2014 Minor League Keeper Thoughts: New York Yankees

Nick Laham

The prospect staff at Fake Teams continues their fantasy prospect rankings and system reviews with an in-depth look at the New York Yankees.

The prospect staff here at Fake Teams will be taking an in-depth look at each major league organization, including our top 10 fantasy prospects, an overview of the organization's minor league system as a whole and potential opportunities for playing time in 2014. Our goal is to provide you with more information as you prepare for minor league drafts for dynasty and keeper leagues, as well as look at players that could potentially be worth watching during the spring, as they could be in line to potentially help your fantasy team. We will be reviewing two teams per week until we are through all 30 teams, and you can see the schedule of when your favorite team will be reviewed below.

System Schedule

AL East

AL Central

AL West

NL East

NL Central

NL West

Baltimore

Chicago
(10/31)

Houston
(11/18)

Atlanta
(12/5)

Chicago
(12/23)

Arizona
(1/9)

Boston

Cleveland
(11/4)

Los Angeles
(11/21)

Miami
(12/9)

Cincinnati
(12/26)

Colorado
(1/13)

New York
(10/21)

Detroit
(11/7)

Oakland
(11/25)

New York
(12/12)

Milwaukee
(12/30)

Los Angeles
(1/16)

Tampa Bay
(10/24)

Kansas City
(11/11)

Seattle
(11/28)

Philadelphia
(12/16)

Pittsburgh
(1/2)

San Diego
(1/20)

Toronto
(10/28)

Minnesota
(11/14)

Texas
(12/2)

Washington
(12/19)

St. Louis
(1/6)

San Francisco
(1/23)

Organizational Overview
By Brian Creagh (@briancreagh)

2013 was a difficult season for the entire Yankees organization as the team failed to make the playoffs for only the second time in the past 19 years, and the minor league system was full of players whose development did not progress as expected. 2014 could provide more of the same as Brian Cashman tries to sneak back under the luxury tax threshold of $189 million; unfortunately the Yankees don't have much cheap talent on the farm ready to help the parent club. The Yankees did have one of the better 2013 rookie drafts and should start to see the benefits in the next two to three years.

Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott, Tyler Austin, Manny Banuelos, and Jose Ramirez all either took a step back or didn't do much to progress their development in 2013. To make matters worse, the farm system did not graduate many impact players this past season as Zoilo Almonte, Austin Romine, and J.R. Murphy weren't able to sustain much of a spark. The best contributions came from bullpen members Preston Claiborne, Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno who added some much needed depth to a bullpen continually cleaning up for an aging rotation.

The Yankees had one of the best drafts in 2013, but given the players drafted the benefits won't be paying off for a few more years. Eric Jagielo, Aaron Judge, and Ian Clarkin were all first round selections, and Gosuke Katoh in the 2nd and Michael O'Neill in 3rd have impact potential. Jagielo should move quickly through the system as a polished, college bat that will provide power and average from 3B. In contrast to Jagielo, Aaron Judge and Ian Clarkin are extremely raw with ceilings out of this world. Judge is built like an NBA forward; at 6'7" he has massive power and an equal amount of swing-and-miss. If it all clicks, Judge is an All Star and a fantasy stud. Clarkin is a left-handed prep arm with potentially plus fastball, changeup, and curveball. In my opinion, his floor is a mid-rotation starter with the ceiling of a frontline starter. Gosuke Katoh and Michael O'Neill are two more intriguing prospects that should make an impact in the Bronx down the line.

The Yankees have invested heavily in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela and have already reaped the benefits as Ivan Nova, Melky Mesa, Jose Ramirez, Gary Sanchez, and Rafael de Paula have spent time in the majors or are primed to become an impact player. Having success stories like Robinson Cano (Dominican Republic) and Mariano Rivera (Panama) are big for the Yankees international presence and they're never short for money to invest in search of new talent.

Nyy_map_medium

2013 Graduates

The following players have surpassed their rookie maximums of 130 AB, 50 IP, or 45 days of service time prior to September 1st of this year.

