In my opinion he Yankees A-ball work group contains by far the most high-potential prospects of any of the Yankees work groups. This group features: two of the Yankees biggest breakout stars from the 2015 season in Wilkerman Garcia and Domingo Acevedo; two guys I feel will breakout in 2016 in Jason Lopez and Freicer Perez, big money and top prospects.
The most exciting name may on the list may be Estevan Florial. Florial had a huge year in the DSL last season and is most talked about Yankee Dominican Summer League (DSL) player in recent memory. This is in part to his back-story –which was written about in the post—but it’s mainly due his potential and the way he performed last season. Florial hit 7 homers, and stole 15 bases in the DSL last summer and he posted 154 wRC+ and wOBA of.432. According to Brian Cashman no opposing general manager has ever requested a DSL player in a trade before Florial, which just speaks to his impressive tools.
Florial isn’t the only impressive DSL player in this work group, as the Yankees placed both Diego Castillo and Ricardo Ferreira. Both players were a part of the Yankees big international spending spree. Due to Ferreira’s age (20) he was able to signed very cheaply and was able to debut in 2015. In contrast Castillo was a much bigger signing and had to wait until 2015 sign. With that said both players were very successful last season.
Castillo had a 130 wRC+ and a .390 wOBA in his debut season, and his most impressive attribute seems to be his approach at the plate. Castillo K-rate was just 11.1% while his BB% was 6.1.
Ferreira was even more impressive, he posted a 189 wRC+, and a .491 wOBA. Of course 21 is too old for the league, but his numbers all indicate that he should at least be a player fans pay attention to. He won’t hit for much power but he seems to have a good eye, good speed (35 SB) and is a versatile player. Ferreira can play both second and short, but was just recently moved to center to get more reps, and make his life in the Yankee system a lot easier.
Like Ferreira, Erick Mendez is another player from the 2015 IFA class that has impressive tools, and certainly has impressive numbers but needs to face players his own age. Mendez played the 2015 season as a 19 year-old, and posted an impressive 140 wRC+ and a .407 wOBA. To an extent the same can be said for Danienger Perez, who was also 19 in 2015. However unlike Mendez, Perez is a shortstop, and has already made his state-side debut (though he only played four games).
This work group also has the Yankees biggest 2015 IFA signing; in a monetary sense (Dermis Garcia) and in a performance sense (Wilkerman Garcia). Dermis was injured for most of the year, so there really isn’t much to report on him. But Wilkerman had a huge season and is regarded by many as a top-10 Yankee prospect.
The 17 year old switch hitter put up the following stats in the GCL: .BA/OBP/SLG/wRC+ 299/.414/.362/140. Wilkerman also managed to steal 11 bases and have a BB% that was greater than his K%.
Overall Wilkerman deserves the attention that he’s been getting, but when it’s all said and done I feel that Luis Torrens will be looked at as the best prospect from this work group. If not for a shoulder injury I feel he’d already be a top-100 prospect. Torrens doesn’t have the power of past top-Yankee catching prospects but he has shown he can play defense and be a very good hitter. Torrens will begin the 2016 season in Charleston and could potentially move quickly.
Other hitters of note include Kendall Coleman, Leonardo Molina, and Isiah Gilliam. Coleman and Molina, are both young players who have either underperformed or have been injured in recent years, and really need to break-out this season. Gillaim was just drafted last year, and is being tried in the outfield. If he is able to play center-field, then he has a chance to be a Top-Yankee prospect.
On the mound the Yankees don’t have as many high-potential prospects, but they have a couple of guys fans should pay close attention. Of course the biggest name is Domingo Acevedo. Acevedo is in my opinion a top-ten Yankee prospect and is the team’s second best pitching prospect. Domingo can throw up to 103 MPH, with a good changeup. He still has to work on his slider his durability, and command, but overall Domingo has the makings of a special player.
After Acevedo the Yankees have a few more hard throwers in this work group. Guys like Simon De La Rosa, Manolo Reyes, Paddy O’Brien, Spencer Mahoney and Freicer Perez, all throw upper to mid-90’s but need to prove they are more than just throwers.
Most of these players still have plenty of time to prove they could pitch. O’Brien is a converted catcher who was only drafted in 2015. Mahoney was Indy league shortstop who hadn’t even thrown a bullpen in years when the Yankees signed him. Both players will obviously be given plenty of time to learn their new position. Reyes and De La Rosa have far less time due to their age. De La Rosa has had success in the minors, but Reyes really has not, and based off his age time is running out for him.
Unlike the above mentioned pitchers Drew Finley has yet to show a power-fastball. But his plus curveball makes up for that. Finley has the ability to develop into a better version of Brady Lail, and if he gains velocity he could become a very solid prospect.