Image credit: Justus Sheffield (Photo by Mike Janes/Four Seam Images)
Following today’s release of the Yankees Top 10 prospects for 2019, Josh Norris chatted with readers.
Josh Norris: All right. Let’s chat.
- I’m a bit surprised to see Freicer Perez missing. Is this a case of him slipping or just a very deep system?
Josh Norris: Freicer made six starts this year, didn’t really show any command at all and surgery to remove bone spurs in his pitching shoulder. He wasn’t particularly close to the Top 10.
Mark (San Antonio):
- Leaving near ready Deivi Garcia off this list for Matt Sauer and Doming Acevedo? Seems suspect.
Josh Norris: Deivi Garcia is No. 7 on this list. Neither Matt Sauer nor Domingo Acevedo are on the list.
Warren (New London):
- Why wouldn’t Deivi Garcia start next season at Trenton, after finishing 2018 with 5 innings of no-hit ball there with 7 strikeouts? He’s the guy on this list for me.
Josh Norris: Because he only pitched 28.1 innings with Tampa. I’m kinda working with the same template as Florial ending last season with Trenton in the playoffs and then going to back to Tampa to start 2018.
- The online top ten list dropped today is different than the digital magazine version. Close and interchangeable, or recent movement?
Josh Norris: I believe you (and the questioner I answered earlier) are looking at the midseason list rather than the new Top 10 list. Here is the correct link: https://www.baseballamerica.com/teams/2029-new-york-yankees/organizational/?year=2019
John (New York):
- Which Yankee prospect will be the next big deal?
Josh Norris: Antonio Cabello fits that mold for me, and the Yankees still have very high hopes for Raimfer Salinas, despite an injury-plagued season.
- Josh – Any chance we can get the prospect handbook as a pdf this year? Love the book but it is a lot to carry for those of us who travel a lot for work.
Josh Norris: The powers that be tell me there’s going to be a Kindle version (as was the case last year) of the book, but not a PDF.
Jimmy (The Block):
- If Estivan Florial was a Rakim song, which Rakim song would he be?
Josh Norris: No Omega
- How far off was Acevedo, and is his future in the pen?
Josh Norris: Acevedo should be somewhere in the 11-20 range, but his injury history is beginning to become concerning, as is the fact that the organization did not see enough to bump him to Scranton at all this year.
Brian Cashman (Outside Harper’s house):
- Did Luis Gil get any consideration?
Josh Norris: For the Top 10, no. The stuff, especially the fastball, is very intriguing, but his lack of strikes is something that will need to be ironed out.
Everson Pereira (Where Do I Start in 2019?):
- After aggressively assigned to the APP League as a 17 year old, should I start at LoA in 2019? If I am assigned to LoA and show production, am I poised to rocket up the top 100?
Josh Norris: I think you do start the year at low Class A Charleston. You were not only 17 years old, but just two months past your 17th birthday. If you are there and you produce, then you probably will find a place on the Top 100.
- Will Cabello miss the start of the 2019 season because of the shoulder surgery and where do you think he starts 2019?
Josh Norris: The Yankees say they do not expect the surgery to hinder his future at all.
- The Yankees did a lot of work on their 40 man roster during the season. Is it possible that Erik Swanson is the only player the Yankees protect from the Rule 5? Could it be they add no one from their system to the roster?
Josh Norris: I would be very surprised if the do not add Swanson. Kyle Holder is another prominent name who needs protecting, but I think Swanson is the only true slam dunk.
Frank (Indianapolis, IN):
- How many of these guys are worthy of making the top 100?
Josh Norris: I’d probably put Sheffield and Florial and maybe Loaisiga in there.
- The farm system seems to be filled with solid, but perhaps not terribly exciting, pitching prospects. Of these who do you think has the best chance to be a frontline starter? Also, Sheffield has pitched well in the minors but for some reason he still scares me as a truly dependable starter. Is this fear justified?
Josh Norris: Loaisiga is the highest level pitcher who I could see becoming anywhere near that player. If Luis Medina figures out how to command his enviable arsenal, look out.
yXyXy (The Moon):
- Does Erik Swanson profile as a future starting pitcher in the majors, or is he going to end up in the bullpen?
Josh Norris: There’s a split camp on this one. I’d expect they give Swanson more time as a starter, but he could be the latest addition to the Yankees’ stable of big, high-velocity bullpen arms.
- Is Garrett Whitlock a case of college pitcher overmatching lower leagues, or is he a potential MLB starter?
Josh Norris: I think he’s intriguing as a guy who gets a ton of grounders. If he’s a big league starter, he’s probably a back-end type of guy who eats innings. He doesn’t have a plus offspeed offering, but he’s got three pitches that could rate as 55s with refinement.
- Was Eziquel Duran overmatched in Pulaski, did he have bad luck with balls in play or something in between?
