Top 50 Yankees Prospects

We're EXTENDING our "Buy One Month, Get One Month Free" promotion until midnight on WEDNESDAY. Here are the Top 50 Yankees' prospects. PinstripesPlus.com gives a little insight on each selection in our rankings but will follow up more in-depth with individual scouting reports on each player throughout this offseason, starting in descending order.

IMPORTANT NOTES about the Top 50 - Any player with any big league service time, no matter how little, was excluded from our rankings.

ALSO, DO NOT reveal the rankings, either partially or in full, on other message boards, blogs, sites, etc. Remember this is copyrighted material and we'd hope everybody would respect the other paying subscribers by not divulging any of the information in the rankings...

...including just a listing of the names of the players in the rankings! Basically read the rankings, talk about them on our subscribers forum here, and don't share any of the information anywhere else please.


1. Jesus Montero - Big-bodied and strong, Montero led the Yankees farm system in batting average for the second straight year, hitting .337 with 17 home runs after hitting .326 in Charleston the year before. His defensive game remains a work in progress, but critics continue to overlook the fact that he not only provides plus offensive potential at a normally weak hitting position, but he does have a strong arm and he provides a big target behind the plate, and offensively he's ready for the big leagues right now.

2. Austin Jackson - There are players with better tools ranked below Jackson, but few offer the same reliability in their projections. The pundits get down on his lack of home run power right now, but they fail to acknowledge the progress with his approach and that has put his power development on the back burner. He upped his batting average from .285 in 2008 to an even .300 this year and he continued to become a lot more consistent both in his offensive approach and defensive work. He still needs more seasoning at Triple-A, but Jackson offers a great combination of upside and proximity to the big leagues.

3. Austin Romine - The 2009 Florida State League Hitter of the Year batted .276 with 13 home runs in the pitching friendly league and saw his slugging percentage increase from the year before. But while the offense is stellar at the catcher's position, it was the great strides he took behind the plate that were more noticeable. Once a less than reliable receiver, he is now as consistent as the come in that department and he's a much better two-way threat at catcher.

4. Manny Banuelos - All the 18-year old Mexican lefty did this year was go 9-5 with a 2.67 ERA as one of the youngest pitchers in the South Atlantic League, and he did it while not having one of his better pitches working for most of the season. He offers three plus pitches, including a fastball that topped out at 96 MPH this year, and he pitches like he's much older. Now that he has the plus curveball working consistently, he could fly up through the minors.

5. Arodys Vizcaino - The Dominican right-hander is as electric as they come on the mound. While his stats were good [posting a 2.13 ERA and a better than a strikeout per inning in the NY Penn League], they pale in comparison to just how good his stuff is. He was sitting 94-96 MPH with his fastball late in the season, showing the great plus curveball, and his changeup continues to get better. If he could develop his changeup into a consistent plus pitch, he too could race through the minor leagues.

6. Andrew Brackman - Some won't be able to look past the ugly overall numbers this season - 2-12, 5.91 ERA, and 26 wild pitches - but by season's end he started looking like a big league pitcher. The Yankees moved him to the bullpen and took away his changeup so he could just focus on his mechanics and the end result was a complete 180 degree turnaround in his ability to throw strikes. He now has repeatable mechanics, an ability to pound the zone with strikes, and two big-time plus pitches in his fastball and curveball. It's not out of the realm of possibility that he could be a viable big league bullpen option as soon as next season.

7. Slade Heathcott - The Texas High School outfielder was just drafted this year but few prospects contain his unique set of tools. A real good football player as well, he is a physical specimen who has both power and speed to his game, not to mention one of the better arms too. He projects to be a five-tool standout in centerfield, but he also can throw 95 MPH from the mound with a plus curveball if things don't work out for some reason offensively.

8. Corban Joseph - Stat-heads will look at his overall numbers and come away somewhat impressed, but perhaps not Top Ten impressed. The fact of the matter is that between his time in Extended Spring Training and the South Atlantic League, he hit way over .300 with eight home runs in his first full professional season. Most scouts agree, however, that there's a lot more power to come and with his plate discipline that could make him a rare offensive player at second base.

9. Gary Sanchez - The 16-year old Dominican player has yet to play an official minor league game but there's no doubting his skillset. He has power potential comparable to Montero and defensive abilities comparable to Romine, but if that weren't enough, his overall offensive game is further advanced than Montero's at a similar stage in their careers. That alone warrants a Top Ten ranking already.

10. J.R. Murphy - Like Sanchez, Murphy gives the Yankees another catching prospect with plus offensive potential. His defensive game isn't as far along, however, but few offer his baseball acumen and advanced hitting approach. The prevailing thought inside the organization is that Murphy could be Corban Joseph-like offensively and he can do it at the catcher's position.

11. Christian Garcia - Another year, another set of injuries for the ultra-talented right-hander. He has everything anyone would want in a pitcher except an ability to remain healthy. He has three plus pitches, including the systems's best curveball and best changeup, he can hold runners and he can field his position extremely well. All he has to do is remain healthy and he could be an impact pitcher at the big league level.

12. Zach McAllister - The 21-year old led the Double-A Eastern League with a 2.23 ERA and held opposing batters to a .220 batting average as one of the youngest pitchers in the league. His success is predicated on his ability to pitch inside and get ground ball outs, and he's also able to throw strikes and pitch deep into games. Some scouts question his ability to strike batters out with both an average changeup and average slider, but his uncanny command of both can't be questioned.

