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New York Yankees: Stock Up, Stock Down for Top 10 Prospects for Week 8

Peter RichmanCorrespondent ISeptember 13, 2016

New York Yankees: Stock Up, Stock Down for Top 10 Prospects for Week 8

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    The Yankees' No. 1 prospect, Trenton Thunder catcher Gary Sanchez, picked up his fifth homer of the year in Week 8 and continues to gaze toward his future in the Bronx.
    The Yankees' No. 1 prospect, Trenton Thunder catcher Gary Sanchez, picked up his fifth homer of the year in Week 8 and continues to gaze toward his future in the Bronx.The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

    In the eighth week of the 2014 season, the New York Yankees visited the Cubs and White Sox for six games in which they went 3-3.

    Around the farm, the Nos. 5 and 8 prospects, Eric Jagielo and Greg Bird, impressed for the High-A Tampa Yankees.

    The top prospect, Gary Sanchez, went deep for his fifth time in Double-A Trenton. His teammate, No. 4 prospect Mason Williams, showed glimpses of emerging from his offensive slump and added three stolen bases to highlight his value in the system. 

    But any Yankee, at the big league level or the farm, would have struggled to top No. 7 Aaron Judge's week for Low-A Charleston. In his ongoing professional debut, the right fielder went 12-for-26 with two homers and three doubles.

    During the week, the Bombers also saw their AL East lead slip and disappear to the smoking Toronto Blue Jays (six straight wins, including 11 of their last 13), who ride a two-game margin heading into the final week of May.

    The Windy City road trip did create a few positives, though.

    Despite losing the opening game, 6-1, they scrapped for a 4-3 victory in 13 innings to split with the Cubs. On the South Side, they dropped the first two by a combined score of 9-7, then took the third, 4-3, in resilient fashion yet again in 10 innings.

    On Sunday, they closed out another split series in a dominating 7-1 performance led by winning pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (6.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K), who moved to 7-1 (2.29 ERA) on the year, and things were capped off by a 4-for-5 day from the honored guest, Derek Jeter.

    The Bombers continue to patch together their rotation, bullpen and positional depth as they look toward the long summer stride and MLB's July 31 trade deadline. They'll be wise to keep continued tabs on the top talent of the farm system should they be ready to pull the trigger on one or more in-house promotions.

    Based on the most recent week's performances, as well as relevant stats and trends heading into the season and the past week, this stock update provides a thorough check-in on New York's top 10 prospects.

    Continue reading to get caught up on their rising or falling values in the organization as the month of May wraps up.

     

    NYY Organizational Roundup for Week 8 (May 19-25, 2014)

    • New York Yankees (MLB, AL East)26-23, 2nd, W2
    • SWB RailRiders (AAA, IL North)24-24, 5th, L1
    • Trenton Thunder (AA, EL Eastern) 27-23, 4th, L1
    • Tampa Yankees (A, FSL North)26-24, 3rd, L2
    • Charleston RiverDogs (A, SAL Southern)25-23, 3rd, W1
    • SI Yankees (SS, NYPL McNamara)N/A; season begins June 13, 2014 vs. Brooklyn.

     

    *Top 10 rankings continue to refer to the preseason list and breakdown from April 3, 2014. Candidates and ranking order subject to change once the minor league clubs reach the midway point of the season.

    **All statistics updated through game action on May 25, 2014 and courtesy of milb.com, baseball-reference.com and yankees.com unless noted otherwise.

No. 10: LHP Ian Clarkin, Low-A Charleston RiverDogs

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    Clarkin, seen here (right) pitching for Team USA at the 2012 U18 Baseball World Championship Final; the lefty had a rough four-inning outing last week, allowing six runs and two homers in four innings.
    Clarkin, seen here (right) pitching for Team USA at the 2012 U18 Baseball World Championship Final; the lefty had a rough four-inning outing last week, allowing six runs and two homers in four innings.Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

    Week 8 Stats

    1 GS, L, 4.0 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 HR, 2 BB, 2 K

     

    Notes

    When you draft a pitcher out of high school, you expect to receive a talented prospect with one or more works in progress. Clarkin's resume boasts some big-time experience, as he pitched for the win in the final of the 2012 U18 Baseball World Championship for Team USA.

