The 2014 season is underway as the New York Yankees are two games into an opening series in Houston; they head to Toronto before the home opener Monday, April 7. Joe Girardi recently filled the final two roster spots with career minor leaguers, Dean Anna and Yangervis Solarte, as notable other prospects saw significant playing time this spring.
But with the $500 million spent this offseason covering immediate needs, that group of recent signings represents the biggest obstacle to many of the organization's top young talent.
The winter shopping could have represented a lack of confidence in their prospects, it may have just been impetuous spending at the expense of them or it might have been a combination.
Consider that catcher Gary Sanchez is the No. 35 prospect in MLB according to Baseball America, but that the Yankees don't have one other player in the top 100. And a few of their other highly touted prospects, such as Mason Williams and Tyler Austin, had down years in 2013, calling their big league upsides into question.
Several publications have accordingly been unkind to New York's rank among all of baseball's systems. Tony Blengino of FanGraphs, for instance, recently ranked the Yankees minor league system at No. 20, as he focused on impact players within each organization's prospects—and the Yankees' lack of such stars outside of Sanchez.
Blengino also noted the Yankees plan to boost their status with big spending on the international market, adding: "This system would rank even lower if not for a glut of interesting talent that toiled in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2014."
Taking into account four rankings—from MLB.com, Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs—as well as players' scouting reports, pre-2014 statistics and most recent performances, I've created an updated top-10 list for the start of the 2014 season. I'll provide a breakdown of each player's profile and their outlooks for earning a call-up to the Bronx.
All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs unless noted otherwise. Baseball America's ranking can be found here with Josh Norris' scouting notes here (subscription required). MLB.com prospect rankings courtesy of their 2014 Prospect Watch, FanGraphs' Marc Hulet's ranking can be found here and the ranking by Jason Parks of Baseball Prosectus can be found here.