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Williams has athletic bloodlines. His father Derwin made it to the National Football League, playing wide receiver for three seasons for the New England Patriots, including on their 1985 team that lost to the Bears in the Super Bowl. Raised in Rhode Island, Mason and his family moved to Florida in part so he could face better competition, and he became a standout at West Orange High in Winter Garden, where he was a teammate of 2012 Astros second-round pick Nolan Fontana. Williams bypassed a commitment to South Carolina after the Yankees drafted him in the fourth round and gave him a $1.45 million bonus, the largest in their 2010 draft class. After earning No. 1 prospect honors in the New York-Penn League in 2011, he broke out in 2012, a season that ended when he dislocated his left shoulder trying to make a diving catch in late July. Despite a thin frame that has earned him Doug Glanville comparisons, Williams has surprising, wiry strength. He has explosive offensive ability, thanks to a special combination of quick-twitch athleticism, excellent running speed, above-average bat speed and snap in his wrists and forearms. He doesn't look like a power hitter, and at times he doesn't get his legs under him and employs a slap approach. When he stays balanced, though, he can drive the ball to any part of the ballpark, and Yankees officials expect him to hit 20 or more homers annually as he learns to hit from a more consistent, solid base. He has shown the ability to backspin the ball and has some loft in his swing. He has a loose, handsy stroke and excellent bat-to-ball skills. He's a plus-plus runner down the line but his baserunning skills need polish. He was caught 13 times in 33 steal attempts in 2012. Williams is capable of spectacular plays in the field. He touched 91 mph as a high school pitcher, and his arm strength rates as average despite inconsistent throwing mechanics. Aside from inexperience, his greatest weakness is immaturity. One pro scout who saw him in the South Atlantic League in 2012 said he "needed to be humbled," and New York benched him several times for not running balls out. One club official chalked it up to Williams' being too hard on himself and expressing his frustration with poor at-bats by not giving full effort. He plays the game with flair, which some scouts see as a manifestation of his confidence. Williams believes he's good and has played like it as a pro. One club official likened him to a more athletic version of former Yankees No. 1 prospect Austin Jackson, combining premium speed and tools with Jackson's swagger and playmaking ability. Williams will return to high Class A Tampa at age 21. New York expects more emotional and physical maturity in 2013. That would help him make the leap to Double-A Trenton during the season, where he could team with the similarly athletic Slade Heathcott in a glimpse of the Yankees' outfield of the future. Williams will race Heathcott to be ready to make the leap to New York if Curtis Granderson becomes a free agent after the 2013 season.
An alcohol problem and troubled home life helped drive Heathcott down draft boards in 2009, but New York took him 29th overall and signed him for $2.2 million. He sought treatment for his alcohol issues after the 2010 season. He has yet to accrue 300 at-bats in a single season thanks to a pair of left shoulder injuries that have required two surgeries. The second operation, on his labrum, kept him out until June in 2012, but he made his time count in high Class A and in the Arizona Fall League. Heathcott plays with explosive tools and effort. He's a consistent 70 runner with a strong frame who's developing above-average power. He has two more plus tools with his center-field defense and a throwing arm that's returning to close to full strength. Heathcott's future depends most on his bat. He gets too rotational, spins off pitches and doesn't keep his bat in the hitting zone long enough. His resulting choppy swing reduces his contact rate, but when he connects, he drives the ball. His all-out style has helped lead to injuries. He will head to Double-A in 2013 to work on his swing issues.
Signed for $3 million, Sanchez hit 18 home runs in 2012 and earned a spot on Baseball America's minor league all-star first team. Sanchez has well above-average raw power as well as a fundamentally sound swing, and he improved his two-strike approach late in the season. With plus-plus raw arm strength to go with solid athleticism and receiving skills, Sanchez has the tools to remain a catcher. He's an erratic defender prone to lapses in receiving, but he made progress in 2012 while throwing out 30 percent of basestealers. As his English improves, he'll be able to take charge more behind the plate. He also needs more experience calling his own pitches. Though he's a below-average runner, he stole 15 bases in 19 attempts in 2012. He played harder and showed none of the lapses in judgment that prompted a two-week suspension in May 2011. Sanchez will return to high Class A to start 2013 and has a clear path to the Bronx if he continues to make progress.
