceiling could even be more considerable, the move could be a little more difficult. For now it's a wait and see proposition but don't sleep on this guy, he could become one of the better prospects.

LHP, Jordan Montgomery: The former University of South Carolina standout and this year's fourth round pick, despite standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 225 pounds, isn't overpowering. He'll sit anywhere from 89-93 mph with his fastball and he shows a quality curveball-cutter combination too, but it's his plus changeup that does allow him to stand out immediately among his peers. While he is much bigger, stuff-wise he falls into the Camarena-Cortes-Kamplain group and shows similar advanced pitch-ability. He's going to remain a starting pitcher for now as he does have some middle to back-end big league starting potential, but there are also some similarities to fellow South Carolina alum and current Yankee prospect Tyler Webb too. He offers the Yankees some long-term role flexibility.

RHP, Mark Montgomery: It was another solid year statistically for the 2011 eleventh round pick in 2014, posting a combined 2.10 ERA and striking out a batter per inning pitched between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton. While the results have been steady since his selection, the stuff has fluctuated. His fastball velocity did improve from 2013, getting it up from 88-90 mph to more of the 90-92 mph range by season's end, but it's not quite back to the 92-94 mph range he once displayed two years ago. He still has the wipeout slider that makes him both a legitimate Top 50 contender and potential help for the big league bullpen, but getting that extra couple of ticks back on his fastball would almost certainly make him a dominant bullpen arm once again. For now that's a wait and see proposition.

RHP, Conor Mullee: Dealing with Tommy John surgery and the ensuing comeback is a tall task for anyone but imagine having to go through it three times; that's what this 24th round pick in 2010 and former college shortstop has had to endure. To even come back from that feat a few times in itself is quite the accomplishment but the 26-year old actually began to flash plus stuff once again this year. He posted a combined 1.38 ERA over two minor league levels and struck out a batter per inning pitched on the strength of a 90-93 mph fastball, an improved slider, and an improved changeup. He's getting close to recovering his 95+ mph fastball velocity and with the natural sink he gets on it he could be a quick mover through the minor leagues. Don't discard his chances merely because of his age -- he has real ability and obvious natural drive.

OF, Michael O'Neill: Last year's third round pick out of the University of Michigan and nephew of former Yankee great Paul O'Neill had a solid first full season in 2014, hitting .256 with ten home runs and 42 stolen bases for low-A Charleston. He is an above average defender in left field, shows average power potential, and speed that ranges from above average to plus. There is still a little too much swing and miss in his game [133 strikeouts, tied for 10th most in the South Atlantic League], however, and that could be problematic at the upper minor league levels but his combination of speed, power, and tenacity might just be enough for him to move up the prospect rankings in the coming years.

C, Alvaro Noriega: This Colombian native is arguably already the best and catch throw receiver in the entire farm system and that's high praise indeed given the presence of Luis Torrens. Defensively he is phenomenal in every facet of the game outside of the obvious language barrier that still exists dealing with his American pitchers. Offensively, however, he hasn't been the epitome of production at the plate yet, hitting just .257 with three home runs in his 135 career minor league games. The 20-year old does show some offensive potential behind the scenes though, including average power potential and a pretty refined approach for a player that doesn't exactly come from a country that's considered a baseball hotbed. Keep an eye on him, he has 'sleeper' prospect written all over him.

RHP, Zach Nuding: The former 2010 30th round pick has always had some significant upside to him, especially considering he'll average anywhere from 90-95 mph with his fastball in a starting capacity and can bring it as high as 98 mph when pitching in short relief stints. The secondary pitches, however, have been and continue to be a work in progress. Both are okay offerings and the entire package has allowed him to enjoy some success in Double-A [he posted a 2.71 ERA for Trenton in 2014], but neither the slider nor the changeup are consistent strikeout weapons and that hasn't allowed him to have the same degree of success at Triple-A [he has a career 5.05 ERA in Scranton]. You don't give up on arm like he has but he is running out of time and his Bronx opportunity window will begin to close sooner rather than later if he can't make that next step with his secondary pitches.

RHP, David Palladino: Last year's fifth round pick out of Howard Junior College was a bit of project when he was selected. . Standing 6-foot-8, weighing 235 pounds, and showing significant upside, the thought was if he could just refine his mechanics he could blossom into a potential star. Two years later and the progress has been more slow than steady. He still shows more of a big league average fastball, sitting mostly 89-92 mph, and while the breaking ball in particular has gotten better, it still isn't an above average offering yet. The good news is that while the stuff hasn't yet tracked upward like many had hoped, he has shown a good deal of pitch-ability with the stuff that he does have and that could be a blessing in disguise if and when the arsenal improves.

