Patrick Teale

Here's a breakdown of the GCL Yankees2 this past season, both team-wise and prospects-wise.

The Gulf Coast League Yankees2 had just a disappointing season in 2015, finishing the year with a 26-34 record, good for third place in the Northeast division and 10.5 games out of first place. We take a look at where was the team's greatest depth, which prospects stood out, which ones could be 'sleeper' prospects down the road, and more.

The team was done in by inconsistency in 2015, never winning more than three games in a row all season.  In fact, they only had a winning streak of three games just three times over the course of the season and didn't have their first one until August after snapping a season-high 13-game losing streak.

Offensively it was a mixed bag for the club.  They finished third in the 16-team league in doubles [89], home runs [25], and walks [218], and fifth in team OPS [.670], but just tenth in runs scored [243] and team batting average [.240].

On the mound they were a little more conistent but in a bad way -- they were consistently not very good.  They finished 12th in WHIP ratio [1.36], thanks in large part to issuing the second most walks [224, trailing only the GCL Yankees1 for most in the league], they allowed the fourth most home runs [20], and wound up finishing 13th in the league in team ERA [3.95] as a result.  Finishing 8th in the league in strikeouts [435] was their only minor victory as a staff.

The Greatest Depth

Just as was the case with GCL Yankees1, as the aforementioned statistics bear out, the greatest depth of long-term prospects was among their positions players.

The Bats

The club had a few offensive league leaders this season, including third baseman Renzo Martini who finished leading the league in doubles [17], second in RBIs [34], and third in walks [31].  Martini also tied for the fifth most home runs [5], and shortstop Yancarlos Baez finished in the top ten with four, and third baseman Kevin Cornelius, despite playing the majority of his time in Staten Island, actually finished with the fourth most home runs in the league [7] in just 25 games.  The team didn't have one batter in the top ten in hitting this year but both Martini [.286] and outfielder Dominic Jose [.285] finished 11th and 12th respectively.

Top Position Prospects

As was the case with the GCL Yankees1 squad this year, for all of the offensive success the team had in 2015 there are not a whole lot of long-term top prospects among their position players.  In fact, arguably the top position prospect from the team is the one who played the least amount, third baseman Dermis Garcia.  Reportedly plagued by a nagging back injury all season long, last year's top International free agent signing hit just .159 in 69 at-bats this season as he struggled to stay on the field.  Still, possessing one of the quickest bats around with elite power potential, he has the highest long-term ceiling on the team and it isn't very close.  He also shows a significant defensive ceiling too but getting the still 17-year old healthy is of the utmost importance.

There is a rather precipitous fall in the ceiling department from Garcia to the next level of bonafide position prospects, outfielder Isiah Gilliam and shortstop Yancarlos Baez, but both offer some significant ceiling of their own. Gilliam, this year's 20th round pick out of junior college, had a very good debut season in the Gulf Coast League, hitting .296 with eleven doubles.  There's some quick-twitch action to his swing that suggest at least average or better long-term power potential and he shows an advanced eye at the plate for a teenager.  There's even some solid athleticism shown in the corner outfield too, enough to make him more than just a mere hitter ceiling-wise.  How his power develops will go a long way towards improving his prospect status but there's some ceiling to his entire game.

"Ceiling" is an apt word to describe Baez too.  A tall and lanky middle infielder, Baez shows some above average athleticism at shortstop, above average speed on the bases, above average arm strength, and surprising power too.  The recently turned 20-year old is a switch-hitter who is still learning how to balance working on hitting from both sides of the plate and he resembles a young Jimmy Paredes for his high-energy, athletic style of play on both sides of the ball.  Like Paredes it could take some for his game to smooth out but there's some significant long-term potential if things begin to click for him down the road.

The Biggest 'Sleeper'

The team doesn't offer a whole lot of depth in the 'sleeper' category among its position players but they do have a couple worth keeping a long-term eye on, including shortstop Yonauris Rodriguez and outfielder Andy Diaz.

Rodriguez was a top International signing nearly three years ago noted for his advanced defensive game and that's exactly what he's proven to be two years into his career.  He hit just .168 in the Gulf Coast League this year in his first taste of playing in the United States and barely got his slugging percentage above .200 [.201 to be exact], but he is already a premium defensive shortstop and he's still trying to add some much needed strength to his rather frail 155-pound frame.  He'll never be an offensive catalyst but he could potentially hit just enough to be a Jose Iglesias-like player someday.

If you're looking for a deep REM 'sleeper' it could possibly be Diaz.  The left-handed hitting Dominican native was an under the radar signing two years ago and he's shown a discerning eye at the plate thus far.  Throw in a nice easy swing with average power potential, while he doesn't have the one plus tool in his game to make him a top prospect someday, he may have just enough solid-across-the-board skills to work his way up the minor league ladder.

Not Just Yet

Both Renzo Martini and Dominic Jose are two position players form this year's squad who have the solid overall games to be high-level minor league performers going forward but who are also a little bit older for the levels they've been playing at thus far.  Martini, already 23 years old, has just 18 total at-bats above the rookie levels.  While he's proven to be one of the more consistent offensive players at the lowest minor league levels, the fact is he just completed his fifth professional season.  He needs to prove his mettle against competition closer to his own age before scouts can tab him anything more than a mild 'sleeper' prospect at this point.

The same can be said for Jose too.  A Stanford University product, the 22-year old has just 17 at-bats above the rookie levels.  Despite showing some advanced hitting ability, average speed, and pretty decent power potential, like Martini he has a lot to prove in the long-season leagues before scouts will think about taking a little more notice.  There's some 'sleeper' potential but a lot more to prove going forward.

Top Prospects On The Mound

Much like the staff numbers prove, the GCL Yankees2 team is pretty much devoid of a top pitching prospect.  The closest thing to one would be the rehabbing right-hander Dallas Martinez and labeling him as such would be a gross overstatement at this point.  He came back from shoulder surgery this year to post a very respectable 2.18 ERA in seven appearances for GCL Yankees2 but, once able to sit in the low-to-mid-90s with his fastball before the surgery, he's now sitting more in the low-90s.  Still, he boasts an advanced changeup, flashes an above average breaking ball, and has great feel for pitching.  If he can regain his arm strength in his second year out of surgery he could surprise some folks and become the top pitching prospect he projected to be prior to his injury.

The Biggest 'Sleeper'

One of the more unheralded storylines from the Gulf Coast League this past season was the remarkable turnaround of right-hander Daris Vargas.  Known for boasting a special arm, one who could easily reach the mid-to-upper-90s with his fastball, he had real trouble repeating his delivery and throwing strikes during his two seasons in the Dominican Summer League but found a way to reverse that trend in the Gulf Coast League in 2015.  He walked just eleven batters in a team-high 51 innings this year and posted a tiny 2.12 ERA.  He is 23 years old, however, and still has to prove he can get advanced batters out, but if he can keep up his recent strike-throwing ways the Yankees could have quite the 'sleeper' on their hands given his plus stuff.

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