Stock Up, Stock Down for New York Yankees' Top 10 Prospects for Week 9

Kenny DeJohnAnalyst IIIJune 1, 2014

Stock Up, Stock Down for New York Yankees' Top 10 Prospects for Week 9

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    John Ryan Murphy
    John Ryan MurphyJohn Minchillo/Associated Press

    The New York Yankees were 3-3 this past week, with a series win against the St. Louis Cardinals representing the high point of what was otherwise a mediocre week of play.

    The hitting has been light of late for the Bombers. In this year's lineup, the Yankees can't rely on the home run to plate multiple runners at once. They'll need to get better at stringing together hits and succeeding in situational hitting.

    Luckily for them, the future at the plate seems pretty bright. The Yankees have multiple prospects in their system who excel with the stick. While they aren't all close to the bigs, it shouldn't be all that long before we see them make an impact for the big club.

    There are some quality arms in the system as well. Arms tend to make the jump to the bigs quicker than hitters do, so we could feasibly some of these names in the Bronx within the next year or so.

    In order to keep up with the latest trends of the Yankees' top 10 prospects, read through this collection of statistics and analysis from the past week of play.

     

    *Top 10 rankings continue to refer to the preseason list and breakdown from April 3, 2014. Candidates and ranking order subject to change once the minor league clubs reach the midway point of the season.

    **All statistics updated through game action on June 1, 2014 and courtesy of milb.com, baseball-reference.com and yankees.com unless noted otherwise.

No. 10: LHP Ian Clarkin, Low-A Charleston RiverDogs

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    Week 9 Stats

    2 GS, 0-2, 8.0 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 9 SO

     

    Notes

    Ian Clarkin has not looked good in his last three starts dating back to May 19. He has struggled with command and hasn't been able to put away hitters at the same rate as he had been able to earlier in the year.

    He has appeared very hittable in his past three starts, and that's something that the young lefty will need to work on. His stuff is very strong, but finding consistency is what will allow him to make the jump to the next level of the system.

    Ironically, left-handed batters have been killing the southpaw this season. Clarkin has a 5.19 ERA against lefties—five earned runs in 8.2 innings—as they hit .333 off him.

    He'll need to improve drastically against lefties and against everyone overall to prove he belongs. He's young, so there's still plenty of time to improve.

     

    2014 Season Stats

    6 GS, 1-3, 4.23 ERA, 27.2 IP, 29 SO, 7 BB

     

    Stock: DOWN

No. 9: RHP Jose Ramirez, Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders

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    Week 9 Stats

    2 G, 1-0, 5.0 IP, 4 H, 5 SO, 1 BB

     

    Notes

    It was a very good week for Jose Ramirez, as the right-hander allowed just five baserunners in his five innings of work. Issuing free passes has been a big issue for Ramirez, but he walked only one this week.

    Ramirez has the opportunity to pitch for the parent club in the very near future. He's already in Triple-A, plus he pitched decently in spring training. With some more seasoning in Scranton, he'll be ready for the big show.

    The biggest thing is limiting walks. Major leaguers will make pitchers pay if they allow too many walks. By cutting down on those, Ramirez can see success as a reliever.

    Ramirez was actually called up during Week 7 as the 26th man for a doubleheader. He didn't take the mound, however. Look for him to get another opportunity in the near future.

     

    2014 Season Stats

    7 G, 2-0, 0.84 ERA, 10.2 IP, 13 SO, 6 BB

     

    Stock: UP

No. 8: 1B Greg Bird, High-A Tampa Yankees

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    Week 9 Stats

    6 G, 22 AB, 2 H, 1 RBI, 8 SO, 1 BB

     

    Notes

    It was a bad, bad week at the plate for Greg Bird. The powerful first baseman has failed to make consistent contact this season, and that has plagued him from time to time.

    Bird generates a ton of power from the left-handed batter's box. He has a smooth swing and above-average plate discipline for a young hitter. This makes him dangerous when pitchers make mistakes.

