Peter O'Brien hits another home run Friday night. Mandatory Credit: Tracy Proffitt

Yankees MiLB Prospect Watch

The cream of the crop of the Yankees’ prospects have had an up and down couple of weeks since we last looked in on them. Two have hit the DL and a few others are slumping. Sometimes stats don’t tell the whole story, however, as some players are transitioning to new positions and roles on their teams. Let’s take a look around the system in this week’s Prospect Watch. 1. C Gary Sanchez, Trenton Thunder. Sanchez isn’t hitting the leather of the ball, but he has been hitting better of late. He is more than just a monster hitter though, he is the team leader and anchor of the pitching staff of the Yankees best farm squad. His improvements behind the plate and a leader can’t be seen in the stat book. 2014 stats: .259, 7 HR, 35 RBI 2. OF/IF Tyler Austin, Trenton Thunder. It took two months into the season, but Austin finally got that home run. He is really starting find his groove getting hits in eight of his last ten games, with three multi-hit games splashed in there. He’s seen time at first base, right field, and third base this season, really struggling while handling the hot corner. It is obviously a year that Austin is more concerned with his defensive transition than his offense. We know he can hit, hopefully he comes back around. 2014 stats: .250, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 14 runs scored 3. Mason Williams, Trenton Thunder. Williams is really starting to come around. Perhaps it is because Heathcott is on the DL and out of his way. He has raised his batting average 30 points since the last Prospect Watch and is causing mayhem on the base paths. The more he hits, the more he has a path to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. 2014 stats: .214, 1 HR, 13 RBI, 35 Runs scored (leads Thunder), 12 SB (leads Thunder) 4. OF Slade Heathcott, Trenton Thunder. 7_DAY DL. Heathcott’s long awaited debut didn’t last very long. Heathcott has been on the shelf since May 27th. Injuries are quickly becoming more common place than hits for the once elite prospect. We will see where he picks up when he returns with a clean bill of health. 2014 stats: .182, 1 RBI 5. 3B Eric Jagielo, Tampa Yankees. 7_DAY DL. Jagielo has been out since May 20th which was the last Propsect Report. While his stats haven’t improved, we are clearly seeing the rise of a young major league star in the making. Hopefully, Jagielo returns soon and the Tampa Yankees get back into the groove. 2014 stats: .256, 10 HR, 31 RBI 6. OF/ 1B Aaron Judge, Charleston RiverDogs. Here is a scary fact: Aaron Judge is getting better each inning. He is an absolute beast as of late and the early comparisons to Giancarlo Stanton are starting to look legit. Still only in Low-A, he has a long way to go, but he has been hitting the cover off the ball since the last Prospect Watch. His average has gone up 20 points and he has more than doubled his home runs and RBI. We are watching someone special here. 2014 stats: .315, 8 HR, 37 RBI 7. 1B Greg Bird, Tampa Yankees. The most disciplined hitter in the Yankees system is struggling. Is he still shaking out the cobwebs from starting the year in extended spring training? Whatever the case is, he has gone ice cold since the last Prospect Watch and with him slumping and Jagielo on the shelf, Tampa is consequently having a tough time winning. 2014 stats: .258, 3 HR, 8 RBI 8. SP Ian Clarkin, Charleston RiverDogs. Clarkin came out guns a-blazin’ but he has really struggled as of late. He is still striking out more than a batter per inning, but he is shown that he is very hittable. Still only 19 years old, I wouldn’t worry too much about the growing pains. 2014 stats: 1-3, 4.23, 29 K 9. SP, Luis Severino, Charleston RiverDogs. Severino has had quite the interesting season. He has pitched well enough to be leading the SAL in wins, but gets little run support. He is overpowering batters with his strikeouts and has walked two batters since the last Prospect Watch. 2014 stats: 1-2, 2.88, 56 K/11 BB 10A. SP, Manny Banuelos, Trenton Thunder. The injury scare two weeks is behind Banuelos and he has looked his best since being promoted to Trenton. He still isn’t pitching very far into the games as the Yankees are being cautious with their once elite pitching prospect. It will be interesting to see how Banuelos fares when they finally let him go. It will also be interesting to see how long the Yankees coddle him. 2014 stats (Trenton): 0-1, 3.95 ERA, 17 K/7 BB 10B. C/OF Peter O’Brien, Trenton Thunder. Half man, half amazing. O’Brien continues to crush pitching at every level he has been at thus far. He has amassed 21 total home runs on the season. He has been transitioning to outfield and some infield from catcher, so his time in the Bronx may be way sooner than anyone expected. He has lousy plate discipline as he barely walks, but his power swing is something special. 2014 stats (Trenton): .258, 11 HRs, 27 RBI Others to keep an eye on: OF Ramon Flores (SWB) was off to a nice start but hit the DL after getting hit by a pitch. Keep an eye on how quickly he can cmd back… 2B Jose Pirela (SWB) won the International League Batter of the Week Award and is making a case for a midseason promotion to the Bronx. He is batting .322 with three home runs and 23 RBI… 1B/DH Kyle Roller (SWB) has gotten back into the groove since his early struggles after getting promoted from Trenton. He is batting .301 with four homers (13 total on the season), and 13 RBI… SP Eric Wooten (Trenton) has made the most of his promotion going 2-0 with a 1.38 in his two games with the Thunder… 2B Rob Refsnyder (Trenton) is fresh off of his Eastern League Player of the Week Award and isn’t slowing down. He is batting .325 with six HRS and 28 RBI on the season. He has an unbelievable 113 total bases before the halfway point… OF Jake Cave (Tampa) continues to show that he deserves promotion discussion. He is batting .306 with two HRs on the year… 3B Dante Bichette, JR (Tampa) has filled in admirably for the injured Jagielo and even wain the Florida State League Player of the Week in his absence. He is up to .276 on the year with seven HRs and 35 RBI… 1B Mike Ford (Charleston) just won’t go away and the Yankees may have a nice organizational player on their hands. He set a Charleston record with a 4-home run game last week… Jaron Long (Charleston) has quickly become the ace of the RiverDogs staff, taking home the South Atlantic Pitcher of the Week. He sits at 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA and 46 Ks on the season.

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