New York Yankees: Tracking 4 Under-the-Radar Hitting Prospects
The New York Yankees minor league system boasts several top hitting prospects destined to one day make their way to the big leagues.
Outfielder Mason Williams, catcher Gary Sanchez, shortstop Cito Gulliver and third base phenom Dante Bichette Jr. are just four of several exciting Yankees prospects that fit this mold.
Yet while the above prospects catch most of the headlines, there are a few not so well known prospects playing in the Yankees system that are performing well so far this spring.
In this slideshow, I will highlight one hitting prospect from each active Yankees affiliate that is flying high while under the radar.
Single-A: Tyler Austin
While Yankees top prospect Mason Williams continues to rake baseballs for the Charleston RiverDogs, outfield prospect Tyler Austin lurks in the shadows.
In just his first Sally League season, this 20-year-old Georgia native has slaughtered the baseball. In 28 games this spring, Austin is hitting .309 with 10 home runs and 26 RBI.
Austin’s slugging percentage is an eye-popping .736. As is his OPS, which currently stands at 1.095.
By comparison, Williams is hitting .321 with two home runs and 12 RBI. His slugging percentage is .486, and his OPS is .853.
Should Austin remain on his current tear, the Yankees will have no choice but to promote this young man to Tampa.
Single-a Advanced: Rob Segedin
An outfield prospect already at Tampa named Rob Segedin is also whacking the ball well this spring.
This 23-year-old New Jersey native is hitting .304 with five home runs and 21 RBI in 32 Florida State League games.
Segedin also has eight doubles and five stolen bases.
While Segedin needs to cut down on strikeouts (22), this imposing ballplayer has tremendous upside.
The Yankees will keep a close eye on Segedin to see if he progresses enough throughout the summer to warrant a promotion.
Double-A: Ronnier Mustelier
Another player the Yankees have their eyes on is 27-year-old second base prospect Ronnier Mustelier.
This Cuban defector destroyed Eastern League pitching this spring for the Trenton Thunder, hitting .353 with 36 hits, five homers and 20 RBI.
Mustelier’s OPS was 1.010.
Mustelier’s monster numbers got the Yankees attention, for they recently promoted him to Triple-A.
Keep an eye on this late bloomer. If Mustelier continues to excel at Triple-A he may get the big call-up.
Fans may also hear Mustelier’s name in trade conversations, as the Yankees make stretch run moves toward the 2012 postseason.
Triple-A: Steve Pearce
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre first baseman Steve Pearce is the fourth and final below radar hitting prospect in the Yankees organization.
Of course, this depends on one’s definition of a prospect.
Originally drafted by the Minnesota Twins, Pearce is a veteran ballplayer who has enjoyed four cups of coffee at the big league level.
While Pearce has tremendous upside, his major issue has been his own inconsistency from year to year.
This season, however, it appears this 29-year-old Lakeland, Florida native has put all the pieces together.
In 29 games for the SWB Yankees, Pearce is hitting .340 with four home runs and 14 RBI.
Pearce also has eight doubles and two stolen bases to join a respectable .959 OPS.
With Mark Teixeira holding down the first base position at the big league level, it hard to imagine Pearce breaking in with the big club anytime soon.
But should an injury to Teixeira occur, Yankee fans may very well see Pearce make a guest appearance on the grand stage.