13. Graham Stoneburner - Signed as a draft-eligible sophomore out of Clemson University, the right-hander pitched in just a couple of minor league games, amazing scouts there and during Instructs. He has an effortless arm action but yet still sits 93-96 MPH with relative ease and he already has a plus slider. He also shows great command of both pitches. He could either be a quick mover as a reliever with David Robertson-like effectiveness, or he could remain a starter and have frontline potential.

14. D.J. Mitchell - Like Stoneburner, Mitchell didn't pitch a professional game before being ranked this high a year ago. However, all Mitchell did in his first minor league season this year was post a combined 12-7 record and a 2.63 ERA between stops at low-A Charleston and high-A Tampa. He developed his slurvy breaking pitch into a legitimate big league plus curveball and his changeup is now making similar strides. His sinker is very special too as well as his command, so he's a bit like Zach McAllister, only he has some strikeout weapons in his arsenal.

15. Jose Ramirez - The 19-year old gets overlooked by many because he wasn't a big-money International free agent. That's a shame too because he has one of the more electric arms at the minor league level. Like Vizcaino and Stoneburner, Ramirez can generate plus power with very little effort. He too was sitting 94-96 MPH at the end of the season and he has a plus changeup in his arsensal. He throws a ton of strikes too. His curveball is lacking right now, but he can spin the baseball. If he can develop that into a consistent third plus pitch, he'll break into the Top Ten prospects in a hurry. His arm is special.

16. David Adams - Last year's third round pick has developed from a questionable two-way player into one of the better ones in just one short year. He hit a combined .286 with 40 doubles, eight triples, and seven home runs between Charleston and Tampa. However, the majority of his damage came in the pitching-friendly Florida State League so there's reason to believe his power potential is higher than most folks realize. Throw in the fact he is one of the best at turning double-plays at second base, he's legitimate in every way.

17. Eduardo Nunez - Known for being a virtual tool shed coming up through the minor leagues, Nunez finally backed up his tools with some actual production this past season. He finished third in the farm system with a .322 average, hit nine home runs, and stole 19 bases. He's also one of the more gifted defensive shortstops at the minor league level. He has really come into his own and he offers 20-20 potential at the middle infield position.

18. Dellin Betances - There's an awful lot to like about a 21-year old who can hit 98 MPH on the gun and has a plus curveball too. As sky-high as his ceiling is, however, his continued troubles showing consistent mechanics and a reliable changeup have now given way to Tommy John surgery. There's no reason to doubt his abilities, but he is starting to fall victim to the ever-increasing depth of the Yankees farm system.

19. Abraham Almonte - Like Nunez coming up, Almonte is an ultra-toolsy player who has struggled to find consistency as a switch-hitter. However, the former second baseman has turned himself into an elite defensive centerfielder and the end result was growing comfort in the batter's box. He hit .305 in the second half and nearly added 200 points to his OPS during that time, not to mention he stole twice as many bases. He's a legit five-tool player who is starting to come into his own.

20. Ivan Nova - Lost to the San Diego Padres in the Rule 5 Draft last offseason, it doesn't seem likely the Yankees will leave him exposed this year after posting a 2.36 ERA in Double-A. He did struggle, however, at Triple-A and he can be one of the more frustrating players. He is armed with plus command of three plus big league pitches and therefore should miss a few more bats. Talent-wise he should rank higher but he's going to have to produce a bit more to get there.

21. Kelvin De Leon - De Leon was signed two years ago as the top International free agent and he was then reported to be a five-tool player. More of a true slugger since that time though, he did start showing some of that five-tool talent by season's end this year, thanks in large part to a renewed energy. He has taken his hustle to a new level and that kind of commitment, with his plus power potential and improved defensive play in the outfield, could be downright scary someday.

22. Jeremy Bleich - His numbers at Double-A Trenton were bad, so bad that some critics have begun to write Bleich off completely. That would be a mistake. The left-hander has better stuff than most people realize. He's armed with a plus fastball for a lefty, sitting in the low-90's pretty consistently and he has one of the better curveballs around. His changeup, while not a strikeout pitch, is an effective out-pitch. He simply didn't trust his stuff enough at Double-A - a level which is quite the achievement for a first-year pitcher - and he's smart enough to not give opposing batters too much credit next season.

23. Kyle Higashioka - Higashioka is arguably the best kept secret in the Yankees organization. He hit just .253 with two home runs for the Staten Island Yankees, disguising the fact that he has one of the best offensive approaches in the farm system. He's got a lot more juice than the numbers show and his plate discipline is already a plus big league tool. Throw in the fact he's probably the best receiver at catcher and a natural leader, this kid has the goods to be a legitimate two-way catcher at the big league level someday.

24. Jairo Heredia - Like Betances, there is still a lot to like about Heredia's game. He sits in the low-90's with his fastball and he too has a plus curveball, and the changeup is coming around. But he missed out on some important development time this past season and he is now also falling victim to the increasing depth of the Yankees farm system. He needs to improve that changeup and it wouldn't hurt to add a tick or two to the fastball to fend off some of these other power arms he's competing against.