    And after making a belated debut to 2014 following injury, the 19-year-old San Diego native was plugged into full-season ball for the first time. It took until the fourth game, in Week 8, to see some of those kinks the lefty will need to smooth out.

    Simply put, Clarkin was knocked around for the first time: In four innings he allowed two home runs, eight hits and six earned runs for his first loss. 

    This outing appears to be more of an early-season fluke than a trend to be worried about.

    He has lights-out stuff with three quality pitches—a low-90s fastball, 12-6 curve and changeup—and his short track record in Charleston includes impressive control (1.8 BB/9) and flashes of dominance (9.2 K/9).

    Some scouts, such as from MLB.com, project Clarkin as high as a No. 2- or 3-type arm.

     

    2014 Season Stats

    4 GS, 1-1, 19.2 IP, 3.66 ERA, 1.169 WHIP, 4 BB, 20 K, 1.8 BB/9, 9.2 K/9

     

    Stock: DOWN

    (Last week: UP)

No. 9: RHP Jose Ramirez, Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders

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    The tall right-hander Jose Ramirez has allowed one earned run and five walks over five appearances. Last week, he picked up his first save of 2014.
    The tall right-hander Jose Ramirez has allowed one earned run and five walks over five appearances. Last week, he picked up his first save of 2014.Associated Press

    Week 8 Stats

    2 G, 1 SV, 2.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 2 K

     

    Notes

    Another solid week in Triple-A Scranton for right-hander Jose Ramirez, who was called up as the 26th man for a Week 7 doubleheader but didn't take the mound.

    He also began this season late due to injury, but in his first five appearances (5.2 IP) he's looked steady (1.59 ERA, 0 HR) and dominant (12.7 K/9). His one weakness, despite overpowering pitches and perhaps the organization's best changeup, has been his control, walking nearly a batter per inning and three in his two Week 8 appearances.

    But give him credit—he picked up his first save, hasn't been taken deep and he's continuing to establish the perspective that he is the Yankees' next best MLB-ready pitcher should they be in search of one to shore up the bullpen.

     

    2014 Season Stats

    5 G, 1 SV, 5.2 IP, 1.59 ERA, 2.294 WHIP, 0 HR, 5 BB, 8 K, 7.9 BB/9, 12.7 K/9

     

    Stock: UP

    (Last week: UP)

No. 8: 1B Greg Bird, High-A Tampa Yankees

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    1B Greg Bird homered, doubled and drove in three while picking up five walks in Week 8.
    1B Greg Bird homered, doubled and drove in three while picking up five walks in Week 8.Associated Press

    Week 8 Stats

    8 G, 27 AB, 7 H, .259/.364/.407, 1 HR, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 5 BB, 9 K

     

    Notes

    Another Yankees prospect who took to the field a few weeks into the season. That's fine for Greg Bird, who has now played only 17 games but has picked up three homers, five doubles and 12 walks.

    After a 7-for-27 (.259) week in which he drove in three, doubled and homered at High-A Tampa, the first baseman's season average sits at .302, and eight of his first 19 hits have gone for extra bases.

    Without a secure plan behind Mark Teixeira in 2014 or beyond, the left-handed-hitting Bird can continue to boost his stock and buzz with a productive offensive summer—and steadily improving defense—that may see him promoted to Trenton before season's end.

    Keep on eye on Bird. He has a smooth lefty swing, plate discipline and patience beyond his years (.408 OBP, 12 BB) with some early signs of power.

