2018 New York Yankees Top 10 Chat
Josh Norris: Hello, chatters. Sorry for the slight delay. I was actually reading the questions in the queue and lost track of time. Let's go! Dan (Baltimore): Johnny Loasiga seems like a good find and was protected from Rule 5. Think they promote him aggressively (hi A to start)? What’s the view on him?
Josh Norris: I don't think High-A would be out of the question, but his injury history is lengthy so a cautious is probably advisable at this time. He's got excellent stuff with a high-octane fastball and two potentially above-average offspeed pitches. He was almost certain to get taken in the Rule 5 if left unprotected.
Alan (Orange County): How far off the list are Dermis Garcia and Nick Solak? What part of their games do they have to fix to crack the list?
Josh Norris: Solak was close-ish to the Top 10 and Dermis was farther back. Solak needs to find a place where he can be a consistently average defender. The name that comes up most often with him is Rob Refsnyder. Dermis needs to cut down on the swing-and-miss big time. The power is certainly tantalizing.
Grant (NYC): Did newbies Schmidt and Sauer make a case for the top 10 based on tools alone? Who will rise faster through the system?
Josh Norris: Sauer was closer than Schmidt, simply because Schmidt's stuff is in question until he comes back from the TJ. Sauer showed some pretty nasty stuff including a fastball up to 97, an above-average slider to go with high-level makeup as well. Sauer could probably move faster because Schmidt will start later.
Brian Cashman (NY): Level with me - do I have a top 3 system? Or even a case for #1?
Josh Norris: Hello there, Baseball America's MLB Exec of the Year. Yes, I think the Yankees do have a case for a Top 3 system and possibly a case for No. 1. Even if it doesn't reach that height, it is probably the deepest system in the game. There are some names who got left off of the 30 who would make the list in other orgs.
Ben (Montreal): Any chance Dillon Tate reach the majors as a starter? What is his ETA?
Josh Norris: Tate still has a chance as a starter, and he showed well in that role this year with Double-A Trenton. This year will be key for him in that regard. There are people who suggest him as both roles, but he has yet to pitch 100 innings in a season, so he's certainly got some steps to take before he can be considered a surefire rotation piece.
Matt (Va): Where did dermis garcia fall in the Yankees top prospects? And what’s your long-term opinion of him?
Josh Norris: He's a classic boom-or-bust type of prospect. If he clicks, the ceiling is sky high considering his power. It's literal light-tower (I've seen him hit a light tower) power, but there's still tons of swing and miss and there's still a pretty good chance he ends up at first base.
Grant (NYC): Who are you higher on between righties Freicer Perez, Jon Loaisiga and Trevor Stephan? Why?
Josh Norris: This is an intriguing question: I'll take Freicer Perez here because the upside is bigger. He's got significant steps to take in terms of command and refining his breaking ball, but there's upside there. Loaisiga and Stephan need to show they can do it in full-season ball first.
DR (East Coast): Does Florial start in AA?
Josh Norris: I think there's a pretty good chance of that, yes, after time at high Class A and six weeks in the Fall League.
Norm Chouinard (Connecticut): How close was Isiah Gilliam to making the list? Does he have a carrying tool?
Josh Norris: The Top 10, no, but he is intriguing as a switch-hitter with power and saw significant benefits to the changes he made with his stance and swing mechanics.
Dor (Israel): which prospects will make a Guzman/Medina jump meaning from back of the top 30 to top ten? Also, it's kinda amazing that Guzman being the secandory piece in the trade is not top 10 in a pretty deep system. Tnx
Josh Norris: Hard to predict that, but if we're looking for that phylum of player we could be talking about a guy like Deivi Garcia, who still needs to fill out a little bit more but already has big arm speed, a low-90s fastball and a hook that measures at 3,000 RPMs on TrackMan. That's a really good start.
Eric Rodriguez (Puerto Rico): Estevan Florial or Heliot Ramos? Explain
Josh Norris: I like em both, but I'd probably go for Florial simply because he's done it at a higher level.
Ryan (Dover): What is the ultimate offensive upside for a guy like Gleyber? A guy you build around?
Josh Norris: He's likely going to be in the Top 5 in our Top 100 (Ohtani will be in there too, remember), so, yes, I would consider him to be someone you could build around, though the Yankees already have a couple of players you build around in their lineup. Maybe he's like when you make an addition to an already-nice house?
Jeff (The Ice Belt): Any real hope left for an impact player from the Yankees 2015 international spree?
Josh Norris: I believe the spree was in 2014, and Dermis Garcia still has a chance to deliver on his massive ceiling. The power is very, very real. Now, the question is whether he can cut his strikeouts enough to get to it. Diego Castillo is also an intriguing middle infielder.
