New York Yankees: Stock Up, Stock Down on Top 10 Prospects After 1 Month
We're a month and change into the 2017 season, which means it's a fine time to check on the game's elite prospects and see how they're faring.
Specifically, let's assess the New York Yankees' enviable farm system and take stock of their top 10 MiLB chips.
Up or down verdicts are based primarily on performances, but expectations, health and developmental status play a role as well.
No. 10: Albert Abreu, RHP
One of two hard-throwing pitchers acquired from the Houston Astros for catcher Brian McCann, Albert Abreu posted a 1.84 ERA with an eye-opening 22 strikeouts in 14.2 innings at Single-A before a promotion to Double-A Tampa.
That's the good news.
Here's the wet blanket: On May 2, Abreu was placed on the disabled list with elbow inflammation. The injury doesn't appear serious, per Antonio Mendes of Pinstriped Prospects, but it puts a damper on the 21-year-old's otherwise-excellent season.
No. 9: Miguel Andujar, 3B
Miguel Andujar started strong in his first full season at Double-A, hitting .308 with a pair of home runs through six games.
He hasn't homered since, however, and owns a .259/.281/.402 slash line in 121 plate appearances. The 22-year-old is loaded with potential, but obviously has some kinks to iron out.
"He's got a lot of moving parts to his approach, so when that timing is a little off, he has a tendency to struggle," said Trenton Thunder manager Bobby Mitchell, per Kyle Franko of the Trentonian.
No. 8: Dustin Fowler, LF/CF/RF
An 18th-round pick in 2013, Dustin Fowler made the jump to Triple-A this season and has been hot, posting a .301/.352/.540 slash line in 122 plate appearances and hitting better than .400 over his past 10 games.
He doesn't get the fanfare of other outfield prospects in the Yankees system, but he's got an enticing combination of speed and pop, as evidenced by the 12 home runs and 25 stolen bases he notched last year in Trenton.
Fowler could force his way into the Yanks' crowded outfield depth chart or he could serve as a valuable chip this summer if and when New York opts to trade for pitching.
No. 7: Chance Adams, RHP
After posting a 2.33 ERA between High-A and Double-A last season, Chance Adams is lighting up the Eastern League with a 4-0 record and 1.03 ERA through six starts.
The 22-year-old right-hander boasts a mid-90s fastball, a plus slider, changeup and, apparently, a healthy dose of humility.
"I've been all right," said Adams in April, per Mark W. Sanchez of the New York Post. "I could be better."
He's been better. If he keeps it going, a promotion to Triple-A should be in the offing.
No. 6: Justus Sheffield, LHP
Justus Sheffield landed in the Yankees system last summer as part of the trade that sent super-reliever Andrew Miller to the Cleveland Indians.
"It was very humbling, knowing that they traded for me in that deal," Sheffield said, per MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. "All I have to do now is go out there and prove them right."
He's off to a solid start at Double-A, as he owns a 3.28 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 24.2 frames.
The 20-year-old southpaw has also averaged 5.1 walks per nine innings, meaning there are control issues to address, but he's flashed the stuff and makeup of a future front-line starter.
No. 5: James Kaprielian, RHP
A first-round pick in 2015, James Kaprielian looked like a potential fast-track major leaguer.
He battled elbow issues throughout the 2016 season, however, and underwent Tommy John surgery in April.
The 23-year-old has averaged 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings with a 2.48 ERA during stints in rookie ball at Low-A, High-A and in the Arizona Fall League, so there's plenty to be excited about.
For now, though, that excitement has been put on ice.
No. 4: Jorge Mateo, INF
Through his first 10 games with High-A Tampa, Jorge Mateo hit .333 with nine stolen bases.
His numbers have tapered off considerably since, and the 21-year-old is hitting just .213 with an anemic .265 on-base percentage through 31 contests.
He's still got blinding speed and the raw tools to be an elite MLB leadoff hitter. His consistency and plate discipline remain works in progress, however. The lack of power is a concern as well.
"The big issue is he just does not make hard contact," said ESPN's Keith Law (h/t Randy Miller of NJ Advance Media). "And that's been a complaint over the last two years."
No. 3: Blake Rutherford, LF/CF/RF
After hitting .351 with a .986 OPS in 33 rookie league games last season, Blake Rutherford was promoted to Single-A Charleston.
The 20-year-old is hitting .257 with 10 doubles in 28 games overall, but he has been in a slump, going 3-for-19 with seven strikeouts in his last five contests.
The 18th overall pick in 2016, Rutherford "has drawn comparisons to a more athletic version of David Justice," per MLB.com's scouting report.
Clearly, there's work to do before that comes to fruition.
No. 2: Clint Frazier, LF/RF
Much of Clint Frazier's early Yankees tenure has been dominated by talk of his now-cropped red locks and his brash, sometimes-controversial personality.
Lost amid the din is the fact Frazier is a special ballplayer.
He's beginning to show it this season at Triple-A, with a .255/.352/.480 slash line, 11 doubles and four home runs in 28 games.
"Last year, [he] would go to the plate, no game plan, see the ball, swing," said Triple-A skipper Al Pedrique, per Christian Red of the New York Daily News. "Now you can tell he's putting himself in good hitting counts. He's laying off breaking balls out of the zone. Last year, he was swinging at them. He's making solid contact. He's more consistent right now."
No. 1: Gleyber Torres, SS
A brief stint on the disabled list with a swollen rotator cuff were a speed bump in Gleyber Torres' ascent.
The 20-year-old is back and swinging it, however, and owns a .293 average through 21 games at Double-A.
You could argue that is a mild letdown after he became the youngest player to win Arizona Fall League MVP honors at age 19 and then lit the Grapefruit League on fire this spring.
Torres remains pointed in one direction, however, and that is toward Yankee Stadium.
All statistics current as of Wednesday, May 10, and courtesy of Baseball Reference.