clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

New York Yankees Top-10 Fantasy Prospects

Gary Sanchez set fantasy baseball ablaze over the last two months of the 2016 season - and he may just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Yankees excellent farm system.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Our Basis

With fantasy prospect rankings, the key to knowing the usefulness of a specific player is how large and deep of a league you would need to be in for them to end up as a fantasy starter. We will be ranking 10 prospects in each system, but that doesn't mean that every one of them is useful if you play in a 12-team mixed dynasty league. With that said, we're aiming to provide useful information whether you play in a 10-team mixed, a 15-team AL-only, or a 24-team mixed.

Prospect rankings also come with the same caveat that must be rehashed every year. They represent a snapshot of how we view the players at the time of publication. There will inherently be more information published throughout the off-season, and so how we view a player may evolve significantly over time. We're going to get some of these right, we're going to get some of these wrong, and in general my reminder is to find information you trust, and use it to your advantage. If that comes from us, that's great and we're happy you're here. If it doesn't, we'll continue to work and hope that you'll keep checking in to see how we're doing.

The Tiers

The tiers are here though to provide some clarity when comparing players between different teams. It's by no means a perfect system, but the goal is to give you a general idea of which players we think are in a similar range in terms of value and ranking. Since the tiers are also expected to be relatively consistent across teams, there may be tiers that do not have prospects for certain teams.

Tier 1 - The Elite Prospects

These prospects are expected to be in the top-50 prospects overall, and have the potential to be among the top options at their position regardless of format or league size.

#1 - Gleyber Torres (SS)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 20
ETA: 2018

A few days after Christmas, the Yankees acquired Aroldis Chapman for organizational filler (under scuzzy circumstances), and subsequently turned him into Torres (a top-20-ish prospect) and other legitimate pieces. That may be the most masterful stroke of a Summer that saw the team's farm system vault into the top-three or so in the game. Torres is a no-doubt shortstop, with the range and arm that should keep him there long-term - and that's a boon for fantasy owners, as he projects to hit .280-plus, with double-digit home runs and steals. There are some scouts that think he can hit for plus power, as well (meaning 20-plus bombs).

#2 - Clint Frazier (OF)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 22
ETA: 2017

Frazier was drafted 5th overall back in 2013, on the strength of his elite bat speed, and above-average (or better) power and speed potential. He has been up and down a bit as a prospect, largely due to his complicated swing mechanics and propensity to swing and miss, but few have ever questioned his tools. He has gradually smoothed out the wrinkles in his swing, though, and should earn a trip to the show late in the 2017 season. Frazier's power may not be as elite as some expected, but he should be good for 18-plus, as well as a solid batting average and double-digit steals.

Tier 2 - The Top 100 Candidates

These prospects are expected to be in the discussion for the top 100 prospects overall, and are expected to be starting options in all formats.

#3 - Blake Rutherford (OF)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 19
ETA: 2020

Both Keith Law and John Sickels recently named Rutherford as the best hitter from the 2016 draft class, and for good reason. The 19-year-old hit .351/.415/.570 with 8 2B, 4 3B, and 3 HR in his professional debut (130 PA) prior to going down with a minor hamstring injury, and is slated to open the 2017 season at Low-A. He has above-average or better marks in his hit, power, and speed tools, and projects as the sort of player that can contribute in every fantasy category. described him as, potentially, "a more athletic version of David Justice" - a player that his .279/.378/.500 for his career, averaging 31 HR and 5 SB per 162 games.

#4 - Aaron Judge (OF)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 24
ETA: 2017

Judge made his Major League debut on August 13, and he hit a mammoth home run to dead center in his first plate appearance. He also hit .179/.263/.345 in the Majors, striking out in 44.2% of his plate appearances, before going down with an oblique strain. In short, the good, bad, and ugly of Judge was on full display in August and September, and he is a somewhat divisive prospect. He has massive raw power, average speed, and a good approach at the plate (he's not a hacker) - but his 6'7" frame leads to holes in his swing and iffy plate coverage. As a result, his projections run the gamut from bust, to Chris Carter, to Chris Davis.

