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Stock Up, Stock Down for Yankees' Top 10 Prospects for Week 14

Gary PhillipsContributor IIJuly 8, 2014

Stock Up, Stock Down for Yankees' Top 10 Prospects for Week 14

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    The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

    Back on June 12, I wrote a piece breaking down the biggest strengths and weaknesses of the New York Yankees' top 10 prospects. Now, nearly a month later, let's see whether the stocks of these players have shifted up or down.

    My rankings, based on my own opinion, went as follows:

    1. Gary Sanchez C
    2. Slade Heathcott OF
    3. Mason Williams OF
    4. Eric Jagielo 3B
    5. Tyler Austin 1B/3B/OF
    6. Gregory Bird 1B
    7. Aaron Judge OF
    8. Luis Severino RHP
    9. Peter O'Brien C/1B/3B/OF
    10. Ian Clarkin LHP

    With the first half of the minor league season having gone by and the second half already in full swing, it is now time to check back in with these players to see how their respective seasons have progressed. Based on stats from the time of my original article and their overall seasons, I will determine whether or not each player's stock has fallen, risen or remained even.

10. Ian Clarkin, LHP

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    Notable Stats as of June 12

    2-3, 4.17 ERA, 9.1 K/9 ratio, 8 starts


    2014 Stats

    3-3, 3.49 ERA, 9.7 K/9 ratio, 12 starts



    A lefty power pitcher, Clarkin has a fastball that sits around 94 miles per hour, a deadly curveball and a changeup at his disposal. At just 19 years old, Clarkin has already shown good control of all three pitches. Heading into the season, it was believed that Clarkin still had a lot of work to do on his changeup, but he has continued to successfully learn and develop the pitch. Now halfway through his second year of professional baseball, the 33rd overall 2013 draft pick has three reliable pitches to choose from.

    Clarkin has performed well for the Single-A Charleston RiverDogs in 2014. Aside from two poor outings, Clarkin has done a nice job of keeping his team in games, allowing no more than three runs in 10 of his 12 starts.

    Clarkin has been a better overall pitcher since the beginning of 2014. His strikeouts per nine innings are up, and he has demonstrated the command he has been praised for, allowing just 19 free passes in 56.2 innings.

    Some believe Clarkin can one day be a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter.


    Stock: Up

9. Peter O'Brien, C/1B/3B/OF

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Notable Stats as of June 12

    .275 AVG, 13 2B, 22 HR, 48 RBI


    2014 Stats

    .263 AVG, 16 2B, 25 HR, 58 RBI, .860 OPS



    O'Brien turned heads in his first 30 games of 2014, belting 10 homers while batting .321 for Single-A Tampa. The hot start earned him a quick promotion to the Double-A Trenton Thunder. In addition, O'Brien will be representing the Yankees at the 2014 Future's Game on July 13.

    Since being promoted, O'Brien has continued to demonstrate his power at the plate, yet it has become apparent that other aspects of his offensive game are weak. He is batting just .231 since being promoted and has a .273 OBP with Trenton. A reason for this has been O'Brien's inability to draw walks. He has just 14 on the season but has struck out 86 times.

    O'Brien has also had trouble finding a true position on the diamond. He was a catcher while at the University of Miami, but the Yankees have moved him around due to the organization's stockpile of backstops. Third base did not work out for O'Brien last year, and while he played decently in the outfield, the Yankees encountered the same problem they had with O'Brien as a catcher. This year, O'Brien has spent time at first and has yet to make an error in 15 games.

    O'Brien has tremendous pop at the plate, but he has a lot to learn offensively and even more defensively before he can move up in the minors.


    Stock: Down

8. Luis Severino, RHP

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    Notable Stats as of June 12

    2.92 ERA, 9.0 K/9 ratio, 13 starts


    2014 Stats

    4-3. 2.56 ERA, 9.6 K/9, 0.2 HR/9, 17 starts



    Severino has a lot of power packed into his small 6'0" and 195-pound frame. His fastball tops out at 98 mph and comes at hitters with plenty of movement. Severino also throws a hard slider and has command of his changeup at just 20 years old. Simply put, his stuff is filthy.

