Yankees' 5 Minor Leaguers Who Will See Time in the Majors This Year
With so many superstars and such a high payroll, minor league prospects often get overlooked on a team like the New York Yankees.
However, injuries occur and big leaguers slump throughout the course of every baseball season, opening up spots for young players waiting in the wings. It's inevitable that a kid not on the Opening Day roster will get called up and spend some time in the pros each year, even if it is just a short stay.
The length of that stay depends on the impact that the player makes. With that said, here are five Yankees prospects who are likely to get a shot at making an impact in The Show this year.
*Players who have already seen big league time this year were excluded. Ex: John Ryan Murphy.
All stats were obtained via Baseball Reference.
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Russ Canzler 1B/3B
He last played in the majors in 2012 with the Cleveland Indians, hitting three homers in 26 games. He went on to hit a combined .252 for Pittsburgh's and Baltimore's Triple-A affiliates in 2013 while belting 12 homers and knocking in 62 RBI's. In 11 minor league seasons, Canzler has totaled 118 home runs, 553 RBIs and a .274 average.
At age 28, Canzler was unable to make a Yankees team that lacked infield depth coming out of spring training. However, should anyone go down with an injury, Canzler could provide versatility in the field while supplying a bit of power to the lineup.
Danny Burawa RP
A product of St. John's University and a New York native, Burawa enjoyed a successful 2013 campaign at Double-A Trenton, going 6-3 with a 2.59 ERA in 46 appearances for the Thunder. He racked up four saves along the way and recorded as many strikeouts as innings pitched, 66.
In 96 career minor league games through four seasons, Burawa has a 3.24 ERA.
A 12th-round pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, Burawa has thrived in this early 2014 season since being promoted to Triple-A. In 6.2 innings pitched he has yet to surrender a run and has only allowed two hits. He also has an impressive 12 strikeouts thus far.
If Burawa can keep up this string of success, he might just find himself in what is a very thin and unproven Yankees bullpen before 2014 is said and done.
Zoilo Almonte LF
Once considered a top-10 Yankees prospect, Almonte is off to a hot start for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Rail Riders, the Yankees' Triple-A squad. In 16 games he has three homers and eight RBI's to accompany a .250 average.
Almonte saw brief time in the majors with the Yankees in 2013. In 34 games, he had one dinger and drove in nine while batting a measly .236. It was not much of a sample size.
In nine minor league seasons Almonte has 79 homers, 371 RBIs and a .269 average.
Just 24 years of age, he could provide a bit of pop and some experience should the Yankees need a backup outfielder off the bench, whatever the reason may be.
Mark Montgomery RP
An 11th-round draft pick out of Longwood University in 2011, Montgomery has continued to climb the ranks in the Yankees' farm system.
In 6.1 innings this year at Triple-A, Montgomery has two saves and an ERA of zero. In four seasons in the minors, he has tallied 32 saves while boasting a 2.12 ERA. In 2012, the Yankees named him the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year. That season he went 7-2 with a 1.54 ERA and 15 saves in 46 games.
If not for a back injury in 2013, Montgomery may have already made his debut. With a fastball that sits in the low '90s, a slider and a changeup, Montgomery possesses a repertoire that could give hitters trouble in the years to come.
For now, he could aid the Yankees bullpen should their inexperienced relief corps stumble along the way in 2014.
Slade Heathcott CF
At just 23 years old, Heathcott has already been compared to the likes of Josh Hamilton and Brett Gardner.
Obviously, the Yankees saw something in him when they took him 29th overall in the 2009 draft, signing him to a $2.2 million contract fresh out of high school.
In 399 at-bats for Trenton in 2013, Heathcott hit .261 with 22 doubles, seven triples, eight home runs, 49 RBIs and 15 stolen bases. The Texas native has a dynamic game both offensively and defensively, thanks to his speed, but injuries have plagued him thus far. Shoulder and knee problems have bothered him since high school.
Still, many see Heathcott as the team's future right fielder, transitioning from center, thanks to Jacoby Ellsbury's arrival in the Bronx. In the short term, if healthy, he just may be the Yankees' best option should they need an outfielder or speed off the bench this season.