Throughout the majors are players who were drafted by another organization and became stars with another – or maybe even a third.
Over the past few years, the Yankees have swapped top-level prospects such as outfielder Austin Jackson and catcher Jesus Montero. Jackson has carved himself a solid career, while Montero has not. One never knows.
Sometimes it is bad luck. Sometimes there are other factors. As Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said, “If I could have a talk with the top prospect I was many years ago, I would certainly tell him to do some things differently.”
Back to the Yankees, who have several prospects in the upper minors they could use in trade over the winter. Here is a look by position at who might bring back a needed return if packaged in a deal:
CATCHER – Despite his solid 2015 season, Gary Sanchez remains a top trade chip. He hit 18 homers and drove in 62 runs in 2015 – and made his major-league debut. The attitude has improved as well as the maturity for a player who will only be 23 Dec. 2. But with Brian McCann signed through 2018 – and John Ryan Murphy, who calls a game at an exceptional level, becoming a solid backup, Sanchez, with Luis Torrens coming up, is expendable.
STARTING PITCHER – Right-hander Brady Lail put together a 10-6, 2,91 mark between a rehab start at Class-A Advanced Tampa and regular work at Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He’s not a power pitcher, but a guy who hits his spots well. The Yankees prefer hard-throwers, so it would not be a shock if Lail, a great kid, is dealt.
RELIEF PITCHER – Coming from the San Diego Padres for Shawn Kelley last winter, righty Johnny Barbato showed both flashes of brilliance at lack of control with Trenton and Scranton in 2015. He was 6-2, 2.67 with three saves at those stops, registering a strikeout-walk ratio of 70-25. The righty has the power the Yankees like, but lefty James Pazos seemed to have moved past him. Another who might draw interest.
FIRST BASE – There is really no first baseman in the minors – some are minor-league free agents – who will bring back a return, Greg Bird proved his worth, and is the established successor to Mark Teixeira.
SECOND BASE – The darling of many fans, Rob Refsnyder could find himself packaged, perhaps with Sanchez, for a Yankees need. Yes, he hit .302 (13-for-43) in 16 Yankees appearances, but September stats can be “Fool’s Gold.” His defense is improving, but his instincts at second base are not great. The Yankees may decide to play Dustin Ackley there, or they may not. Refsnyder’s bat could excite a potential trade partner.
SHORTSTOP – With Jorge Mateo coming off a season in which he stole 82 bases – leading the minors – and reaching Tampa while just turning 20 in June, he leads an impressive group of talented shortstops in the Yankees system. Tyler Wade could be an enticing piece in a trade. A great kid, he batted just .204 (23-for-113) in 29 games at Double-A Trenton. Kyle Holder has shown better defensive ability and could come along as a hitter.
THIRD BASE – With Chase Headley signed through 2018, and prospects such as Donny Sands, who had a bang-bang debut in the Gulf Coast League, and powerful Dermis Garcia in the system, Eric Jagielo, could attract interest. Jagielo has a power bat, but scuffles defensively at third base. Injuries limited him to 58 games at Trenton, in which he hit .284 (63-for-222) and he could be on the block.
OUTFIELD – There is a definite surplus here. Mason Williams, Ben Gamel, Slade Heathcott and Danny Oh all showed a lot of promise. Williams has speed, Gamel a lot of baseball instincts, Heathcott immense talent when healthy. Oh is a Ben Revere type, a solid, speedy outfielder who hit .297 (71-for-239), but with just one home run. Not all these guys will play for the Yankees. Where they may land is not totally known,