Patrick Teale

Trying to crop a group of nearly 90 Yankees prospects into the "Top 50", here's who barely missed the cut.

We had over 90 players considered for our Top 50 Yankee Prospects rankings. For those who barely missed the "Top 50", they have not been forgotten. As we take a look at the near misses we'll analyze how close they came, where they might rank next season and why they missed the list altogether. Now, let's look "Beyond the Top 50."

SS, Angel Aguilar: One of the real up and comers as soon as a year ago, this Venezuelan native picked an inopportune time to get hurt and have an unproductive season this year for low-A Charleston.  He started the 2015 campaign behind the proverbial eight ball, beginning the year with a minor nagging back injury that not only caused him to begin the season left back in Extended Spring Training but caused him to play catch-up most of the season.  He was never really his full self, hitting just .229 for the RiverDogs and striking out a bit more than he's accustomed to after pressing at the plate to try to make up for lost time.  He still finished third on the team in doubles [22] and fourth in stolen bases [14], and he added both second base and third base to his defensive repertoire.  Just 20 years old, there's still a considerable ceiling left to be tapped but he needs a breakout season soon to keep pace with the incredible depth of high-quality middle infielders currently in the farm system, especially at the same minor league level.

OF, Austin Aune: There's two things quite evident with this former second round pick back in 2012; he swings some heavy lumber and there's a whole lot of swing and miss to his game.  He set career-highs in doubles [29], triples [10], and home runs [8] this year, and the scary part is the left-handed slugger is just now beginning to scratch the surface of his long-term above average or better power potential.  He also struck out a whopping 167 times though.  In fact, he struck out nearly eight times [7.52 to be exact] more than he walked.  Still, battling the heavy expectations that come from being a 'bonus baby', he just turned 22 years old this offseason and is right in line with a college draftee age-wise.  He is in fact progressing so he can't be written off yet.  One breakout season could propel him into top prospect status.

SS, Yancarlos Baez: Nobody needs to look any further than this Dominican native for proof positive that the Yankee farm system is as deep as it ever has been.  A few years ago he would have been a sure-fire Top 50 prospect with his above average or better tools across the board and sky-high ceiling.  He has borderline plus speed, above average arm strength, top-shelf athleticism at the shortstop position, and borderline above average long-term power potential in a still growing 6-foot-3 frame.  He also isn't exactly a free swinger either, showing good patience for a recently turned 20-year old, and he's a switch-hitter too.  Very much like former Yankee prospect and current big leaguer Jimmy Paredes, the consistency in his hitting may take a little while to come around as he learns to balance hitting from both sides of the plate and sync his longer limbs.  Unlike Paredes coming up, however, Baez is competing against a ton of quality infield depth for the Yankees and gets a little buried by it.  Still, he has a ton of potential worth tracking and Top 50 tools for sure.

1B/OF, Chris Breen: Like Aguilar, Breen epitomized what was supposed to be a young talented Charleston squad in 2015 but ended up being more of a M.A.S.H. unit than anything.  This former 12th round pick had come off of a breakout season in Staten Island a year ago when he led the New York Penn League in OPS but quickly hurt his non-throwing shoulder in Spring Training this year.  He tried to play through the injury but was never himself either, hitting just .224 in 59 games before having season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum.  When healthy he swings a productive bat with above average or better power potential to all fields and plays better defense than advertised.  He doesn't have to deal with quite the same depth of quality prospects at his position but the now 21-year old does need to get healthy and productive again soon to get back in the Top 50 mix.

3B/1B, Drew Bridges: This former 20th round pick out of high school in 2013 doesn't have any significant injury to lean on as the reason for his sub-par production thus far.  In fact, he seemed poised to break out in 2015 after beginning the season in Staten Island hitting .351 with two home runs in his first twelve games.  However, he hit just .176 over his remaining 43 games and never got on-track.  He has legit plus power potential to all fields and the kind of advanced patience that screams long-term above average hitting potential much in the same manner as fellow first baseman Greg Bird but it simply hasn't materialized yet as he has amassed just a career .206 average thus far.  He is still trying to find that balance of when to be patient and when to be aggressive.  He'll be 21 years old once the new season rolls around so despite the sky-high ceiling he will need to start tapping it soon.

RHP, Sean Carley: Last year's 14th round pick had a solid first full season this year but it wasn't quite the breakout season some team insiders believed he was capable of having.  He posted a combined a 3.49 ERA between low-A Charleston and short-season Staten Island, flip-flopping back and forth between both levels.  He battled a nagging injury all season long though that affected him but by season's end [he posted a 1.69 ERA in his final 13 appearances for Charleston] he was back up to the mid-90s with his fastball and showing a nice slider/changeup combination.  He's a high-makeup guy who flashes plus stuff; it's too early and the ceiling is too big to give up on him just yet.  He has breakout potential.