    This repertoire has turned Severino into a strikeout machine, as evidenced by his K/9 ratio. What is also impressive about Severino is the accuracy he has shown despite using three pitches at such a young age. He has allowed just 19 walks all year. He has also done a great job of keeping the ball in the park, allowing two home runs in 84.1 innings pitched this season.

    Some are worried that Severino's small frame may not be able to withstand a full 32-start major league season. Can a guy his size handle that kind of wear and tear? So far the Dominican-born pitcher is putting those thoughts to rest, as he is looking just fine. He was promoted to high Single-A ball this season and was selected to the Future's Game.


     Stock: Up

7. Aaron Judge, OF

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    Notable Stats as of June 12

    .321 AVG, 14 2B, 8 HR , 39 RBI


    2014 Stats

    .321 AVG, 17 2B, 12 HR, 59 RBI, .964 OPS



    The last time I took a look at Judge, he was hitting well for the Charleston RiverDogs. Since then, the 22-year-old has continued to rake. In fact, he was performing so well that the Yankees decided to promote him to high Class A Tampa less than half a season into his first year of professional baseball.

    A contrast from Severino, Judge is a big guy. He passed up several football scholarships to play tight end before deciding on baseball and California State University Fresno. The Yankees' 2013 first-round pick, Judge has used his size to his advantage. With a strong, powerful swing, he crushes baseballs with ease.

    At times, his largeness plays against him. His swing can get a bit long, a reason for his 76 strikeouts in 2014.

    However, Judge has remained about even in strikeouts for walks since being promoted.

    In addition to being a solid hitter, Judge has shown promise in the outfield as well. He can move for a big man and has a strong throwing arm from right.


    Stock: Up

6. Gregory Bird, 1B

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    Notable Stats as of June 12

    .239 AVG in 32


    2014 Stats

    .274 AVG, 16 2B, 4 HR, 18 RBI



    With injuries possibly to blame, Bird was struggling early on this season with the Tampa Yankees. He was striking out and not hitting for contact or power.

    Since then, Bird has begun a crawl back to respectable numbers, but he has not met the expectations that have come for him following a breakout 2013 season in which he hit .288 with 36 doubles, 20 home runs, 84 RBI and a .938 OPS. What was most impressive about Bird's 2013 campaign was his minor league-leading 132 base on balls. He showed an advanced approach at the plate and a sharp eye.

    Originally a catcher, Bird has transitioned to first base since joining the organization. The same injuries that may have hurt him early on this year have halted his learning of the position, but he is coming along slowly.

    While his play of late has been better, Bird has not been the player the Yankees were hoping for after his big year in 2013.


    Stock: Down

5. Tyler Austin, 1B/3B/OF

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Notable Stats as of June 12

    2 HR, 18 RBI in 44 games


    2014 Stats

    .253 AVG, 3 HR, 24 RBI



    Austin is another Yankees minor leaguer who is not quite living up to expectations this season. In his defense, a sprained thumb and a sore wrist hindered him in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

    Austin was named the Yankees' Minor League Player of the Year in 2012 after a monstrous offensive showing. In 110 games, Austin hit .322, while driving in 80 runs and smacking 35 doubles and 17 home runs at four different levels. He ended the year with the Double-A Trenton Thunder.

    The last two seasons, because of the aforementioned injuries, have not gone as well. Austin hit just .265 in 2013.

    Austin's approach at the plate is not just about power. He has the ability to wait back and hit off-speed pitches. He also has a knack for stealing bases. He will not ever be a league leader in the category, but he knows how to get away with theft. He is 47-for-51 in career steal attempts.

    Austin has moved around the field a lot over the years. He has played first, third and the outfield so far this year. He needs to find a spot on the field as well as get healthy. If he can put it all together, his value will rise.


    Stock: Down

4. Eric Jagielo, 3B

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    Notable Stats as of June 12

    .256 AVG, 10 HR, 31 RBI


    2014 Stats

    .264 AVG, 11 HR, 32 RBI



    If Jagielo's stats look similar to those shown in my last article, that is because an injury sidelined the former Notre Dame standout shortly after that piece was written. Jagielo recently returned to rookie ball on a rehab assignment with the Gulf Coast League Yankees.

