10 years ago, Baseball America released their list of the Yankees’ Top 10 prospects for the upcoming season.
In a related story, 10 years ago, the Yankees had nearly no discernible future, per Baseball America.
Notably, this was a half-year before Aaron Judge was drafted with one of three 2013 first-round (and supplementary) picks the Yankees had in their coffer. By the next winter, Judge had a default spot in the top 10 (at No. 6 … but you have to be really unimpressive to not make a near-vacant top prospects list as the previous year’s first-rounder.
After the 2013 season, more familiar names like Greg Bird (No. 8) and Luis Severino (No. 9) had also arrived.
But prior to the 2013 campaign, an extremely long decade ago? Take a look at the cream of the Yankees’ crop.
"TOP TEN PROSPECTS1. Mason Williams, of2. Slade Heathcott, of3. Gary Sanchez, c4. Tyler Austin, of5. Jose Campos, rhp6. Brett Marshall, rhp7. Angelo Gumbs, 2b8. Manny Banuelos, lhp9. Ty Hensley, rhp10. Rafael De Paula, rhp"
Gary Sánchez in the No. 3 spot. And … that’s it? This list features the same number of impact major leaguers as “first-rounders who were assaulted by former Carolina Panthers” (that was … brutal).
Do you know how hard it is to build an entire top 10 list almost entirely devoid of good feelings? There was Sánchez’s Aug. 2016. His 2017 season. Tyler Austin’s debut homer (with Judge) and his walk-off against the Rays (and the Joe Kelly thing, we guess). Manny Bañuelos’ tearjerker debut in 2022. Slade Heathcott’s season-saving bomb in 2015.
And … that’s that?
Yankees’ Top 10 Prospects from end of 2012 season are a sight to behold
Not to mention that Mason Williams in the No. 1 spot didn’t provide any of them.
Williams, who’s now losing the Google Search Rankings Battle pretty significantly to the guitarist behind “Classical Gas,” debuted with the Yankees in 2015, posting a 137 OPS+ (OK!) in eight games (dang).
Two years and two cups of coffee later, he made his way to the Reds, then to the Orioles, then somehow ended up on the 2021 Mets. Certainly, Williams’ 114 big-league games represent a pretty good outcome for someone who once dreamed of the majors, but doesn’t look like the ideal result for a No. 1 prospect in a system. He doesn’t appear to have played professionally in 2022.
Also worth mentioning? Dentist’s nightmare Angelo Gumbs and pitcher Jose Campos, someone who — and we’re very sorry about this — has been lost to time entirely, as far as we’re concerned. Eventually, he became known as Vicente Campos. In 2021, he lived the dream and pitched for Parma Baseball in Italy.
No word yet on what he saw at the front desk of The White Lotus.
Though the 10-year anniversary of this list is particularly pertinent because it’s the last year the Yankees were Judge-less, something they decided they couldn’t afford to try again this offseason, it’s still depressing to look back not on what could’ve been, but what never had a chance of being in the first place.
There’s “neglecting the farm,” and then there’s this. Here’s hoping the team’s current shortstop glut and lower-level top prospects form something resembling a core, instead of becoming yet another bunch destined to fail.
Since Jeter, it’s just Cano and Judge. Brutal reality below the surface.