LHP, Nestor Cortes: If there's a carbon copy of Daniel Camarena at the lower levels it's this former 36th round pick out of high school in 2013.  In fact, he was oh-so close to making the Top 50 based on his advanced pitch-ability.  One of the true standout pitchers in the Appy League this year, he posted a 2.26 ERA and struck out more than a batter per inning pitched.  He doesn't throw quite as hard as Camarena has in the past just yet, sitting more in the 87-90 mph range, but like Camarena his fastball is deceptive and he has two above average or better secondary pitches and he can fill up a strike zone with three quality big league pitches.  If he could gain a couple of ticks on his fastball in the coming years, not such an outlandish notion considering he's still just 20 years old, he could really move up the rankings down the road.

OF, Andy Diaz: A poor man's version of former Yankee prospect Ramon Flores, this Dominican native isn't quite the same hitter that Flores was at similar stages in their respective careers but does have some similar traits; advanced plate patience, solid swing mechanics, average or better speed, perhaps average long-term power potential, etc.  And like Flores he has flown under the radar since signing with the Yankees two years ago.  He's still learning to use the whole field more in an attempt to improve his overall hitting ability but he has the chance to be a very productive gap hitter, one who has the ability to play all three outfield positions quite well.  He doesn't have top prospect potential as the huge ceiling isn't quite there but he certainly has 'sleeper' potential, especially if the power begins to tick up for the recently turned 20-year old.

OF, Cesar Diaz: Already 22 years old, this Diaz was a later signing who has done nothing but hit in his first two professional seasons.  He's hit .314 in his first two seasons with a mind-boggling 62 walks and just 28 strikeouts in 89 games.  He even has above average to borderline plus speed at his disposal too, swiping 40 bases already.  Like Andy, however, the long-term power potential grades out as average at best and most likely a tick below that, not a good sign for an older player yet to break into the long-season leagues.  He'll need to hit at a high level as he moves up the minor league ranks but that's his real strength and a big reason why he not only shouldn't be written off but one to track in the short-term.  He could prove to be quite the 'sleeper' prospect if he continues to produce.

RHP, Giovanny Gallegos: The loss of right-hander Cesar Vargas [a Top 50 talent] in free agency to the San Diego Padres this offseason just might be offset by the "return" of Gallegos in 2015.  It's not like he ever missed a full season or anything but the Mexican native had battled some minor injuries over the past two years, including some shoulder issues, and his stuff had diminished somewhat as a result.  A former Top 50 prospect, he moved to the bullpen full-time in 2015 and very much like Vargas may have found a new home there.  His fastball ticked back up to the mid-90s and he always had quality secondary pitches and an innate ability to throw strikes.  He posted a combined 1.71 ERA over three minor league levels that included a cup of coffee in Triple-A, struck out a batter per inning pitched, and held batters to a .183 average.  Hopefully the Yankees are able to find some use for him though, even if it is as trade bait.  He has too much talent to just let him walk away for nothing like Vargas did.

3B, Dermis Garcia: Signed last year as the Yankees' top International free agent for a reported $3.2 million, it's wasn't the banner debut season the Dominican native or the Yankees had wanted in 2015 as he hit just .159 with no home runs in 23 Gulf Coast League games.  Just like Aguilar, however, he reportedly battled a nagging back injury all season long and was never his true self.  When healthy he's a monster of a kid, standing 6-foot-4 with plus power potential to all fields and showing the basic athleticism needed to potentially stick at third base long-term.  He will still just be 18 years old when the new season arrives so he has plenty of time on his side and a world of talent but he will need to put his health issues behind him to avoid losing important development time going forward.

2B, Griffin Garrabito: If there's a second coming of the recently departed Jose Pirela in the farm system it very well may be this Dominican native.  An under the radar signing a year ago as part of their massive International free agent class, he had a solid first full season this year, hitting a combined .256 between the Dominican Summer League and Gulf Coast League.  Like Pirela none of the tools grade out as plus but he has a real knack for hitting, showing advanced plate discipline and pitch recognition, and the power and speed have the chance to be average.  He also plays with a high energy level and shows some positional flexibility in the infield, playing some second base and third base after being signed as a shortstop.  He's a long-term 'sleeper' for the Yankees and the recently turned 18-year old is still growing.