     

    2014 Season Stats

    17 G, 63 AB, 19 H, .302/.408/.524, 3 HR, 5 2B, 7 RBI, 12 BB, 17 K

     

    Stock: UP

    (Last week: UP)

No. 7: RF/DH Aaron Judge, Low-A Charleston RiverDogs

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    Week 8 Stats

    6 G, 26 AB, 12 H, .462/.464/.808, 1.272 OPS, 2 HR, 3 2B, 7 RBI, 1 BB, 6 K

     

    Notes

    The monstrous outfielder from Fresno State put up another monster week in his pro debut, belting two homers (just his fourth and fifth on the year), doubling three times and driving in seven in Charleston.

    The only question mark coming into the season had noted his lengthy path to the ball. Scouts, like those at MLB.com, cited his size as the cause of his long swing. But his high average, high walk totals and eight doubles speak to a more well-rounded approach and swing.

    He's done nothing but impress in his first full season, and it's been largely for that mature approach at the plate that has seen him drive the ball to all fields—not just out of the park. His 12-for-26 (.462) run last week raised his season line to .327/.423/.479. 

    The only minor drawback early on had been the absence of power—namely in that home run column—for his 6'7" frame. That he homered twice last week, however, may be a sign of an impending power streak, and a prospect who might just deliver them in bunches. 

    Judge is a phenomenal prospect for a reason beyond the batting-practice shows: He already begins his career with the Yanks as a polished college hitter.

    Those expecting a three-true-outcome outfielder with an uppercut swing should have a look at the video above (from May 1), an example of Judge doing quite the opposite; he sits back on an 0-2 delivery and inside-outs his third single of the game to right field. 

     

    2014 Season Stats

    46 G, 165 AB, 54 H, .327/.423/.479, 5 HR, 8 2B, 1 3B, 24 RBI, 27 BB, 39 K, 1 SB 

     

    Stock: UP

    (Last week: UP)

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

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    Austin continued to struggle at the plate last week, going 4-for-21 (.238 on the year); though two of the hits were doubles.
    Austin continued to struggle at the plate last week, going 4-for-21 (.238 on the year); though two of the hits were doubles.USA TODAY Sports

    Week 8 Stats

    6 G, 21 AB, 4 H, .190/.292/.286, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K

     

    Notes

    Tyler Austin has been playing below-average baseball for the past season and in his early start to the current one. In a hole at .238/.314/.324 after the first 28 games, the Trenton right fielder faces an uphill battle over the next two months to reestablish trust in his health and production.

    He went just 4-for-21 last week, striking out six times in six games. The good news is the top-10 talent drew three walks, drove in three runs and doubled in two of his four productive trips to the plate.

    Perhaps Austin can hit a stride as the schedule turns to June, and he can continue to use this most recent discipline and gap power to his advantage as he attempts to find his offensive comfort with patience and a line-drive approach.

    The fifth big league Yankees outfield role might begin to rotate as the end of the season draws to a close. From here on out, then, Austin will need to demonstrate steady improvement that could ultimately return him to the conversation of Double-A blue-chip outfielders—along with Nos. 2 and 4, Mason Williams and Slade Heathcott.

     

    2014 Season Stats

    28 G, 105 AB, 25 H, .238/.314/.324, 0 HR, 5 2B, 2 3B, 9 RBI, 12 BB, 24 K

     

    Stock: DOWN  

    (Last week: DOWN)

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

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    Week 8 Stats

    2 G, 5 AB, 2 H, .400/.500/1.200, 1 HR, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K

     

    Notes

    The Notre Dame product homered and doubled in just five at-bats last week, driving in three runs over two games. Jagielo, a 2013 first-rounder, crushed a three-run home run in Tampa's 4-3 loss on May 20 but, unfortunately, left the game shortly thereafter with "tightness in his right side," per Jake Seiner of MiLB.com.

    According to the report, the young third baseman initially felt tightness after swinging and missing on an 0-1 offering. He talked it over with the trainer, stepped back in the box and homered on the following pitch. Jagielo took the remainder of Week 8 to rest, but the injury doesn't appear serious.

