Where We Were Right, Where We Were Wrong

Each offseason we make some bold prospect predictions heading into the new season and sometimes we nail it, and sometimes we were off-base. Here's where we were right in our predictions for the 2014 season and where we were wrong [and why].

Where We Were Right -- Luis Severino would be the top prospect: One of the prospects that has fulfilled his prospect potential thus far has been this power right-hander. A top ten prospect heading into this past season, we accurately predicted that Severino would be the top overall prospect by season's end. Still showing plus stuff and advanced control, he posted a combined 2.46 ERA over three minor league levels with a 1.06 WHIP ratio and more strikeouts than innings pitched while advancing all the way to Double-A.

Where We Were Wrong -- Breakout player would be Rookie Davis: We were wrong by a country mile on this one. The talented right-hander seemed poised to break out in 2014 after seeing his velocity spike to the 92-95 mph range by the end of the 2013 season and it seemed even further like a no-brainer when he reported to camp in amazing physical shape. However, while the plus velocity remained, his secondary pitches not only didn't take a similar jump in effectiveness but actually regressed somewhat and he virtually became a one-pitch pitcher in Charleston this year, leading to a disappointing 4.93 ERA.

Where We We Right -- Jorge Mateo [pictured above]. would be the July 2nd Signing or DSL import to shoot up the rankings: Numbers-wise it wasn't the breakout performance we were expecting in the Gulf Coast League as he hit just .275 in 15 games while dealing with a wrist injury but he still managed to break into the Top Ten prospects this offseason based on his work behind the scenes when he was healthy enough to play. It's his plus tools across the board that allowed him to stand out in front of every scout and it's why he even has a lot of trade value despite not getting out of the rookie leagues yet.

Where We Were Wrong -- Angelo Gumbs would have the best bounceback season: Going on the premise that he was finally healthy was, in hindsight, fraught with error. He's proven to be quite injury prone over the past two years and he was limited to just 90 games this past season. Still, while the injuries obviously affected his overall game, he just didn't have a strong performance when was healthy enough to step on to the field, hitting just .224 for the Tampa Yankees. He's still very talented and nobody has a stronger desire to be better, but for now he just has to prove he can stay healthy for an extended period of time.

Where We Were Right -- Dustin Fowler and Tyler Wade, both non-Top 50 prospects heading into the 2014 season, would both be Top 50 prospects by season's end: We accurately predicted both 2013 high school draftees would find their way into the Top 50 Prospects rankings after both had solid first full seasons in low-A Charleston this past season. Fowler actually began the year in Extended Spring Training and was clearly too much for the lower levels, and responded with a fine performance once he got called up to low-A Charleston, hitting a respectable .257 with nine home runs in just 66 games for the RiverDogs. Wade was even better, hitting .272 with 22 stolen bases and 57 walks for the RiverDogs. With both players being 20 years old for the entire 2015 season, their place in the Top 50 rankings seems secure for the time being.

Where We Were Wrong -- Kendall Coleman and Drew Bridges, both non-Top 50 prospects heading into the 2014 season, would both be Top 50 prospects by season's end: We put Coleman and Bridges, two other 2013 high school draftees, in the same group as Fowler and Wade. While both have arguably even higher ceilings than both Fowler and Wade, neither Bridges nor Coleman made it out of the short-season leagues this past season. Coleman in particular wasn't healthy for the better part of the 2014 season as a matter of fact, dealing with some pretty serious shin splint problems. Bridges showed flashes of his Top 50 potential, clubbing five home runs and leading all GCL Yankee hitters with 15 doubles and 29 walks. They're not Top 50 Prospects yet so in that regard we were wrong, but perhaps more accurately just a bit "premature" in our predictions. Both could be, and really should be, Top 50 Prospects sometime soon.

Where We Were Right -- Rob Refsnyder would lead the farm system in hitting: We mentioned not trying to over-think things when we made this prediction and didn't want to bet against Refsnyder's picture-perfect swing, and all he did was hit a combined .318 between Double-A Tampa and Triple-A Scranton, ten points than the next highest long-season league hitter [Judge hit .308]. Big league ready right now, the smart money says he won't be our prediction to lead the farm system in hitting in 2015.

Where We Were Wrong -- Fred Lewis would be the first player called up to the big leagues: He was coming off of a career year in 2013 that saw him not only post a combined 2.61 ERA over three minor league levels while shifting to the bullpen but he saw a significant jump in stuff too, so much so that he received a coveted 40-man roster spot last offseason. With the Yankees needing a left-handed reliever heading into the season it seemed like a no-brainer. However, the pressure of getting closer to the big leagues combined with a series of nagging injuries caused Lewis to go in the opposite direction and have the worst year of his career in 2014, posting a combined 6.89 ERA in just 27 appearances. Like the Davis prediction, we were not only wrong but wrong in a huge way on this one.

Where We Were Right -- Jose Pirela was one of the top untapped talents and would find his way to the big leagues: A perceived organizational player by most heading into this past season, this Venezuelan native wound up hitting a career-high .305 with Triple-A Scranton in 2014 and was the only mid-season and post-season International League All Star, and made a strong first impression in his brief big league call-up too [he hit .333 in 24 at-bats]. He just turned 25 this offseason too so he still might not be done tapping his potential either.

Where We Were Wrong -- Gosuke Katoh would be a Top Ten Prospect by season's end: The 2013 second round pick had just completed a .310, six home run showing in the Gulf Coast League in his debut season and had one of the more impressive showings at Instructional League last offseason too so his stock was absolutely soaring. We made this prediction before the 2014 Spring Training ever began and it's there where he began to tail off some. His ultra-high patience at the plate had him battling behind in counts from the very beginning this year and he seemingly was trying to dig himself out of holes all year long. He hit just .222 for low-A Charleston and didn't come close to proving to be a Top Ten talent yet. There's still some ceiling here and some potential to potentially get back in those discussions someday, but he has a lot of work to do to get to that point.


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