Does Yankees Prospect Gary Sanchez Have MVP Potential?
Alas, ESPN Senior Baseball Writer Keith Law finally released his rankings for the Yankees’ 2016 Top 10 Prospects.
His list includes:
1. Aaron Judge, RF
Drafted by Yankees 32nd overall in 2013
Keith Law: “Judge could be a star in the middle of the lineup. I have concerns with his plate coverage, which is not surprising because he’s 6-foot-7. He’s got long arms. It’s hard for him to cover the inner third and the outside corner at the same time. That’s jut an adjustment that he’s going to have to make.
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2. Jorge Mateo, SS
Keith Law: “Mateo can really run. He’s a 70 or 80 runner on that 20-to-80 (scouting) scale we use. I think he’s certainly got the quickness and agility to stay at shortstop. He needs to make harder contact (at the plate). That’s really my only knock on him. But he’s very young and he’s already performed at full-season ball at an age when most players are probably still in short-season. So that’s really promising.”
3. Gary Sanchez, C
Signed as amateur free agent in 2009
Keith Law: “Sanchez made huge strides this year because of his year because of his makeup more than anything else. He was a player who I think showed a lot of entitlement for first few years because of the size of his (signing) bonus. He knew that he was rated as one of their best prospects and wasn’t putting in the work required to be a good catcher. He’s got MVP upside if he’s really willing to put in the work and become just an average receiver. He can really throw. He loves to show the arm off. He can hit. And he’s got some raw power. So it’s not hard to see him becoming an All-Star. He’s got to put the work in, and (2015) was the first year that I think that he was really willing to do that.”
4. James Kaprielian, RHP
Drafted in 2015, 1st round (16th overall) out of UCLA
Keith Law: “Kaprielian was a guy that I really liked out of the draft that I thought was a great pick. He’s not an ace and maybe not even a No. 2 starter, but a guy who absolutely can pitch in the big leagues. And he’s fairly close to being major-league ready.”
5. Ian Clarkin, LHP
Drafted 2013, 1st round, 33rd overall, out of Madison High.
Keith Law: “Clarkin moved the whole (2015) year with an elbow injury, then I was at his first or second Arizona Fall League start and he looked just like he did in high school. His fastball was above average. His curveball was flushed. His delivery was good. Everything was smooth. He’s supposed to be 100 percent healthy. This is a big year for him. He should be able to go out to high-A based on his age and the number of years he’s been in the system. Wherever they send him, it’s about getting 22-23 healthy starts out of him and making sure that he can maintain that velocity over the course. I still see potential mid-rotation starter there.”
6. Dustin Fowler, CF
Drafted in 2013, 18th round, out of West Laurens High in Dexter, Ga.
Keith Law: “Fowler is a real tools player. He can hit. He run. He’s coming into some power. If the power comes, you’ve probably got an above-average regular. It seems like he can stay in center field. I got a brief glimpse of him at the end of last year and the tools are pretty evident. He seems like he’s come into his own. He’s a more advanced baseball player than anyone realized in college.”
7. Wilkerman Garcia, SS
Keith Law: “Garcia was the one guy in that whole international market spending spree that they had in 2014 who looks like he has separated himself. He’s a shortstop now. He’s going to move to third base. That was pretty universal to the scouts I’ve talked to. He’s got a good swing. He’s got a real feel for the strike zone for a very young kid. That’s why he was in the Gulf Coast League last year while all the other guys that they spent all that money on were still in the Dominican Summer League, which is normal for their age.”
8. Drew Finley, RHP
Drafted 2015, 3rd round, out of Rancho Bernardo High.
Keith Law: “His dad is an executive with the Dodgers whom I’ve known for a long time and I got to see Drew pitch a couple of times as an (prep) underclassman. He is a super polished high school pitcher. He pitches like a college guy with a great delivery. The Yankees particularly love using TrackMan data, and his stuff graded out extremely well … both his extension on his fastball and his spin rate on his curveball. The delivery is so good and so clean. He’s really got excellent command.”
9. Kyle Holder, SS
Drafted 2015, 1st round, 30th overall, out of University of San Diego
Keith Law: “Holder was their second first-round pick this past year. He is an elite defensive shortstop, probably the best in the draft class. It’s just kind of a debate over what kind of hitter he’s going to be. I’ve talked to some scouts who say they don’t think he’s going to hit at all. Other scouts think he’s going to hit more than enough to be a big leaguer because the glove is just so good that it’s not going to take a whole lot of offense for him to turn out to be a big-league regular at shortstop.”
10. Tyler Wade, SS
Drafted in 2013, 4th round, out of Murrieta Valley High in Murrieta, Calif.
The most interesting part of Keith Laws 2016 Top 10 Yankees Prospects list is that he believes one of the aforementioned prospects has the potential to be a major league MVP!
That’s pretty significant news considering the most valuable players these days consists of world-class talents like Bryce Harper, Josh Donaldson, Mike Trout, Clayton Kershaw and Miguel Cabrera just to name a few.
So which of these prospects does Keith Law believe has MVP potential you ask?
Well it’s not the organizations top overall prospect Aaron Judge nor is it ‘the next Derek Jeter’ in Jorge Mateo.
Instead, it’s 22-year old catcher Gary Sanchez, who signed with the New York Yankees as an international free agent in 2009.
Over six years in the Yankees farm system, the backstop has averaged .274 with 89 home runs and 378 RBIs. In 2015, Gary Sanchez really started to peak. In 93 games split between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Sanchez hit .274 with 18 homers, 62 RBIs and seven stolen bases in nine attempts. He also represented the New York Yankees at the Double-A All-Star Game before getting called up to Scranton.
When it comes to the Yankees prospects with ‘MVP upside’ I’ve learned to tread lightly.
The last Yankees prospect with as much hype as Gary Sanchez was another catcher by the name of Jesus Montero. Similar to Sanchez, Montero was predicted as a future MVP with world-class talent, and of course he was flipped in a blockbuster trade that landed RHP Michael Pineda.
The trade turned out to be a bust for the Mariners, as the 26-year old Jesus Montero has struggled to stay in the Mariners lineup over the years.
The last Yankees to be crowned MVP wasn’t even a home-grown prospect. It was Alex Rodriguez in 2007 and 2005. Prior to him it was Don Mattingly in 1985.
What do you think Yankees fans? Does Gary Sanchez really have MVP potential? Let us know in the comments below!