Many players in the major leagues were high draft picks or heralded prospects early in their professional careers, but there are many others who weren't looked at as future stars when their careers started.
For the New York Yankees, players like Gosuke Katoh, Greg Bird and several others haven't received much fanfare thus far in their careers but could down the road if they continue to develop and improve.
The list of young Yankee minor leaguers that follows is comprised of players who have performed well and look primed to become more well-known prospects down the road.
To judge how they project in the future, I obviously look at present performance. If a player doesn't have gaudy statistics in the lower minor leagues, then they aren't likely to suddenly start performing better later on.
Statistics in rookie leagues like the Gulf Coast League aren't always indicators of future success, though. Dante Bichette Jr., for example, was the MVP of the GCL in 2011 but has struggled to a .199 batting average in his second year at Low-A Charleston.
Still, for every Bichette Jr., there is a player who performed well in rookie ball and continued to play well at higher levels.
The lesson learned is that there are factors to consider other than just performance when looking at how a player will perform in the future.
For hitters, I weigh strikeout-to-walk ratios more than power numbers. Power tends to come later as players fill out their bodies, and plate discipline is a great indicator of success in leagues where many of the pitchers don't have great control.
For pitchers, I also look at strikeout-to-walk ratio, since the better pitchers separate themselves with better control and command. Fastball velocity, future projection and development of secondary pitches are also taken into account in deliberating future performance.
The following players are listed in no particular order since projecting which sleeper prospects are more likely to develop is nothing more than a guessing game.