Yankees Top 20 DSL Prospects

Here's a list of the top 20 prospects from the Yankees' Dominican Summer League and 2014 International free agent signings. Find out who should bust into the Top 50 in 2015 in a big way and find out who has a chance to become decent prospects down the road. We'll also highlight a few more names from the International side beyond those 20 in our subscribers-only message board!

1. 3B, Dermis Garcia - Signed last summer for a reported $3.2 million, this Dominican native is all about the power, possessing plus power potential to all fields and boasting one of the strongest arms in the 2014 International free agent class. Physically a Gary Sanchez-Peter O'Brien hybrid and still not yet done growing, his power is already a plus tool and he doesn't turn 17 until this month. Offensively he shows advanced patience at the plate and solid pitch recognition for a teenager, but like most first-year pros he hasn't faced a whole lot of advanced secondary pitches just yet. Defensively, the former amateur shortstop shows good hands and incredible arm strength, the kind of combination that could allow him to potentially stick at the position long-term, but there is also the very realistic possibility he could eventually physically outgrow the position. With his cannon for an arm, however, he could slide into right field seamlessly and the bat could still play at a high level there too.

2. SS, Wilkerman Garcia - Signed out of Venezuela this past summer for a reported $1.35 million, this switch-hitter brings a nice combination of now skills and future projection too. A bit Abiatal Avelino-like with his smooth actions defensively [arguably even smoother than Avelino] and ability to hit consistently, offensively he compares a bit more favorably to a more physical and powerful version of Thairo Estrada. Throw in similarly great makeup and all of it spells an impact two-way player in the middle infield for the Yankees someday. He has arguably the best chance to move the quickest among the new International signings while also bringing significant long-term potential as well.

3. SS, Diego Castillo - He didn't sign for nearly as much as some of his cohorts but this Venezuelan shortstop has some real helium to his prospect status since signing for $750,000 this past summer. Already an organizational favorite and one of the more hitter-ish batters signed by the Yankees, he displays advanced plate patience, pitch recognition, and an ability to use the entire field when he hits. Throw in a high energy style of play, smooth defensive abilities at shortstop that should allow him to not only remain at the position but potentially become one of the better defenders there, average or better speed, and off-the-chart intangibles, he is about as solid a player the Yankees have the lowest minor league levels. The only question mark surrounding his game is his power potential. The ceiling power-wise is probably more on the average side than anything but with his hitting ability and useful speed it could spell a lot of extra-base hits in the coming years.

4. SS, Hoy Jun Park - Like Castillo and Wilkerman Garcia, there are a lot of 'now' ready baseball skills in this Korean native; plus plate discipline, plus speed, a flat swing with repeatable mechanics that should allow him to be a consistent hitter, and advanced defensive skills. A little older than the other International signings this past year, however, like Castillo the only real question mark with his game will be his long-term power potential. Like Castillo though, he appears poised to potentially be an impact gap hitter someday, one who could hit atop the lineup. Think Brett Gardner at the shortstop position, that is his potential.

5. OF, Juan De Leon - The Yankees inked this Dominican native for $2 million last summer. Widely regarded as one of the top two International signings before and after the signing period due to his advanced bat control, plate patience and pitch recognition, and combination of average or better speed and power, he too has the kind of now-ready game that could make a rather seamless transition to the professional level, especially given his gregarious nature and high makeup. Long-term, however, the projection is a bit muddied. While he is an advanced bat and solid defensively in center, there exists the very real possibility he could be better served defensively in the corner outfield spots and then the question arises whether or not the power will eventually play there. He is better equipped for pro ball right now than most but there is also a limited ceiling to his game too.

6. 3B, Nelson Gomez - At the opposite end of the De Leon spectrum is this Dominican native. Signed for $2.25 million on July 2nd, there was a time not all that long ago where the industry experts were debating who was the top International prospect; Dermis Garcia or Gomez. Gomez has plus power but it's not quite to the plus-plus level that Garcia possesses, and while early reports had Gomez having perhaps a more advanced offensive approach it hasn't really yet materialized since signing with the Yankees. Like Dermis, Gomez is a big-bodied slugging infielder but, a bit more slow-footed, there are more long-term concerns about his ability to stick at third. More likely a corner outfielder or first baseman long-term, it may take a bit longer for his offensive approach to catch up to his great power potential. Like most prospects he's a lottery ticket that could pay big dividends, but his payout might take longer than most.