25. Brandon Laird - Laird had a solid offensive season in the Florida State League, hitting .266 with 13 home runs for the Tampa Yankees. He also shed 20 pounds prior to the start of the year and that helped him make tremendous strides defensively. However, he is still a hit-first kind of prospect who will be relegated to a corner position. With that being the case, he will need to continue to show continued increasing power to keep the same value.

26. George Kontos - Kontos was having a terrific year, posting a combined 3.15 ERA between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton, and finally becoming the four-pitch hurler he had worked so hard to become before succumbing to season-ending Tommy John surgery. His once plus velocity had dipped down to the 89-92 MPH plateau, but there is some hope that velocity might come back once he's healthy again. He has turned himself into a viable big league starting option.

27. Wilkins De La Rosa - The converted outfielder had another strong season on the mound, going a combined 5-5 with a 3.17 ERA and striking out nearly a batter per inning between high-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton. The lefty has a plus fastball and good command of a big league changeup. However, the development of his slider remains a work in progress and he'll need that pitch to be effective at the big league level. The ceiling is high, but now a member of the 40-man roster, time is running out to get that slider going.

28. Eduardo Sosa - Sosa took a bit of a hit to his prospect status in 2009 after he hit just .200 in the Gulf Coast League, as well as seeing Heathcott and Almonte become legitimate five-tool players at the same position. Sosa is still extremely talented, however, and he is much better than the numbers reveal. He's an elite defensive centerfielder who has plus speed and good power. Once he gets comfortable in the United States, the numbers should better reflect his talent.

29. David Phelps - There's a strong argument to be made that last year's 14th round pick was this year's organizational pitcher of the year after he went a combined 13-4 with a 2.38 ERA between Charleston and Tampa. His later round selection disguises the fact he has two plus pitches, a fastball that can routinely hit 94-95 MPH and a great slider. His changeup is a quality pitch too, he pounds the zone with strikes, and he works deep into games. He's a sleeper all of the way.

30. Bradley Suttle - Even though Suttle, a good defensive third baseman who is a switch-hitter with power from both sides of the plate, is as talented as they come, missing an entire season with shoulder surgery hurts his prospect status. How he comes back, especially with his throwing arm, bears watching. If he can pick up right where he left off he could fly back up the rankings.

31. Jimmy Paredes - Like Suttle, Paredes is a slick-fielding third baseman was has been coming back from labrum surgery. He wasn't able to show off his plus arm at third this past season, however, but he was able to prove he's a pretty good middle infielder too. Paredes is another mega-toolsy player whose ceiling is as vast as it comes. If he can take a few more pitches and show better plate discipline, and start tapping some of that power potential, he could sky-rocket through these rankings.

32. Jose Pirela - Pirela is a classic example of a player who plays higher than his tools. He has average speed and decent power, but neither really showed up as well as they could in his first full season this past year. He is, however, one of the biggest hustlers in the entire organization and he goes all-out. He's a good hitter with plus plate discipline, but it remains to be seen if his power will develop enough to be the plus offensive player he could be at the middle infield spot.

33. Adam Warren - This year's fourth round pick had a tremendous debut season, going 4-2 with a 1.43 ERA and posting a five to one strikeout-to-walk ratio. He's got good stuff too, topping out at 96 MPH with his fastball and showing a trio of big league quality pitches with his curveball, slider, and changeup. None of his secondary pitches are true plus offerings at the current time, but he throws strikes with all of them and that could allow him move quickly through the minor leagues. If he can show the same velocity next season and beyond, and develop a true plus breaking ball, he could also move up the rankings.

34. Caleb Cotham - Not many in the organization got an extended look at him since he made just three professional appearances after working his way back from knee surgery, but he reportedly has a plus fastball that sits 92-95 MPH, as well as a plus slider and a decent changeup. He's the kind of pitcher who could really shoot up the rankings but a little more sustained exposure to professional baseball is needed first.

35. Brett Marshall - Like Cotham, Marshall is a well-built, athletic right-hander who can really bring the heat. His fastball can sit anywhere from 91-96 MPH and he does have a quality big league changeup. However, his curveball remains a work in a progress and his slider has been shelved for now. He'll need to show a plus breaking pitch to rise up the rankings, but the huge potential is certainly there to be a top prospect someday.

36. Bryan Mitchell - Like Cotham, Mitchell's debut ranking is hurt by the fact few people have been able to get an extended look at him but he does offer a world of potential. He reportedly sits 92-93 MPH with his fastball and he has the type of body that should only get stronger with age, so it stands to reason he could throw harder down the road. Where Mitchell differs from most young high school pitchers is the possession of an already plus big league curveball. He is arguably one of the best teenage pitching prospects in the organization.

37. Hector Noesi - Like Phelps, Noesi entered the season with little fanfare but broke out in a big way by posting a combined 2.92 ERA between low-A Charleston and high-A Tampa and striking out better than a batter per inning. He has always had arm strength, able to sit in the 91-94 MPH range, but it was the development of his curveball into a big-time plus pitch that aided him in 2009. He too has a good chanegeup as well and he's squarely on the radar now.

38. Damon Sublett - It was a tale of two seasons for the talented left-handed hitter this past season. He hit just .249 before the All Star break while still adjusting to second base, but seemed to flourish offensively after the Yankees moved him to centerfield in the second half. He hit .289 and posted a .857 OPS after the break, and he played a serviceable centerfield too. He still has significant offensive upside and now he can play both second base and centerfield, and his strong arm could allow him to add more positions if the need arises.

