Stock Up, Stock Down for Yankees' Top 10 Prospects for Week 18
- Gary Sanchez, C: Up
- 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: Up*
- Aaron Judge, OF: Even
- Ian Clarkin, LHP: Even
- Jose Pirela, 2B/SS/OF: Down
- Greg Bird, 1B: Up
With Week 18 here, it is time to once again check in on the stocks of the New York Yankees' top 10 prospects.
Last week's list went as such:
Another week has passed, and so these players will once again be evaluated on their past week's performances as well as their overall seasons.
*Keep in mind, the Yankees traded Peter O'Brien at Thursday's trade deadline for the Arizona Diamondbacks' Martin Prado. O'Brien will be replaced by left-handed pitcher Jacob Lindgren, who will move to the back of the list and push everyone else up a spot.
Note: While other sources were taken into consideration, this set of rankings is based on my own opinion.
10. Jacob Lindgren, LHP
1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 SO, 0 BB, 1 G
1-0, 0.73 ERA, 19.0 K/9, 4 BB, 26 SO, 12.1 IP, 10 G
Lindgren was the Yankees' top pick in the 2014 draft, going 55th overall in the second round. He is a product of Mississippi State University.
Obviously, Lindgren's numbers are a tad inflated due to his limited experience. However, he has already received three promotions this season and is currently at high Single-A Tampa.
A starter in 2013, Lindgren led the Bulldogs to the College World Series. He then moved to Mississippi's bullpen, posting a 6-1 record with a 0.81 ERA. He saved three games and held opponents to a .124 average. He finished the season with 100 strikeouts.
Lindgren throws a fastball that sits between 91 miles per hour and 95. The heater is accompanied by a wipeout slider. He has a changeup, but the pitch will rarely be used, as the Yankees do not plan to make him a starter. Believe it not, he could see the big leagues as soon as this season.
9. Greg Bird, 1B
4-for-22, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 1 R, 4 BB, 6 SO
.273 AVG, 23 2B, 7 HR, 32 RBI, .371 OBP
It appeared Bird had found his groove these past few weeks, but he has now gone into a minislump. However, he was recently promoted to Double-A.
Starting the season off at High-A Tampa, Bird was hampered by injuries, causing a slow start. Overall, it has been a rather disappointing year for the 21-year-old.
Following a breakout 2013 season, the Yankees had high hopes for Bird. He hit .288 with 36 doubles, 20 home runs and 84 RBI. With a sharp eye at the plate, Bird led the minor leagues with 107 walks. He does continue to show restraint at the plate. However, Bird does have a long swing that causes him to strike out fairly often.
Originally a catcher, Bird moved to first base upon joining the Yankees organization.
8. Jose Pirela, 2B/SS/OF
12-for-27, 1 2B, 2 3B, 4 RBI, 6 R, 2 BB, 2 SO
.314 AVG, 73 R, 8 HR, 46 RBI, 12 SB
Just when it appeared Pirela was coming back to earth, he goes on another streak. The 24-year-old is having an impressive year at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
Pirela is an all-around offensive threat, hitting for a combination of contact and power. He runs the bases well and has a knack for scoring runs. He can also play several positions. Pirela was a second baseman until Refsnyder arrived at Triple-A. Pirela is now an outfielder. He can also play first and shortstop.
It is hard to ignore the consistent production that is coming from Pirela. When the time comes for September call-ups, expect Pirela to be one of them. His offensive skills could make an impact down the stretch.
7. Ian Clarkin, LHP
1 ND, 5 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 1 SO, 2 BB, 1 GS
3-3, 3.21 ERA, 9.1 K/9, 6 HR, 22 BB, 70 IP, 16 G
Clarkin, a young lefty, has already developed a three-pitch arsenal, giving him a leg up on the competition.
The 19-year-old's fastball tops out at 94 miles per hour, and his curveball is already a go-to strikeout pitch. He also has a changeup. The pitch was said to have needed some work heading into the 2014 season, but it has looked very sharp so far. He has good control over all three of his pitches, throwing them with confidence.
Clarkin was on the disabled list in July but made his first start back for Low-A Charleston on July 17. He has made several starts since coming off the DL and is in good health.
His name recently came up prior to the trade deadline in talks between the Yankees and San Diego Padres. New York was hoping to land starting pitcher Ian Kennedy, per Jim Bowden of ESPN (h/t Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors).
6. Aaron Judge, OF
5-for-17, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 4 R, 10 BB, 5 SO
.317 AVG, 20 2B, 13 HR, 66 RBI, .921 OPS
Judge is enjoying a fine start to his professional baseball career.