    Given the fact that Mark Teixeira is a liability at first moving forward because of his nagging wrist, Bird can seriously help himself with a productive 2014 campaign. He's at least a season-and-a-half away from the bigs—two full years would be best—but it's hard to deny a strong bat the chance to hit against big league pitching.

    He'll need to pick it up in Week 10 after a poor showing this week, however.

     

    2014 Season Stats

    23 G, .247/.340/.412, 21 H, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 25 SO, 13 BB

     

    Stock: DOWN 

No. 7: RF/DH Aaron Judge, Low-A Charleston RiverDogs

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    Week 9 Stats

    8 G, 28 AB, 4 R, 7 H, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 8 SO, 3 BB

     

    Notes

    Aaron Judge put together quite the week at Single-A Charleston. He was an extra-base machine, as five of his seven hits went for extra bases.

    His nine RBI in eight games is indicative of how clutch the young outfielder is becoming. A physical specimen, Judge doesn't back down from a challenge and simply knows how to get runners home when they're in scoring position.

    As most power hitters do, Judge struggles to put the ball in play consistently. He's a bit more than an all-or-nothing type, but Judge will strike out a good amount of the time.

    If he continues to mash, however, the Yankees will have to learn to live with the strikeouts. This kid is really good.

     

    2014 Season Stats

    54 G, .316/.410/.497, 61 H, 7 HR, 33 RBI, 47 SO, 30 BB

     

    Stock: UP

No. 6: RF Tyler Austin, Double-A Trenton Thunder

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    Week 9 Stats

    8 G, 31 AB, 9 H, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 8 SO, 5 BB

     

    Notes

    Tyler Austin needed a steady week to continue the climb back to respectability. The once-highly touted prospect has lagged behind as others have progressed the past two seasons, and this is really a make-or-break year for the slugger.

    While his overall marks aren't up to par just yet, weeks like this will certainly get him back to where he needs to be. Austin was never just a one-dimensional threat in the batter's box. He has always been able to hit for power and average, but injuries and general inconsistencies have hampered that ability of late.

    Austin can easily be a guy that hits .280 with 20-plus homers in the minors. He's not there just yet, but he's definitely on his way. After all, he did just hit his first home run of 2014 on May 27.

    As the schedule turns to June and the summer continues on, watch Austin. He's someone the Yankees need to produce.

     

    2014 Season Stats

    36 G, .250/.331/.338, 34 H, 1 HR, 14 RBI, 32 SO, 17 BB

     

    Stock: UP

No. 5: 3B Eric Jagielo, High-A Tampa Yankees

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    Week 9 Stats

    Did not play; last game was May 20

     

    Notes

    Eric Jagielo got injured in a rather interesting fashion. MiLB.com points out what happened:

    Jagielo stepped to the plate in the third inning with two outs and runners at first and second. He swung and missed at a fastball to fall behind, 0-2, and felt some tightness in his right side. After consulting with Yankees trainer Michael Becker, Jagielo stepped back in.

    On the next pitch, he clubbed a fastball over the right-field fence for a three-run homer.

    Nothing like injuring yourself, jacking a homer and then missing a little over a week, right?

    Jagielo has been great for most of this season. A little tightness in his side shouldn't keep him sidelined for very long, but it's a potential injury that can nag if it doesn't completely heal right away.

    The Yankees are taking the smart route by sitting him for now.

     

    2014 Season Stats

    42 G, .256/.339/.500, 40 H, 10 HR, 31 RBI, 41 SO, 19 BB

     

    Stock: EVEN

No. 4: CF Mason Williams, Double-A Trenton Thunder

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    Week 9 Stats

    7 G, 27 AB, 7 H, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 3 SO, 3 BB, 2 SB (1 CS)

     

    Notes

    Mason Williams has failed to progress as many within the organization would have liked. Once considered a prospect with developing power, Williams is essentially a singles hitter who doesn't get enough singles.

