Top Prospects, Top Tools

Over the next few weeks we'll be dissecting the top ten prospects in many different tools' categories in a series of articles called "Tool Time". Before we do, here is a look at the top pitching, offensive and defensive tools as we crown players with titles such as "Best Curveball", "Best Outfield Arm", "Best Power", and many more.

[Note: players with just short-season league experience are only eligible for the 'Coming Soon' category]

Best Hitter For Average - Rob Refsnyder - With Greg Bird, Aaron Judge, Taylor Dugas, and others, the Yankees have no shortage of quality hitters. Refsnyder though is the epitome of consistency.
Honorable Mention - Ramon Flores
Coming Soon - Luis Torrens

Best Hitter For Power - Aaron Judge - Gary Sanchez and Eric Jagielo are certainly in the mix too but Judge is just scratching the surface of his in-game power.
Honorable Mention - Greg Bird
Coming Soon - Dermis Garcia

Best Fastball Hitter - Greg Bird - Eric Jagielo deserves mention here too but Bird can turn around on a 97 mph pitch with the best of them.
Honorable Mention - Gary Sanchez
Coming Soon - Jorge Mateo

Best Breaking Ball Hitter - Eric Jagielo - As good as Jagielo is on fastballs, he's even better on breaking pitches. Refsnyder isn't far behind him, however.
Honorable Mention - Ramon Flores
Coming Soon - Thairo Estrada

Best Plate Discipline - Greg Bird - There's a slew of guys who could fit here -- Taylor Dugas, Mark Payton, Mike Ford, and Rob Refsnyder just to name a few -- but few swing out of the zone as infrequently as Bird.
Honorable Mention - Aaron Judge
Coming Soon - Luis Torrens

Best Left-Handed Swing – Ramon Flores - Critics don't realize just how long he's able to keep the barrel of the bat in the zone.
Honorable Mention - Greg Bird
Coming Soon - Carlos Vidal

Best Right-Handed Swing - Rob Refsnyder – Mechanically speaking, it's as good as it gets.
Honorable Mention - J.R. Murphy
Coming Soon - Luis Torrens

Best Base Runner - Tyler Wade - The Yankees don't have a plethora of burners anymore but Wade brings the best combo of speed and instincts on the base paths. Michael O'Neill deserves being mentioned too.
Honorable Mention - Tyler Austin
Coming Soon - Jorge Mateo

Best Raw Speed - Slade Heathcott - Even with nagging knee issues and three knee surgeries he's still as fast as they come.
Honorable Mention - Mason Williams
Coming Soon - Jorge Mateo

Best Athlete - Slade Heathcott - He's lost a lot of luster in the minds of critics but few can match his athleticism. Michael O'Neill can come relatively close and soon Leonardo Molina will too [along with Mateo] once he gets into the long-season leagues.
Honorable Mention - Aaron Judge
Coming Soon - Jorge Mateo

Best Untapped Talent - Slade Heathcott - The names listed here are about as much a slam-dunk as it possibly could be for this category. It's worth mentioning that there are some other high-ceiling guys right behind them, including Dustin Fowler, Kendall Coleman, and Drew Bridges among others.
Honorable Mention - Mason Williams
Coming Soon - Leonardo Molina

Pitching Honors:

Deepest Repertoire - Brady Lail - He doesn't have a lot of plus pitches in his repertoire but he has five pitches that grade out as above average offerings. Ian Clarkin deserves mentioning too, not because he throws five pitches, but because he has the chance for three plus offerings.
Honorable Mention - Daniel Camarena
Coming Soon - Nestor Cortes

Best Fastball For Starting Pitcher - Luis Severino - Naming these three is as easy as it gets.
Honorable Mention - Bryan Mitchell
Coming Soon - Domingo Acevedo

Best Fastball For Relief Pitcher - Danny Burawa - He's hit 100 mph....with a sinker! Cale Coshow should be mentioned too with his 95-96 mph average fastball.
Honorable Mention - Jacob Lindgren
Coming Soon - Sean Carley

Best Curveball - Bryan Mitchell - With Dellin Betances no longer rookie eligible, Mitchell now takes the top spot here.
Honorable Mention - Ian Clarkin
Coming Soon - Austin DeCarr

Best Slider - Mark Montgomery - People harp on his rather average fastball velocity but the slider is still a killer.
Honorable Mention - Jacob Lindgren
Coming Soon - Simon De La Rosa

Best Changeup - Jose Ramirez – He gets lost in the shuffle now because of the injuries but the fact is his changeup is the equal of Betances' breaking ball. Ian Clarkin and Caleb Smith deserve mention here too.
Honorable Mention - Luis Severino
Coming Soon - Domingo Acevedo

Best Control - Daniel Camarena - Like Montgomery he gets dinged by critics for average fastball velocity but the guy can paint corners with the best of them.
Honorable Mention - Luis Severino
Coming Soon - Nestor Cortes

Best Mechanics - Ian Clarkin - The top three mechanically are all so close that it's like splitting hairs. Brady Lail is among that trio.
Honorable Mention - Daniel Camarena
Coming Soon - Austin DeCarr

Best Raw Arm - Luis Severino - There's some polish to his game, make no mistake, but he still has the best arm in the farm system.
Honorable Mention - Bryan Mitchell
Coming Soon - Domingo Acevedo

Best Overall Potential - Luis Severino - Ian Clarkin absolutely needs to be in the discussion here but Severino can be just a tad more electric right now.
Honorable Mention - Bryan Mitchell
Coming Soon - Austin DeCarr

Most Polished Pitcher - Daniel Camarena - See a theme developing here? There's not much separating the top three, and Brady Lail is among the top three.
Honorable Mention - Ian Clarkin
Coming Soon - Austin DeCarr

Defensive Honors:

Best Defensive Pitcher - Daniel Camarena - Not much has changed in this category.
Honorable Mention - Matt Tracy
Coming Soon - Nestor Cortes

Best Defensive Outfielder - Mason Williams - Critics are jumping on Williams for anything these days, including the rare miscue in the outfield, but he's still as good as it gets defensively. Judge doesn't have his range but he's a great defender worth mentioning too.
Honorable Mention - Slade Heathcott
Coming Soon - Leonardo Molina

Best Defensive Infielder - Cito Culver - Say what you want about his bat but defensively only Castillo can come close to being his equal.
Honorable Mention - Ali Castillo
Coming Soon - Jorge Mateo

Best Defensive Catcher - J.R. Murphy - Still rookie eligible, defensively he could be a stud.
Honorable Mention - Gary Sanchez
Coming Soon - Luis Torrens

Best Outfield Instincts - Mason Williams - He's still learning the corner spots but in center is where he really shines.
Honorable Mention - Slade Heathcott
Coming Soon - Leonardo Molina

Best Outfield Range - Mason Williams - He's lost a step perhaps but the range is still tops in the farm system.
Honorable Mention - Slade Heatchott
Coming Soon - Jordan Barnes

Best Outfield Arm - Aaron Judge - He's got an absolute bazooka on his shoulder.
Honorable Mention - Slade Heathcott
Coming Soon - Leonardo Molina

Best Infield Arm - Cito Culver - He'll remain here at the top spot until he's no longer in the system but Avelino isn't all that far behind him. Miguel Andujar deserves being mentioned too.
Honorable Mention - Abiatal Avelino
Coming Soon - Dermis Garcia

Best Infield Range - Cito Culver - He's has a knack for getting to any ball.
Honorable Mention - Tyler Wade
Coming Soon - Jorge Mateo


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