Stock Up, Stock Down for Yankees' Top 10 Prospects for Week 17
- Gary Sanchez, C: Down
- Luis Severino, RHP: Up
- Rob Refsnyder, 2B/OF: Up
- Eric Jagielo, 3B: Down
- Tyler Austin, 1B/3B/OF: Down
- Peter O'Brien, C/1B/3B/OF: Even
- Aaron Judge, OF: Up
- Ian Clarkin, LHP: Up
- Jose Pirela, 2B/SS/OF: Up
- Greg Bird, 1B: Down
With Week 17 here, it is time to once again examine the stocks of the New York Yankees' top 10 prospects.
Last week's list went as such:
With a week having gone by and the Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline right around the corner on July 31, let's see where the stocks of these players have gone.
Note: While other sources were taken into consideration, this set of rankings is based on my own opinion.
10. Greg Bird, 1B
7-22, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 5 R, 8 BB, 4 SO
.278 AVG, 21 2B, 7 HR, 30 RBI, .375 OBP
Greg Bird started the season off slow at High-A Tampa due to some injuries, but it appears he has found his stroke these past two weeks. With three home runs and 11 runs knocked in, Bird has found his groove after several months of disappointing numbers.
The stats are not what the Yankees were hoping for following a breakout 2013 season that saw Bird hit .288 with 36 doubles, 20 home runs and 84 RBI, but they are starting to come around. He demonstrated a good eye at the plate too, leading the minor leagues with 107 walks. He continues to show discipline at the plate.
Bird has a long swing that can lead him to strike out fairly often.
Originally a catcher, Bird moved to first base after being selected by the Yankees. He has five errors in 516 chances.
9. Jose Pirela, 2B/SS/OF
7-27, 1 RBI, 4 R, 4 BB, SO
.310 AVG, 69 R, 8 HR, 42 RBI, 12 SB
Jose Pirela is having a nice year for the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, but his numbers have fallen back to earth these past two weeks.
Pirela can hit for contact and power, as well as steal bases. He also plays solid defense at a variety of positions. Pirela was primarily a second baseman but was booted from the infield when Rob Refsnyder arrived at Triple-A. He is now an outfielder primarily. He has also played first and short.
Pirela's status as an outfielder actually works out better for him. The Yankees' right field situation is a mess. Carlos Beltran can not play the field, and Ichiro Suzuki hits nothing but singles, if that at all. Alfonso Soriano was designated for assignment earlier this year.
If Pirela snaps out of his current funk soon, he could see some time in the big leagues. The Yanks could use an outfielder and an infielder.
8. Ian Clarkin, LHP
2 ND, 6.1 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 6 SO, 1 BB, 2 G, 1 GS
3-3, 3.46 ERA, 9.7 K/9, 6 HR, 20 BB, 65 IP, 15 G
The left-handed Ian Clarkin has already developed three quality pitches, giving him the repertoire of a power pitcher.
The 19-year-old's fastball can hit 94 miles per hour on the gun, and his curveball is quite sharp. Clarkin's changeup, a pitch that was said to need some work, has come a long way too. He has good control over all three pitches and has shown confidence in all of them.
Clarkin went on the disabled list at the beginning of July but made his first start back for Low-A Charleston on July 17. He went two innings, retiring each of the six batters he faced.
His name recently came up in trade talks between the Yankees and San Diego Padres, with New York hoping to land starting pitcher Ian Kennedy, per Jim Bowden of ESPN (h/t Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors).
7. Aaron Judge, OF
5-25, 1 RBI, 4 R, 7 BB, 7 SO
.318 AVG, 18 2B, 13 HR, 63 RBI, .920 OPS
Aaron Judge is by all means having a nice season, as he has already received a promotion in his first year of pro ball, but he is in a bit of a slump at the moment.
He hit .333 with nine home runs and 45 RBI in 65 games with low Low-A Charleston, so the Yankees deemed Judge was ready for the next level. He was called up to High-A Tampa following the hot start.
Judge is a towering 6'7" and 230 pounds. A former football player, Judge's size has provided him with a powerful swing, although it can get long at times.
Judge has good range in the outfield as well. With a strong throwing arm in right and average range, he has proven to be a good defender.
6. Peter O'Brien, C/1B/3B/OF
11-32, 5 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 6 R 3 BB, 10 SO
.264 AVG, 22 2B, 31 HR, 68 RBI, 19 BB, 105 SO
Peter O'Brien has been raking for most of the season. This past week has been no different.
After hitting 10 homers in just 30 games with the Tampa Yankees, O'Brien was promoted to the Double-A Trenton Thunder. As seen in his numbers, he has immense power, crushing baseballs with ease.
