Five Yankees Minor League Affiliates Qualify for the Postseason in 2016


All of the New York Yankees top five minor league affiliates qualified for the 2016 postseason thanks to their new and improved farm system.

With their 5-4 win over the Tri-City Valley Cats Saturday, the Staten Island Yankees became the fifth New York Yankees farm team to qualify for the playoffs in 2016.

Out of their eight minor league affiliates, only the Yankees three Rookie League teams (Pulaski and the two GCL squads) didn’t land a spot in the postseason.

While team success is not the ultimate indicator of the quality of a farm system, it certainly is not a bad sign that so many of the Yankees minor league clubs have been contenders this season. It reflects the fact that many of New York’s top talents are having strong seasons this year, especially in the upper-levels.

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The Yankees system received a huge influx of talent at the August 1st trade deadline, with general manager Brian Cashman adding a dozen legitimate prospects in the span of a week with just four trades. Guys like Gleyber Torres, Justus Sheffield, Rashad Crawford, and Dillon Tate in particular have provided a big boost to their team’s playoff efforts.

In Triple-A, the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders came into Sunday with the best record in the International League at 89-52 thanks to the league’s best offense scoring a healthy 4.57 runs per game. The loss of Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez to the big league club, as well as the recently traded Ben Gamel certainly hurts, but there is enough talent remaining for the ‘Riders to make a run.

At 86-54, the Double-A Trenton Thunder have clinched a Wild Card spot in the Eastern League, finishing 2.5 games behind the Reading Fightin Phils in the Eastern Division. The Thunder have benefited from having top prospects Tyler Wade and Dustin Fowler in the lineup all season, as well as a massive breakout from since-promoted catcher Kyle Higashioka

As the first half division winners in the Florida State League North, the Tampa Yankees clinched a postseason berth a while ago. They finished a solid 77-56 on the year and are notable for running out perhaps the most talented middle infield duo in the minor leagues in Jorge Mateo and Gleyber Torres, and that’s not to mention the quietly underrated shortstop Thairo Estrada, who’s also in the infield mix.

Despite finishing below .500 in the second half, the Low-A Charleston Riverdogs will also participate in the South Atlantic League postseason because of their strong start to the season. At 42-27, the Riverdogs won the Southern Division in the first half, but slumped to a 32-35 finish to the year. Hoy Jun Park, Luis Torrens, and Domingo Acevedo are among the biggest names to see Sally League action this season. 

Rounding out the playoff-bound affiliates, the Staten Island Yankees finished second in the McNamara Division at 42-31 thanks to strong performances from 2016 second rounder Nick Solak, unheralded centerfielder Timmy Robinson, and 23-year-old righty Jonathan Padilla.

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Even putting aside from the top talent, the Yankees possess enviable depth in their minor league system, with several relative unknowns posting intriguing breakouts in 2016. With the youth movement in full swing in the Bronx, it’s an exciting time for prospect watchers.