Sizing Up The Outfield Prospects -- Part Two

PinstripesPlus.com analyzes the Yankees outfield prospects. Which outfield prospects are the ones that need to make their move soon? Which ones still have much to prove? These questions are answered in Part Two of our two-part series on the Yankees outfield prospects.

Need To Make Their Move

Austin Aune: The progress has been more slow than steady with this former 2012 second round pick. He upped his .192 average in 2013 to .218 last season and the power has noticeably gotten better but the now 21-year old is still looking for his first official long-season league at-bat. He is in desperate need of a breakout season.

Anderson Feliz: The former shortstop turned second baseman turned outfielder simply needs to stay healthy at this point. Sure some production is needed but with just 372 at-bats combined over the past three seasons for now it's just about staying on the field. Should the 22-year old do that the production would likely follow given his natural talent.

Slade Heathcott: See Feliz above. The former top prospect and first round pick who was once a 40-man roster holder will be entering his seventh professional season and he has yet to amass 400 at-bats in a season due to all of the injuries he has sustained. Signed as a minor league free agent this offseason, this could be his last chance with the Yankees to break through.

Nathan Mikolas: All Yoan Moncada supporters should keep in mind that this former third round pick had a similar hit tool grade coming out of high school. And just like Mikolas and his career .224 average three seasons into it have found out, it ain't easy.

Brandon Thomas: This former 2013 eighth round pick entered the professional ranks with intriguing tools and a questionable bat, and a .208 average through his first 159 games and those same questions remain. Forget about any long-term potential at this point, he's simply fighting for minor league playing time.

Mason Williams: Once the top overall prospect in the farm system, Williams has struggled mightily the past two seasons. It's no coincidence that those struggles began after receiving shoulder surgery but now owning a spot on the 40-man roster he needs to be closer to the .298 hitter he was before the surgery and less like the .234 hitter he's been since he had it if he has any hopes of realizing his potential in a Yankee uniform.

The Jury Is Still Out

Jonathan Amundaray: Like many of the ensuing International names below this Venezuelan native has a considerable ceiling. At 6-foot-3 with a projectable frame, above average speed, and plus raw defensive tools, he one day could be considered among the top outfield prospects. Just signed last summer, however, the jury is still out as to how he will adjust to hitting at the professional level.

Antonio Arias: An Amundaray carbon copy; impressive tools and body but he'll need to prove some refinement with his approach.

Devyn Bolasky: This former UC-Riverside standout has some things going for him, including solid defense and above average speed. However, the power is limited, there are some question marks to his overall long-term hitting ability, and he's a little bit buried inside the organization by better high-end depth. He'll need to play his way up the minor league ladder.

Claudio Custodio: The former shortstop turned outfielder can flat-out fly. It's a main reason why he was moved to the outfield last season, that and because the Yankees were looking for a way to keep the oft-injured Dominican native on the field. Like Feliz there's still too many nagging injuries zapping him of his development time but there's still some upside here if he can ever stay healthy.

Juan De Leon: One of the prized International signings last summer, this Dominican native is on the opposite end of the Amundaray-Arias spectrum in that the hit tool is very advanced but the other tools come with some question marks; does he have the speed to be a legitimate centerfielder? Does he have the kind of power potential that could slide seamlessly over to the corner spots if needed? For now those questions will have to wait to be answered.

Andy Diaz: This Dominican native has 'sleeper' written all over him, thanks to a nice combination of athleticism, outfield versatility, a solid hitting approach, and some intriguing long-term power potential. A left-handed version of De Leon perhaps with not quite the same hit tool but perhaps a bit more power potential, where Diaz eventually profiles position-wise is a wait and see proposition at this point. He's also going to have to fight his way through the increasing depth of high-end outfield talent the Yankees are beginning to collect at the lower levels.

Bryan Emery: This teenage Colombian native enters the professional ranks with some serious upside, the kind that could one day be listed in the 'highest ceiling' category for sure, thanks to his already rather large 6-foot-3 frame and long-term above average power potential. There have been mixed reports, however, to his overall feel for hitting and for now how he responds to all of the offspeed stuff he's going to see coming from a country not exactly known for it's baseball talent is something that will have to be tested.

Frank Frias: This Dominican native falls into the Diaz category as one of the better long-term 'sleeper' candidates. He is big, strong, fast, and he has plus arm strength. Throw in a real knack for hitting too [he hit .316 in the Gulf Coast League last season] and there is a lot to like about his game. However, he suffered a gruesome Ravel Santana-like ankle injury last season and he's going to turn 21 years before the start of the 2015 season and he has yet to make his way under the lights. The upside is enormous but he also has a lot of questions to answer in the coming year or two as well.

Dominic Jose: Nearly a switch-hitting American version of Frias, last year's 24th round pick out of Stanford University is all tooled up. He has power, speed, defense, etc, nearly everything a scout would want. However, unlike Frias the overall hit tool is a little more crude at this point despite hitting .300 in the Gulf Coast League last season and he's going to turn 22 years old by the start of the 2015 season, and he's not even a given to secure a starting outfield spot in A-ball yet. He has a lot to prove even short-term to get himself a bit higher on the radar.

Erick Mendez: This soon to be 19-year old falls into the Jose category as showing some impressive above average tools across the board but also has a lot of swing and miss to his game. Will his propensity to strike out a bit too much not fully allow his other tools to be optimized? The Yankees are going to find out in the next couple of years.

Reymundo Moreno: A little Juan De Leon-lite, this Venezuelan native enters professional baseball with a very advanced hitting approach but has more average other tools that bring some question marks. Like De Leon, he could be a 'tweener defensively in centerfield and if he has to move to the corners down the road will have enough power to do so? The jury is still out.

Connor Spencer: A first baseman for the most part both in college and in his professional debut season last year, last year's 8th round pick out of UC-Irvine had played some outfield in the past and the early word out of the Yankees is he's going to play some outfield in the pros too. He can really hit and some team insiders believe he could be quite a defensive outfielder too, but just like his profile at first base the biggest question mark long-term will be about how far he can bring along his power.

Dario Unda: There are some legitimate Ramon Flores-like comparisons here outside of being from Venezuela too. Also a left-handed batter, he has an advanced feel for hitting. He shows good patience and he uses the whole field. But the power is merely average too and that clouds his long-term potential if he remains limited to a corner spot.

Pedro Urena: This Dominican native is the exact opposite of Unda. He bats right-handed, he shows above average long-term power potential, and despite being a slugger type he even has some impressive speed. However, there is still a little too much swing and miss in his game and there are questions as to whether or not he can develop the consistent bat needed to allow his tools to play at a high level.

Carlos Vidal: This Colombian native falls into the Unda grouping as a smallish left-handed batter with an advanced feel for hitting. Usually guys like him get compared to Ramon Flores but the fact is Vidal is speedier and more of a natural defender in centerfield, and those two aspects of his game could allow a little more forgiveness for his less than average power potential. Still, he's going to have to hit way up the minor leagues and the prospect rankings.


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