The Yankees of the Future: Outfield Edition


It is no secret that the New York Yankees have decided to pursue youth and to get cheaper this off-season. They have began dismantling the roster in favor of younger players with high upside and in doing so have began to replenish the farm system as well. There are certain contracts that they will not be able to get rid of and will be forced to ride out, but this might not be the worst thing. It will give them time to continue to groom their youth until they are ready to take the torch. So what might the Yankees look like a few years into the future?

I am one of the biggest fans of Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner in the Yankees outfield. They are gritty, hardworking, and fundamentally sound. The duo possess a coach’s ideal qualities for a player and their passion is never questioned. However, lets look at the outfield after they are gone. We can see an outfield of Aaron Judge, Ramon Flores, and Tyler Austin.

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Judge is entering 2015 as the number two prospect in the Yankees’ farm system. He is 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds of all around athleticism. His frame doesn’t resemble a baseball player’s but more of a football player’s which explains why he received scholarship offers for both football and basketball as well.

Most comparisons compare him to Giancarlo Stanton because of his size and raw power. He will be an ideal right fielder for the Yankees in the future if his game continues to develop. Judge has a big powerful stroke; however, like most power players with long swings he tends to strikeout more than often.

It will be a challenge for him to shorten his stroke to incorporate average into his attributes but it is not out of the question. His raw potential makes it clear why the Oakland Athletics drafted him in 2010, and then why the Yankees drafted him again in 2013.

Flores and Austin are not as touted as Judge and there is no guarantee they will be anything more than role players, but the upside is there. They both put up decent statlines: Flores posted a .247/.339/.443 and Austin put up a .275/.336/.419. Both players will be 23 this season and have a shot at cracking the MLB roster at one point this season.

Flores has been highly praised for his patience at the plate because of his ability to work counts and draw walks. However, scouts would like to see him drive the ball more. Austin has more upside than Flores because of his better all around approach to the game. He has a short, smooth stroke which he uses to spread the ball to all fields. He also rarely falls for off speed pitches and stays on his back foot. . They still have plenty of time to find their games.

I would feel disgraced if I didn’t give honorable mentions to Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, and Jake Cave. The Yankees re-signed Heathcott this off-season after non-tendering him. They re-signed him for the same reason they drafted him 29th overall in 2009, his above average ratings. He possesses high upside and projects himself into the future outfield plans but he has been held back by his inability to stay healthy.

Williams passion has begun to be questioned because of his severe regression over the past couple of years. He went from a top prospect who could develop into a well rounded player to a slap hitter who gives little effort on the field. The potential to hit for average and power is there if Williams can find the love for the game again. At this rate, he will be known more for his speedy defense than anything offensively.

Cave has worked his way into talks of the top fielding prospects in the system. He consistently gives 100% on the field and has above average range in center field. His speed allows him to run down balls in the gaps as well as legging out hits on the bases. Cave has power to the gaps but not so much over the fences.

He will average 15 home runs a season when fully developed but will always put solid wood on the ball from the left side of the plate. If Cave can continue to develop and become more patient at the plate, then like Judge he can be the real deal.