7. C, Miguel Flames - Signed this past July out of Venezuela, Flames' offensive game is way ahead of most of his International peers. A bit Gary Sanchez-like as an offensive-minded backstop with similar hitting skills and power potential that could make him one of the better offensive catching prospects in the game potentially, the comparisons do end there. Defensively, he is the epitome of a project. Possessing a larger lower-half, Flames isn't exactly agile and he is extremely new to the position too. He doesn't have the plus arm strength that Sanchez has either, grading out as above average at best. He'll get his reps behind the plate and continue his defensive progression there for the time being because he doesn't really offer much in the way of position flexibility. A little Jesus Montero-like in that regard, he'll either make the transition to catcher or wind up being a first baseman/designated hitter type. The good news though is he has the bat to still be an impact offensive player regardless.

8. RHP, Alexander Vargas - The Dominican native was signed as the Yankees' top International free agent pitcher this past summer and already looks like the pitching version of Wilkerman Garcia in that he brings a lot of polish already at a young age with the promise of more future potential too. Standing 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, the 17-year old already sits in the 91-92 mph range with his fastball and given his size and youth it stands to reason that he could throw harder in the comings years. That's an exciting prospect for the Yankees given his ability to consistently throw strikes already and being armed with two solid big league secondary pitches, both of which have room to get better too. He could be a relatively quick mover through the lower minor league levels given his advanced game.

9. SS, Yonauris Rodriguez - Signed out of the Dominican Republic for $550,000 in July of 2013, the 17-year old is already a plus defender at shortstop, one who shows plus range, above average arm strength, and a real feel for fielding the position. Known as a defensive wiz when he signed, it was his rather crude bat that team insiders believed would take some time to develop. It was just a 21-game trial this past season in an injury-marred debut but he acquitted himself quite well, hitting .315 with 16 walks. He shows good patience at the plate and workable pitch recognition, but at 6-foot-1 and a legitimate 160 pounds he is quite frail. Beefing up and gaining strength in the coming years could help him turn into Jose Iglesias-like big league shortstop someday.

10. SS, Yancarlos Baez - Signed out of the Dominican Republic for $650,000 back in the summer of 2012, Baez was initially slowed by a series of injuries [to his shoulder and knee] and didn't make his debut until 2014 where he had a representative showing, hitting .253 in the Dominican Summer League before a late season call-up to the Gulf Coast League. Like Rodriguez he's an advanced defender at shortstop and he shows above average running skills, but he's still learning to switch-hit and there's some swing and miss to his game. Standing 6-foot-3 and wiry strong though there is some projection to his game if he can continue to get stronger but for the time being it's all about refining his offensive approach to become a more consistent hitter.

11. OF, Andy Diaz - An under the radar signing out of the Dominican Republic last offseason, Diaz is one of the better 'sleeper' prospects from the Dominican Summer League. He hit a solid .275 with 22 extra-base hits [including ten triples] in his debut season with DSL Yankees2 this past year and played all three outfield positions. He's a solid option in centerfield but is better suited for the corners where he's a good runner, shows above average arm strength, and is a good athlete. He has solid swing mechanics from the left side, exceptional patience at the plate, and he can really impact the baseball. He's a little too pull-happy right now and will need to use the entire field more, but he's got the chance to be an impact two-way player for the Yankees if he can make the long-term adjustment. He's a more powerful but less hitter-ish version of Ramon Flores.

12. OF, Carlos Vidal - Like Diaz, Vidal was a late International signing last offseason who had a fantastic debut season in 2014, hitting .361 in the Dominican Summer League this past year. The Colombian native often gets compared Ramon Flores but it's mostly due to his innate feel for hitting. Like Flores, Vidal, a smallish left-handed hitter, has shown great plate discipline in the early going and real knack for using the entire field when he hits. However, the comparisons end there. Vidal is quicker, a much better defensive option in centerfield, and doesn't have nearly the same power potential. In fact a more apt comparison is that of a speedier and better defensive version of Taylor Dugas, and like Dugas his bat and advanced approach could allow him to advance relatively quickly through the lower minor league levels.