Austin Romine (at bats), David Adams (at bats), Zoilo Almonte (service time), Adam Warren (innings pitched), Preston Claiborne (innings pitched)

Major League Opportunities in 2014

By Brian Creagh (@briancreagh)

The 2013 off-season should open up quite a few holes in the starting lineup and present some opportunities for prospects who make a good impression in Spring Training. The retiring/expiring contracts of Robinson Cano, Hiroki Kuroda, Curtis Granderson, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Phil Hughes, Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay offer gaps to fill in the field, rotation, and bullpen. Gary Sanchez, Jose Ramirez, and Dellin Betances should get plenty of looks in Spring Training to see if they can fill any of these pressing needs.

The Yankees off-season will be one of the most intriguing to follow as we see if Cashman makes good on his promise of dropping the team's salary commitments. Will he let Robinson Cano walk or cave and give him the 10-year deal Cano and Jay-Z are looking for? Can Jose Ramirez and Dellin Betances be given a chance in the rotation or will Cashman pursue cheaper, veteran options in free agency? Will the Yankees be ultra-frugal and hold Gary Sanchez down to start the 2014 season in order to dodge a year of arbitration?

Top 10 Fantasy Prospects

By Andrew Ball (@andrew_ball)

Our top 10 fantasy prospect rankings are based upon standard 5x5 fantasy baseball leagues, with a balancing of ceiling and present value. While we are having discussions regarding these lists as a collective group, the top 10 fantasy prospect rankings are finalized by the writer listed above. Players are no longer considered prospects once they exceed either 130 at bats, 50 innings pitched, or 45 days of service time in the Majors prior to September 1st.

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Photo Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA Today Sports

#1 Gary Sanchez (C)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.253

50

15

71

3

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

509

0.324

0.412

8.0%

17.0%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

21

R/R

Not On 40 Man Roster (Must Protect This Offseason)

A+. AA

To sign Sanchez as an international free agent in 2009, the Yankees gave him a $3 million bonus, the fourth-largest in franchise history and the third-largest ever for a Dominican teenager after only Michael Ynoa ($4.25 million) and Miguel Sano ($3.15 million). At this point, I think they're still happy with the investment being that Sanchez is the top hitting catcher in the minor leagues, and one of the top hitting prospects in general to boot.

During 2013, he spent the majority of the season in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League before earning a promotion to Double-A and catching every one of their playoff games on Trenton's run to the Eastern League title. Still somewhat raw as a receiver, his steady defensive improvements this year have led to a growing faction of scouts and executives that feel he can stick behind the plate. Reportedly, he worked hard to improve his defense and game-calling, and despite being a somewhat poor defender, he does possess a rocket for a right arm that aided him in throwing out a league-leading 46 percent of opposing basestealers.

Still, Sanchez's prospect status is derived from his hitting prowess. He has easy 70-grade raw power that already translates into games. He has hit at least 15 home runs each of the last three seasons. His hit tool isn't quite as good as the power, though Sanchz does make plenty of hard contact and he should be able to hit in the .270 range with good on base skills. If he does that, with 20-25 home runs, he'll be a strong fantasy player. If he stays at catcher and does that, he'll be an absolute force.

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Photo Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

#2 Mason Williams (OF)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.245

63

4

28

15

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

537

0.304

0.337

7.5%

14.7%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

22

L/R

Not On 40 Man Roster (Protect After 2014 Season)

A+. AA

Williams is a somewhat polarizing prospect. His tools scream star, but this season raised a few red flags to be sure, starting with a DUI in late April. Along with the DUI, Williams came into camp way out of shape this year, with scouts noting that he had gained weight, and not the good kind, from previous years. The added pounds affected his ability to catch up to better velocity at the plate, and limited the utility of his speed on the basepaths and in the outfield. As the season wore on, he did play himself back into shape, and the latest reports from the Arizona Fall League say that Williams looks as good as ever, but the fact that he came in out of shape remains a concern.

Makeup concerns aside, Williams has the highest ceiling in the system outside of Gary Sanchez. At his best, Williams flashes all five tools and he's not too far off from New York after finishing the season in Double-A. When he plays with energy like he did at the end of the year, Williams is a plus runner capable of swiping 25+ bases a season in the big leagues. That same speed will keep him in centerfield, where his range and plus arm give him gold-glove upside. Though somewhat frail and garnering physical comparisons to former Phillies' outfielder Doug Glanville, Williams can be an offensive force thanks to quick-twitch athleticism, above-average bat speed, and strength in his forearms. He may not look like a power hitter, but scouts say he displays power in batting practice, and just needs to adjust his approach to start driving balls out of the yard.