39. Zoilo Almonte - Long lauded for his bat by his Latin American coaching staff, Almonte's offensive potential finally began to show in Staten Island this past season. He hit .274 with seven home runs and a team-leading 20 doubles. That part wasn't too surprising. The fact that he stole 15 bases and showed marked improvement defensively, so much so that he played a serviceable centerfield too, was a welcomed addition to his game. He put himself back on the radar and there's more upside left in his game.

40. Colin Curtis - A versatile, plus defensive outfielder that can play all three outfield positions well, Curtis offers a safe projection as a big league reserve outfielder. He has a solid opposite field approach that should allow him to be a solid hitter as well, and he's also learning how to pull the ball a bit more to tap some of his hidden power. A step away from the big leagues, he appears to be a better bench option but there's some upside left in his tank.

41. Sean Black - The former Washington Nationals second round pick a few years ago had a very good debut season for the Staten Island Yankees in 2009, going 6-0 with a 1.62 ERA. He has a plus sinker and a plus changeup, and while he didn't show a good breaking pitch consistently in Staten Island, he quickly developed one during Instructs. Showing that consistent breaking pitch next season and beyond could be the missing ingredient in moving up the rankings.

42. Jorge Vazquez - The former Mexican League slugger is a little old in prospects circles, but that shouldn't detract from his big league potential. It's a struggle to draw a walk, but he hit .329 with 13 home runs in just 225 at-bats in a notorious pitching-friendly stadium. The 27-year old is quite nimble for a man of his size, and while he's not about to supplant Mark Teixeira anytime soon, he does offer the promise of some offensive potential in a reserve role.

43. Garrison Lassiter - It wasn't a banner year statistically for the former AFLAC All-American as he hit just .260 with two home runs in his first taste of the long-season leagues. He did battle some injuries, however, and he endured a position change when he moved over to third base. There's some work to be done, especially defensively, but he does have a big league approach and the type of body that should add significant strength as he gets older. He may not have shown it yet, but there's plus offensive potential in his game.

44. Kevin Whelan - Just based on pure stuff, Whelan should rank much, much higher on this list. He's armed with three plus big league pitches, including a mid-90's fastball, a slider, and one of the best splitters around. His bugaboo has been his inability to consistently throw strikes and limit his walks. If he could find the zone more, he'd be an impact reliever in the big leagues right now.

45. Neil Medchill - Anyone with his kind of power has to make the Top 50 of any organization, even one as deep as the Yankees. The 11th round pick has the look of a true sleeper after he hit a club record 14 home runs for the Staten Island Yankees. He is more than a mere slugger, however. He has a little speed to him and even played some centerfield in a pinch [and didn't embarrass himself]. He's also a tireless worker who has an insatiable desire to get better. He's more than a low minor league level slugger.

46. Manny Barreda - No pitcher in their first year back from Tommy John surgery should be able to show the kind of stuff Barreda showed in the Gulf Coast League this past season. Sitting anywhere from 92-94 MPH in his first year back, his slider has developed into a big-time strikeout pitch and his changeup, while a bit inconsistent, has some sick fading action at times. His smaller size might limit him to a a potential bullpen role should he reach the big leagues someday, but the stuff can not be denied.

47. Kelvin Perez - If you want to predict who next year's Hector Noesi will be you need not look any further than Perez. While Perez is a bit thinner and not naturally as strong, he does have a nice combination of significant arm strength [he sits 91-95 MPH], a knockout curveball, and a quality changeup. Pitching behind the likes of Vizcaino, Warren, and Black in Staten Island has allowed him to fly under the radar a bit, but he has just as much stuff and he throws strikes.

48. Melky Mesa - Hitting 20 home runs in the long-season leagues, even if the batting average is only .225, is no small task. Throw in the fact that Mesa also has plus speed, great defensive ability, and one of the better outfield arms in professional baseball, the foundation is there to potentially develop into an impact player. He made good strides improving his ability to hit the better breaking pitches, and once he learns to focus on being a better hitter that uses the whole field instead of swinging for the fences, he could really blossom into something special.

49. Reegie Corona - Corona doesn't do any one thing superbly, but he does a lot of things well. He can play second base, shortstop, and third base well, he can steal a few bases, and he has plus big league plate discipline. His lack of home run power will most likely relegate him to reserve infielder status and that's a role where he could flourish.

50. Kevin Russo - If Russo were in nearly any other organization, especially one in the Naitonal League, he'd be ranked much higher. However, the fact that he doesn't play shortstop limits his usefulness as a bench player in the American League and, though a good offensive player, he's not about to replace Robinson Cano at second base. He hit .322 and has great plate discipline, shows decent power, and he has some speed. He needs a change of scenery for a team to get the most out of him.

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Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nIMPORTANT NOTES about the Top 50 - Any player with any big league service time, no matter how little, was excluded from our rankings.
\r\n
\r\nALSO, DO NOT reveal the rankings, either partially or in full, on other message boards, blogs, sites, etc. Remember this is copyrighted material and we'd hope everybody would respect the other paying subscribers by not divulging any of the information in the rankings...
\r\n
\r\n...including just a listing of the names of the players in the rankings! Basically read the rankings, talk about them on our subscribers forum here, and don't share any of the information anywhere else please.

