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Zack Zehner (Bryan Green)


Five Yankees Prospects You Don’t Know But Should

Everyone knows the big names in the farm system like Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier but what about the names you might not know.  Now I am not talking about any of the guys that made our Yankees Top 50 Prospects list but guys who did not make the cut.

Zack Zehner

Zehner in his first professional at bat (Robert M Pimpsner)

While he might be 25 years old, the former 18th round draft pick has been impressive in his two years in the farm system.  He had a typical debut season in Staten Island in 2015 hitting .232/.309/.351 but put things together when he moved up to High-A Tampa this past season.  Over 109 games he hit .278/.384/.374 and has become a favorite of the Yankees minor league staff.  Zehner started the season with a hot streak hitting .359/.461/.531 in 19 games during the month of April before cooling off in May when he hit just .211 for the month.  He did rebound hitting .273, .293 and .276 in June, July, and August.

He will have the chance to make a name for himself in 2017 when he makes his Double-A debut with the Trenton Thunder.  But Yankees fans did get the opportunity to see him perform this spring when he was called up from minor league camp.  In two games this spring he has one hit in one at bat as well as a RBI and runs scored.

Caleb Frare

Caleb Frare (©Mark LoMoglio/Yankees)

The Yankees drafted Frare in the 11th round of the 2012 draft, and the now 23-year is entering his final season before he is eligible for the Rule-5 draft.  After not playing in 2011 he made his professional debut in 2012 with the Gulf Coast League Yankees where in 10 games, two starts, he was 2-1 with a 2.74 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 23 innings pitched.  But the injury bug bit he missed the 2013 and 2014 season due to undergoing Tommy John surgery and being hit by a car.

He made his way back from injury and moved full-time to the bullpen and earned a 6-3 record with a 2.91 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 55 2/3 innings over 37 games for both the Charleston RiverDogs and the Tampa Yankees.  Frare returned to Tampa for the 2016 season and earned a 3-3 record with a microscopic 0.92 ERA in 49 innings over 32 games, striking out 52 and limiting hitters to just a .198 batting average.  His success earned him a promotion to Trenton for the playoffs where he pitched just 1/3 of an inning and striking out the lone batter he faced.  He will have the chance to show what he can do out of the bullpen this year for the Trenton Thunder.

Dillon McNamara

New York Yankees minor leaguer Dillon McNamara with the Tampa Yankees of the Florida State League (Bryan Green)

A 27th round draft pick out of Adelphi in 2013 McNamara has slowly put together a solid career in the minors.  In his first season, he pitched in front of his hometown fan in Staten Island, earning a 4-3 record with a 2.19 record over 20 games, 1start, and striking out 31 batters in 37 innings.  Dillon returned to Staten Island for 2014 where he was 1-2 with a 3.14 ERA over 12 games, six starts, throwing 43 innings.  He did make a spot start for the Trenton Thunder on July 9 at Reading.  He took the loss in that game allowing four runs over three innings.

The next season McNamara was promoted to the Charleston RiverDogs and owned a 4-0 record with a 3.23 ERA over 61 1/3 innings in 38 games.  In 2016 he started the season with the Tampa Yankees where he was 5-3 with a 1.86 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 58 innings.  He made one relief appearance for the Trenton Thunder during the regular season allowing a run on two innings, striking out two batters.

Travis Hissong

Trenton Thunder relief pitcher Travis Hissong works against the Akron RubberDucks at ARM & HAMMER Park in Trenton on Tuesday, August 16, 2016. Hissong pitched three hitless innings, struck out 3 and walked none.
(Photo by Martin Griff)

Hissong, 25, signed on June 12 after playing four years at Wright State.  He owned an 8-6 record and 4.50 ERA in 48 games for the Raiders and made his professional debut in 2014.  That season Hissong played for three teams in the system, going 1-1 with a 2.53 ERA in 14 games.  He struck out 24 batters, walked four, in 21 1/3 innings.  In 2015 he appeared in 14 games for the Staten Island Yankees, striking out 29 batters in 23 1/3 innings.  This past season he reached as high as Double-A and owned a combined 6-1 record with a 1.88 ERA across three different levels.  He throws in the low-90s and is a solid relief prospect.

Billy Fleming

Billy Fleming (Photo by Martin Griff)

Fleming is a Churchville, PA native that went to school at West Virginia but did not get drafted in the 2014 draft.  The Yankees took advantage of that and signed him to a minor-league contract on July 23, 2014, after he .357 in 31 games in the Cape Cod League that season.  He made his professional debut with the Gulf Coast League that season, hitting .375 in 22 games but his breakout season came the next year when he hit .338/.403/.446 across four different levels, including 14 games in Double-A.  He followed it up by hitting .291/.363/.408 in 82 games in 2016.

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