The sunny west coast of Florida beckons. In little more than a week, the romanticized time when pitchers and catchers report happens to fall on the most "romantic" day of the year. Feb. 14 begins the arduous journey of whittling down 66 total spring training attendees to the 25-man New York Yankees roster.
Although 40 players had already secured roster spots and a flight to Tampa, the Bombers recently announced the signing of nine additional players to minor league contracts, who, along with 17 others, round out the 26 total non-roster invitees coming to camp.
There are, of course, several prospects among the invitees, many of whom we'll be interested to follow and track over the coming weeks. Some will enter Steinbrenner Field having garnered significant hype for years; no doubt eyes will be affixed to their every movement, as they compete for Opening Day backup roles and look to prove their big league readiness.
Others slide in with lower profiles—either due to low ceilings and expectations, or because they simply fly under the radar—and as I profiled last week, some of them are even dark-horse candidates to sneak onto the roster come April.
But there are still a few Yankees minor leaguers among the 66 names heading to camp who are being slept on.
For the past few months, this Yankees prospects series has delved into a good amount of predicting, projecting and ranking for the young talent: We began with future MLB arrival dates for the top dogs and moved to rating the best ones at each position, before turning our attention to a ranking of the most underrated farmhands and coming to last week's dark horses.
This week, though, in lieu of further forecasting and ranking, will be more about giving the remaining sleeper prospects their fair shake. They are not to be found at the tops of prospects rankings, they haven't been highlighted in any articles from this series and they are far from locks to break camp in 2014.
But each of them has compiled enough recent statistics to demonstrate realistic upside, and each possesses enough tools or talent to rationalize expectations that they could help the big league ballclub—even if not in 2014.
You may not think they deserve your unbridled optimism about a future in the Bronx. But the following four sleepers warrant a peripheral watch in spring training and justify, at the least, some more of the blissful ignorance of the farm to be eliminated before Grapefruit League action commences.
Who do you think is the biggest sleeper prospect in the Yankees organization? Let me know by making your case below.