After hitting .333 with nine home runs and 45 RBI in 65 games with the Low-A Charleston RiverDogs, the Yankees promoted Judge to the High-A Tampa Yankees. There, he has continued to produce at the plate.
At 6'7" and 230 pounds, Judge is a big man with a lot of power. The former football player's size comes with a vicious swing. Not to get ahead of ourselves, but Judge has received comparisons to former slugging outfielder Dave Winfield.
Judge can move too, despite his size. He has shown good range in the outfield and has a strong throwing arm, making him an asset in right.
5. Tyler Austin, 1B/3B/OF
6-for-17, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 6 R, 3 BB, 3 SO
.275 AVG, 15 2B, 7 HR, 38 RBI
Austin has been hot at the plate for a few straight weeks now.
Like Bird, Austin battled through injuries at the beginning of the 2014 season. Playing with the Double-A Trenton Thunder, Austin's numbers took a hit while he was ailing.
Austin was bestowed with great expectations when he was named the Yankees' Minor League Player of the Year in 2012. He hit .322 with 35 doubles, 17 homers and 80 runs driven in. He has not come close to matching those numbers since. In 2013, he hit .265 and saw his power numbers drop as well, hitting six home runs and 40 RBI. This year, he appeared to be looking at more of the same numbers, but if he continues to hit the way he has of late, that could change.
Austin is balanced at the plate. He waits back on off-speed pitches nicely and is also a very smart and effective base stealer despite lacking breathtaking speed.
Austin can play first base, third base and the outfield. He is another New York prospect looking for the right position.
4. Eric Jagielo, 3B
6-for-18, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 3 BB, 6 SO
.250 AVG, 14 HR, 45 RBI, .807 OPS
Jagielo was out for a while with an oblique injury, returning to play a few weeks back. He was with the High-A Tampa Yankees before the injury but made a pit stop in rookie ball for a rehab stint.
Jagielo, is a free-swinging left-handed hitter, giving him the potential to succeed in Yankee Stadium. With strong power, Jagielo is well suited for the stadium's short right field porch. However, Jagielo's offensive game is limited to his power, as he does not hit for much average. He strikes out a lot and does not walk often.
Jagielo has work to do defensively as well. He is currently at third base, but many believe he will have to leave the hot corner at some point. First base or a corner outfield position seems likely.
3. Rob Refsnyder, 2B/OF
9-for-25, 2 2B, 4 RBI, 6 R, 2 BB, 4 SO
.324 AVG, 30 2B, 6 3B, 13 HR, 53 RBI, 8 SB, .912 OPS
Despite only being at Triple-A, Refsnyder has already become a household name among Yankees fans as he continues to crush minor league pitching.
Refsnyder hit .342 in 60 games at Double-A, earning him a promotion to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He has surprised many with the power numbers he has put up, creating a seasonlong debate as to whether it was time or not to call the kid up .
However, general manager Brian Cashman has been consistent in saying that he would like to keep Refsnyder in the minors for the remainder of the season. He reiterated the point following the MLB trade deadline.
Cashman mostly wants Refsnyder to work on his defense at second base. He was originally a right fielder in college but was moved to the infield because of poor power projections.
While he likely will not don pinstripes this year, Refsnyder could very well be the team's second baseman of the future.
2. Luis Severino, RHP
1 W, 5.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 7 SO, 2 BB, 1 GS
6-3, 2.36 ERA, 10.3 K/9, 2 HR, 25 BB, 103 IP, 20 GS
Severino has been phenomenal, and his spectacular pitching has taken him to the top of the Yankees' prospect list on MLB.com. After starting the year with the Low-A Charleston RiverDogs, Severino was promoted to the High-A Tampa Yankees. The promotions did not stop there, as Severino was then called up to the Double-A Trenton Thunder.
Severino made his debut for Trenton on Saturday, July 19. Since then, he is boasting 2-0 record with a 1.84 ERA in starts.
Severino has a sinking fastball that can reach 98 mph, but it's normally sits in the 94-95 range. He also has a slider and a changeup. Severino has demonstrated sharp control of all three of his pitches.
1. Gary Sanchez, C
5-for-25, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 5 SO
.272 AVG, 18 2B, 11 HR, 53 RBI
MLB.com may have bumped Sanchez as the Yankees' No. 1 prospect in favor of Severino, so that may be something to consider when his stock is taken into consideration.
His consistency at the plate has been better of late, and his numbers show that. Sanchez has very good power, something he has shown throughout his career. He has hit at least 15 home in each of his three full minor league seasons, and it looks like he will do it again.
Sanchez was benched in June due for disciplinary reasons, but the issue seems to be a thing of the past.
Defensively, Sanchez has a strong arm behind the plate but needs to improve overall as a catcher. His game-calling skills and ability to block pitches still need work.