Yesterday we looked at the Yankees’ top five left-handed pitching prospect. Today we move on to the field and take a look at the top five outfielders in the minor-league system. For this list are excluding players who already have MLB service time, which means guys like Aaron Judge and Mason Williams are not eligible for the list, while both made our Top 50 prospects list.
Frazier, 22, was a first-round pick by the Indians in 2013 and he came over in the Andrew Miller trade. The Yankees had their eye on him during the draft, so when the opportunity came up to get him in a trade they jumped at the chance. In 416 career minor-league games, he owns a hitting line of .275/.355/.448 with 92 doubles, 19 triples and 50 home runs with 205 runs driven in.
This spring, he appeared in 20 games for the Yankees and hit .308/.300/.487 over 39 at bats. His personality and play has won over fans who are clamoring to see him in The Bronx. They won’t have to wait long as he will start 2017 with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, but if he continues his hot play he could make the majors by mid-season.
Rutherford was a consensus top five prospect in the 2016 draft class but fell to the Yankees at the 18th pick of the draft due to signability concerns. At 19, he has been impressive so far, hitting .351/.415/.570 in 114 at bats over 33 games between the Gulf Coast League and the Pulaski Yankees. Rutherford is advanced for his age and he is expected to start the 2017 season with the Charleston RiverDogs.
Some fans are starting to learn about Fowler, 22, one of the Yankees top outfield prospects and player that would have been in the Top 10 in the farm system had it not been for the recent acquisitions in 2016. Last season, he made his Double-A debut with the Trenton Thunder and hit .281/.311/.458 in 541 at bats in 132 games. He hit 30 doubles, 15 triples and 12 home runs while driving in 88 runs and stealing 25 bases in 36 attempts.
Overall, Fowler owns a career .279/.313/.430 hitting line over 351 minor leagues since being drafted in 2013 in the 18th round. This season he is expected to start off as the regular centerfielder for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders but do not be surprised if at some point he makes his major-league debut.
At 19, Florial is the youngest player on this list and could be one of the better ones, too. The Haitian outfielder could be one of the biggest sleepers in the farm system, and he was impressive in his professional debut in 2015, when he hit .313/.394/.527 in 57 games in the Dominican Summer League.
In 2016 he split the season between three levels, with two games in Tampa, five in Charleston but the bulk of his playing time came in Pulaski where he played in 60 games. Overall, he hit .227 last season with 10 doubles, two triples, and eight home runs, while driving in 30 runs and walking 30 times.
McKinney, 22, was once one of the top 100 prospects in the minors, but had a down season in 2016 due to injuries. He has opened eyes this spring. An injury to Mason Williams opened up a spot for McKinney with the Yankees in spring training, and he made the most out of it, hitting .417/.517/.917 in 19 games with three doubles and three home runs. He drove in seven runners and walked four times before being reassigned to minor league camp.
Overall McKinney has hit .277/.359/.405 in 410 minor league games and is likely going to repeat Double-A in 2017. Once he got to minor league camp, he was assigned to the Trenton Thunder workgroup which is a good indication that is where he will start.
We had couple guys we wanted to also mention including Trey Amburgey and Jake Cave. Amburgey has been a pleasant surprise since the Yankees drafted him in the 13th round of the 2015 draft out of St. Petersburg Community College. He owns a .306/.352/.444 hitting line in 126 minor-league games and came into camp this year with some more muscle. Cave was ticketed for Triple-A, but an injury will force him to start the season on the disabled list.