Unfortunately, his immaturity and off-field issues may prevent him from ever putting it all together. Truthfully, none of us feel great about ranking him second on the list, but his upside and the lack of top-tier talent in the system forced our hand a bit. That said, if he can put his off-field issues behind him, Williams can deliver a solid average, 20 home runs, 25 steals, and bunch of runs for fantasy owners on an annual basis.

#3 Eric Jagielo (3B)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.266

19

6

27

0

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

218

0.376

0.451

11.9%

24.8%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

21

L/R

Not On 40 Man Roster (Protect After 2016)

Rk, A-

With the first of their three 2013 first round draft picks, the Yankees selected Jagielo, a power-hitting third baseman out of Notre Dame that earned second-team All American honors in his final season with the Irish. After signing quickly for $1.8 million, Jagielo hit .266/.376/.451 with six home runs for Staten Island in the New York Penn League. His .451 slugging percentage ranked 11th in the circuit, but he also struck out in more than a quarter of his at bats, and more than twice as often as he walked against mostly younger competition. Then again, his collegiate strikeout to walk ratio was close to 1:1, and scouts considered him to be a disciplined hitter entering the professional ranks.

His swing is simple and he reacts well to both velocity and quality offspeed pitches. In BP, he tends to put on quite a display, with the ball exploding off his bat to all fields. A left-handed batter, he’ll be primed to use Yankee Stadium’s dimensions to his benefit. Once in a while his swing can get a bit a long, but Jagielo grades out as an average hitter with plus power in the future, as long as he can cut down on the swing and miss that he showed in his debut.

Defensively, he’s not nearly as much of a sure thing. Many questioned his likelihood to stay at third prior to the draft, and his debut didn’t do much to swing the doubters. Sources in the NY-Penn league rated his range, instincts, and speed as below average, though he did manage to field what was hit at him, making just three errors. For now he’ll stay at third, but the risk of a shift to first base has to be taken into account when assessing his future. In 2014, he’ll make his full-season debut, and a strong season could put him atop this list next year.

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Photo Credit: USA Today Sports

#4 Rafael De Paula (RHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

7

0

4.29

1.32

146

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

113.1

0.6

0.45

10.8%

29.9%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

22

R/R

Not On 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2014)

A, A+

Rafael De Paula, if that even is his real name, could have ranked anywhere from 2-10 on this list with justification. After presenting several different versions of his name and birthdate, and a one-year suspension by MLB for doing just that, the Yankees finally signed De Paula for $500,000 in November 2010. But even then, it took the office of the commissioner over a year to approve the deal while they once again investigated, finally giving both sides the go ahead in March of 2012. Upon signing, New York sent him to the Dominican Summer League where he absolutely dominated, registering a 1.46 ERA and tallying 85 strike outs in 61.2 innings. Of course, as a 21-year-old in a complex league, those numbers don't really hold much weight and many evaluators wanted to see him in a full-season league before passing judgment.

Unfortunately, his full-season debut did little to answer questions about the Dominican righty. Starting the year in the South Atlantic League, De Paula was tremendous, pitching to a 2.94 ERA with a 96:23 strikeout to walk ratio in 64.1 innings and earning a promotion to Hi-A Tampa. Once there, however, he struggled mightily, walking more than five hitters per nine innings and finishing his stint in the FSL with an ERA north of 6.00.

Even more frustrating, his stuff had ups and downs as well. His fastball velocity fluctuated from start to start and sometimes even from inning to inning. Typically the pitch was a plus offering, sitting 91-94 and often touching 96-97 with good riding life down in the zone, but at times the velocity and movement would disappear, rendering the pitch a much more mundane 88-92 mph. With the fastball inconsistency, you can imagine the hit or miss nature of his off-speed pitches. His breaking ball, classified as a curve and a slider depending who you ask, is often flat and cutter-like, but every once in a while he flashes a ferocious hammer at 78-82 mph with the tilt and depth to get swings and misses in bunches. His changeup also shows the making of an average offering, although he throws the pitch a bit too hard for my taste, relying more on movement than separation form the fastball.

