Patrick Teale

Some Yankees prospects are already gone this offseason, moving others higher up in the rankings.

A busy offseason down on the farm this offseason has already seen three Top 50 prospects [Luis Torrens, Caleb Smith, and Tyler Webb] exit the organization. Those three have been replaced in the Top 50, thus creating three open spots in the 'Next Ten'.

51. LHP, Jeff Degano - Few have ever had the nightmare statistical season last year's second round pick had to endure this season.  He walked a mind-boggling 25 batters in just 5.2 innings for short-season Pulaski and finished his season with a 27.00 ERA.  However, he was never really healthy in 2016 and the numbers showed it.  With a fastball from the left side that touches 95 and a potentially plus curveball as well as a decent changeup in the making, given his superb athleticism, chances are he does an about-face and finds himself much higher in these very same rankings a year from now.  Forget the numbers, the talent is just too great to ignore.

52. LHP, Chaz Hebert - Injuries have a way of slipping players in the rankings and in the case of Hebert, who missed all of the 2016 season with Tommy John surgery, it's a double-whammy considering the timing of everything.  His game was absolutely peaking at the right time, seeing his stuff blossom into four legitimate big league average or better pitches with results at the higher minor league levels to match, and now falls victim to one of the deepest farm systems around.  There is still a ton of polish here for him to pick up right where he left off when he most likely returns to the mound in April and seeing significant Double-A time and success is not out of the question.  A sure-fire Top 50 prospect a year ago, don't forget about his potential.

53. LHP, Josh Rogers - In a way last year's 11th round pick out of Louisville is a slightly taller version of Hebert in that he sits mostly in the 88-92 mph range and knows how to mix in two other average or better big league pitches with command to get hitters out consistently.  The ceiling isn't very high in that regard but the floor is higher than most.  He had a tremendous first full season this year, posting a combined 12-6 mark over two minor league levels with a 2.38 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP ratio.  There isn't anything sexy to his stuff but he knows how to get hitters out and a potential back-end big league starting pitcher at this spot is proof positive of the extreme depth the Yankees have built.  .

54. RHP, Giovanny Gallegos - It is difficult to have a better overall season than this Mexican native had in 2016, posting a combined 7-2 record with a 1.27 ERA between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton and striking out 106 batters in just 78 innings.  A former starting pitcher [and former Top 50 prospect in that role too], he has been an absolute find coming out of the bullpen over the past two years.  And it's not just on the field results either [he posted a 1.71 ERA in his first season as a reliever in 2015], he's got some impressive stuff too.  His fastball will sit in the 93-96 mph range, his curveball is above average and flashes plus potential, and he even has a quality changeup if need be too.  Now a member of the 40-man roster, it's just a matter of time before he's helping out in the Bronx.  Don't let his perceived lower ranking fool you, he's a Top 50 talent all the way.  He just happens to be pitching in a very, very deep farm system.

55. C, Donny Sands - Last year's eighth round pick made the Top 50 rankings a year ago thanks to his advanced feel for hitting and solid defensive abilities at third base.  His long-term power potential was deemed modest at best, however, so the Yankees decided to move that bat behind the plate.  While it was a step backwards initially, the Yankees believe it will pay dividends in the long run and the early reports on his defensive transition to catcher have been good thus far.  He still has a lot to learn but he is extremely intelligent and boasts one of the better work ethics.  Still just 20 years old, he won't ever be a heart of the order type hitter given his tick below average power but he could turn into a consistent hitter at a key position when it's all said and done, and those kinds of players are worth their weight in gold. 

56. RHP, Jordan Foley - This former fifth round pick followed Jonathan Holder in the starter-turned-reliever path in 2016 and he too had a tremendous first season pitching out of the bullpen, posting a combined 3.03 ERA over two minor league levels and striking out 88 batters in a little more than 65 innings.  Like Holder too, the repertoire can be extremely deep for a reliever.  He mostly throws above average fastballs and sliders, the latter of which flashes plus potential, but he also has a plus splitter in his back pocket that took a back seat development-wise this past year while he worked on the slider.  There's Gallegos-like talent and skill here, and like Gallegos it would not be shocking to see a huge year out of Foley in 2017 and a resulting 40-man roster spot within a calendar year.  Don't forget he also has the ability to start games too if the organization decides to go back to that.

57. SS/2B, Diego Castillo - There are a number of players with better numbers not in these rankings and there are prospects with higher ceilings not ranked here either.  However, few offer the advanced plus makeup and potential plus hitting this middle infielder possesses, the kind of Jeter-like intangible qualities that transcend numbers and tools.  This Venezuelan native was born a winner and born to hit.  The numbers thus far in his first two professional seasons have been quite good actually, hitting .304 with 27 extra-base hits in his first 40 professional games, but it's everything that lies below the surface that has team insiders excited about his long-term potential.  It may take another year or two for this recently turned 19-year old to break out like he can but it would be foolish to overlook what is obvious Top 50 talent.

58. 3B, Nelson Gomez - Gomez was seriously considered for the original Top 50 prospect rankings and just fell shy of the 'Next Ten' due to the overwhelming depth of the Yankee farm system but his late addition shouldn't be perceived as any sort of knock on his game.  In fact, possessing unbelievable plus power potential and plus arm strength, he arguably possesses one of the higher ceilings not just at the lower minor league levels for the Yankees but in the entire farm system.  He is still learning to become a better overall hitter, however, after hitting just .221 through his first two professional seasons, and there are some question marks regarding his long-term defensive game at third base.  Still, he is an incredibly hard worker and there are promising signs in those two areas.  He spent last offseason not only shedding 20-plus pounds but reshaping what is now a more chiseled body, he has improved his range and agility, and he was noticeably hitting more liners to center and the opposite field in 2016.  There is real progress being made to his two biggest weaknesses and his now strengths are big-time tools.  He could be ready to break out soon.

59. OF, Rashad Crawford - Seemingly the proverbial 'throw-in' when he came over from the Cubs in the Aroldis Chapman trade that included top prospect Gleyber Torres, big league pitcher Adam Warren, and former Top 100 prospect Billy McKinney, this former 11th round pick could wind up being a lot more than that when it's all said and done if his time in high-A Tampa is any sort of indication.  He hit a solid .291 with two home runs and four stolen bases in the final month, including .381 in his last ten games.  A two-sport athlete in high school, he didn't play baseball full-time until he got drafted in 2012 and he's starting to tap some of his considerable ceiling now.  A plus-plus runner, he is a great defensive outfielder with decent power and the hitting is starting to come around around.  He fills an immediate void among the outfielders in the middle minor league levels and could wind up being more than a mere organizational player.  Like Gomez, he could be ready to break out soon.

60. RHP, Daris Vargas - This former position prospect is the Nelson Gomez of pitchers in that the tools are not obvious but square in your face but time and patience that are needed for those tools to materialize better, and that is what is happening with Vargas.  The Yankees knew the former outfielder could throw hard when they signed him but he had a real difficult time with location initially, walking nearly as many batters as he struck out.  They kept working with him though and he has slowly but surely become a very good strike-thrower, which is a good sign considering he sits 94-98 mph with relative ease and can sustain his velocity not just deep into starts but deep into seasons too.  And his secondary pitches, while still not yet big-time weapons, have gone from non-existent to flashing big league average.  The command, pitch-ability, and secondary stuff are all ticking upwards these days.  Already quite good, he keeps getting better.


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