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New York Yankees: Stock Up, Stock Down for Top 10 Prospects for Week 3

Peter RichmanCorrespondent IApril 21, 2014

New York Yankees: Stock Up, Stock Down for Top 10 Prospects for Week 3

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    No. 3 prospect, C John Ryan Murphy
    No. 3 prospect, C John Ryan MurphyUSA TODAY Sports

    A roller-coaster week has just concluded for the New York Yankees. The big league club began by snapping off five straight wins behind dominant pitching and an awakened offense before it lost two in a row by a combined score of 27-6. New York took the final game of the week, however, from the Tampa Bay Rays in extra innings, rallying for four runs in the top of the 12th.

    After three weeks of play in the young 2014 season, the Bombers sit at 11-8 and in sole possession of first in the AL East, though they'll have a much-needed day off to begin Week 4; the past seven days have included a variety of shuffling of the major league roster due to injuries and poor performances, and the minor league talent pool has come under increased consideration and scrutiny as a result.

    Over the course of this week alone, here's a recap of what's transpired: The No. 3 prospect, catcher John Ryan Murphy, was recalled on Tuesday in place of backup Francisco Cervelli, who hit the 50-day disabled list with a Grade 2 hamstring sprain.

    Young pitcher Cesar Cabral was designated for assignment while Matt Daley was recalled in his place, and utility infielder Dean Anna even pitched an inning in Saturday's disaster. 

    Preston Claiborne and Bryan Mitchell were recalled to the Bronx on Sunday, while the Yankees then optioned Scott Sizemore to Scranton and designated Daley for assignment, and, finally, Mark Teixeira was activated and in the lineup for the first time since April 4. 

    For this week's stock watch, we'll take an updated look at how the top-10 Yankees prospects fared during Week 3. Based upon their statistics and performances from the past week, as well as their numbers on the season so far, we'll determine whose stock has risen or fallen. 

     

    *Note: OF Slade Heathcott (No. 2), 1B Greg Bird (No. 8), RHP Jose Ramirez (No. 9) and LHP Ian Clarkin (No. 10) have not logged any playing time in 2014 and remain in extended spring training.

    Heathcott is slated to begin in Triple-A but is recovering from offseason surgery. Bird, who had a tremendous year for Low-A Charleston last year, is being held back due to a back injury. Ramirez was in the running for the final two spots in the big league bullpen out of camp but strained his oblique. Clarkin only pitched five innings of rookie ball in 2013, so the Yankees should increase his experience before a start in Low-A.

    **All statistics courtesy of milb.com, baseball-reference.com and yankees.com unless noted otherwise.

No. 7: OF Aaron Judge, Low-A Charleston Riverdogs

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    Week 3 Stats

    5 G, 22 PA, 7 H, .389/.500/.611, 1 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 4 BB, 6 K

     

    Notes

    The 32nd overall pick of the 2013 draft out of Fresno State, Charleston outfielder Aaron Judge got off to a slow start in his professional debut, going 9-for-36 (.250) with no extra-base hits and one RBI through the first two weeks. 

    But since last Monday, the 6'7", 230-pounder has hit his stride, going 7-for-18 (.389) with his first big league homer (see video above) and seven of his season-total eight RBI. In the Riverdogs' Saturday double-header (day off Sunday), Judge went 2-for-7 with a double, RBI and run scored.

    He could be on the move quickly through the system if he continues his hot hitting and cuts down on his hefty swing-and-miss numbers. He was drafted with plenty of college experience, having been named first-team All-Conference three times while hitting .347, so there isn't as much polishing needed for the No. 7 prospect. That near-.300 average is enticing, but the fact that he leads the team in OBP (.424) and bases on balls (12) is the more encouraging trend for the 21-year-old. 

     

    2014 Season Stats

    15 G, 66 PA, 16 H, .296/.424/.370, 1 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 12 BB, 15 K

     

    Stock: UP 

    (last week: UP)

No. 6: OF Tyler Austin, Double-A Trenton Thunder

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Week 3 Stats

    5 G, 21 PA, 4 H, .235/.381/.412, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 5 K

     

    Notes

    The 22-year-old is playing his fifth season in the Yankees' system after being selected in the 13th round in 2010. He hit .322 in 2012 (17 HR, 80 RBI, 51 BB, 23 SB), leading all Yankees minor leaguers and earning him the distinction of Yankees' Minor League Player of the Year. 

    Battling thumb and wrist injury in 2013, however, he regressed to .265/.351/.378 with only six homers, 40 RBI and four stolen bases. Returning to Trenton for this season, Austin missed the first five games, and because he missed all of spring training, his 10-for-42 start is understandable—especially since two of his hits have gone for extra bases. 

    But he went just 4-for-17 last week and took his strikeout total to 11 in 11 games. Austin's in the mix for the Bronx outfield in the coming years, but he'll have to heat up the coming month to be in the conversation for what would be his first promotion to Scranton.

     

    2014 Season Stats

    11 G, 48 PA, 10 H, .238/.313/.310, 1 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 5 BB, 11 K

     

    Stock: DOWN

    (last week: DOWN)

No. 5: 3B Eric Jagielo, High-A Tampa Yankees

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    Week 3 Stats

    6 G, 26 PA, 8 H, .364./.462/.545, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K

     

    Notes

    The Yankees drafted Jagielo No. 26 in 2013 out of Notre Dame, where he was the Big East Conference Player of the Year his final season (.388/.500/.633, 9 HR) and hit .321 for his career. In 51 games at Staten Island last year, the 6'2", 195-pound third baseman slashed .266/.376/.451 with six home runs, 14 doubles, 27 RBI and 26 walks.