Baseball America summed it up in their recent SAL top-prospect list, "Seen on the right night, De Paula looked like he belonged in the same class of pitching prospects as (Eddie) Butler or (C.J) Edwards. Seen on a bad night, he looked like a one-pitch pitcher who would struggle to ever make it out of Double-A." I choose to attribute some of his end of the year woes to pitching more innings than ever before, but there's no denying that De Paula needs to be more consistent to remain a starter and reach his potential.

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Photo Credit: Derick E. Hingle - USA Today Sports

#5 Greg Bird (1B)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.288

84

20

84

1

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

573

0.428

0.511

18.7%

23.0%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

21

L/R

Not On 40 Man Roster (Protect After 2015)

A

Nearly every player on our Yankees top-10 list had a down year in some way in 2013, with Greg Bird representing the lone exception. This season marked Bird's full season debut, and he wasted no time making his arrival known, ranking among the South Atlantic League leaders in home runs (20, sixth), isolated power (.222, third), on-base percentage (.426, first), and wOBA (.400, fourth). A big piece of his league-leading OBP was his 107 walks, a total that led all minor league players.

In high school, Bird garnered some attention because he was Kevin Gausman's catcher, but most scouts felt (correctly) that he would move off the position and they questioned if his bat could handle the responsibilities of first base. New York seemed to have no such questions, however, taking him in the fifth round of the 2011 draft and giving Bird an over-slot $1.1 million bonus to sign.

Still, even after his great 2013 season, the questions remain. As a first base prospect, he will have to hit in a big, big way to be an impact player. The biggest concern regards his power, with scouts and managers noting that 8 of his 20 home runs came in Greenville, using the small dimensions (310 to left, 302 to right) to his advantage. Those that like him think he can be a Lyle Overbay or Mark Grace-type player - solid average and on-base skills with lots of doubles and 10-15 bombs a year. Those that don't still think he'll hit somewhere between .260-.270 with a few walks, but they also feel he will lack the necessary power to profile at first base.

On one hand, it's encouraging that there is that much confidence in the 20-year-old's hit tool. On the other, a first baseman without power generally is not a valuable player to a big league club, let alone to fantasy players. And Bird won't bring extra value on the bases or with his glove, so he'll have to do it at the plate. He'll likely head to Tampa in 2014 to prove he can do just that.

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Photo Credit: Derick E. Hingle - USA Today Sports

#6 Tyler Austin (OF)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.265

44

6

40

4

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

366

0.351

0.378

11.5%

21.6%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

22

R/R

Not on 40 Man Roster (Protect After 2014)

AA

After a breakout 2012 campaign that vaulted Austin into the prospect spotlight, nothing seemed to go right for him in 2013. He hit just .257/.344/.373 with only six home runs in a partial 83 game schedule. Austin missed a chunk of time in the middle of the season thanks to a wrist injury, an injury that seemingly sapped his power, limiting him to just one round-tripper after his return from the disabled list. Even taking the injury into account, reports were not good on the young outfielder this year. His bat speed was somewhat diminished, and he didn't show the same bat to ball skills he has in the past, giving some the notion that he may end up nothing more than a fourth outfielder-type.

Fortunately, Austin has seen his stock take a hit before, and he rebounded quite well. An Aflac All-American after his junior season in high school, a medical condition caused him to play poorly during his senior year and allowed the Yankees to select him in the 13th round of the 2010 draft and sign him for $130,000. After signing, Austin was like a man on a mission, hitting .331/.406/.563 across five levels in 2011 and 2012, and firmly entrenching himself as one of top-100 prospects in the game. That version of Tyler Austin was the most advanced hitter in the system, blending physical maturity, athleticism, and intelligence at the plate. He's very balanced at the plate, and his hands work in synch with his hips, creating a level, line-drive stroke. The flat plane of his swing doesn't leave much in the area of power projection, but prior to this year some scouts believed he would hit 20-25 home runs in his peak seasons. While Austin is just an average runner, he has good instincts and reads on the bases and he's been successful on 45 of 47 career steal attempts.