Austin was diagnosed with testicular cancer the summer after his junior year in high school, which led to a poor senior season. He fell to the 13th round, where the Yankees stole him and signed him for $130,000 in 2010. Austin had a breakout year in his first try at full-season ball in 2012. Shrugging off a mild concussion that kept him out of the Futures Game, he batted .322/.400/.559 and reached Double-A. He homered in a losing cause in Trenton's Eastern League finals loss. The Yankees' most advanced young hitter, Austin mixes physical maturity with athleticism. He has a short, quick swing and good balance at the plate, usually staying back and trusting his fast hands. His relatively flat stroke limits his home run potential to an extent, but some scouts believe he'll tap into solid power down the line. Though just an average runner, he has the quick first step and savvy to steal 10-15 bags annually in the big leagues. A corner infielder in his first two seasons, Austin found a home in right field in 2012, exhibiting solid range and a plus arm. The game is probably too fast for him at third base, though he'd make a fine first baseman. Austin will begin 2013 back in Double-A. The lack of a young, righthanded bat in New York will open an opportunity for him to move fast if he continues to hit.
Campos led the short-season Northwest League in ERA (2.32) and strikeouts (85) as an 18-year-old making his U.S. debut in 2011. The Yankees targeted him in trade talks with the Mariners, acquiring him in January 2012 along with Michael Pineda in exchange for former No. 1 prospect Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi. Five starts into the season, though, the Yankees shut Campos down with what they termed elbow inflammation. Campos gave up one hit in his first 11 innings at low Class A Charleston, and his stuff was electric. When healthy, he pitches at 94-95 mph with his fastball, throwing plenty of strikes and showing late life. For a youngster who throws that hard, he has excellent command of the pitch. At times he wipes out hitters with a power curveball in the upper 70s, and his changeup shows flashes of becoming an above-average offering as well. He needs more innings to refine his secondary pitches and polish up details such as controlling the running game. He didn't throw in any games in instructional league, and one club official said "hopefully" Campos will be ready for spring training. That's hardly a ringing endorsement of health for the Yankees' pitching prospect with the most upside. He likely will work his way back in extended spring training and move up to high Class A in 2013.
When the Yankees didn't sign first-rounder Gerrit Cole in 2008, Marshall wound up with the largest bonus in their draft class--$850,000 in the sixth round. He struggled mightily before having Tommy John in surgery 2009, but he hasn't missed a start and has gone 26-16, 3.41 since returning. He led Trenton to the Eastern League finals in 2012, topping the system with 13 wins and ranking fourth with 120 strikeouts. New York originally wanted Marshall to pitch off his fastball and curveball. Since his elbow reconstruction, he has found a consistent high three-quarters slot and pounded the strike zone with a 90-94 mph fastball and the system's best changeup. Both pitches have similar sinking action and come from the same release point. His changeup arrives at 77-80 mph and made him more effective against lefthanders (.677 OPS) than righthanders (.724) in 2012. A fairly long arm action makes it hard for Marshall to maintain the release point on his two breaking balls. He still throws a show-me curve early in counts, but his mid-80s slider has more potential. It lacks consistency but flashes occasional bite. It's an average pitch that helps him get grounders rather than strikeouts. Marshall profiles as a durable, sinkerballing No. 4 starter--not the Yankees' prototype prospect but a useful trade chip. He's slated to see his first Triple-A action at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2013.
The Yankees have paired Gumbs with 2010 first-rounder Cito Culver for three seasons, and the converted prep outfielder/shortstop has surpassed his double-play partner as a prospect. Gumbs shook off a slow start and was heating up in low Class A when his 2012 season ended in June with a torn ligament in his left elbow that didn't require surgery. Gumbs still hasn't completely tapped into his offensive potential because his excessive pre-swing movement negates his premium bat speed. With some easy mechanical adjustments, such as a wider base and calming down his leg kick and bat waggle, he should be able to trust his hands and stay back on offspeed pitches better. He crushes fastballs, lashing line drives from gap to gap. He's also a plus runner and the system's best basestealer. Gumbs has made significant growth defensively and is beginning to take advantage of his plus arm and range. He still has some stiffness and hardness to his hands, but as his footwork improves with repetition, he should be a solid defender at second base. Gumbs' aptitude will determine how quickly he moves. He has made defensive progress and now must do the same offensively to develop into the most well-rounded infielder in the system. He'll start 2013 in high Class A.
Banuelos was the Yankees' best southpaw prospect since Andy Pettitte. He nearly made the Yankees with a dominant performance in big league camp in 2011, but instead made a career-best 27 minor league starts as his control regressed. He began 2012 in a prospect-laden Triple-A rotation but made just six starts before getting shut down with elbow pain. He had Tommy John surgery in early October. A command-oriented pitcher when he signed, Banuelos saw his fastball touch 94 at the end of the 2009 season in relief. He maintained his velocity spike in 2010 as a starter, but has had difficulty either staying healthy or throwing strikes since. Before he got hurt, his fastball sat at 91-94 mph and touched 96, with good tailing life at the lower end of that velocity range. He also threw a sharp curveball in the upper 70s and a tumbling changeup, giving him two above-average secondary pitches at his best. He had trouble harnessing his livelier stuff and was unable to make adjustments to throw quality strikes prior to his injury. The track record for elbow reconstruction is good, and the Yankees added him to the 40-man roster in November. Banuelos will be just 23 when he returns to minor league action in 2014. If his stuff returns and he learns to command it, he could develop into a No. 2 starter.