Josh Norris: Be right back. Have to take a call.
Josh Norris: And we back.
Kyler (RI): If Tyler Wade was still eligible, where would he slot in on this list?
Josh Norris: Tyler Wade *is* still eligible, and he did not come close to this list. I think he still has a big league future, but it's probably as a utility infielder and might not be with the Yankees. If he does find a consistent role with NYY, it could be in something of the role Ronald Torreyes held down last year.
Justin (New York): Donnie Sands played at A+ Is this your way of saying he's not a catching prospect?
Josh Norris: The reviews on his defense were not good enough to make me think he's much of a prospect as a catcher. If he were, it would because of his bat and not his glove.
Ryan (Montreal): Considering his ranking here, how much did you take away from Abreu’s time in the AFL? Was it that impressive for you?
Josh Norris: Despite spending two weeks in the desert, I did not see Abreu in the AFL (although I did see him in ST and in the GCL in a rehab start). That said, people I spoke to in and out of the organization liked him very much and gave him a ceiling of a No. 2 or 3 starter if he continues to refine his command and pitchability.
Ryan (Montreal): With Jorge Guzman, it’s just a matter of how many Cy Young awards he wins, right? All jokes aside, do you feel he is generally underrated (not by Yankees fans) as a prospect? Why is that?
Josh Norris: I don't necessarily think he is underrated by Yankees fans simply because this is the first year he's been in their system (though he appeared in last year's Prospect Handbook in their chapter). He's an excellent young arm with the hardest fastball in a system full of very, very hard fastballs.
David (Atlanta): How far out was Freicer Perez and can you tell us more about him?
Josh Norris: Freicer Perez was in the Top 15 prospects. He fits into that recent Yankees mode of tall, hard-throwing righthanders. He's like a skinnier version of Domingo Acevedo in that he's tall, righthanded with an excellent changeup and a breaking ball that needs work.
Ryan (Abingdon, MD): Cody Carroll got some good pub in the AFL. BA historically doesn't get too high on relief-only prospects, but what are your thoughts on Carroll? What is his ETA and likely role? Thanks!
Josh Norris: I like Carroll a lot, and so do outside evaluators. He's currently in the Top 30 (though that could change if the Yankees add prospects via trade) and is one of a number of hard-throwing intriguing relief arms in their system. To name a few others: Cale Coshow, Will Carter, Anyelo Gomez. Carroll has found the upper-90s consistently with his fastball, and performed well in the AFL.
Allan (Connecticut): Is what happened with Luis Torrens last common? A player who probably should have been in A ball last year is kept on MLB roster by Padres to avoid having to give him back to Yankees after rule 5 - barely gets to play - and will probably be sent down to A ball this season. I guess even though he barely got to play he was paid MLB minimum and enjoyed all the MLB perks. Also is his service time clock all messed up? Thanks
Josh Norris: It is not particularly common, but it's not without precedent. Oscar Hernandez with the Diamondbacks was that scenario, as was Wei-Chung Wang with the Brewers a few years back. Allen Cordoba was basically the same boat as Torrens too.
Ryan (Abingdon, MD): How many of these power right-handers do you see sticking in the rotation? And who do you think has the most potential as a reliever?
Josh Norris: This is the fascinating thing to me. Right now, the Yankees rotation has Severino, Tanaka, Gray, Montgomery (that's four guys who, contractually, aren't going anywhere for a while) which leaves one truly open spot in the rotation right now with a ton of high-level starting pitching bubbling at the upper levels. Since your question involved righthanders, I'd take Adams simply because he has done it at the highest level. Medina, Abreu and Guzman all have very high ceilings but haven't done it outside of A-ball or lower. All would have excellent potential as relievers because of their present stuff.
Bertram (Tawian): Maybe it's splitting hairs but what makes Gusman's fastball the best in the system over Medina's? Where does Medina's stuff rank among all minor leaguers? Can his raw stuff rival Kopech?
Josh Norris: At an average of 99 mph, Guzman's fastball almost certainly ranked as the hardest in the minor leagues as a starter. Put it this way, the hardest average fastball from a starter in the major leagues was 98.2 mph, from Luis Severino. Guzman would best that. As for Medina, his stuff is really, really nasty too. Before I saw him in person I heard a lot about his fastball and curveball, but his changeup was really, really impressive too. It had separation and fade and was thrown with plenty of conviction.
Preston (Phoenix): What is it about Medina that gives him enough upside to be ranked above somebody like Acevedo who has big tools himself and already has success at AA?
Josh Norris: Medina's breaking ball (a power curveball) already is ahead of Acevedo's slider, which is hit or miss for scouts. There's a pretty significant camp that would feel more comfortable with Acevedo out of the bullpen allowed to go full bore. Plus there are concerns (despite the results) with Acevedo's delivery and how much stress it puts on his shoulder and whether the command/control he's shown in Double-A would translate to the big leagues out of the rotation.
