Last season the Yankees had very little depth on their High-A team. Sure they had a few top prospect but overall they were a very incomplete team. They struggled to hit for power and they had the highest team ERA in the league. This year they are much deeper and have much more power in their lineup. This team processes a few of the Yankees best power-hitting prospects. Additionally their pitching should be much better. Overall this is a very interesting team and may be the best team in the Yankees system. Trenton has bigger names, Charleston might have more potential, but Tampa might have the deepest team.
- LHP Manny Banuelos
- LHP Dan Camarena
- RHP Jose Campos*
- RHP Rafael De Paula
- LHP Eric Wooten
- LHP Evan Rutckyj
- LHP Dietrich Enns
- RHP Kyle Haynes
- RHP Eric Ruth
- RHP Phil Wetherell
- LHP James Pazos
- RHP Zach Woods
- RHP Alex Smith
- LHP Zach Woods
- C Peter O'Brien
- C Trent Garrison
- 1B Greg Bird*
- 1B Reymond Nunez
- 1B Matt Snyder*
- 2B Anegelo Gumbs
- 2B/UTIL Claudio Custodio
- 3B/UTIL Anderson Feliz*
- 3B Eric Jagielo
- 3B Dante Bichette Jr.
- INF Jose Toussen
- OF Yeicok Calderon
- OF Jake Cave
- OF Cody Grice
- OF Ericson Leonora*
* denotes players who are on the 7-day disabled-list.
Roster Analysis Offense:
Once this team gets healthy they should be able to score a lot of runs. They have the systems best power hitter in O’Brien, and one of the best overall hitters in Greg Bird. They should also get good production from Jagielo and Cave. Jagielo was a 2013 first round pick that many feel has a solid ceiling. He has good power as a third-baseman, and is a decent hitter. Cave on the other hand has yet to really show great power, at least homerun power, and is known more for his ability to get on base. Cave hasn’t played much since being drafted by the Yankees, so it’s possible that we haven’t seen him at his best. Cave had a wOBA of .347 last season, and that was after sitting out an entire year.
We know what the previously mentioned hitters can do, they are already established themselves. However the following players are bit of a mystery: Leonora, Gumbs, Culver, Bichette, Feliz, Nunez and Snyder.
The reason that I would lump Leonora with these other players is that I feel that his performance last season came out of nowhere. He had a wOBA of .378, and wRC+ of 117. If he was old for Low-A I’d understand his performance, but he wasn’t that old (20). Hopefully he comes back soon, as I really want him to prove that 2013 wasn’t a fluke.
Like Leonora, Culver has to prove 2013 wasn’t a fluke. This is a strange statement to make if you only look at his overall stats, but he did do well in Tampa last season. If he can come close to that performance this season, he would really solidify his prospect status. He is already considered a good defender, so he just needs to prove he can hit.
One of the team’s biggest question is how they are going to divide playing time between 3 first baseman, 2 third baseman, and three second baseman.
At first base, it’s pretty clear that Bird will be the starter so Snyder and Nunez will have to battle for playing time once everyone gets healthy. Nunez is known for his power, while Snyder is known for his approach at the plate. Nunez finally showed his power potential last season by hitting 15 homeruns in a pitcher’s park. With that said he doesn’t get on-base at a high clip. This is why I feel that Snyder is the better prospect.
If it weren’t for an injury I that Snyder would probably already be in AA, as he was slated to begin lasts season in A+. But because of injuries Snyder missed most of the 2013 season, and is now stuck in the middle of a first base logjam.
First base isn’t the only position the Yankees have too many players for, as they also have two third baseman on their roster. Many fans may have given up on Bichette as a player, but it’s still important for him to get playing time at third. He isn’t thought of as a great defensive player, so he will need all the reps he can get. Offensively Bichette is still searching for whatever made him a former top Yankee prospect. He still has plenty of time to restore his value, but he has to start producing now.
Lastly the Yankees have a logjam at second, which they seemed to clear by moving Feliz and Custodio to the outfield. Both these players have shown the ability to hit, though Feliz is the better prospect. I’m not sure how their bats will translate to the outfield but it was pretty much the only way they were going to get playing time. The starting second baseman should be Gumbs. I called Gumbs a bit of mystery, but that’s only because he has yet to tap into his potential. He really should be a good hitter. He has elite bat speed. He is also a fast runner and good defender, so it be a real shame if he didn’t reach his potential.
