By Jeff Moore and Christopher Crawford
Back in December, we released our Top Ten Yankees prospects; a system we rated as the 21st best in all of baseball. With the advent of the new local sites, we’ve decided to extend out some of these lists by a few extra names, giving you a fuller idea of what is in the system.
Here are the best Yankees prospects, numbers 11-15.
11. Tyler Austin, OF
Future Tools: Hit: 50 Power: 45 Speed: 50 Glove: 50 Arm: 55
Austin has had his share of hindrances in his young career already, dealing with thumb injuries the last two years and also overcoming testicular cancer as a prep at Heritage High School in Georgia. When he’s been healthy though, he’s shown signs of becoming a solid – if unspectacular – member of the Yankees outfield.
At the plate, Austin has impressive bat-speed, and that along with feel for the barrel gives him a chance to hit for average at the major league level. The hit tool plays down though as Austin can at times be too aggressive at the plate at this point. His swing isn’t conducive to big power totals, but the bat speed and strong wrists give him a chance for solid-average power, and his ability to go the other way would play well at Yankee Stadium. While he’s not fleet of foot, he’s one of the smarter runners in the system, and 15 to 20 stolen bases a year isn’t out of the question.
In the field, Austin is still learning how to play right field, but his above-average athleticism and strong throwing arm should make him a competent right fielder. There’s work to be done – and he needs to show he can stay healthy – but solid fourth outfielder and possibly even everyday regular is not out of the question at this point. – Christopher Crawford
12. Eric Jagielo, 3B
Future Tools: Hit: 45 Power: 50 Speed: 30 Glove: 40 Arm: 55
Jagielo is a former first-round pick with one tool that just so happens to be one that can carry a player to a solid big league career on it’s own merit. Power is at a premium, and Jagielo has just enough of it to carve himself out a big league career. As it stands now, it’s difficult to see that niche coming as the Yankees everyday third baseman. He’s a below average defender (though he has plenty of arm for the left side), with limited range thanks to well below-average foot speed. At the plate, his power plays when he gets his pitch on the inner half, but he struggles with plate coverage and is susceptible to pitches on the outer half. He also struggles against left-handed pitching and looks extremely uncomfortable against same-side breaking balls.
Jagielo should run into enough home runs to keep him on the Yankees radar, but given the likely platoon split and below-average defense at third base, he projects to be a platoon player backup corner infielder. It’s a big league profile, but not a terribly exciting one. – Jeff Moore
13. Miguel Andujar, 3B
Future tools: Hit: 45 Power: 55 Speed: 40 Glove: 50 Arm: 70
Jagielo is the more polished third base prospect, but Andujar is preferred by several in the industry, and certainly has the higher ceiling.
Andujar’s best tool is his power, and his strong wrists and above-average bat speed along with natural loft gives him a chance at plus power as he gets strong. The hit tool is well above-average now, but he has quality hand-eye coordination, and did a much better job of making adjustments in the second-half of the season.
While Jagielo is the more advanced prospect offensively, Andujar’s defensive profile is far superior. His arm is easily plus-plus, and while not fleet of foot, he’s a decent athlete with solid instincts, and has improved his ability to charge the baseball. There’s some volatility here, but his ceiling is 25 homer third baseman, with backup corner guy as a realistic floor – Christopher Crawford
14. Tyler Wade, SS
Future tools: Hit 50 Power 30 Speed 60 Glove 60 Arm 60
There are plenty of players in the system who have a higher ceiling than Wade does, but very few have as high of floor.
At the plate, Wade offers almost no power potential, as his swing has almost no loft and his 6-1, 180 pound frame doesn’t provide him much strength. He’s quick through the zone though, and he’ll shoot line drives to every part of the field. There’s some swing and miss here, but he’s a smart hitter who rarely loses an at bat by swinging at a pitch out of the zone, and he’ll draw his share of walks.
Where wade really shines though is with the glove. He’s a plus runner, and that along with an easy plus arm allows him to turn hits into outs to both his left and rights. His ceiling is bottom of the order hitting shortstops, but he’s got a great chance of reaching that ceiling because of his baseball acumen and defensive prowess. – Christopher Crawford
15. Bryan Mitchell, RHP
Pitches: Fastball: 60 Curveball: 60
The Yankees continue to develop Mitchell as a starter, but everything about his profile screams reliever. His fastball sits in the mid-90’s, touching as high as 97 mph. His curveball gives him a second potential plus pitch, with hard downward movement that is extremely tough on right-handed hitters (though lefties aren’t as fooled). He’s tall enough but not terribly well built and has some mild effort in his delivery. More importantly, however, there is no evidence of a third pitch, leaving his repertoire short of what he’ll need to be a big league starter.
At 24, he’s probably not developing a change-up at this point, but his fastball/curve-ball arsenal would fit nicely in a big league bullpen. That’s his likely destination, but it’s one he could really thrive in. – Jeff Moore