\r\n
\r\n1. Jesus Montero - Big-bodied and strong, Montero led the Yankees farm system in batting average for the second straight year, hitting .337 with 17 home runs after hitting .326 in Charleston the year before. His defensive game remains a work in progress, but critics continue to overlook the fact that he not only provides plus offensive potential at a normally weak hitting position, but he does have a strong arm and he provides a big target behind the plate, and offensively he's ready for the big leagues right now.
\r\n
\r\n2. Austin Jackson - There are players with better tools ranked below Jackson, but few offer the same reliability in their projections. The pundits get down on his lack of home run power right now, but they fail to acknowledge the progress with his approach and that has put his power development on the back burner. He upped his batting average from .285 in 2008 to an even .300 this year and he continued to become a lot more consistent both in his offensive approach and defensive work. He still needs more seasoning at Triple-A, but Jackson offers a great combination of upside and proximity to the big leagues.
\r\n
\r\n3. Austin Romine - The 2009 Florida State League Hitter of the Year batted .276 with 13 home runs in the pitching friendly league and saw his slugging percentage increase from the year before. But while the offense is stellar at the catcher's position, it was the great strides he took behind the plate that were more noticeable. Once a less than reliable receiver, he is now as consistent as the come in that department and he's a much better two-way threat at catcher.
\r\n
\r\n4. Manny Banuelos - All the 18-year old Mexican lefty did this year was go 9-5 with a 2.67 ERA as one of the youngest pitchers in the South Atlantic League, and he did it while not having one of his better pitches working for most of the season. He offers three plus pitches, including a fastball that topped out at 96 MPH this year, and he pitches like he's much older. Now that he has the plus curveball working consistently, he could fly up through the minors.
\r\n
\r\n5. Arodys Vizcaino - The Dominican right-hander is as electric as they come on the mound. While his stats were good [posting a 2.13 ERA and a better than a strikeout per inning in the NY Penn League], they pale in comparison to just how good his stuff is. He was sitting 94-96 MPH with his fastball late in the season, showing the great plus curveball, and his changeup continues to get better. If he could develop his changeup into a consistent plus pitch, he too could race through the minor leagues.
\r\n
\r\n6. Andrew Brackman - Some won't be able to look past the ugly overall numbers this season - 2-12, 5.91 ERA, and 26 wild pitches - but by season's end he started looking like a big league pitcher. The Yankees moved him to the bullpen and took away his changeup so he could just focus on his mechanics and the end result was a complete 180 degree turnaround in his ability to throw strikes. He now has repeatable mechanics, an ability to pound the zone with strikes, and two big-time plus pitches in his fastball and curveball. It's not out of the realm of possibility that he could be a viable big league bullpen option as soon as next season.
\r\n
\r\n7. Slade Heathcott - The Texas High School outfielder was just drafted this year but few prospects contain his unique set of tools. A real good football player as well, he is a physical specimen who has both power and speed to his game, not to mention one of the better arms too. He projects to be a five-tool standout in centerfield, but he also can throw 95 MPH from the mound with a plus curveball if things don't work out for some reason offensively.
\r\n
\r\n8. Corban Joseph - Stat-heads will look at his overall numbers and come away somewhat impressed, but perhaps not Top Ten impressed. The fact of the matter is that between his time in Extended Spring Training and the South Atlantic League, he hit way over .300 with eight home runs in his first full professional season. Most scouts agree, however, that there's a lot more power to come and with his plate discipline that could make him a rare offensive player at second base.
\r\n
\r\n9. Gary Sanchez - The 16-year old Dominican player has yet to play an official minor league game but there's no doubting his skillset. He has power potential comparable to Montero and defensive abilities comparable to Romine, but if that weren't enough, his overall offensive game is further advanced than Montero's at a similar stage in their careers. That alone warrants a Top Ten ranking already.
\r\n
\r\n10. J.R. Murphy - Like Sanchez, Murphy gives the Yankees another catching prospect with plus offensive potential. His defensive game isn't as far along, however, but few offer his baseball acumen and advanced hitting approach. The prevailing thought inside the organization is that Murphy could be Corban Joseph-like offensively and he can do it at the catcher's position.
\r\n
\r\n11. Christian Garcia - Another year, another set of injuries for the ultra-talented right-hander. He has everything anyone would want in a pitcher except an ability to remain healthy. He has three plus pitches, including the systems's best curveball and best changeup, he can hold runners and he can field his position extremely well. All he has to do is remain healthy and he could be an impact pitcher at the big league level.
\r\n
\r\n12. Zach McAllister - The 21-year old led the Double-A Eastern League with a 2.23 ERA and held opposing batters to a .220 batting average as one of the youngest pitchers in the league. His success is predicated on his ability to pitch inside and get ground ball outs, and he's also able to throw strikes and pitch deep into games. Some scouts question his ability to strike batters out with both an average changeup and average slider, but his uncanny command of both can't be questioned.
\r\n
\r\n13. Graham Stoneburner - Signed as a draft-eligible sophomore out of Clemson University, the right-hander pitched in just a couple of minor league games, amazing scouts there and during Instructs. He has an effortless arm action but yet still sits 93-96 MPH with relative ease and he already has a plus slider. He also shows great command of both pitches. He could either be a quick mover as a reliever with David Robertson-like effectiveness, or he could remain a starter and have frontline potential.