    Though Jagielo sits at just .256/.339/.500 through eight weeks, he leads the Tampa Yanks in RBI (31) and is tied for the lead in homers (10) with former teammate Peter O'Brien (who was promoted a few weeks ago). 

    Like No. 8 Bird, Jagielo is another top Yankees corner-infield prospect with a projectable—and naturally powerful (see: video above)—lefty stroke who could factor into the future in the Bronx.

    Though the High-A Yankees' ballpark is modeled after the Stadium, Jagielo has "resisted the urge to go pull-happy with the short porch in right," according to Seiner. Jagielo added: "I don't think it really goes through my head. I'm not trying to yank or pull the ball, just get a good pitch to drive and make good contact."

     

    2014 Season Stats

    42 G, 156 AB, 40 H, .256/.339/.500, 10 HR, 8 2B, 31 RBI, 19 BB, 41 K

     

    Stock: UP

    (Last week: UP)

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

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    Week 8 Stats

    6 G, 21 AB, 5 H, .238/.385/.333, 2 2B, 0 RBI, 5 BB, 2 K, 3 SB

     

    Notes

    If fans and brass were growing impatient with Mason Williams' cold start to 2014, then they will be happy to know that he finally began to show some signs of life in Week 8.

    Despite a 5-for-21 slide, Williams only struck out twice last week and collected two doubles. His game-changing impact was especially seen through his ability to get on base (5 BB) and get himself in motion and scoring position (3 SB).

    If you were looking for any silver linings in his first two months, it's his continued ability to loom as a legitimate threat on the basepaths.

    The average and OBP are down, as has been the trend for the athletic center fielder going back to 2013 (.245/.304/.337), but he's still totaled nine extra-base hits (including seven doubles), has walked 24 times in 42 games and has stolen nine of 10 bases.

    It's tough to imagine him progressing enough to see significant playing time in a promotion to Scranton before year's end. Any further improvement, however, and additional upward-trending weeks will only serve to keep Williams in the conversation for the top outfield prospects in the organization.

    In the video above, you see what got Yanks personnel excited about the 22-year-old: raw athleticism, gap power and blazing speed.

     

    2014 Season Stats

    42 G, 169 AB, 34 H, .201/.301/.272, 1 HR, 7 2B, 1 3B, 8 RBI, 24 BB, 25 K, 9/10 SB 

     

    Stock: UP

    (Last week: DOWN)

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

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    Young Yankee backstop John Ryan Murphy—seen here in a play at the plate involving the Rays' James Loney, Tropicana Field, Apr. 20—went just 2-for-7 but collected an RBI and continued his errorless streak.
    Young Yankee backstop John Ryan Murphy—seen here in a play at the plate involving the Rays' James Loney, Tropicana Field, Apr. 20—went just 2-for-7 but collected an RBI and continued his errorless streak.Associated Press

    Week 8 Stats

    3 G, 7 AB, 2 H, .286/.286/.286 0 XBH, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 1 K 

     

    Notes

    Most scouts and coaches don't project Murphy as an All-Star-caliber catcher in the major leagues, but for some time they have profiled him as a reliable everyday option behind the plate.

    This is perhaps most telling in the fact that the young catcher and No. 3 prospect hasn't committed an error or allowed a passed ball since his second big league call-up.

    It doesn't hurt his case that Francisco Cervelli remains sidelined and that, save for No. 1 prospect Gary Sanchez, no one looks to be able to threaten him for primary backup duty in the near future. With the pressure largely off, Murphy is hitting .378 through 15 starts, with a homer, double and six RBI.

    He had been riding a cold streak from his September 2013 call-up through 2014 spring training and up through his start in Triple-A. But he continues to raise his own comfort level in the Bronx, and he went 2-for-7 last week with another RBI and just one strikeout.