OF, Isiah Gilliam: This year's 20th round pick out of junior college enters the system with the kind of advanced hitting approach that will continue to keep him in Top 50 discussions for the foreseeable future.  He hit a rock-solid .296 in the Gulf Coast League in his debut season this year and did so as an 18-year old for a good portion of it.  However, while the bat is advanced the power grades out as more average than anything and that raises subsequent profile concerns; will he hit for enough power to slot it admirably in one of the corner outfield spots long-term as he's not a true defensive centerfielder?  That's a legit question that may not be answered for some time but for now he will have to hit his way up the minor league ladder.  He has the bat to do just that though until the power comes around more.

OF, Jeff Hendrix: This year's fourth round pick out of Oregon State University entered the system not as a typical college position player.  With plus speed and some hidden average power potential he has a bit more ceiling than associated with normal college players.  He's also a now defender in centerfield, showing above average abilities there, prompting some Brett Gardner-like comparisons early on.  And like Gardner he has a ton of patience at the plate and a real knack for spoiling pitches and competing well in at-bats.  However, his debut season wasn't a really productive one as he hit just .229 with no home runs.  A former walk-on in college, it may take some time for the bat to come around but the tools do play at the professional level.  Patience may be required in the short-term here.

OF, Jhalan Jackson: If there's somebody who absolutely looks the part of a burgeoning big league slugger it's this year's seventh round pick out of Florida Southern University.  Standing 6-foot-3 with a strong 220-pound tapered frame, Jackson is built like an NFL linebacker or strong safety and because of that he has above average or better to all fields, especially to the pull-side where he can hit some titanic home runs.  He's also more athletic and quicker than most pundits realize, and is a capable defender in the corner outfield spots too.  Because of all of that he has definitive Top 50 type talent but it's the bat that needs to come around a bit more to make optimal use of his impressive tools.  He'll need to show a bit more patience at the plate and refine his pitch recognition more but if the consistency of his bat comes around watch out, he has the talent to rise the rankings in a hurry.

RHP, Conor Mullee: Age-wise it's tough to still consider this 27-year old a true "prospect" but experience-wise he assuredly is one, especially considering the former college infielder has gone through three Tommy John surgeries and is basically coming off his first full season in 2015 when he nearly doubled his career innings [he had 58.2 innings this year and just 66 innings entering the season].  He generates a lot of power and sink with a truly effortless delivery, topping out at 96 mph this year, and has two average or better secondary pitches at his disposal too.  He's also a primo strike-thrower too; he has just 36 walks in those 124.2 career innings.  Forget the advanced age, there is still a lot of talent here and some untapped potential too.

RHP, Luis Niebla: Between Gallegos and Niebla, another Mexican native, the Yankees should be covered in the loss of Vargas to the Padres.  Like Vargas and Gallegos he has found a home in the bullpen where the stuff has played at a higher level, at least velocity-wise.  He's been cranking it up to 96 mph at times in his shorter stints and he still mixes in a quality big league secondary arsenal, including a curveball, slider, and changeup.  He doesn't have quite the same proclivity for striking guys out as the other two nor has he had the same degree of success at the higher levels yet but a lot of the runs he served up in Double-A this year came earlier in the season before he transitioned to the bullpen.  He is a viable long-term big league bullpen option now.

OF, Alexander Palma:This Venezuelan native is proof positive of the cautionary tale of trying to project hit-first corner outfield types with limited if not questionable power potential.  Not exactly toolsy, grading out as below average speed-wise and more than average than anything defensively, Palma hit just .202 with only nine extra-base hits in 81 games for low-A Charleston this year.  With great pitch recognition and advanced plate patience he's a much better hitter than he displayed in the South Atlantic League but his greatest impact potential is with his consistency at the plate so when that escapes him for long stretches like it did this year he has little to fall back on.  With very little margin for error because of the rather average tools he needs to get back to his hitting ways to get back on the prospect map.

OF, Mark Payton: Last year's seventh round pick out of the University of Texas was not a standout in his first full season this year but still had a very admirable showing, hitting a combined .267 with 28 extra-base hits and eleven stolen bases.  He mostly profiled as a potential big league reserve outfielder entering the season and still projects best as such these days too.  He shows a solid ability across the board hitting-wise, defensively, and with moderate power and speed.  He won't be a world-beater and does get buried in the depth of quality outfield prospects currently in the Yankee farm system, especially at the higher minor league levels, but he still has big league potential worth tracking.