\r\n
\r\n14. D.J. Mitchell - Like Stoneburner, Mitchell didn't pitch a professional game before being ranked this high a year ago. However, all Mitchell did in his first minor league season this year was post a combined 12-7 record and a 2.63 ERA between stops at low-A Charleston and high-A Tampa. He developed his slurvy breaking pitch into a legitimate big league plus curveball and his changeup is now making similar strides. His sinker is very special too as well as his command, so he's a bit like Zach McAllister, only he has some strikeout weapons in his arsenal.
\r\n
\r\n15. Jose Ramirez - The 19-year old gets overlooked by many because he wasn't a big-money International free agent. That's a shame too because he has one of the more electric arms at the minor league level. Like Vizcaino and Stoneburner, Ramirez can generate plus power with very little effort. He too was sitting 94-96 MPH at the end of the season and he has a plus changeup in his arsensal. He throws a ton of strikes too. His curveball is lacking right now, but he can spin the baseball. If he can develop that into a consistent third plus pitch, he'll break into the Top Ten prospects in a hurry. His arm is special.
\r\n
\r\n16. David Adams - Last year's third round pick has developed from a questionable two-way player into one of the better ones in just one short year. He hit a combined .286 with 40 doubles, eight triples, and seven home runs between Charleston and Tampa. However, the majority of his damage came in the pitching-friendly Florida State League so there's reason to believe his power potential is higher than most folks realize. Throw in the fact he is one of the best at turning double-plays at second base, he's legitimate in every way.
\r\n
\r\n17. Eduardo Nunez - Known for being a virtual tool shed coming up through the minor leagues, Nunez finally backed up his tools with some actual production this past season. He finished third in the farm system with a .322 average, hit nine home runs, and stole 19 bases. He's also one of the more gifted defensive shortstops at the minor league level. He has really come into his own and he offers 20-20 potential at the middle infield position.
\r\n
\r\n18. Dellin Betances - There's an awful lot to like about a 21-year old who can hit 98 MPH on the gun and has a plus curveball too. As sky-high as his ceiling is, however, his continued troubles showing consistent mechanics and a reliable changeup have now given way to Tommy John surgery. There's no reason to doubt his abilities, but he is starting to fall victim to the ever-increasing depth of the Yankees farm system.
\r\n
\r\n19. Abraham Almonte - Like Nunez coming up, Almonte is an ultra-toolsy player who has struggled to find consistency as a switch-hitter. However, the former second baseman has turned himself into an elite defensive centerfielder and the end result was growing comfort in the batter's box. He hit .305 in the second half and nearly added 200 points to his OPS during that time, not to mention he stole twice as many bases. He's a legit five-tool player who is starting to come into his own.
\r\n
\r\n20. Ivan Nova - Lost to the San Diego Padres in the Rule 5 Draft last offseason, it doesn't seem likely the Yankees will leave him exposed this year after posting a 2.36 ERA in Double-A. He did struggle, however, at Triple-A and he can be one of the more frustrating players. He is armed with plus command of three plus big league pitches and therefore should miss a few more bats. Talent-wise he should rank higher but he's going to have to produce a bit more to get there.
\r\n
\r\n21. Kelvin De Leon - De Leon was signed two years ago as the top International free agent and he was then reported to be a five-tool player. More of a true slugger since that time though, he did start showing some of that five-tool talent by season's end this year, thanks in large part to a renewed energy. He has taken his hustle to a new level and that kind of commitment, with his plus power potential and improved defensive play in the outfield, could be downright scary someday.
\r\n
\r\n22. Jeremy Bleich - His numbers at Double-A Trenton were bad, so bad that some critics have begun to write Bleich off completely. That would be a mistake. The left-hander has better stuff than most people realize. He's armed with a plus fastball for a lefty, sitting in the low-90's pretty consistently and he has one of the better curveballs around. His changeup, while not a strikeout pitch, is an effective out-pitch. He simply didn't trust his stuff enough at Double-A - a level which is quite the achievement for a first-year pitcher - and he's smart enough to not give opposing batters too much credit next season.
\r\n
\r\n23. Kyle Higashioka - Higashioka is arguably the best kept secret in the Yankees organization. He hit just .253 with two home runs for the Staten Island Yankees, disguising the fact that he has one of the best offensive approaches in the farm system. He's got a lot more juice than the numbers show and his plate discipline is already a plus big league tool. Throw in the fact he's probably the best receiver at catcher and a natural leader, this kid has the goods to be a legitimate two-way catcher at the big league level someday.
\r\n
\r\n24. Jairo Heredia - Like Betances, there is still a lot to like about Heredia's game. He sits in the low-90's with his fastball and he too has a plus curveball, and the changeup is coming around. But he missed out on some important development time this past season and he is now also falling victim to the increasing depth of the Yankees farm system. He needs to improve that changeup and it wouldn't hurt to add a tick or two to the fastball to fend off some of these other power arms he's competing against.
\r\n
\r\n25. Brandon Laird - Laird had a solid offensive season in the Florida State League, hitting .266 with 13 home runs for the Tampa Yankees. He also shed 20 pounds prior to the start of the year and that helped him make tremendous strides defensively. However, he is still a hit-first kind of prospect who will be relegated to a corner position. With that being the case, he will need to continue to show continued increasing power to keep the same value.
