As with the other lists, I refused to assume which players would be forced to move positions. As long as a player played the majority of his games at a select position I will consider a player of that position.
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#5 Donny Sands
The Yankees took Sands in the 8th of the 2015 MLB draft. Sands attended Salpointe Catholic High School in Arizona, and won 2015 West Region honors and 2013 Underclass High Honorable Mention. Sands was selected in-part due to his strong exhibition showing in Tampa, where he impressed key Yankee decision makers.
Sands has continued to impress since being drafted, and was able to put up a very nice season in the GCL. Sands posted a wOBA of .382, and a wRC_ of 139. His stats in A-ball after a short late season promotion are insignificant, but it’s perhaps telling that the Yankees chose to push him there.
With that said I expect that Sands will begin the 2016 season in the NYPL, where he will be able to get more playing time, and possibly have the ability to play other infield positions like short or second.
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#4 Dermis Garcia
Coming into the year one of most intriguing parts of the 2015 minor league Yankees was how the record-breaking international free agent class would look. In particular I was curious to how Dermis would start his Yankee career. I was most interested in Garcia, because he was the biggest signing they had. However injuries stole his season, and there is really nothing new to report.
With that said he’s still a good prospect with plus-plus power, and that alone is worth placing him on this list. There’s still questions about his defense and his hitting ability, but if he can hit homers he should be able to maintain his value.
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#3 Nelson Gomez
Like Garcia, Nelson Gomez was one the Yankees most expensive and most hyped Yankee international signee. However unlike Garcia, Nelson stayed healthy and was one of most impressive players in this class, showing everyone why he got such a large bonus.
Gomez led the league with an 11 homers, and had a 123 wRC+ this season. With that said DSL stats could be misleading so we should still focus on his overall scouting report. Below is what Fangraphs Kiley McDaniel had to say on Gomez.
Gomez signed for $2.25 million and was a known prospect to domestic scouts as he participated in the Under Armour All-American Game in Chicago in August of 2013 with members of the 2014 draft prep class. Gomez isn’t your classic big bonus Dominican player as he’s very mature framed: he looks like a catcher or first baseman physically at age 16. He’s surprisingly nimble on his feet in short areas, despite below average speed, and his above average arm and hands play at the hot corner for now. Gomez is a hit over power prospect with solid average raw power and advanced feel for the bat head. Gomez will need to hit and probably slim up to continue projecting as a potential everyday player, but it’s still very early.
Gomez clearly showed off his power but his hit tool probably can be questioned. After all Gomez did strike out nearly 25 percent of the time. Gomez should be coming to the states next year and could start in any one of the Yankees three rookie leagues.
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#2 Eric Jagielo
Jagielo in my opinion is the best prospect on this list, however there is a lot of doubt that he can play third. It was my intent to put Jagielo at number one, but when I asked others on this site where he should ranked they actually thought he should be lower. I couldn’t put him any lower because guys like Garcia and Gomez aren’t sure things at third either, and Sands has a lot to prove on offense and perhaps in general. Jagielo comes in second because the guy in front of him actually has done well, and is a well-rounded player. But if I was ranking overall prospects Jagielo would surely be higher than any player on this list.
Jagielo had a great 2015 despite the fact that an injury shortened his season. Jagielo only got to play 58 games in AA, and hit for an impressive .377 wOBA, and a 141 wRC+. Both these numbers were the best of his minor league career, and had led many to assume he was about to be promoted to AAA. Unfortunately his knee required surgery and he never got to go to AAA, or even to the Arizona Fall League.
While it would have been nice to get Jagielo some more at-bats, it’s not extremely necessary. He can hit, it’s probably more significant that he missed the opportunity to play defense. Jagielo should begin the 2016 season as the AAA team’s starting third-baseman and if the Yankees feel it is necessary he can play first as well, especially if Greg Bird is in the majors.
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#1 Miguel Andujar
Andujar was the Yankees top international pickup in 2011, the Yankees signed him to a $700,000 deal and he was fast tracked to the GCL and has been pushed through the system aggressively since debuting in 2012. Andujar was talented enough to skip the DSL entirely and begin his career in the states as a 17 year. Usually this is a sign that a club has a lot of faith in you. This is especially through with formerly conservative Yankees. To put their faith in perspective they kept Nelson Gomez, in the DSL the entire year. Generally only guys like Gary Sanchez, and Dermis Garcia get to skip the DSL.
Andujar understandably struggled through his first turn in the GCL but dominated it a second time around. Post GCL Andujar’s career has been a tale of two seasons. The young third-baseman has been pushed aggressively over past two seasons, and has started each of those seasons off very slowly and then heating up in the second half.
Through the first 69 games of the 2014 Andujar posted a disappointing .219/.274/.332 slash line. However he turned the season around and from June 26th on, and put up a 320/.367/.469. This year his second half surge wasn’t as drastic but he still showed great improvement in the first half. Andujar posted a .587 OPS in the first half a .722 OPS in the second half.
Overall Andujar posted a 98 wRC+ with a .309 wOBA and a year ago he posted a 99 wRC+ with a .327 wOBA. Andujar played both seasons as one of the youngest players in the league, and was 2.5 and 2.6 years younger than the average age in each season. So all things considered Andujar has been developing slowly but overall has been showing good signs as a prospect.
The reason I put Andujar number one is because I feel he has an outside chance to be as good as Jagielo offensively, and is the better defender. Andujar has below-average speed, but every other aspect of his defensive game suggests he can stick at third. He has a plus arm, and good enough range for the hot corner. But yes his main attribute is on offense where he has shown a lot of upside.