Martin Griff

With the 2016 minor league season over, we reveal who improved their stock the most and who didn't.

The 2016 minor league season is over and several prospects have seen their stocks rise this season while others have seen it dip down. Here are some of the Yankees prospects who have seen their place in the farm system shift the most this season.

Stock Rising

RHP, Chance Adams - Internally last year's 5th round pick out of Dallas Baptist University was already a borderline top ten prospect organizationally after advancing all the way to high-A Tampa in his debut season and dominating every step of the way.  So while his 2016 season was truly outstanding this year -- he posted a combined 13-1 record with a 2.33 ERA and a farm system leading 144 strikeouts between Double-A and Triple-A -- his stock inside the organization didn't have much room to improve.

However, outside the organization, nationally speaking, it's probable that no Yankee prospect saw his stock rise more than Adams in 2016.  He went from one of the best kept Yankee secrets to a household name in prospect circles in just one season.  His high ceiling talent wasn't just on display in flashes, it was in-your-face front and center from beginning to end all season long and at the highest minor league levels.  A potential throw-in in would-be trades a year ago, his stock has gotten to the point where he's not just a big-time internal big league option for the Yankees but a major trade chip too should the Yankees decide to go that route.

LHP, Dietrich Enns - Somewhat on the other side of the spectrum is this former 19th round pick out of Central Michigan University back in 2012.  He had always had Top 50 Prospect type talent with his solid combination of average or better big league stuff and overall pitch-ability but he never quite had put it all together.  Ranked 47th entering the 2016 season, he had just made his way back from Tommy John surgery in the second half of the season last year when he posted a ridiculous 0.61 ERA upon his return, most of which came at the high-A level.

Most talent observers were waiting to see if he could keep that high level of pitch-ability up in his first full season back this year and he didn't disappoint, posting a combined 14-4 mark with a 1.73 ERA between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton.  However, because the fastball doesn't tick in the mid-90s like some others and because none of his secondary pitches are truly elite offerings there are still some skeptics waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop.  With a career sub-2.00 ERA [1.86 to be exact] those doubters may be waiting a while.  What it does mean though is while his stock is soaring internally his percentage gain outside the organization isn't quite on the same level yet.  Regardless, his stock is soaring to new heights.

SS/2B, Thairo Estrada - This Venezuelan native made our mid-season 'Stock Rising' group earlier this year and he's right back up here again on the strength of a mini-breakout season that saw him hit a combined .290 with eight home runs and 18 stolen bases at two A-ball levels.  Internally the Yankees knew he had all of the makings of a consistent above average hitter with average power potential and above average speed, but they just hadn't seen it materialize yet; until now.

Ranking 29th entering the season in a [admittedly] conservative ranking, the scary part is Estrada is really only just now beginning to scratch the surface of his rather considerable potential.  There's still a lot more ceiling left hitting-wise, power-wise, and on the base paths, and defensively he's already a plus player at second base, one who can fill in at an above average defensive level at shortstop if need be too, and that's not even considering the potential he can show both at third base and in centerfield if need be.  There aren't 28 prospects better than he is in the Yankees organization but he is still very undervalued given New York's farm system depth, especially at the middle infield spots.

OF, Dustin Fowler - This former 18th round pick out of high school in 2013 was just starting to catch the attention of national prospect analysts a year ago when he hit a combined .298 with five home runs between two A-ball clubs last season.  With his stock already rising, he then went out this year and hit .281 with career highs in doubles [30], triples [15], and home runs [12], and stole 25 bases a year after swiping 30.  The bottom line?  He not only proved his 2015 wasn't fluky but that he was just beginning to tap his ceiling too.

With ever-improving defense in centerfield in his corner as well, his stock is soaring both internally and nationally, and like Estrada the scary part is he's not even close to doing all that he can on a baseball field.  There's more power to be tapped, more potential hitting-wise, and his pitch recognition suggests a huge bump in walks isn't that far away from becoming a big part of his game in the future too.

RHP, Giovanny Gallegos - This Mexican native was symbolic of the already impressive depth the Yankee farm system already had entering the 2016 season; he wasn't even among the Top 50 Yankees prospects despite having that kind of talent.  Like Estrada, he too was part of our mid-season 'Stock Rising' group after he came out of Spring Training red hot and that momentum never really ceased.  He finished the season posting a combined 1.27 ERA between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton, and struck out 106 batters in 78 innings while holding opposing batters to a pathetic .175 average.

He had long been undervalued and underappreciated in prospect circles previous years, and a lot of that had to do with his inconsistent health and eventual shift to the bullpen. His above average stuff and plus on the field results have his stock soaring internally, maybe not to the point where he's one of the top prospects but it's enough of a percentage gain to make him one of the bigger gainers for the Yankees.