13. SS/2B Griffin Garrabito - Keeping up with the 'sleeper' prospect theme, this Dominican native signed this past summer for a mere $225,000 and yet, despite being lumped in a group with many seven-figure bonus guys, has already garnered a ton of immediate respect from team officials for his already solid game. He has quickly received a ton of Jose Pirela comparisons for his combination of average power, average speed, selective eye at the plate, and knack for barreling the baseball. And defensively, just like a young Pirela, seems better equipped to be a standout at second base than he does at shortstop. Pairing him up with Diego Castillo could make for an interesting high-energy, consistently productive middle infield.

14. OF, Jonathan Amundaray - The Yankees inked this Venezuelan youngster for a reported $1.5 million this past summer. Unlike many of the aforementioned names in these rankings, he enters the professional ranks without a whole lot of baseball awareness just yet but does offer significant long-term potential due to the above average tools across the board. He boasts a tapered body with room to get stronger in the coming years, above average speed, and above average power potential. And while he shows a rather patient approach at the plate in the early going which is encouraging, he does need some work on his pitch recognition. He falls into the Nelson Gomez camp as somebody who might take some time to develop but brings a ton of future promise if the bat begins to click.

15. LHP, Anderson Severino - When it comes to pure stuff this Dominican southpaw really should be ranked amongst the very best prospects since he'll average anywhere from 92-96 mph with his fastball that shows good late life and boasts a knockout curveball. However, the problem is he doesn't always know where the ball is going and lacks an overall feel for pitching. He'll show it in glimpses where scouts could envision him as a potential front-half big league starting pitcher or impact reliever someday and immediately follow it by showing signs of not having enough command to get out A-ball. There's a sink-or-swim aspect to his prospect status but the filthy stuff is undeniable -- he just needs to throw more strikes!

16. OF, Bryan Emery - Considered one of the top International free agents heading into this year's signing period, this Colombian native was also one of the last ones to sign with the Yankees. Early reviews have been very mixed on his hitting approach, some of which have labeled it a little sketchy. What isn't in debate, however, is the physicality of his game. Standing 6-foot-3 already, the left-handed batter has the above average power potential to be a slugger in the coming years if he can refine his plate discipline. There's a Neslon Gomez-Jonathan Amundary-like quality to his game as somebody who may take some to develop but offers a lot of long-term promise.

17. OF, Erick Mendez - This Dominican native is an older, right-handed hitting version of Emery without all of the pre-signing hype. The 18-year old [he will turn 19 in April] is tooled up as an athletic corner outfielder type with above average power potential who has above average speed and is an above average defender, but one who shows a little too much swing and miss in the early going to give him a safe long-term projection. He falls into the Anderson Severino category as a high ceiling/low floor kind of prospect.

18. OF, Raymundo Moreno - Signed out of Venezuela this past summer for a reported $600,000, Moreno is nearly the exact opposite of Mendez. A right-handed batter as well, he shows a much more refined offensive approach at the plate, displaying solid patience and good pitch recognition which is the kind of combination that could allow him to have some immediate success transitioning to the professional level. He's also proven to be a very good defensive outfielder. However, the tools are more average than anything so the ceiling isn't nearly as vast. He is also a bit of a 'tweener, one who could arguably stick in center but is probably better suited for the corner outfield spots and his rather average power could cloud his projection there.

19. SS/2B, Welfrin Mateo - Another late signing in 2013, this Dominican native falls into the Garribito camp as a potential 'sleeper' prospect, one who also shows a lot of Jose Pirela-like traits on the diamond; good patience, solid plate discipline, average power, average speed, and one who can play shortstop in serviceable fashion but is better served playing second base where he excels better with the glove. He is already 19 years old, however, so he gets a little dinged prospect-wise due to the advanced age. Still, there's some Bryan Cuevas-like potential for 2015 as somebody who could be a standout in the Gulf Coast League.

20. RHP, Anyelo Gomez - Stuff-wise this Dominican native could easily be ranked higher given the fact that he sits in the 93-95 mph range with his fastball and boasts an above average to plus curveball. He is also not all that crude with his strike-throwing ability either; he doesn't have too hard a time finding the plate. However, while he was signed as an older player, the fact is he will turn 22 years old in March and he has yet to pitch in the United States so that severely limits his long-term potential. Should he gain some immediate momentum this coming season and advance a few levels though he could find himself moving up higher on the depth charts.


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