    The last time I wrote about Jagielo, the reviews were not favorable. His defense is a particular concern for scouts. According to Josh Norris of Baseball America, there is "zero question" Jagielo will have to leave third base for another position at some point. The most obvious switch would be to first.

    One thing Jagielo does have going for him is his power. Hitting from the left side, Jagielo's pop and swing are perfectly suited for Yankee Stadium and its short, hitter-friendly porch in right field. While not drawing a lot of walks, Jagielo also sees a lot of pitches and can work counts. He is not a contact hitter by any means, however.

    With little having changed due to Jagielo's recent absence, it is tough to determine what kind of progress he has made.


    Stock: Even

3. Mason Williams, OF

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Notable Stats as of June 12

    .226 AVG, 13 SB, 27 BB in 57 games, 230 AB


    2014 Stats

    .2143 AVG, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 17 SB, .289 OBP



    Once thought to be the future leadoff hitter of the Bronx Bombers, Williams seems to be making every possible concerted effort to make that notion seem ridiculous.

    Williams had a very promising 2012 season that saw him hit .298 with 22 doubles, 11 dingers, 35 RBI and 20 stolen bases between the High-A and Low-A levels. In the two years since, Williams has done little to show that 2012 was not just a fluke. His average dropped to .245 in 2013, and he hit just .153 following a promotion to Double-A Trenton.

    Williams' speed makes him an asset on the bases and in the field. He is a strong defensive center fielder with above-average range and has a decent arm. However, his struggles at the plate are quickly dispelling the idea than he can be a quality big leaguer, let alone a top-of-the-order hitter. Williams has a long and choppy swing that has resulted in a lot of ground balls. Obviously, he can not beat them all out.

    To put his struggles into perspective, Williams was rated the 75th-best prospect heading into 2014 by He was ranked No. 41 in 2013.


    Stock: Down

2. Slade Heathcott, OF

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    * Heathcott has played in just nine games this season. Surgery on his right knee has ended his season.



    Like Jagielo, Heathcott's progress this season can not be judged due to injuries. In fact, he will make no progress this year, as recent surgery on his right knee ended his 2014 season after just nine games at Double-A Trenton.

    A talented ballplayer, Heathcott has been plagued by injuries since his high school days. Knee and shoulder issues have really hindered his performance and ability to get on the field, as Heathcott has missed about three years' worth of games over his five years in the minors.

    The 23-year-old has the skill set to be a dynamic player. His approach at the plate is balanced between contact and power, and he has enough speed to swipe 20 bags in a season. He is a strong defensive center fielder with a decent arm. Most notably, he has a true appreciation and love for the game.

    With comparisons to Brett Gardner, the Yankees hope Heathcott can be a part of their future plans, but that would mean him staying healthy.


    Stock: Down

1. Gary Sanchez, C

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    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    Notable Stats as of June 12

    .251 AVG, 7 HR, 36 RBI


    2014 Stats

    .275 AVG, 17 2B, 9 HR, 44 RBI



    Prior to the season, Baseball America ranked Sanchez as the 35th-best prospect in all of baseball. He is the No. 1 prospect in New York's farm system.

    Sanchez has a lot of work to do behind the plate. He has a strong arm and has no problem throwing runners out, but the rest of his defensive game still leaves much to be desired. His receiving skills are particularly poor as is his ability as a game-caller. As of now, he is not ready to catch in the big leagues.

    Sanchez's bat is a different story. The kid has plenty of pop. Sanchez has managed to hit at least 15 homers in the three full minor league seasons he has played. A .275 career minor league hitter, Sanchez is a decent contact hitter for a catcher as well.

    Recent reports have surfaced regarding Sanchez's poor attitude, something the Yankees can not be happy about as the trade deadline approaches. Sanchez was benched in June for disciplinary reasons.


    Stock: Down


    All stats were obtained via and are accurate as of July 8, 2014.

    Question or comments? Feel free to follow me on Twitter @GPhillips2727 to talk New York Yankees and Major League Baseball.

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