SS, Danienger Perez: Like Garabito, Perez was an under the radar signing last year in the Yankees' massive International free agent class and gets overlooked as a result.  However, the fact is he is actually quite toolsy, showing above average speed and intriguing long-term power potential, not to mention solid patience at the plate.  A bit Thairo Estrada-like in that regard, he advanced all the way to Staten Island from the Dominican Summer League in his debut season this year and collected an impressive 20 doubles in his first 240 professional at-bats along the way.  And like Estrada he may have to find at-bats at second base despite being a quality shortstop prospect.  He too has long-term 'sleeper' potential and is already beginning to emerge as one to keep an eye on in the coming years.

SS, Yonauris Rodriguez: One of the top International free agent signings two yeas ago, this Dominican native is an elite defensive shortstop already and has been one since the day he signed.  However, slightly built, he has been working hard behind the scenes to get stronger and improve his offensive game.  He shows some hitting potential but the power is below average currently and doesn't project to grade much higher if and when he fills out.  Still, if the 18-year old can just improve his strength and become a more consistent hitter [he hit just .222 between the Dominican Summer League and Gulf Coast League this year] he could follow Kyle Holder as the type of special game-changing defensive player who a manager would love to pencil into the everyday lineup.

LHP, Josh Rogers: This year's eleventh round pick out of the University of Louisville enters the organization as quite the secret.  He not only flies under the radar on the national scene but even in his own organization as many top team officials haven't even gotten a look at him yet considering he pitched in just five games in his debut season this year and had too many innings to pitch at Instructs.  He shows three big league pitches from the left side but none are of the plus variety just yet.  He could really use one of them to be that going forward, especially his breaking ball, but he could follow Jordan Montgomery as somebody as a 'sleeper' prospect entering the organization who pitches his way into legit prospect status in his first full season.  Everyone has a wait-and-see approach with this southpaw; he just needs innings at this point.

RHP, Adonis Rosa: This Dominican hurler gets lost in the plethora of power arms currently in the Yankee farm system but few offer his kind of superb strike-throwing ability either.  His promotion from the Dominican Summer League to short-season Pulaski is one of the more unheralded storylines in 2015 and he more than held his own, posting a solid 7-2 record and 3.93 ERA in the Appy League.  Not as physically strong as some of the other pitchers in the farm system, it's not as if he doesn't throw hard.  He'll get his fastball up to 93 mph and both his changeup and slider are progressing steadily.  The stuff isn't plus but it has the chance to be above average when it's all said and done, and with his ability to pound the strike zone the Yankees could have a keeper on their hands if he keeps progressing and gets stronger.  He has legit 'sleeper' potential.

3B, Allen Valerio: This Dominican native was more noted for his advanced defensive abilities at third base than his slower progressing bat entering the year and then went out and had a tremendous season in short-season Pulaski, hitting .271 with 26 extra-base hits [including 12 home runs].  The power didn't exactly come of nowhere either as he hit eight home runs in the Dominican Summer League back in 2013 [his third season in the DSL] but, now 22 years old, it remains to be seen if the power will continue to show up at the higher minor league levels.  He's a mild 'sleeper' until he does prove it more.

2B/3B, Brandon Wagner: This year's sixth round pick out of junior college is one of the more intriguing position prospects at the lower minor league levels for the Yankees.  He has explosive bat speed with a quick-twitch swing from the left side and shows advanced patience at the plate, giving him some legitimate long-term offensive potential.  However, more noted for his offensive potential than his defensive prowess, the former third baseman is attempting to transition over to second base.  It is going to take some time for the recently turned 20-year old to learn the nuances of the position but there have been glimpses of some real ability there.  If he can develop into just a serviceable defensive middle infield option he could be a little Refsnyder-like as somebody whose bat profiles as a plus at the position.  There's a considerable ceiling but equally considerable work to be done too though.

RHP, Matt Wotherspoon: Last year's 34th round pick out of the University of Pittsburgh entered his first full season this year with some serious 'sleeper' potential out of the bullpen but was transitioned to the starting role to give him more time to work on refining his secondary pitches, especially his slider.  The plan worked out real well too as his slider became a big league above average offering by season's end and it was a big reason he averaged more than a strikeout per inning pitched.  He has both a quality sinking two-seamer and four-seam fastball, the latter of which can get up to 95 mph at times in the starting role.  A 'sleeper' candidate before the season began, he's even more so these days and it's not just as a potential bullpen arm either.  There is some starting potential with three quality big league offerings and it's possible the stuff would play even higher if he's transitioned back to the bullpen down the road.  Don't dismiss him based on his late-round selection.

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