INF, Tyler Palmer: It isn't often a team signs an undrafted free agent position player that displays better than average tools but then again this former fourth round pick out of high school back by the then Florida Marlins in 2011 isn't your typical undrafted free agent signing either. He hit a respectable .262 with 15 extra-base hits and 17 stolen bases in 51 games in his debut season this year, and he shows a nice combination of average or better power potential, above average speed, and patience at the plate that could allow him to develop into a solid offensive player. Throw in some defensive versatility too in the infield, he is certainly one not to overlook too quickly simply because he wasn't a high pick for the Yankees. He's worth tracking.

LHP, Evan Rutckyj: Any 6-foot-5 southpaw who averages in the low-to-mid 90s with his fastball like this former 16th round pick out of high school back in 2010 does has to be mentioned among the better pitching prospects. Considered Top 50 material for years given his upside, his stock has slipped a bit after his move from the starting role to the bullpen. His secondary pitches also haven't yet consistently materialized either and his fastball command remains spotty. The ceiling is too vast to completely give up on him yet but he is reaching a crossroads in his development; he'll be entering his sixth season in 2015 and will need to finally show some level of consistency at the higher levels.

3B, Rob Segedin: It was a solid first year back from double hip surgery for the former 2010 third round pick. He hit a solid .283 with 21 doubles and eight home runs for Double-A Trenton after missing the majority of the 2013 season and showed improved range defensively at third base. He was a bit challenged, however, in his brief time in Triple-A, hitting just .143 in 21 games. Still, he has proven to be more than a capable hitter, showing above average to plus plate discipline, so the only question mark that remains is whether or not his rather average now power will begin to increase now that he's completely healthy. He's a fringy third baseman right now but the hitting potential could be enough to warrant some big league opportunities, even at 26 years old.

1B, Matt Snyder: You name the ailment and chances are this 2012 tenth round pick has suffered from it. Sustaining freak injury after freak injury, including a dislocated shoulder, a torn hamstring so severe that it broke bone, a broken wrist, and most recently a torn ligament in his thumb, Snyder has needed his own private 'MASH' unit since being drafted. Still, when healthy is one of the better hitters in the farm system [he hit .287 in 47 games this past season]. He has 31 doubles and nine home runs in his first 458 career at-bats too, and he's added nearly 40 pounds of useful weight during that time, but those at-bats have been spread out over three seasons. He needs to finally stay healthy and put together a full season very soon. Should he do that he could find his way among the better position prospects.

2B, Junior Valera: This Dominican native has been steadily improving his body and game over the years since signing back in 2011. Always known for his plus speed, the natural right-handed batter has worked tirelessly on becoming a switch-hitter and the results are beginning to show. He hit .316 in the Gulf Coast League this year, a year after hitting .318 in the Dominican Summer League [he had hit a combined .245 the previous two years in the DSL]. At 6-foot-0 and 180 pounds, he'll never be confused with a power hitter but he is starting to develop solid gap power. With plus speed, plus defense, workable gap power, and a rapidly refining offensive approach, he is a 'sleeper' of sorts. Now 22 years old though, he needs to start making up some ground soon in the long-season leagues.

RHP, Philip Walby: Last year's 12th round pick out of San Diego State University had a solid first full season in 2014, posting a combined 4.21 ERA between low-A Charleston and high-A Tampa, allowing 14 less hits than innings pitched, and striking out 61 batters in 51.1 innings. He and the Yankees worked hard on cleaning up his herky-jerky delivery and while it did get better he still walked far too many batters [42]. Standing 6-foot-3 and weighing 215 pounds, he sits 92-94 mph with his fastball with good downward plane and his secondary pitches have improved. He just needs to start attacking batters more consistently earlier in counts, limit the walks, and trust his stuff more because there is some setup man type potential if he can continue to progress.

RHP, Phil Wetherell: With a fastball that averages 92-96 mph and one of the dirtiest splitters around, this former 2011 eighth round pick has the ability to be virtually unhittable at times; you don't need to look any further than his 0.39 ERA in 18 appearances with the Tampa Yankees in 2014 for proof. Still, he has worked very hard on further developing his slider but it remains a work in progress for him and when his fastball command evades him as it tends to do at times it renders his special splitter almost useless. He is oh-so close to putting it all together but he hasn't done it quite yet. He's a 'sleeper' for now, one who could break out at any time should the slider become more consistent.

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