While the blue chip talents at the top of the New York Yankees prospect rankings get all of the attention, several unheralded names are ready to make a big impact in the Bronx in the near future.
Maybe the most impressive thing about the New York Yankees farm system at the moment is the amount of depth at every level. Beyond the big names, there are some often overlooked players in the organization who have exceeded all expectations this year. Here’s a look at the five most underrated players in the minors for New York:
#5: Dietrich Enns
Enns had a very impressive season in 2016. He started off the 2016 season with the Trenton Thunder and in 12 starts went 7-2 with a 1.93 ERA. Then they decided to test him and move him up to Scranton where he also impressed. In 14 games (10 starts and 4 relief appearances) Enns pitched to another 7-2 record with a 1.52 ERA better than his Double-A performance. Enns is one of multiple Yankees starters to have a great year and become a great underrated prospect.
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Sadly New York might lose Enns in the Rule 5 draft this season. Although he has loads of talent the Yankees already have a 40 man roster that they are trying to clear enough spots on for more players, and Enns probably won’t be able to make the cut. If he does get selected by another team it will be an unfortunate loss for the Yankees. No matter what team he plays with he will be a solid #4 or #5 starter or reliever for an MLB team.
Montgomery is one guy who really impresses me. I ranked him higher than Enns because if all goes well, he has a higher ceiling than Enns. He played most of his season in Trenton in 19 starts going 9-4 with a 2.55 ERA. Then he was promoted to Scranton and did even better in 6 starts going 5-1 with an 0.97 ERA. Overall between the Double and Triple-A he went 14-5 with a 2.13 ERA. The 23-year-old lefty has a higher ceiling than Enns for one reason. Stuff. He has a plus fastball and changeup and has an average curveball and cutter.
#3 Tyler Wade
Wade had a highly impressive year for the Trenton, batting .259 with 5 home runs 27 RBI and 27 stolen bases while leading the Thunder to the Eastern League Championship series. Wade is known mostly for his above average speed. He doesn’t have much power but he is still getting stronger and should be able to hit up to about 10 home runs at his best. With his strong season Wade moved up to 14th on MLB Pipeline’s Yankees top 30 prospects list.
With the Yankees having lots of shortstop and second base prospects it seems Wade will be more of a utility player if he stays with the Yankees. He is expected to work out in the outfield during the upcoming Arizona Fall League to further increase his versatility. The Yankees may soon have their own Brock Holt.
Fowler has been extremely impressive this season for the Yankees and he is definitely a great underrated prospect. With Trenton, Fowler batted .281 with 12 home runs 88 RBI and 25 stolen bases in 2016. Like Wade, Fowler is known mostly for his speed, but in 2016 he proved he has a more well-rounded game. Power usually hasn’t been one of his strengths but he managed to hit 12 home runs this season and could hit up to 15 home runs in the majors if he reaches his ceiling.
If Fowler keeps progressing the way he is now, he could develop a combination of speed and power similar to Brett Gardner but perhaps with a better average. Keep track of Fowler in the upcoming years, because he has the tools to become a star.
#1 Chance Adams
It was definitely a close decision for the #1 spot between Adams and Fowler, but I thought Adams has the better chance (no pun intended) to become a star for the Yankees. Adams started off the year with Tampa going 5-0 with a 2.65 ERA in 12 starts. After his wonderful performance in Tampa he was promoted to Tampa where he did even better going 8-1 with a 2.07 ERA. With both High-A and Double-A, Adams pitched to a 13-1 record with a 2.33 ERA.
He has a well above average fastball and can reach up to 98 with it but typically is at 94-96. He also has an above average slider and an average changeup. Scouts say the biggest jump in the Minor Leagues is from High-A to Double-A and Adams seems to have handled that very well so far.
While durability could be a concern with just one season as a starter under his belt, between his pure stuff and his advanced feel for pitching, Adams is a guy who could be the Yankees second best starter as soon as 2017. He probably won’t make any top 100 lists in the spring, but has a strong argument for having the best season of any starting pitcher in the minors last year.