How are Yankees’ top 10 prospects performing so far?
The New York Yankees’ farm system is teeming with talent and, like the big-league club, trudging through its share of injuries. Three of their top 10 prospects are shelved for the year, but the deep system keeps churning out more players that can help the club contend.
Here’s an update on the Yankees young commodities (ranked by MLB.com):
1. Gleyber Torres
Stats: .287/.383/.480, 202 AB, 7 HR, 34 RBI, 30 BB, 47 K, five errors, 55 games between Double-A and Triple-A
Outlook: Torres was a near-lock to make his major-league debut this season until a freak injury on a head-first slide required Tommy John surgery. His bat flourished at every level, but the Yankees wanted Torres, a natural shortstop, to improve his defense at second and third base. With current third baseman Chase Headley underwhelming in the Bronx, Torres’ most available path was to take over at the hot corner.
The Yankees have lost Torres for the remainder of the year, but GM Brian Cashman is optimistic about Torres returning by the start of Spring Training, coincidentally when Headley will be entering the final year of his $52 million contract.
2. Clint Frazier
Stats: .257/.345/.474, 272 AB, 12 HR, 42 RBI, 37 BB, 68 K, 73 games at Triple-A
Outlook: After buzzing his locks and impressing the front office with his work in the upper minors, Frazier is on his way to Houston to join the Yankees. Even with a full starting outfield that includes Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and MVP candidate Aaron Judge, manager Joe Girardi says Frazier won’t ride the bench when he arrives.
“If you bring up a player you foresee as an everyday player, he will play,” Girardi hinted.
It’s possible Girardi will rotate his outfielders to divvy out at-bats and keep the veterans rested. With Torres out, the prospect hype machine will hone in on the redhead with what Cashman called “legendary” bat speed.
3. Blake Rutherford
Stats: .270/.336/.377, 215 AB, 1 HR, 21 RBI, 16 2B, 23 BB, 50 K, 56 games at Class-A
Outlook: The Yankees’ first-round pick in the 2016 Draft continues to hit. The power is developing, and as Rutherford progresses, the expectation is that some of those doubles will turn into homers. The 20-year-old outfielder is far from The Show, but MLB.com offers a tantalizing scouting report on how Rutherford’s left-handed swing will fit Yankee Stadium:
"“…Rutherford is a rare talent who has the chance to hit for plus average and power. He has a smooth left-handed stroke with plenty of bat speed, recognizes pitches well, shows signs of patience and uses the entire field. While he currently employs a line-drive approach, he has big raw power and will tap into it once he adds some loft to his swing.”"