Hensley's father Mike was drafted 66th overall out of high school and 53rd overall out of Oklahoma in 1988 before pitching three seasons in the Cardinals system. The Yankees hope to have more success with his son, who gave up football to focus on baseball. The 30th overall pick in June, he originally signed for $1.6 million but had his bonus reduced to $1.2 million after a physical revealed some shoulder abnormalities. He hasn't had any health issues, however. New York favors curveballs over sliders, and Hensley had one of the best curves in the entire draft, a 12-to-6 breaker in the upper 70s. He has size, athleticism and hand speed, all of which allow him to spin the ball and maintain a 92-95 mph fastball that peaks at 97. He didn't need a changeup much as an amateur and worked on one during instructional league. Hensley still is growing into his frame and needs to add some strength to maintain his delivery and find a consistent release point, which would improve his command. He tends to elevate his fastball and work up and down in the strike zone. The Yankees sent Hensley to their Dominican instructional camp so he could continue working with pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras. Hensley will focus on improving his fastball command and his changeup in 2013, possibly in low Class A.
DePaula has presented different versions of his name and several different birthdates over the years, leading to a one-year suspension from MLB in May 2009, before he ever even signed a professional contract. DePaula agreed to a $500,000 bonus with the Yankees in November 2010, and MLB took 16 months to approve the deal while it investigated. He worked out at the Yankees' Dominican Republic academy while in limbo and finally acquired a visa in March 2012, passed his physical and signed with New York. He made his pro debut with their Rookie-level Dominican Summer League affiliate. He led the DSL with 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings. Most 21-year-olds in a Latin American complex league aren't prospects, but DePaula is different. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and touches 98 as a starter. Scouts also like his hard curveball, which projects as an above-average or better pitch. He hasn't needed it much, but he has flashed a promising changeup as well. DePaula's secondary stuff was inconsistent in his debut, due in part to his lack of experience. But he's physical with a strong, strapping frame, has a clean arm action and repeats his delivery, allowing him to throw consistent strikes. He has big hands and long arms, and he has shown a feel for manipulating the baseball. Club officials are excited about his work ethic and makeup. DePaula is the biggest X-factor in the system and his ceiling is as high as any Yankees minor league pitcher. He's expected to make an aggressive jump from the DSL to high Class A.
Montgomery wasn't heavily recruited out of a Williamsburg, Va., high school as a position player who pitched a little, so he headed to Longwood, a small Division I school in the middle of the state. He became the team's top reliever, and after the Yankees signed him for $65,000 as an 11th-rounder in 2011, he jumped on the fast track. He finished his first pro season in Double-A and didn't give up his first home run until Manny Machado took him deep on Aug. 4. Montgomery had the system's best slider the day he signed, and some scouts give it plus-plus grades at times. It has uncommon depth to go with low- to mid-80s power, and it gives him the consistent swing-and-miss pitch that closers need. He ranked seventh in the minors among full-season relievers with 13.8 strikeouts per nine innings last year, and not just because of his slider. He has deception in his crossfire delivery, giving his 90-93 mph fastball good running life. He has better control than might be expected for a reliever with length in his arm action. He throws a fringy changeup to help him against lefthanders, but usually his slider and fastball are enough. Montgomery could crack New York's bullpen in 2013.
The Yankees' outfield depth makes Flores a bit of a stealth prospect, but scouts inside and outside of the organization agree he can hit. Some club officials consider him the system's best pure hitter. Flores got off to a rough start last April before hitting his way onto Trenton's playoff roster. He's a disciplined hitter with a good sense of the strike zone. Even scouts who see Flores as an extra outfielder rather than a regular consider him an above-average hitter with feel for his swing. Opinions are mixed on his power, as some see him as a contact-first hitter with fringy pop, while others project him to grow into more power, citing his size 14 feet as evidence of coming physicality. His supporters envision him producing 15-20 homers annually. Flores is an average runner with average arm strength that plays up thanks to a quick transfer and accuracy. A first baseman earlier in his career, he has moved up the defensive spectrum, spending 33 games in center field in 2012 and is well suited for left on a regular basis. After getting added to the 40-man roster in November, Flores should return to Double-A for 2013. He'll likely will play left field, deferring to Slade Heathcott or Mason Williams.
