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Thairo Estrada making a defensive play at short for the Staten Island Yankees in 2014 (Robert M. Pimpsner)


Prospects to Watch on the Tampa Yankees Spring Training Workout Group Roster

The Tampa Yankees work group isn’t the most prospect heavy group, but it does have a lot of players that may be on the verge of having a breakout season. A few of the bigger prospects on this list are: Thairo Estrada, Nelson Gomez, Hoy Jun Park, Trey Amburguey and Jhalan Jackson. In my opinion non of these players should be considered top-10 prospects as of now, but each have a strong chance to be ranked that high next year.

Each of the five hitters mentioned above will be highlighted separately below.

Thairo Estrada – IF

Estrada Yankee career began in 2012, when the team signed him out of Venezuela. Estrada was a very under-the-radar type talent and he wasn’t able to procure a signing bonus bigger than $50,000.

As of now this bonus looks like a major bargain, and really that’s despite several bad breaks in Estrada’s career. His biggest misfortunes include a groin injury that limited him to just 23 games in 2014, and the fact that Yankees have so many other top-end shortstop prospects. If it wasn’t for his injury Estrada could have had a Tyler Wade like ascension through the system. But the injury forced him to repeat the NYPL this year, and get stuck accommodating other shortstop prospect’s playing time at short.

The Yankees depth at short at the lower levels, has basically forced Estrada to second-base, where he could be an above-average defender. On offense Estrada has shown he can be an above-average hitter and put up a wOBA of .332 and a wRC+ of 108.

Estrada should begin the year in A-ball, where he will have plenty of opportunity to start games.

Nelson Gomez – 3B

Gomez was a key part of the Yankees big international free agent class in 2014. The Yankees gave Gomez 2.25 million dollars which was the second highest bonus they gave out. Gomez had a strong year in the DSL, but still has a lot to prove.

Gomez was known for having plus-power potential upon signing, and did manage to hit 11 homers in the DSL, but he had a high strike-out percentage (24.1%) and he still needs to work on his defense at third. Some fear he will have to move positions once he grows up and gets bigger. Gomez finished the year with a .377 wOBA and a 123 wRC+.

Hoy Jun Park – SS

Like Gomez, Park was one of the many players the Yankees signed in 2014. We knew based off Park’s age he’d be more developed than Gomez and other international prospects and overall the 18 year old showed that he is well rounded player. He has a strong defensive profile and seems to have solid speed and good plate discipline. Last year Park stole 12 bases in 56 games, had a BB% of 13.0 and a k% of 19.1. Park needs to add power, but overall looks like he could become a highly regarded shortstop prospect.

Park will most probably begin the 2016 season in the NYPL, where he will be given the oppurtunity to start every night.

Jhalen Jackson & Trey Amburguey – OF

Trey and Jhalen were both drafted last to little fanfare, but they both played phenomenally well in their debuts, and exhibited solid tools. They both showed power and athleticism and have garnered a lot of praise from visiting scouts. Both players hit 5 homers in the NYPL, and both players finished the season as above-average hitters. Jackson ended up with a 133 wRC+ in the NYPL and Amburguey had a 200 wRC+. Their performance and tools led many to project them as future MLB players, but it’s important to remember the sample size in which they played and the fact that they are college kids playing in the NYPL.

Both players will probably begin in A-ball, and hopefully advance quickly. Both guys should be high up on fans watch lists.

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