Estevan Florial (Future CF): Thanks for chatting with us today. How do I compare to another elite CF prospect in Victor Robles? Is the consensus that Robles has a full grade higher hit tool, I have the edge with power, and our speed/defense are comparable? What are the chances I become a top 10 prospect in 2018 like Robles did in 2017?
Josh Norris: I think you're just about right there. Robles' hit tool is better, and their power ceilings could be pretty similar down the line (there are a lot of believers that Robles' power is better than he's shown in the minors so far), Robles is a spectacular defender in center field and Florial has the potential to be very good there as well.
Erik (Maine): Can you see Florial having a similiar season to Acuna’s 2017 campaign, where he shoots up levels and is on the verge of a ML call-up next year?
Josh Norris: No, in that Acuña started last year at high Class A and got to Triple-A as a 19-year-old. Florial could start at Double-A, where he wouldn't really have a chance to have that Acuña-like ceiling where he destroys the competition at every level. Florial is a very good prospect, but Acuña is my personal favorite.
CJ (Santa Monica): Who has a better chance to stick with the organization; Solak or Andujar?
Josh Norris: This question kind of depends on what they're acquiring in trade. I think Andujar is the more attractive target, and a potential Yankees infield could one day could look like 1B: Greg Bird 2B: Gleyber Torres SS: Didi Gregorius 3B: Miguel Andujar depending on what they want to do with Starlin Castro, whose name has been bandied in trade talks this year. If that comes to fruition, then I don't see where Solak plays.
Roger H. (Oklahoma City, OK): What do we need to see out of Jorge Guzman this year in terms of development in order to make him a top 100? Is it possible to see him in A+ Ball at the end of the year?
Josh Norris: Right now, he needs to get more reps and keep doing what he's doing. His stuff is dynamic enough to dominate lower-level hitters, and he could absolutely windup in Tampa at year's end.
Warren (New London): Did Oswaldo Cabrera make the 30? Does the Yankees handling of him this season suggest that they see him as more of a utility player than a genuine prospect?
Josh Norris: He could be a utility player for sure, but the Yankees have moved him aggressively. Remember, he played at low Class A at just 18 years old. The key to his success is tied to how he develops physically. He's listed a 5-10 and 145, which suggests there could be more strength to come. They also moved him around at Charleston because they had Hoy Park and Diego Castillo there as well, both of whom need reps on the middle infield. The situation reminded me a little bit of how the Red Sox handled Devers, Moncada, Guerra and Dubon a couple of years ago. That's not to say Cabrera, Castillo and Park are near the same caliber of prospects, but it was a glut of middle infield prospects on the same team.
Dan (New York City): Where would Tyler Wade have ranked if he was still eligible? Clint Frazier?
Josh Norris: Tyler Wade is still eligible and ranked in the Top 20. Baseball America does not take service time into account when we do our rankings.
Brian (Detroit): Top system, right? Has the power now shifted back to New York after Boston having the prospect edge recently? I see a resurgence of the Evil Empire coming. Of the top prospects, who do you see as the player(s) that can take the lead and be a captain type like a Jeter? New York is still a hard place to play.
Josh Norris: As mentioned earlier, I think it's in the Top 3 systems in the game with the Padres and Braves among the other contenders for top spot. I think your captain type of player, Aaron Judge, might already be in the majors.
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Name a sleeper from the low minors (below full season).
Josh Norris: Deivi Garcia. Low-90s fastball and high-spin curveball with room for some more velocity.
IndependentGM (Twitter): With Otani out of the window, how could the Yankees best spend their $3.5M in Int'l monies?
Josh Norris: They could go after Kevin Maitan or any of the other former Braves prospects caught up in their scandal, or they could sign Venezuelan OF Raimfer Salinas or Venezuelan catcher Antonio Caballo. Read more about those players here: https://www.baseballamerica.com/international/twins-void-3-million-contract-dominican-shortstop-jelfry-marte/#LKQIECAIbvbZrzzm.97
John Ray (New York): How many of these make the top 100 in your opinion and would any of the players traded to the A's in the Sonny Gray trade make this list?
Josh Norris: Of the current Top 10, I could see six or seven in the Top 100 once it comes out. Dustin Fowler and Jorge Mateo would have likely been in the Top 10, though James Kaprielian would probably have been bumped out after not pitching much over the last couple of years. That said, Kaprielian's ceiling is still very high once he returns. The A's did very well for themselves.
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Josh Norris: All right, y'all, I have to go continue working on the White Sox Top 30 list. Thanks for the questions.