Although we shouldn't entirely discount his 2013 season and the red flags regarding his power, we can give Austin a pass for his struggles considering his injury and his relative youth as a 21-year-old in Double-A. His ceiling remains unchanged, but now the floor is lower than it was entering the season. He'll likely head back to Trenton to begin 2014, intent on getting his prospect star back and continuing on his path to becoming New York's everyday rightfielder.

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Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports

#7 Slade Heathcott (OF)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.261

59

8

49

15

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

444

0.327

0.411

8.1%

24.1%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

23

L/L

Not on 40 Man Roster (Protect This Offseason)

AA

Injuries and an alchohol problem that scared many teams away didn't stop the Yankees from taking Heathcott with their top selection in the 2009 draft and signing him for $2.2 million, the largest bonus they've ever given to a hitter or high school player picked in the draft. When he's been on the field, Heathcott has flashed five-tools, but his problem has been just that - staying on the field. Two separate injuries to his left shoulder prevented him from playing in 100 games or reaching 300 at bats in any of his first four professional seasons.

In 2013, he cracked both milestones, playing in 103 games and garnering 399 at bats for Double-A Trenton, though the results weren't quite as good as expected. Heathcott struggled with pitch recognition in his first real test against more advanced arms, punching out 107 times. That's a problem when you're not a power hitter, and although his power is developing, with just 20 career home runs, it's safe to say he's not there yet. He can spin off pitches and his bat is too quick through the hitting zone, making his swing a bit choppy and leading to the contact woes that plagued him in the Eastern League. He will need to drastically improve in those areas because the bat will make or break his future.

If he does hit, he's an interesting player with 70-grade speed and the potential to hit 15-20 home runs in Yankee Stadium - think Coco Crisp as a statistical comp - to go along with above average defense in centerfield. Remember, Heathcott's injury history means that he isn't quite as experienced as the typical 22-year-old, but he's running out of time to live up to his tools. In 2014, he'll be ticketed back to Trenton to work on those recognition skills and hopefully tap into his power.

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Photo Credit: Jeff Gross

#8 Gosuke Katoh (2B)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.31

28

6

25

4

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

215

0.402

0.522

12.6%

20.5%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

19

L/R

Not On 40-Man (Protect After 2017)

R

A big senior year that included a strong performance at the Area Code Games led New York to select Katoh in the second round of the 2013 draft. From there, he built on his senior year by hitting .310/.402/.522 with a league leading six home runs in the Gulf Coast League. Watching him swing, you'll see that Katoh has natural bat to ball skills and a knack for making hard contact on even the toughest of pitches. For a young player, he works the count quite well and he should be able to get on base at a high clip all the way up the ladder.

Physically, he's accurately described as rail thin but Katoh has wiry strength and it's conceivable that he could pop 10-12 home runs a year in his prime. Add that to a quality hit tool and plus speed and you've got a really interesting fantasy player at second base, where replacement level is quite low. In the field, his athleticism shines and he has excellent range, clean actions, and soft hands. The only drawback is a fringy arm that limits him to the right side of the infield, but all in all Katoh is a very exciting player with the potential to break out in his full season debut in 2014.

#9 Aaron Judge (OF)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0

0

0

0

0

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

0

0

0

0.0%

0.0%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

21

R/R

Not On 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2016)

DNP

Judge is another of New York's three 2013 first rounders, best known for his top-shelf power and his gargantuan frame. A mammoth of a man at 6-foot-7 and 255 pounds, he garners a physical comparison to Los Angeles Clippers' star, Blake Griffin. In high school, Judge was a three-sport standout, earning the attention of college football programs as a tight end as well as being drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 31st round before ultimately deciding on playing college baseball at his parents' alma mater, Fresno State.

His carrying tool will have to be his power - his batting practice is one to behold, with balls flying out of the yard to all fields - but some scouts worry that it won't translate into games. He has a lengthy swing, and he's going to have problems with strikeouts thanks to his long arms and large strike zone. If he can hit 30+ home runs, the strikeouts won't be a real concern. If the power doesn't translate, he'll be practically useless as a low average hitter with a ton of whiffs. With power down so much across the entire baseball landscape, Judge's potential makes him a valuable commodity even if it's just a dream at this point. We'll learn a lot more about him in 2014 when he makes his professional debut.

