Sunday, December 27, 2015


(In Photo: Rookie Davis)
Anyone who follows the Yankees closely or relatively closely at least, knows of Aaron Judge, Jorge Mateo, Gary Sanchez and Rob Refsnyder. Both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus came out with their Top 10 Yankee prospects this past week and Judge, Mateo and Sanchez were the top three on both lists. But filling out the top 10 are several players who are lesser known that we should begin to get to know.

(Photo Credit: Staton Island Advance. Hilton Flores)
A name that many may know from this past June's draft is James Kaprielian. He was the Yankees first round draft pick and 16th overall and is ranked at the Yankees fourth best prospect on both lists. Kaprielian was one of the most polished arms in the draft after pitching for several years at UCLA.  He is looked at as a middle of the rotation guy who could eat innings but does not have a very high ceiling. He is expected to be quickly promoted through the minor leagues over the next couple of seasons and if he continues to progress and stay healthy could be in the Bronx as early as 2017, as Baseball Prospectus reports.

CF Dustin Fowler also made both lists after slashing .298/.334/.394 between A-ball Charleston and Advanced-A Tampa. He also turned some heads during the Arizona Fall League. His speed and contact approach at the plate are his biggest assets and he is looked at as an everyday CF. He does not provide a lot of power but with his speed, can leg out extra base hits. Scouts say that if he can't cut it as an everyday OF, he could be a solid fourth OF on a big league club within a couple of years.

RHP Drew Finley made Baseball Prospectus' list as the number seven Yankees prospect after being drafted this past June in the third round out of Rancho Bernardo HS in San Diego. Finley is projected to be a fourth starter or so. His fastball sits around 90 and his best secondary pitch is a big 12-6 curve ball that is inconsistent at the present. He is just 19 years-old though so that's not a huge surprise. Scouts say he hides the ball well and is sneaky to the plate and that he also could have room to physically mature some more. As a young, unpolished prospect, he is several years away from being on the big clubs radar.

LHP Ian Clarkin came in at number 10 on Baseball Prospectus' list after having a solid showing in the Arizona Fall League. It was a frustrating season for Clarkin who was shut down in spring training with elbow tendinitis and missed the entire summer before showing up in the AFL. Clarkin has some upside but has struggled with injuries which kept him from being ranked higher. His fastball sits in the low 90's but could improve as he physically matures. Clarkin is a guy I really like. There are only so many lefties and they are highly coveted! He is one I'll be following closely over the next couple of years. He is projected to be Major League ready around 2018.

Hard throwing RHP Rookie Davis is the number six prospect on Baseball America's list after advancing to Double-A Trenton this summer. Davis was a 14th round pick in 2011 out of Dixon (NC) HS. He compiled a 3.86 ERA between Tampa and Scranton while striking 129 over 130.1 innings. He allowed 132 hits and walked just 26. He seems to be a guy that can move up the upper echelon of the minors over the next 18 months-two years or so, and with his 95 mph heater, could make a solid middle of the rotation starter within a couple of years.

Wilkerman Garcia, one of the young prospects form the Yankees 2014 IFA spending spree, is ninth on Baseball America's list and just out of the top 10 on Baseball Prospectus. He's seen as a solid SS with good hands and arm for the position. He is a switch hitter with a line drive swing and although he is years away from making an impact in the Bronx, he is someone who we will be hearing about over the next several years.

21 year-old RHP Domingo Acevedo made Baseball America's list as the number five prospect in the Yankees system and it's easy to see why. First off he can hit triple digits on the radar gun, which alone gets people talking. The 6-foot-7 hurler from the Dominican Republican, who only starting playing baseball at 16 years-old, has pitched 106 innings over three seasons with the Yankees organization, reaching A-ball in 2015. He has struck out 188 batters over those 106 innings and has walked just 33 and owns a 2.46 ERA. Acevedo has a plus-plus fastball, a slider and change up, which he likes to throw and is developing. The sky is the limit with Acevedo as he continues to mature as a pitcher. I'd love to see Luis Severino and Acevedo in pinstripes dominating for many years!

Other names on the lists include 3B Eric Jagielo, who battled a knee injury in 2015. Jagielo is a good hitter, but has work to do defensively. Brady Lail was number nine on Baseball Prospectus' list and had a breakout year in 2015 in which he was promoted from Advanced-A to Triple-A Scranton. He is projected as a number five type starter who could help the Bombers in 2016 at some point. SS Tyler Wade was also listed on Baseball America's list.

The Yankees have some solid prospects in their system, some in the upper tiers of the minors on the verge of being a roster candidate, and others who are still several years away. Over the past several years the Yankees have made it a point to improve the organization from the ground up after it was gutted for over a decade. I like what the Yankees have coming through the pipeline. It's only a matter of time before many of these young men find their way to the Bronx.

 --Dan Lucia
BYB Senior Writer
Twitter: @DManLucia

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