\r\n
\r\n26. George Kontos - Kontos was having a terrific year, posting a combined 3.15 ERA between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton, and finally becoming the four-pitch hurler he had worked so hard to become before succumbing to season-ending Tommy John surgery. His once plus velocity had dipped down to the 89-92 MPH plateau, but there is some hope that velocity might come back once he's healthy again. He has turned himself into a viable big league starting option.
\r\n
\r\n27. Wilkins De La Rosa - The converted outfielder had another strong season on the mound, going a combined 5-5 with a 3.17 ERA and striking out nearly a batter per inning between high-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton. The lefty has a plus fastball and good command of a big league changeup. However, the development of his slider remains a work in progress and he'll need that pitch to be effective at the big league level. The ceiling is high, but now a member of the 40-man roster, time is running out to get that slider going.
\r\n
\r\n28. Eduardo Sosa - Sosa took a bit of a hit to his prospect status in 2009 after he hit just .200 in the Gulf Coast League, as well as seeing Heathcott and Almonte become legitimate five-tool players at the same position. Sosa is still extremely talented, however, and he is much better than the numbers reveal. He's an elite defensive centerfielder who has plus speed and good power. Once he gets comfortable in the United States, the numbers should better reflect his talent.
\r\n
\r\n29. David Phelps - There's a strong argument to be made that last year's 14th round pick was this year's organizational pitcher of the year after he went a combined 13-4 with a 2.38 ERA between Charleston and Tampa. His later round selection disguises the fact he has two plus pitches, a fastball that can routinely hit 94-95 MPH and a great slider. His changeup is a quality pitch too, he pounds the zone with strikes, and he works deep into games. He's a sleeper all of the way.
\r\n
\r\n30. Bradley Suttle - Even though Suttle, a good defensive third baseman who is a switch-hitter with power from both sides of the plate, is as talented as they come, missing an entire season with shoulder surgery hurts his prospect status. How he comes back, especially with his throwing arm, bears watching. If he can pick up right where he left off he could fly back up the rankings.
\r\n
\r\n31. Jimmy Paredes - Like Suttle, Paredes is a slick-fielding third baseman was has been coming back from labrum surgery. He wasn't able to show off his plus arm at third this past season, however, but he was able to prove he's a pretty good middle infielder too. Paredes is another mega-toolsy player whose ceiling is as vast as it comes. If he can take a few more pitches and show better plate discipline, and start tapping some of that power potential, he could sky-rocket through these rankings.
\r\n
\r\n32. Jose Pirela - Pirela is a classic example of a player who plays higher than his tools. He has average speed and decent power, but neither really showed up as well as they could in his first full season this past year. He is, however, one of the biggest hustlers in the entire organization and he goes all-out. He's a good hitter with plus plate discipline, but it remains to be seen if his power will develop enough to be the plus offensive player he could be at the middle infield spot.
\r\n
\r\n33. Adam Warren - This year's fourth round pick had a tremendous debut season, going 4-2 with a 1.43 ERA and posting a five to one strikeout-to-walk ratio. He's got good stuff too, topping out at 96 MPH with his fastball and showing a trio of big league quality pitches with his curveball, slider, and changeup. None of his secondary pitches are true plus offerings at the current time, but he throws strikes with all of them and that could allow him move quickly through the minor leagues. If he can show the same velocity next season and beyond, and develop a true plus breaking ball, he could also move up the rankings.
\r\n
\r\n34. Caleb Cotham - Not many in the organization got an extended look at him since he made just three professional appearances after working his way back from knee surgery, but he reportedly has a plus fastball that sits 92-95 MPH, as well as a plus slider and a decent changeup. He's the kind of pitcher who could really shoot up the rankings but a little more sustained exposure to professional baseball is needed first.
\r\n
\r\n35. Brett Marshall - Like Cotham, Marshall is a well-built, athletic right-hander who can really bring the heat. His fastball can sit anywhere from 91-96 MPH and he does have a quality big league changeup. However, his curveball remains a work in a progress and his slider has been shelved for now. He'll need to show a plus breaking pitch to rise up the rankings, but the huge potential is certainly there to be a top prospect someday.
\r\n
\r\n36. Bryan Mitchell - Like Cotham, Mitchell's debut ranking is hurt by the fact few people have been able to get an extended look at him but he does offer a world of potential. He reportedly sits 92-93 MPH with his fastball and he has the type of body that should only get stronger with age, so it stands to reason he could throw harder down the road. Where Mitchell differs from most young high school pitchers is the possession of an already plus big league curveball. He is arguably one of the best teenage pitching prospects in the organization.
\r\n
\r\n37. Hector Noesi - Like Phelps, Noesi entered the season with little fanfare but broke out in a big way by posting a combined 2.92 ERA between low-A Charleston and high-A Tampa and striking out better than a batter per inning. He has always had arm strength, able to sit in the 91-94 MPH range, but it was the development of his curveball into a big-time plus pitch that aided him in 2009. He too has a good chanegeup as well and he's squarely on the radar now.
\r\n