#5 - Jorge Mateo (2B/SS)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 21
ETA: 2018

Mateo's stock took a hit this season, as his base-running and plate discipline took a noticeable hit, and he earned a two week suspension for violating club policy in June. Put that all together, and he went from .278/.345/.392 with 82 steals (17 CS) in 2015, to .254/.306/.379 with 36 steals (15 CS) in 2016. He did hit for more power, which is a good sign, and the tools are still there; as such, there is some conjecture that it was a matter of focus more so than an issue with his actual talent. The biggest issue now may well be if he's a second baseman going forward (a position he's better-suited for, though center field may be his ultimate destination).

#6 - James Kaprielian (SP)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 23
ETA: 2018

Ranking Kaprielian is difficult, considering how greatly his stock fluctuated this season. He opened the season throwing harder than ever, sitting in the mid-90s and hitting 98 MPH. And he is holding that velocity in the Arizona Fall League, some seven months later. Of course, that glosses over the fact that he did not pitch in a game from April 22 through October 11, due to inflammation in his elbow. Kaprielian did not require surgery, and all indications are that he's all the way back - but it's disconcerting to see a young pitcher miss almost an entire season. At his best, the 23-year-old features a mid-90s fastball with good movement, an above-average slider, a promising change-up, and a curveball that has shown promise (but has largely been shelved in the AzFL), alongside excellent control. I think he has a top of the rotation ceiling; he just needs to stay healthy.

Tier 3 - The Next Group of Starters

These prospects would likely slot into the 100-200 range on an overall ranking list, and would be starters in mid-depth formats, like 12 and 14 team leagues.

#7 - Justus Sheffield (SP)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 20
ETA: 2018

The 5'10" southpaw may not look the part of a mid-rotation starter, but he has all the makings of one. Sheffield throws a low to mid-90s sinking fastball and a mid-80s slider (that often looks like a cutter), and he commands both well. His change-up lags a bit behind, but he has shown a great deal of progress with the offering in his two-plus professional seasons, and it should be an average pitch at the highest level. Durability will always be a question, and his control is more good than great - but he'll pick up strikeouts and groundballs, and limit hard contact.

#8 - Domingo Acevedo (SP)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 23
ETA: 2018

Acevedo would be at least four or five spots higher on most lists, which is a testament to how strong this system is. The 6'6" right-hander sits in the mid to upper-90s, and regularly reaches triple-digits, and he complements that beastly fastball with an above-average change-up. His breaking ball is inconsistent at best, however, and will likely determine whether he's a starting pitcher or a reliever. He's unhittable when he's right, though, and has surprisingly good control and command for a young flamethrower.

#9 - Miguel Andjuar (3B)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 22
ETA: 2018

Andujar batted .283/.343/.474 with 10 HR in 251 PA at High-A, earning a promotion to Double-A, where he scuffled for 72 games. He has shown a propensity for this in his pro career, wherein he starts slowly at each level before breaking out later on - and such adjustments are a very good sign (his 13.2% strikeout rate at Double-A is a great sign). The 21-year-old has a solid average hit tool and above-average raw power, and should stick at third base for quite some time. He may not have a stand out fantasy tool, but he could hit .270 with 15 to 20 home runs.

Tier 4 - Single League and Deep Format Plays

These prospects would likely slot into the 200-300 range on a ranking list, and would have the most value to mixed leagues with 16+ teams and single-league formats with 12+ teams.

#10 - Dillon Tate (SP)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 22
ETA: 2018

This is an ambitious placement, based largely upon what Tate could be, rather than what he has shown as a professional. The 4th overall pick in the 2015 draft has been a disappointment thus far, struggling mightily against younger competition in Low-A. However, former Phillies scout Therron Brockish had glowing things to say about Tate, labeling his fastball (elite), slider (above-average to plus), and change-up (average) as quality Major League offerings in the future, and he believes that he can be a starter. The Yankees have used him primarily as a reliever, and that may well be where his destiny lies - but he has the stuff to be a second or third starter if he can sort himself out, and that's difficult to overlook. And, if he is a reliever, he could be among the best in the game in that role.