    If there's one main takeaway, it's that Sanchez has a higher ceiling and will ultimately have the top-of-the-line bat the Yankees covet, while Murphy doesn't have much distance remaining between his current sample size and his potential—but he already has the look of a trustworthy big league catcher.

     

    2014 Season Stats

    Hitting: 15 G, 37 AB, 14 H, .378/. 395/.486, 1 HR, 1 2B, 6 RBI, 1 BB, 9 K

    Fielding: 10 GS, 96.2 Inn, 0 E, 0 PB, 7 SB, 2 CS, 22.2 CS%

     

    Stock: UP

    (Last week: UP)

No. 2: CF Slade Heathcott, Double-A Trenton Thunder

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    Week 8 Stats

    5 G, 18 AB, 3 H, .167/.286/.167, 0 XBH, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 8 K, 0/1 SB

     

    Notes

    The speedy center fielder began 2014 late in Double-A Trenton due to injury—despite some speculation that he'd start in Triple-A Scranton for the first time. 

    It looks as though, regardless of minor league level, that Heathcott is working through some growing pains in his initial return. He's appeared in just eight games but is already just 5-for-29 with 11 strikeouts.

    This past week he more than doubled his game total on the year but went just 3-for-18 (.167) with eight punch-outs and was caught stealing.

    In the video above, Heathcott doubles for the second time on the night, and you'll notice his compact approach, his ability to draw his hands in and drop the head of the bat and his explosive speed out of the box.

    Given his tremendous talent and effort, it's too early to cast Heathcott aside for his current slump, but we'll keep an eye on him should his stock continue to dip as the Thunder hit the summer. 

    Based on his tools, Heathcott still profiles as the best MLB-caliber outfielder of the bunch of Mason Williams (No. 4), Tyler Austin (No. 6) and Aaron Judge (No. 7).

     

    2014 Season Stats

    8 G, 29 AB, 5 H, .172/.250/.241, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 11 K, 0/1 SB

     

    Stock: DOWN

    (Last week: DOWN)

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

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    Week 8 Stats

    5 G, 21 AB, 6 H, .286/.286/.476, 1 HR, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K 

     

    Notes

    Of Gary Sanchez's two most impressive tools, his arm doesn't seem to get as much shine as his raw power. But though 34 starts behind the dish, the unanimous top Yankees prospect has thrown out 15 of 50 base-stealers.

    Erie's Dean Green was one victim back on April 12—as seen in the video here—as Sanchez receives an off-speed pitch and still guns the runner down with enough time to cause the broadcaster to chuckle in awe: "That wasn't even close."

    Unfortunately, his cannon isn't the only part of the story on defense. Sanchez has struggled with his footwork and receiving. He's committed eight errors and has three passed balls to his 2014 track record to show for it.

    On the other side of the ball, the 21-year-old may have dropped below .250 on the year, but his five homers, nine doubles and 27 RBI are nothing to scoff at after two months.

    Based on his raw power, Sanchez projects for a 20-homer floor, and despite the uninspiring slugging numbers, the top organizational talent followed up a cold Week 7 with a homer, double and three RBI in Week 8 while striking out just twice.

     

    2014 Season Stats

    Hitting: 41 G, 156 AB, 38 H, .244/.314/.397, 5 HR, 9 2B, 27 RBI, 16 BB, 30 K, 1 SB

    Fielding: 34 GS, 311.0 Inn, 8 E, 3 PB, 25 SB, 15 CS, 37.5 CS%

     

    Stock: UP

    (Last week: DOWN)

     

    *For previous weekly stock updates, please check out Weeks 1-3 (April 7April 14April 21), the one-month update (April 28), Week 5 (May 7), the first-quarter report (May 12) and Week 7 (May 19).

    Peter F. Richman is a B/R Copy Editor and Featured Columnist for the New York Yankees. For more NYY opinions, discussion and analysis, feel free to reach out via Twitter: 

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