    That's not a recipe for success.

    He showed some improvement this past week, though. He got two doubles amongst seven hits, raising his season average in the process. He also walked three times and swiped two bags, though he was caught once. It was only the second time he was nabbed trying to take a base this season.

    Williams doesn't need to hit for power to make it to the bigs, but he needs to get better at finding gaps and getting extra bases. Without a little extra oomph, Williams will be stuck in the minors.

     

    2014 Season Stats

    49 G, .209/.305/.281, 41 H, 9 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 27 SO, 27 BB, 11 SB (2 CS)

     

    Stock: UP

No. 3: C John Ryan Murphy, New York Yankees

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    Week 9 Stats

    3 G, 9 AB, 2 H, 2 RBI, 4 SO

     

    Notes

    John Ryan Murphy didn't get a ton of time this past week, and he struggled when he actually got in there. After the three games, his average dipped from .378 to .348.

    Granted, it's hard to hit consistently when playing in a reserve role. Manager Joe Girardi does his best to get his reserves in semi-frequently, but it's still tough to stay in a rhythm.

    Murphy has excelled defensively, even if his hitting took a step backward this week. Girardi can count on Murphy to call quality games and handle a pitching staff that has been mostly in disarray so far this year.

    Brian McCann is the catcher for the foreseeable future with Gary Sanchez—No. 1 on this list—the next in line for the position. That said, Murphy will have a job with the Yankees if he can keep staying solid. 

     

    2014 Season Stats

    18 G, .348/.362/.435, 16 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 11 SO, 1 BB

     

    Stock: DOWN

No. 2: CF Slade Heathcott, Double-A Trenton Thunder

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    Week 9 Stats

    1 G, 4 AB, 1 H, 2 SO

     

    Notes

    Slade Heathcott played just one game this week and was placed on the disabled list, and Daniel Pfeiffer of Examiner.com doesn't think the organization should take this injury lightly:

    Heathcott is officially listed as having “lower body soreness,” a general term usually reserved for a fringe player to be stashed on the disabled list. However, Heathcott’s situation has all the makings of a legitimate injury, and a potentially serious one at that. Worse yet, there is silence on all fronts regarding what landed Heathcott on the disabled list, and his outlook for the remainder of the season.

    This would be bad news for the Yankees. Once thought to be a part of the outfield trio including Tyler Austin (No. 6) and Mason Williams (No. 4) that would take the organization by storm and create a logjam in the big league outfield by 2015, Heathcott will now be forced to focus solely on staying on the field.

    The young outfielder is very talented and plays a fine outfield. Unfortunately, he also gets injured far too often. His skills are that of a No. 2 prospect, but his longevity suggests that he might be valued as less.

    This is a situation to monitor heavily moving forward.

     

    2014 Season Stats

    9 G, .182/.250./242, 6 H, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 13 SO, 3 BB

     

    Stock: DOWN

No. 1: C Gary Sanchez, Double-A Trenton Thunder

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    Week 9 Stats

    6 G, 26 AB, 9 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 4 SO, 2 BB

     

    Notes

    This is why Gary Sanchez is the best prospect in the Yankees' system.

    The young backstop can rake. He simply knows how to hit the ball hard. He has a line-drive approach, but his power and pitch selection allow him to drive balls over the fence while still maintaining a consistent strategy when in the box.

    Sanchez is blocked by Brian McCann, but if he progresses at this rate, the Yankees will be forced to find some way to get him into the lineup. I predict they won't need to do so until September 2015, so that will give them plenty of time to work with.

    Sanchez is a potential franchise-changer because of the fact that he plays catcher. While not known for his defense, the backstop is working to improve his game defensively. That speaks volumes to how determined he is.

    At the very least, Sanchez will be prime trade bait for pitching in the next few seasons.

     

    2014 Season Stats

    47 G, .258/.325/.434, 47 H, 11 2B, 7 HR, 35 RBI, 34 SO, 18 BB

     

    Stock: UP