Josh Norris: A Yankees guy I talked to earlier this year said he didn’t believe Duran really had his legs under him all year. Outside scouts saw a guy who needed to improve pitch-recognition with little room for projection.
- What is Anthony Garcia’s profile other than loads of raw power?
Josh Norris: That’s his profile, a big, switch-hitting corner outfield Frankenstein with double-plus raw power from both sides of the plate. I saw him hit a ball over the Yankees PD complex (just foul) from the left side, then take a ball out from the right side during a few-game stretch in the middle of July. I didn’t see him chase a whole lot of bad balls, but 42 percent strikeout rate is very scary even given the age and level context.
- What was Raimfer Salinas’s injury this season and do you know if he had surgery/expected to miss the start of 2019?
Josh Norris: He had two injuries in 2018: A swollen knee and a ligament injury to his ring finger from sliding headfirst. I don’t expect him to miss the start of 2019.
Kyle (Bronx, NY):
- How much has Chance Adams’ stock fallen since this time last year? What’s his upside at this point?
Josh Norris: I think his stock has fallen quite a bit. The fastball lost a few ticks after the elbow surgery, which obviously diminishes his profile. His offspeed pitches were inconsistent as well. If he’s a starter it might be more of the back-end type role. In the bullpen he’d fit toward the seventh inning.
Pereira vs. Cabello (Why the gap?):
- Everson Pereira and Antonio Cabello both made their US debuts as 17 year olds. Pereira played in a more challenging league and held his own while Cabello played in the GCL and raked. What are the differences in their profiles to warrant ranking Pereira at #4 vs. Cabello at #9?
Josh Norris: So, here’s the thing. No 17 year olds are truly safe, but I think there’s a little less risk involved in Pereira than with Cabello. That the Yankees saw enough to jump him over the DSL and the GCL all the way to Pulaski means something to me. It tells me a bit about the regard they hold him in as well. Cabello’s ceiling is high as well, but there’s more question about whether he sticks in center field long-term because, well, he’s a recently converted catcher.
- Michael King?
Josh Norris: I’m guessing this means you are wondering why he’s not on the list. He is. He is ranked No. 6. Like a few other commenters in this chat, you seem to have found the midseason list. Here is the current version: https://www.baseballamerica.com/teams/2029-new-york-yankees/organizational/?year=2019
Dom (Hong Kong):
- What are the chances that Siegler, or any prospect like him, is converted to a pitcher given his background if he can’t hit advanced pitching?
Josh Norris: Josh Breaux seems like a prime conversion candidate if things don’t work well as a hitter/catcher. Plenty of scouts were intrigued by his arm out of JC, and when he did pitch he showed a 95-98 mph FB and touched 100.
Sam (Columbia, SC):
- Where do you see Dom Thompson-Williams prospect status after his year? Does he break the top 30 after his 20+ HR / 20+ SB season?
Josh Norris: He certainly raised his prospect status quite a bit. The reviews on him were quite good, and he should crack the Top 30. His 22 homers not only led the organization, but they were hit in just 100 games. He’ll be 24 just after Opening Day next year, and his turn at Trenton will be very interesting to say the least.
- Cabello doesn’t really have a frame to add much weight right? Meaning if he is going to reach plus power, it will be with a 5’10 sub 180 lb frame?
Josh Norris: I think it’s been proved quite a bit over the past few years that you don’t have to be the biggest guy in the world to hit for plus power. Even if you throw out guys like Jose Altuve, there’s Mookie Betts, who is listed at 5-9 and 180 and led the majors in slugging percentage. Size helps, but there’s many ways to come by power, and it’s becoming a very tricky tool to project.
- Anthony Garcia has big power, but issues making contact, should the Yankees have him give up on switch hitting now? I can’t think of any guys 6’6 trying to harness swings from both sides of the plate.
Josh Norris: I think it’d be silly to have a guy give up on one of his best attributes at such a young age. Sure, it’s going to take a lot of maintenance, but that’s precisely what player development is there for. Garcia has a tremendous amount of upside, and it’d be worth it to invest the time and energy to polish his raw gifts.
- Do you see Michael King as real? Cashman never mentions him when he talks about minor league guys.
Josh Norris: I saw him as real enough to rank No. 6 on this list. There certainly were a wide variety of opinions on this guy, but those who were closest to him pointed out how incredibly well prepared he was and how well he executed his game plans. He certainly doesn’t have the upside of, say, Luis Medina, but I’d be surprised if he doesn’t get a long look in spring training given how he carved this season.
- Is there any word on whether some guys jumped out during Instructs this year?
Josh Norris: I heard Albert Abreu, No. 10 on this list, looked particularly nasty. Evaluators were also impressed by Seigler’s ability to catch guys like Abreu with ease.
Josh Norris: Thanks for the chat, all.