The University of Miami alum has two problems that need correcting, however. The first is that he strikes out far more than he walks. He needs to see more pitches and show control at the plate. The other problem is that O'Brien does not have a true position. Originally a catcher, the 24-year-old has spent time at third, in the outfield and at first base.
O'Brien represented the Yankees at the Futures Game on July 13. He struck out twice in two at-bats.
5. Tyler Austin, 1B/3B/OF
11-32, 1 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 4 R, 2 BB, 5 SO
.270 AVG, 14 2B, 6 HR, 37 RBI
Make this two straight productive weeks for Tyler Austin at Double-A Trenton.
Like Bird, Austin battled through injuries in the early going of 2014, and his numbers took a dive.
In 2012 Austin batted .322 with 35 doubles, 17 homers and 80 runs driven in. He was named the Yankees' Minor League Player of the Year for his efforts. His numbers have not been nearly as impressive since. In 2013 he hit .265 and saw his power numbers drop as well, hitting six home runs and 40 RBI.
This season looked to be going the same way, but Austin has gotten himself on a bit of streak now.
He has a balanced approach at the plate, waiting back on off-speed pitches. He is also a very smart and effective base stealer despite lacking above-average speed.
Austin has played first base, third base and in the outfield this season. He is another Yankees farm hand looking for the right position.
4. Eric Jagielo, 3B
5-25, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 3 R, 3 BB, 9 SO
.246 AVG, 13 HR, 43 RBI, .796 OPS
Eric Jagielo returned from an oblique injury a few weeks back, and things have not looked good. He had been playing with the High-A Tampa Yankees prior to the injury but made a rehab stop in Rookie ball upon his return.
Jagielo, a free-swinging lefty at the plate, is perfect for Yankee Stadium. His power makes him a good match for the ballpark's short right field porch. However, Jagielo does not hit for anything more than average. He strikes out a lot and does not walk often.
Jagielo is also far from a perfect third baseman. Many believe he will have to leave the hot corner at some point, presumably for first base or a corner outfield position. He has 12 errors this year in 109 chances at third.
3. Rob Refsnyder, 2B/OF
9-28, 4 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 7 R, 4 BB, 7 SO
.323 AVG, 29 2B, 6 3B, 13 HR, 49 RBI, 8 SB, .920 OPS
Seemingly out of nowhere, Rob Refsnyder has become a household name among Yankees fans, and he has not even reached the big leagues yet.
Refsnyder hit .342 in 60 games at Double-A, earning him a promotion to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. An unexpected display of power has turned the heads of the Yankees higher-ups, and fans are making it clear they want him in the majors.
It may be Refsnyder's defense that has kept him from The Show. While not terrible, he still has work to do at second base. He was originally a right fielder coming out of college, a spot the Yankees continue to work him at just in case.
With Brian Roberts struggling, Refsnyder could be on his way to the Bronx. If not called up this season, look for Refsnyder to be New York's starting second baseman in 2015.
2. Luis Severino, RHP
1 ND, 4 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 6 SO, 7 BB, 1 GS
5-3, 2.50 ERA, 10.3 K/9, 2 HR, 23 BB, 97.1 IP, 20 GS
Luis Severino has been phenomenal, rising to the top of the Yankees' prospect list on MLB.com. After starting the year with the Low-A Charleston RiverDogs, Severino was then promoted to the High-A Tampa Yankees and then the Double-A Trenton Thunder.
Severino made his debut for Trenton on Saturday, July 19. He threw five strong innings, allowing one earned run. He was also a member of the World Team at the Futures Game, as he is from the Dominican Republic. He pitched an inning and did not give up a run.
Severino's fastball has sinking action and tops out at 98 mph, but it's normally in the mid-90s. The pitch is accompanied by a slider and a changeup. Severino has sharp control of all three pitches.
Severino will make a start Tuesday night, where the Yankees may just be showcasing him for opposing teams as the July 31 trade deadline approaches on Thursday.
1. Gary Sanchez, C
12-30, 1 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 1 BB, 6 SO
.279 AVG, 18 2B, 11 HR, 53 RBI
MLB.com may have bumped Gary Sanchez as the Yankees' No. 1 prospect in favor of Severino, but after a sizzling week at the plate for Double-A Trenton, the young catcher is still sitting pretty.
His numbers are getting better and better as the year goes on, as is his consistency at the plate. Sanchez has displayed plenty of power throughout his career and this week once again reached double-digit home runs. He has hit at least 15 home in each of his three full minor league seasons and is on pace to do so again.
He was benched back in June due to disciplinary reasons, but that seems to be behind him.
Sanchez has a strong arm behind the plate but needs to improve overall as a backstop. He has to work on calling games and blocking pitches in the dirt.
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