Best Player: There was no shortage of hype when Gary Sanchez signed with the Yankees for $3 million as a 16-year-old in 2009. Following a stellar 2010 season, the young catcher led low Class A Charleston with 17 home runs in 2011 but struggled overall. Sanchez has responded this season by batting .297/.353/.517 with 13 homers and 56 RBIs in 263 at-bats.
Sanchez's offensive output has drawn comparisons with former top Yankees prospect and current Mariners catcher Jesus Montero. "His bat could be as good as Montero's, and Sanchez is a better catcher," general manager Brian Cashman said.
Biggest Leap Forward: Drafted in 2010 as a corner infielder, Tyler Austin has spent the better part of 2012 in right field. No matter where the Yankees decide to position him defensively, he is ultimately in the lineup for one reason: to do damage with his bat.
Austin had batted .329/.405/.630 with 14 home runs and 54 RBIs for Charleston. He ranks among the South Atlantic League leaders in virtually every offensive category and earned himself a spot in the Futures Game on July 8.
Biggest Disappointment: Control problems continue to haunt Dellin Betances. In 16 starts with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season, the righthander was 3-5, 6.39 with a nearly 1-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He got a taste of the big leagues in 2011, appearing in two relief appearances for the Yankees. He walked six batters and got eight outs, striking out two.
The eighth-rounder from 2006 has the ability to blow hitters away with his fastball but consistently struggles with his command, an issue that has hindered his performance since being drafted six years ago.
• Saxon Butler, the Yankees 33rd-round pick in this year's draft, was batting .435 (10-for-23) through his first six games for Staten Island in the short-season New York-Penn League. The first baseman from Samford hit a home run in his pro debut on June 19.
• Journeyman Jack Cust was tied for third in the Triple-A International League with 16 home runs this season. The first-round pick from 1997 was trying to make it back to the big leagues, where he last appeared with the Mariners for 67 games in 2011.