\r\n38. Damon Sublett - It was a tale of two seasons for the talented left-handed hitter this past season. He hit just .249 before the All Star break while still adjusting to second base, but seemed to flourish offensively after the Yankees moved him to centerfield in the second half. He hit .289 and posted a .857 OPS after the break, and he played a serviceable centerfield too. He still has significant offensive upside and now he can play both second base and centerfield, and his strong arm could allow him to add more positions if the need arises.
\r\n
\r\n39. Zoilo Almonte - Long lauded for his bat by his Latin American coaching staff, Almonte's offensive potential finally began to show in Staten Island this past season. He hit .274 with seven home runs and a team-leading 20 doubles. That part wasn't too surprising. The fact that he stole 15 bases and showed marked improvement defensively, so much so that he played a serviceable centerfield too, was a welcomed addition to his game. He put himself back on the radar and there's more upside left in his game.
\r\n
\r\n40. Colin Curtis - A versatile, plus defensive outfielder that can play all three outfield positions well, Curtis offers a safe projection as a big league reserve outfielder. He has a solid opposite field approach that should allow him to be a solid hitter as well, and he's also learning how to pull the ball a bit more to tap some of his hidden power. A step away from the big leagues, he appears to be a better bench option but there's some upside left in his tank.
\r\n
\r\n41. Sean Black - The former Washington Nationals second round pick a few years ago had a very good debut season for the Staten Island Yankees in 2009, going 6-0 with a 1.62 ERA. He has a plus sinker and a plus changeup, and while he didn't show a good breaking pitch consistently in Staten Island, he quickly developed one during Instructs. Showing that consistent breaking pitch next season and beyond could be the missing ingredient in moving up the rankings.
\r\n
\r\n42. Jorge Vazquez - The former Mexican League slugger is a little old in prospects circles, but that shouldn't detract from his big league potential. It's a struggle to draw a walk, but he hit .329 with 13 home runs in just 225 at-bats in a notorious pitching-friendly stadium. The 27-year old is quite nimble for a man of his size, and while he's not about to supplant Mark Teixeira anytime soon, he does offer the promise of some offensive potential in a reserve role.
\r\n
\r\n43. Garrison Lassiter - It wasn't a banner year statistically for the former AFLAC All-American as he hit just .260 with two home runs in his first taste of the long-season leagues. He did battle some injuries, however, and he endured a position change when he moved over to third base. There's some work to be done, especially defensively, but he does have a big league approach and the type of body that should add significant strength as he gets older. He may not have shown it yet, but there's plus offensive potential in his game.
\r\n
\r\n44. Kevin Whelan - Just based on pure stuff, Whelan should rank much, much higher on this list. He's armed with three plus big league pitches, including a mid-90's fastball, a slider, and one of the best splitters around. His bugaboo has been his inability to consistently throw strikes and limit his walks. If he could find the zone more, he'd be an impact reliever in the big leagues right now.
\r\n
\r\n45. Neil Medchill - Anyone with his kind of power has to make the Top 50 of any organization, even one as deep as the Yankees. The 11th round pick has the look of a true sleeper after he hit a club record 14 home runs for the Staten Island Yankees. He is more than a mere slugger, however. He has a little speed to him and even played some centerfield in a pinch [and didn't embarrass himself]. He's also a tireless worker who has an insatiable desire to get better. He's more than a low minor league level slugger.
\r\n
\r\n46. Manny Barreda - No pitcher in their first year back from Tommy John surgery should be able to show the kind of stuff Barreda showed in the Gulf Coast League this past season. Sitting anywhere from 92-94 MPH in his first year back, his slider has developed into a big-time strikeout pitch and his changeup, while a bit inconsistent, has some sick fading action at times. His smaller size might limit him to a a potential bullpen role should he reach the big leagues someday, but the stuff can not be denied.
\r\n
\r\n47. Kelvin Perez - If you want to predict who next year's Hector Noesi will be you need not look any further than Perez. While Perez is a bit thinner and not naturally as strong, he does have a nice combination of significant arm strength [he sits 91-95 MPH], a knockout curveball, and a quality changeup. Pitching behind the likes of Vizcaino, Warren, and Black in Staten Island has allowed him to fly under the radar a bit, but he has just as much stuff and he throws strikes.
\r\n
\r\n48. Melky Mesa - Hitting 20 home runs in the long-season leagues, even if the batting average is only .225, is no small task. Throw in the fact that Mesa also has plus speed, great defensive ability, and one of the better outfield arms in professional baseball, the foundation is there to potentially develop into an impact player. He made good strides improving his ability to hit the better breaking pitches, and once he learns to focus on being a better hitter that uses the whole field instead of swinging for the fences, he could really blossom into something special.
\r\n
\r\n49. Reegie Corona - Corona doesn't do any one thing superbly, but he does a lot of things well. He can play second base, shortstop, and third base well, he can steal a few bases, and he has plus big league plate discipline. His lack of home run power will most likely relegate him to reserve infielder status and that's a role where he could flourish.
\r\n
\r\n50. Kevin Russo - If Russo were in nearly any other organization, especially one in the Naitonal League, he'd be ranked much higher. However, the fact that he doesn't play shortstop limits his usefulness as a bench player in the American League and, though a good offensive player, he's not about to replace Robinson Cano at second base. He hit .322 and has great plate discipline, shows decent power, and he has some speed. He needs a change of scenery for a team to get the most out of him.
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