Sunday, March 19, 2017


(AP Photo | Matt Rourke)
We are past the halfway point in spring training and the Baby Bombers, and the whole spring training roster has been fantastic. Heading into Friday’s action, the Yankees have posted an MLB best 16-6 record. While spring training records don’t be a thing, it has been fun to watch the ball club win some games and the prospects have been very impressive!

To date, some of the big prospect names have made a big impact and today seems like a good day to take a look at the top ten entering Thursday’s action. Note: #3 prospect Blake Rutherford is not in big league camp.

Photo: Newsday
Gleyber Torres: The Yankees top prospect, in some people’s eyes, was over-hyped heading into the season due to his impressive AFL performance but all that talk has been silenced as Torres has torn up the spring with a .478/.480/1.043 slash line, two home runs, five doubles, a triple and seven RBI through 23 at-bats. Torres has some his versatility by playing both second base and short stop and although he has made three errors, he has shown off his cannon of an arm and has more than made up for it with his bat. Torres is about as exciting as any prospect in baseball right now and he very well may find himself in the Bronx this summer if he continues at this pace, but will start the season off in Double-A Trenton.

Clint Frazier: The Yankees number two prospect has had a good camp as he has a .323/.323/.548 slash line with two doubles, a triple, hit his first home run on Thursday and has added seven RBI. He has shown he can use all fields and his impressive bat speed has been on full display. He has struck out nine times, but that is something to be expected based on the scouting reports. Frazier will start the season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre but could be just a phone call away this summer depending on his success in Triple-A and the Yankees needs.

Aaron Judge: A-A-Ron has impressed this spring as well as he has a .265/.359/.500 slash line while adding two home runs, a triple and three RBI while adding five walks. His five walks are tied for the team lead and that is an encouraging sign that Judge is becoming more disciplined at the dish. He has struck out nine times but, much like Frazier, is to be expected. A strikeout rate of less than 20% would be a success for Judge. On top of his offense, he has played well in right adding an assist as he gunned down a runner trying to stretch a single into a double. He and Aaron Hicks are competing for the right field job, but if Judge continues to perform at this level, he has himself a good opportunity to earn the Opening Day job in right.

Jorge Mateo: Through 22 at-bats, the speedster has accumulated just three hits, including a double and a home run while adding a stolen base. Mateo was sent to Class-A advanced Tampa and reassigned to minor league camp on Friday. Many people, including myself see Mateo as a great candidate to convert to a centerfielder where he can really showcase his speed. This is a big bounce back year for Jorge and the staff at spring training has said nothing but kind things about him so far, even though the stats didn’t show great things. Mateo is a must follow this season.

Photo: Newsday
James Kaprielian: Kaprielian made his spring debut on Thursday and was dominate by all accounts. He tossed two scoreless innings, allowing just one walk while striking out three. Kaprielian topped out at 96 after being a low 90’s guy at UCLA. The Yankees plan on taking it slow early in the year with their top pitching prospect as he comes back from a 2016 season in which he was sidelined in April and didn’t pitch again until the AFL. It has been speculated that Kaprielian will likely start the season in Tampa, where it’s warmer, before getting a promotion to Double-A Trenton, if all goes well. Kap could be fast tracked to the big leagues this year but the Yankees will have to keep an eye on his workload after missing so much time last year. Watch Kap throw whenever you have the opportunity!!

Justus Sheffield: Although a very small sample size, LHP Justus Sheffield has struck out four through 3.2 innings while allowing five hits and issuing one walk. His stuff was impressive, especially a couple of his off speed pitches I saw last week. Sheffield was optioned to minor-league camp this week but impressed manager Joe Girardi. Sheffield is another guy likely be start in Trenton in April and with a good performance, he could find himself in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before the summer ends.

Photo: USA Today Sports
Chance Adams: One of the pitchers I’m most excited for, RHP Chance Adams got his feet wet in camp and over three games and four innings allowed just one run on three hits while striking out five. Adams did walk six batters though but it is still early in the season and this is only Adams second professional spring training and first big league camp. After a terrific 2016, his first year as a starter after pitching out of the bullpen in college, Adams looks to keep rolling this summer. Adams is another guy who could earn a stop in the Bronx this summer with continued dominance in the minor leagues.

Photo: New York Daily News
Dustin Fowler: Fowler has been fantastic this spring, slashing .280/.367/.440 through 25 at-bats. He has legged out two triples, added three RBI and swiped two bags thus far after a very impressive 2016 campaign where he led all Yankee minor leaguers with 88 RBI. Fowler is a potential 20-20 guy who has really caught the eye of the staff. Fowler plays good defense and hits well but will need to work on getting deeper in counts and drawing more walks, something Dustin is aware of, if he wants to be a top of the order hitter. I really like what Fowler offers and we should expect him to make his big league debut sooner rather than later.

Miguel Andujar: After a solid performance over 13 games and 23 at-bats, the Yankees reassigned Andujar to minor league camp and optioned him to Double-A Trenton. Andujar produced a .304/.333/.478 slash line with two doubles and a triple in camp but did have some difficulties in the field. Miguel still needs some work harnessing his powerful arm and some more time for him in the minor’s is in store this year. Many Yankees fans would love for Andujar to take over third base in the near future, but he still needs a little more time. He will start the year on a stacked Trenton Thunder team.

We are now just under three weeks away from Opening Day. The season is all but upon us and the Yankees are looking good.

2017 is going to be a really fun and exciting year!

--Dan Lucia

BYB 'Series' Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @DManLucia

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