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Yankees prospect Greg Bird with the Tampa Yankees in 2014. (Bryan Green)


A Refrain from Rating Farm Systems

This is the time of year when just about everyone publishes rankings of farm systems.

Not this corner.

The reasons: To begin with, while we see several farm systems during the season, we don’t see enough of them to rank them. Also, to rank systems high or low is somewhat subjective. Who really can predict how an entire system will perform during the season, and how the talent will develop?

So various outlets and writers will rate the Yankees system in a myriad of positions. There are those who feel the system is near the Top 10, while others put it in the 20s. There are different ways to rank as well. Ought it be on the amount of players close to the majors, or is it best to rank overall talent?

This is the quandary that produces the variety of rankings. It’s all good. Good reading. Good information. A solid attempt by all that do it to offer an opinion.

All this corner can say about the Yankees system is it has improved drastically over the past few seasons. Let Pulaski manager and Yankees Minor League Roving observer Tony Franklin, who managed the Double-A Trenton Thunder for the last eight seasons, tell you the key.

“The system at the upper levels is getting a lot younger,” said Franklin. “We have a lot of good-looking, up-and-coming players who will help the Yankees sooner rather than later.

“We had to get younger and the upper levels and we are much the better for that.”

Among those referred to are:

PITCHERS – Luis Severino, Jacob Lindgren, Tyler Webb, Nick Rumbelow and Jaron Long.

OUTFIELDERS – Aaron Judge, Ramon Flores, Taylor Dugas, Jake Cave, Tyler Austin and maybe even Slade Heathcott if he can stay healthy.

INFIELDERS – Greg Bird, Rob Refsnyder, Jose Pirela and Ali Castillo.

The situation with the catchers is a bit more muddled, with Brian McCann in the second season of a lucrative multi-year contract and John Ryan Murphy emerging as a capable backup. Either Gary Sanchez or Austin Romine, who is out of minor-league options, likely will be dealt before the 2015 season opens.

It’s been a long time since the Yankees had more than a dozen players in the upper minors who have traits that “would play” at the big-league level. Maybe not all these players’ games are “major-league ready” at this point in time, but these they are as good a group of prospects as most teams have in their respective systems.

And, at the lower levels, shortstop Jorge Mateo, left-hander Ian Clarkin, catcher Luis Torrens and third-baseman Miguel Andujar lead the way. Add some of the International prospects the Yankees signed this past summer and the makings of a pretty talented group emerge in the lower minors.

Are they overall better than what other teams put out? To be honest, who really knows? Every system has its stars-in-the-making.  Are they better than what the Yankees have? Certainly some are, but how many?

Scouts and organization people will tell you the most important thing they want to see is a player performing better at Double-A than he did at Single-A. Development and progress are the key words. Think for a second. A group of players competes against the same group of opposing players from Class-A to Triple-A. That’s how the minors work.

Like you, we will enjoy reading all the rankings of the Yankees system and others. It’s a fun time of year.

As far as ranking systems, we refrain.


Written By

Have covered the Yankees and their system for over 20 years. I enjoy writing about future Yankees and where a prospect stands in the system. One rule: I only analyze and comment on prospects I have seen play and have talked to.

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