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Photo Credit: Derick E. Hingle - USA Today Sports

#10 Manny Banuelos (LHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

0

0

0

0

0

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

0

0

0

0.0%

0.0%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

22

L/L

On 40-Man Roster (2 Options Remain)

DNP

Once the jewel of the Yankees' system, Banuelos is now working his way back from Tommy John surgery that he had last October. Before the injury, the Mexican southpaw was one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball. As a 20-year-old, he narrowly missed making the Yankees' opening day roster in 2011 with a brilliant spring training performance (2.13 ERA, 14 K in 12.2 IP), but instead he went to the upper levels of the minors where he responded with a 3.75 ERA and nearly a strikeout an inning in 27 starts between Trenton and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. During the year, his control backed up on him a bit (4.9 BB/9) and New York opted not to promote him, even when rosters expanded in September. In 2012, he began the year in Triple-A before his arm problems shut him down, causing him to miss the rest of that season and all of 2013.

Signed by the Yankees out of Mexico before the 2008 season, Banuelos was originally regarded as a crafty lefty and a control/command pitcher, but his stuff evolved in the minor leagues. When healthy, his fastball was sitting 91-94 and touching 96 mph, with good tailing life. He pairs the heater with an overhand curveball in the upper 70's that shows above average potential when it's down in the zone. His tumbling changeup gives him a chance for three average to above average pitches in his arsenal. What he lacks are command and efficiency, often trying too hard for a strikeout instead of finishing hitters off quickly. That's a big contributing factor in his high walk totals, which will have to come down to be successful in the American League East. In addition to cutting down his walks, he will need to solve his problems against right-handed batters, as righties have posted a .387 OBP against Banuelos over his career. Continued development of his changeup and better fastball command to the glove side would help to ease the issue, though he'll likely always have some platoon split.

Ranking him tenth is sort of hedging - if he's healthy and returns to form he should be much higher, and if he doesn't then he doesn't belong on the list at all. Losing a year and a half of development time certainly wasn't favorable for Banuelos, and he'll have to prove that the stuff remains as good as it was prior to the injury, but he'll be just 23 in 2014 and still has maybe the highest upside of any pitcher in the organization. All eyes will be on his return to the mound this spring.

Other Interesting Prospects
By Andrew Ball (@andrew_Ball)

Ty Hensley, RHP - The closest omission from the list, Hensley is another Yankees' hurler coming off of an injury, missing the 2013 season after hip surgery. A first round pick in 2012, Hensley has yet to pitch outside of a complex league, but he's got the size and repertoire teams look for in a front-of-the rotation arm.

Jose Campos, RHP - An integral part of the "blockbuster" Michael Pineda/Jesus Montero deal, Campos now stands as the piece that may win the deal for New York. Known early on as a young flame-thrower, Campos is more of a control/command guy with average stuff that has a chance to settle into the back of a rotation.

Ian Clarkin, LHP - The third of the Yankees' 2013 first rounders, Clarkin is a projectable 6-foot-2 high school lefty. He shows three pitches and some pitchability, though he's not as advanced as the other arms in the system.

Jose Ramirez, RHP - Possibly the best arm in the system, Ramirez can run his fastball into the upper 90's and sitting 93-96 in most outings. He's continued to make progress with his secondary pitches, now featuring an average changeup and a fringe average slider that he throws quite hard as well. Most scouts believe he'll end up in the pen, but there is an outshot chance to close. Already on the 40-man roster, Ramirez may have a shot to win a bullpen job in the spring.

For more on the Yankees, be sure to check out SBNation's Pinstriped Bible . For more on the minor leagues and prospects in general, check out SBNation's Minor League Ball.

About the Authors

Jason Hunt is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in the minor leagues and prospects.
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Andrew Ball is a contributing writer for Beyond the Box Score and Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
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Brian Creagh is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
Follow him on Twitter

Sources

Baseball America
Baseball Prospectus
Baseball Reference
Fangraphs
Pinstriped Bible
Vimeo
Youtube

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