If one or two of their questionable players can establish themselves this team could have a very good offense. A lot of these players have to prove themselves this season, guys like Calderon, Nunez, and Custodio won’t last long if they fail to impress.
Roster Analysis Rotation:
It’s interesting to note that this team currently has 4 or 5 lefties that are considered starters. That’s including Banuelos, who won’t be here for long, and Enns, who is currently in the pen. Considering how valuable lefty pitchers are this is a very good sign.
Out of these pitchers, Banuelos obviously has the highest ceiling. Even with all his rust he should still do well in this league. Banuelos is what makes this a good rotation, but once he’s promoted the rotation becomes a lot more questionable.
That’s because we no idea what is wrong with Campos. It’s hard to forget that he seemed destined for Tommy John surgery a couple of seasons ago. He was actually injured around the same time Manny was, but ended up avoiding the knife. Some feel that the Yankees made a mistake, but I don’t think you do surgery if you can avoid it. Once I know how serious Campos’s injury is I will rely the info, but for now he is a bit of a question-mark.
After Campos the next best starter is either De Paula or Camarena. De Paula struggled in A+, last season but he now has a lot more experience under his belt, and perhaps will learn to adjust to the league. Hopefully he worked hard on his breaking pitches and his control, as he was very wild last season, and only had one strong pitch. As he advances up the ladder he will need to rely on his secondary stuff, and if his stuff isn’t there he may be forced to the pen.
Camarena is almost the exact opposite of De Paula. The lefty doesn’t throw hard, but has great secondary pitches, and excellent control. His BB/9 was just 1.5 last season. There are some that think that he can throw harder; this belief stems from his large frame, but I don’t think he needs much more velocity to be effective. He has good overall stuff and knows how to pitch. He might not have the highest ceiling, but may end up as a serviceable major leaguer.
The other 3 lefties—Enns, Rutckyj, and Wooten—are a bit of a mystery. Wooten was signed out of the independent League, but was a former 15th round pick of the Baltimore Orioles. Last season he had 51/6 K/BB ratio while allowing 0 homeruns in 50.1 innings. For all we know Wooten is the second coming of Vidal Nuno. I don’t know what Wooten’s stuff is like, but when he was interviewed by PinstripeAlley he did say the team focused on his mechanics, which was something the O’s didn’t do.
Rutckyj has a good three pitch mix—fastball, slider, changeup—but has consistently shown that he can’t command or control his pitches His BB/9 last season was 4.58. In order to be effective as a starter he will have to cut that number down. He is going to be 22 this season, and while the team knew he was going to be a project, it would be nice if he showed some potential.
Enns is another interesting arm, as he was very good in the first half of last season, but struggled once he was promoted to high-A. His Bb/9 almost doubled once he hit high-A, though that could be because he began to tire. Either way he had a good overall season last year, and he’s a name to keep an eye.
I like this staff, but I feel that may just be because of Banuelos, and the idea of Campos returning. If Banuelos leaves and Campos isn’t healthy this rotation becomes a lot more questionable. I’m not even sure that Enns or Rutckyj are going to be starters this season. With that said there’s a lot of players that can step up and make this a good staff. Plus players like Caleb Smith and Gabriel Encinas will be up eventually.
Roster Analysis Bullpen:
If you consider Enns a piggyback starter, and Rutckyj a starter you realize that this is probably the thinnest pen in the entire Yankees organization. The team’s best reliever may be James Pazos who is a hard throwing lefty. Pazos had an uptick in velocity last season and seemed to have really found himself. The Yankees were so impressed that they let him pitch in the Arizona Fall League. He did pretty well, when you consider that it is a hitter’s league. He is a legitimate relief prospect.
Wetherell also had a good season last year (3.06 ERA, 1.255 WHIP), but is already 24 years old and should be at a higher level. He needs to get moving if he wants to make the majors.
After these two names, the pen is made up of a two Independent League signings (Woods, and Smith), an undrafted free agent (Ruth) and Haynes who was acquired in a trade for Chris Stewart. Haynes and Ruth both did well last season, but time will tell if they are serious prospects. Woods is 26 and Smith is 24. So they are both old for this level.
Overall I think their pen is pretty weak, but that may be because I don’t know how Enns and a couple are pitchers will be used. Their also might be people missing from the roster due to injuries. And once people start getting call-ups this team will get a few good relievers. But as of right now this isn’t a strong pen.