After struggling for years to produce depth from their farm system, 2015 was a banner campaign for the New York Yankees. For years we had heard the high-ceiling names but they all seemed so far from the big leagues that little excitement could be taken from them. After finally seeing Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott, Jacob Lindgren, Luis Severino, Rob Refsnyder and Greg Bird reach the Bronx in 2015, Yankees fans have established a confidence in the organizations future core heading into 2016.
On Monday morning, MLB.com announced their organizational all-star team which highlights the best players throughout the organization at each position.[nextpage title=”1″ ]
Catcher – Gary Sanchez: Sanchez opened the 2015 season at Trenton and has an all-star campaign for the Thunder before earning a well-deserved promotion to Triple-A. The 22-year old Sanchez hit 18-homers and drove in 62 runs in 93 games between the two levels before earning a September call-up to the majors. The young backstop then went to the Arizona Fall League and led the league in homers (7) and RBI (21).
After allowing a career-worst 26 passed balls in 2011, Sanchez has worked tirelessly to bring that number down; in 2015 he allowed only two. The organization is pleased with the progress that he has made defensively and they will give him the opportunity to compete for the big league back-up catcher position in spring training with veteran Austin Romine.[/nextpage]
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First base – Greg Bird: Bird was most certainly the word in 2015. Like Sanchez, the 2014 Arizona Fall League MVP began the season with Trenton and concluded it in the big leagues with the Yankees.
The 23-year old lefty hit 12 homers and drove home 52 runs in 83 games between Double and Triple-A. After all-star first baseman Mark Teixeira went down with a season-ending injury in August, Bird was summoned to the Bronx to handle the position on an everyday basis.
Bird helped keep the Bombers afloat in their quest to earn a postseason berth down the stretch. In 46 big league games, the slugger hit 11 homers and knocked in 31 runs in an impressive rookie campaign.[/nextpage][nextpage title=”1″ ]
Second base – Rob Refsnyder: After a dynamite 2014 season that put Refsnyder on the map as the Yankees second baseman of the future, fans finally got a glimpse of the guy that they have been calling for in 2015.
As the Yankees opted to go with journeymen veterans like Brendan Ryan, Brian Roberts, Stephen Drew and Kelly Johnson as placeholders for the position over the last two years, Refsnyder finally forced the organization to call him up in the thick of a pennant race.
The 24-year old Refsnyder spent his entire minor league campaign in Scranton where he hit .271 with nine homers and 56 RBI in 117 games for the RailRiders before earning a call-up to the Bronx.
Refsnyder, who is a converted outfielder, commited 18 errors at SWB as he continues to endure growing pains learning the position. He should be in the mix to be the every day guy for the Yankees in 2016.[/nextpage][nextpage title=”1″ ]
Shortstop – Jorge Mateo: No player saw his stock catapult more in 2015 than Mateo. At the ripe young age of just 20-years old, the lightening quick Mateo led all of professional baseball with 82 stolen bases between Low-A Charleston and High-A Tampa.
Mateo hit .278 in 117 games between the two levels but after being promoted to the pitching-rich Florida State League, he hit .321 in 21 games. Mateo is now viewed alongside Aaron Judge as the Yankees top-prospect.[/nextpage][nextpage title=”1″ ]
Third base – Kevin Cornelius: At a position that is arguably the weakest in the entire organization, Cornelius proved to be one of the few bright spots at the hot-corner in 2015.
In 60 games between the Gulf Coast League and Staten Island, the 23-year old bounced back from an injury-plagued 2014 season to hit .304 with 9 homers and 36 RBI with a .394 on-base percentage.[/nextpage][nextpage title=”1″ ]
Outfield – Ben Gamel: The Yankees added the 23-year old Gamel to their 40-man roster last week after the gritty and versatile outfielder led the entire system in hits 150), triples (14) and total bases (236).
In 129 games for Scranton, Gamel hit .300 with a career-high 10 homers and 64 RBI to earn International League All-Star honors. As a guy who has hit consistently and played above average defense at all three outfield positions at every level of the minor leagues, Gamel will likely find himself with an opportunity to play in the big leagues before 2016 comes to a close.[/nextpage][nextpage title=”1″ ]
Outfield – Dustin Fowler: At just 20-years old, Fowler had the type of five-tool season in 2015 that has the organization raving about his future.
In 123 games between Charleston and Tampa, Fowler hit .298 with 5 homers, 70 RBI and he swiped 30 bases to boot. The sweet swinging lefty concluded his stellar season by hitting .279 with 2 homers, 7 RBI and 7 stolen bases in 16 games in the Arizona Fall League.[/nextpage][nextpage title=”1″ ]
Outfield – Aaron Judge: All eyes were on the organizations top-prospect in 2015 and he showed glimpses of being a big-time major league talent sooner rather than later.
In his first year in the minor leagues upper-levels, the towering 6’7″ right fielder hit .255 with 20 homers and 72 RBI between Ztrenton and Scranton.
Judge opened the year with the Thunder and took the Eastern League by storm in his 63 game stint there. The 23-year old hit .284 and led the league with 12 homers before being promoted to SWB. After the move up, Judge struggled to adjust to the veteran pitchers in the IL; hitting just .224 with a .308 OBP in the final 61 games of the season.[/nextpage][nextpage title=”1″ ]
Designated Hitter – Trey Amburgey: Drafted in the 13th round of this year’s draft the Yankees found themselves pleasantly surprised with the way Trey Amburgey adjusted to professional baseball. In Rookie-ball he hit .333 over 37 games before earning a promotion to Class-A Short Season Staten Island where he went on a year, hitting .367 over 21 games with 6 doubles, 2 triples and 5 homeruns.[/nextpage][nextpage title=”1″ ]
Right-Handed Starter – Luis Severino: After going 9-2 with a 2.45 ERA over two levels in the minors this season, it is safe to say that 21-year old Luis Severino earned the nod at the right-handed starter on MiLB.com’s organizational All-Stars. In 99 1/3 innings in the minors he struck out 98 batters and then went on to make his major league debut on August 8.[/nextpage][nextpage title=”1″ ]
Left-Handed Starter – Jordan Montgomery: Left-handed starter Jordan Montgomery was fantastic for the Yankees organization in 2015. Over 2 levels he went 10-8 with a 2.95 ERA in 2015. Over 134 1/3 innings over work he struck out 132 batters while holding opponents to a .236 ERA and even throwing a complete game. His strike out total lead the entire Yankees organization this past season.[/nextpage][nextpage title=”1″ ]
Reliever – Mark Montgomery: The once highly touted relief prospect Mark Montgomery had a solid season for the Yankees, going 4-4 with a 2.66 ERA, striking out 53 batters over 50 2/3 innings and even lead the organization in appearances and saves.[/nextpage]