    He got off to a relatively slow start in his Tampa Yankees debut this year, going 9-for-41 (.220) with three walks and an ugly 13 punch-outs in the first 10 games, though he did boost his numbers with three long balls and 10 RBI. Jagielo's turned it around with an 8-for-22 week that saw his third double, fourth homer and reduced strikeout total (with only four).

    Similarly to outfielder Aaron Judge, the top third baseman and No. 5 prospect in the Yankees' system brings plenty of college experience, polished hitting and plate discipline. His strikeout numbers certainly jump out, and his sub-.400 OBP and only six walks don't bear that out, but his pop (7 XBH) and team-leading production (14 RBI) are enough to boost his stock ahead of Week 4.

    He's an interesting player to keep an eye on at age 21, as the Yankees don't have a current short- or long-term plan at third, and because he has a lefty stroke fit for Yankee Stadium.

     

    2014 Season Stats

    16 G, 70 PA, 17 H, .270/.343/.508, 3 2B, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 6 BB, 17 K

     

    Stock: UP

    (last week: UP)

No. 4: OF Mason Williams, Double-A Trenton Thunder

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Week 3 Stats

    6 G, 26 PA, 5 H, .200/.231/.200, 0 XBH, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K

     

    Notes

    A fourth-round pick of the Yankees in 2010, the 22-year-old enters his fifth season in the system. After hitting, .304/.359/.489 for Charleston in 2012, Williams continually took steps back as he faced higher-level pitching since then. He hit .261/.327/.350 and struck out 61 times for Tampa last year, and when he was promoted to Trenton for 17 games, he dropped to .153/.164/.264 with 18 strikeouts.

    He had a much better Arizona Fall League (.267/.330/.337) but had a dismal spring camp with the big league club, hitting only .154 in 17 games. After his first two weeks saw him go 11-for-42 (.262) with a homer, triple and four doubles, he's gone just 5-for-25 since.

    The good news is Williams has accumulated just eight strikeouts in 16 games. The bad news is he won't be able to show off his speed on the basepaths—or make any significant impact—with a sub-.300 OBP.

     

    2014 Season Stats

    16 G, 72 PA, 16 H, .239/.292/.373, 1 HR, 4 2B, 1 3B, 1/1 SB, 5 BB, 8 K

     

    Stock: DOWN

    (last week: UP)

No. 3: C John Ryan Murphy, New York Yankees

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Week 3 Stats (MLB)

    3 G, 8 PA, 1 H, .125/.125/.125, 0 XBH, 0 RBI, 0 BB, 1 K

     

    Notes

    The young catcher was called up to the bigs last September, invited to spring training in the three-way backup-catcher competition, sent down to Scranton to start 2014 and recalled last week after Cervelli hit the DL. Unfortunately, in spite of Murphy's MLB-caliber defense, he's had nothing to show on offense since hitting .270 with six homers, 19 doubles, 21 RBI and 23 walks in 59 Triple-A games last season.

    In his 16-game MLB debut, he went 4-for-26 (.154) with nine strikeouts; then in spring training, he went 2-for-26 (.077) with six strikeouts; and in his seven games in Scranton this year, he was just 5-for-26 (.192) before returning to the Bronx.

    The 22-year-old has played three games, including Sunday's extra-inning win over the Tampa Bay Rays, and he's done a nice job game-calling for the starters (particularly Vidal Nuno's outing), but he's 1-for-8 with no walks.

    He's fortunate to be currently occupying a roster spot since Austin Romine isn't hitting either (.174), and because the Yanks aren't rushing the hot-hitting, more projectable Gary Sanchez through the system. Overall, Murphy's a nice prospect and a dependable backstop, but he needs to break his fairly prolonged slump.

     

    2014 Season Stats (AAA)

    7 G, 26 PA, 5 H, (.192/.192/.308), 3 2B, 0 BB, 5 K

     

    Stock: DOWN

    (last week: DOWN)

No. 1: C Gary Sanchez, Double-A Trenton Thunder

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    The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 3 Stats

    4 G, 17 PA, 3 H, .200/.294/.200, 0 XBH, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K

     

    Notes

    The unanimous No. 1 Yankees prospect is coming off a 2013 in which he hit .253/.324/.412 with 15 homers, 27 doubles and 71 RBI between Tampa and Trenton. He had an outstanding camp this spring, as well, hitting .364/.364/.909 in eight games while belting two long balls and driving in three.

    In an excellent first two weeks of 2014, he picked up right where he left off with 12 hits in 34 at-bats (.353), five doubles, 10 RBI and six walks. He's cooled off since, adding three hits and one walk in his last four games, but it wasn't nearly enough to decrease his stock in the organization. He owns a well-above-average arm to complement his effortless, raw power on offense, and he still stands as the best two-way prospect in the organization.

    One of the better signs for the 6'3", 235-pound 21-year-old is his diminished strikeouts. They were an issue for him in 2010 (44 in 47 G), 2011 (93 in 82 games) and 2012 (106 in 116 G), but he turned it around in 2013, when he struck out 87 times in 117 games and generated his highest walk total to date (41).

    It'll be hard for the Yankees to hold him down if he continues to flirt with a .300/.400/.475 line, but Scranton may ultimately be his 2014 ceiling with the injured Cervelli well ahead of him on the depth chart. His debut should come in 2015 barring another catching injury this season or an unexpected move by the front office to give him the next open roster spot in front of Murphy or Romine. 

     

    2014 Season Stats

    13 G, 57 PA, 15 H, .306/.404/.469, 1 HR, 5 2B, 13 RBI, 7 BB, 9 K

     

    Stock: UP

    (last week: UP)

     

    *For more, check out the Week 1 and Week 2 stock reports. 

    Peter F. Richman is a Featured Columnist for the New York Yankees. Follow him for more on Twitter: 

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