Prior to the 2019 season started we took a stab at making several predictions for Yankees prospects throughout the system. Now that the season is over, it is time to look at how we did with our guesses and grade ourselves.
Fastest Riser – Clarke Schmidt
Schmidt entered the 2019 season with just 23 1/3 innings of professional baseball under his belt. And while he ended the season with the potential be in the majors by the end of the season, he still missed time with injury and sickness. Ultimately his season ended as part of the 2019 Eastern League champion, Trenton Thunder. And even though he did not rise as fast as we initially predicted he still had a great season. In 90 2/3 innings over three levels, he owned a 6-5 record with a 3.47 ERA and 102 strikeouts.
This year’s true fastest riser was right-handed pitcher Shawn Semple. The 23-year-old pitcher from Voorhees, NJ began the season with the Charleston RiverDogs of the South Atlantic League, then was promoted to the Tampa Tarpons, and ended the season with the Double-A Trenton Thunder. He also had a cameo in Triple-A with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
Breakout Prospect – Yoendrys Gomez
While 19-year-old Yoendrys Gomez did have a decent season and more people are talking about him, he did not have the breakout year that we expected from him. Gomez split the season evenly between Pulaski and Charleston, pitching to a 4-5 record with a combined 3.99 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 56 1/3 innings of work.
We would have to give this year’s breakout prospect award to right-handed pitcher Anderson Munoz. Munoz impressed many scouts and coaches with his raw stuff and the progress he made this year on the mound.
Comeback Player – Chris Gittens
This one we got right. First baseman Chris Gittens had the biggest comeback season out of all the options. He played just 57 games in 2018 due to a left hip injury, he hit just .193/.294/.330 last season and needed a big year. He got that big year this season. Over 115 games with the Trenton Thunder, he slugged 23 home runs with 77 RBIs with 71 walks and hit .281/.393/.500. He set career highs in RBIs, walks, and home runs.
Surprise MLB Contributor: Kyle Holder
Kyle Holder started slowly in 2019 and ended hot. He hit just.
The true surprise MLB contributor is none other than infielder Gio Urshela. Urshela was acquired in a minor trade in 2018 and played just 27 games with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in 2018 where he hit .307/.340/.475. He only played two games in the minors in 2019 before being called up to the Yankees. He made the most of his time in the majors in 2019. Over 132 games with the New York Yankees, he hit .314/.355/.534 with 34 doubles, 21 home runs, and 74 RBIs.
Prior to 2019, Urshela had 167 games in the majors between the Cleveland Indians and the Toronto Blue Jays. He never hit above .233 in a season in the big leagues.
Biggest Prospect Jump – Canaan Smith
Entering the 2019 season we had outfielder Canaan Smith ranked as the 54th best prospect in the Yankees organization. In our mid-season rankings, he jumped 22 spots to be ranked as the number 32 prospect in the organization.
While that is a big prospect jump, it was not the biggest jump by a prospect. That belonged to shortstop Alexander Vargas who came into the season ranked as the Yankees 80th best prospects, mostly due to the limited information available and him yet playing a game. On our mid-season list, he is now ranked as the organizations 28th best prospect.
Another big jump was right-handed pitcher Miguel Yajure, who before the season we ranked as the 57th best prospect and is now ranked as the 30th best prospect.
Final Grade: 1/5
We did not do too well this year with the minor league predictions. But like John Sterling says, “That’s Baseball.”