C, Kyle Higashioka -- There might not be a bigger gainer both internally and on the national scene prospect-wise for the Yankees than this former seventh round pick out of high school back in 2008.  Not only completely written off and left for dead by seemingly every prospect analyst in the country [and for good reason given his lack of on the field production in several seasons prior], 'Higgy' finally had the kind of season the Yankees believed internally many years ago he was capable of having.  He hit a combined .276 with career highs in nearly every category, including doubles [24] and home runs [21].

That immense production came from what was already considered an elite receiver defensively, one who was a major reason why both the Trenton Thunder and Scranton RailRiders were setting historic pitching marks in 2016.  He now gives the Yankees two very rare options at the big league level -- two A-defenders behind the plate who can swing a rather potent bat.  Nationally speaking Higashioka might not have the soaring stock of a Gary Sanchez but internally there's so much more to ponder with what many considered a mere afterthought entering the 2016 campaign; his stock has soared that much.

LHP, Jordan Mongtomery - The pitching version of Fowler as somebody whose stock was on the rise even before the season began, this former University of South Carolina standout was just starting to gain some national traction entering the 2016 after a solid season last year that saw him post a combined 2.95 ERA between two A-ball levels.  However, his stock didn't really soar like it should have before the year because many analysts didn't see the rather significant uptick in stuff towards the end of the season last year.  He used to sit in the high-80s and now sits comfortably in the low to mid-90s, and his on the field production has only gotten better the higher he has climbed too.

He was one of the real consistent performers in Double-A this year, posting a 2.55 ERA in 19 starts, but it was at Triple-A where his game and his stock have both reached their highest levels.  He posted 5-1 record with a 0.97 ERA in six starts and he also finished second down on the farm in strikeouts [behind Adams], and all of his pitches have improved more than gradually over the past year.  He might not have the ceiling of an Adams but his stock surge might not be much further behind either.

Others Whose Stock Is Rising: Miguel Andujar, Cody Carroll, Nestor Cortes, Caleb Frare, Jeff Hendrix, Kyle Holder, Eduardo Rivera, James Reeves, Josh Rogers, Daris Vargas, and Zach Zehner.

Stock Falling

OF, Kendall Coleman - It's nearly impossible to completely write off a talent like Coleman, especially one who [like Higashioka] shows the signs of being an eventual good hitter someday, but at the same time it's nearly impossible to see his stock falling after hitting just a combined .197 this past season.  The ceiling is huge but unfortunately so is the hole he's digging for himself from a production standpoint.  He has a Higashioka-like offensive breakout season in him but, not an elite defensive catcher, he may not get the number of chances 'Higgy' got to prove it either.

RHP, Cale Coshow - This time a year go this former 13th round pick was squarely in the 'Stock Rising' group after posting a combined 2.45 ERA between high-A and Double-A, and showing some signs of potential as a starting pitcher too even though he better projected as an eventual reliever.  Fast forward one year later and that transition back to the bullpen has already occurred, and inexplicably his control has evaded him.  His walk ratio more than doubled, going from 2.21 per nine innings in 2015 to 5.04 per nine innings this season.  Whether he approaches 100 mph or not on the radar, that kind of wildness isn't going to get it done and until it gets corrected it has his stock falling, especially given the bevy of bullpen options for the Yankees.

RHP, Gabe Encinas - On the subject of not getting it done, this former sixth round pick has always had one of the best arms and some of the nastiest stuff around.  Well, unfortunately the only thing nastier than his stuff these days are the results he's been putting up in the stats column, and that's when he's been healthy enough to be on the mound.  He missed another couple of months this year with an undisclosed injury, got transitioned to the bullpen, and still somehow walked significantly more batters [46] than he struck out [26]; not an easy feat to do.  It's tough to give up on an arm like his but there has to be some semblance of control first.

2B, Gosuke Katoh - There might not be a prospect with a tougher road ahead of him than this former second round pick.  He had shown signs of being a very good hitter someday at the rookie levels but that advanced eye, pitch recognition, and plate patience have yet to translate into actual on the field results in the long-season leagues.  He seemed to have enjoyed a mini-bounce back season a year ago when he hit .287 in short-season Pulaski but his stock came crashing back down with another sub-par performance [.229] once again in low-A Charleston this year.  Considering his career batting average in Charleston is now .214 in parts of three seasons and the Yankees now have better hitters who are better athletes [Wade, Avelino, Estrada, etc] getting reps at second base, and the Yankees added Nick Solak in the draft this year, Katoh's stock is at an all-time low.


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