The Yankees lured Mitchell away from a North Carolina scholarship with an $800,000 bonus in 2009. He had second thoughts about signing the deal, so New York had fellow righthander and UNC alumnus Adam Warren shepherd him through his first days in the organization. He didn't make his full-season debut until 2012, and his maturity remains a question. But no one questions his arm. He was wild but electric for Charleston and was the team's best pitching prospect after Jose Campos' elbow injury. One club official compares his stuff to that of former Yankee A.J. Burnett, and scouts give Mitchell future plus-plus grades for both his fastball and curveball. Both are swing-and-miss pitches, with the fastball ranging from 92-94 mph and the power curve reaching 81 mph. Mitchell's changeup is still in its early stages, and New York is more concerned with straightening out his mechanics and improving his control at this point anyway. He has a quick arm but doesn't finish his pitches consistently. He overthrows and tends to lose his release point. He's getting stronger physically and needs to get stronger mentally. He made every start last season and more than doubled his career innings total, earning a spot on the 40-man roster in November. He should graduate to high Class A in 2013.
Signed for $125,000 as the third-to-last player picked in the 2008 draft, Turley has made a place for himself in the organization and had his best season in 2012. He battled through blister issues that landed him on the disabled list in May to pitch more than 100 innings for the first time, and made two starts in the Double-A Eastern League playoffs. He has a big, physical frame and delivery reminiscent of Andy Pettitte's. Turley doesn't have the same upside or raw arm strength, but he does have a fastball that sits at 88-91 mph and touches 92 on good nights. He'll cut his fastball and sink it, and his changeup has similar downward movement. He limited righthanders to a .228 average last season. His curveball has solid depth and good shape, showing flashes of becoming a plus pitch. Turley needs to command his fastball better and get ahead so he can use his secondary stuff effectively. He handles the running game well, giving up just 13 steals in 26 tries last year. Turley earned a place on New York's 40-man roster in November. and will open 2013 in Double-A.
Murphy made the full transformation into a catcher in 2012, working a career-high 97 games behind the plate and only one game at third base. His offensive production suffered as he spent more time catching, but he generally stayed healthy and still showed potential with the bat. Murphy has made significant progress behind the plate, particularly with his throwing. He threw out 32 percent of basestealers last year after erasing just 23 percent in his first three pro seasons. He has an average arm that usually delivers the ball to second base in about 2.0 seconds. His receiving could use polish, as could his game-calling, and he's still learning how to bring consistent energy and leadership behind the plate. Murphy long has impressed the Yankees with his balanced, easy swing. He's starting to show more pull power, though he's at his best going gap to gap. The Yankees have Austin Romine ahead of him and Gary Sanchez coming up behind him, so Murphy will have to put offense and defense together in one season, perhaps at Trenton in 2013, to establish himself as a future regular.
Ramirez was starting to emerge as one of the Yankees' better pitching prospects before stumbling in 2011 in high Class A. He did better in his second shot in 2012, shaking off a rough start to go 6-2, 2.11 with 73 strikeouts in as many innings over the final four months. He missed five weeks in May and June with a lat strain but bounced back fine. While growing by at least an inch or two and adding 25 pounds, Ramirez also has picked up fastball velocity, sitting at 93-96 and hitting 97 regularly. He's the most consistent hard-thrower in the system, and his fastball has decent life as well. Ramirez has made progress with his slider. It's inconsistent, but at times he'll throw above-average breaking balls that reach 87 mph and have tilt. Ramirez's changeup is his most reliable secondary pitch, as it has sink and at times resembles a splitter. Ramirez can be hittable because he lacks deception and fastball command, and more scouts believe he's headed to the bullpen, a role he filled in the Dominican League this winter. Added to the 40-man roster, he'll make his Double-A debut in 2013.
Romine became the third member of his family to reach the major leagues in 2011, joining father Kevin and brother Andrew. He also had a concussion and back issues that year, and the back problem lingered into 2012, when he played just 31 games. Clubs officials said Romine didn't work on his conditioning the way he needed last offseason, and scouts inside and outside the organization are starting to wonder if he'll reach his ceiling. Romine has tempered his high leg kick in an attempt to get more consistent with his timing at the plate. Scouts used to project him to hit 15-20 homers annually due to his raw power but didn't see the same snap in his bat in 2012. He has lost some athleticism but still rates well in that regard for a catcher. Romine has a strong arm yet threw out just 24 percent of basestealers last year, matching his career rate. His receiving has been solid in the past, though he wasn't as sharp while getting much-needed reps in the Arizona Fall League. He also hit just .222/.342/.286 in the AFL. With Russell Martin gone, Romine will compete with Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart if the Yankees choose to use an in-house replacement. Otherwise, he's headed for Triple-A.
Mesa didn't make it to full-season ball until 2009, his sixth pro campaign. His ninth pro season ended in the major leagues, as he earned a September callup and got his first big league hit after setting career highs in home runs (23) and slugging percentage (.480). Consistent contact has been Mesa's biggest problem over the years, though he shaved his strikeout rate to 26 percent last season, down from 33 percent in 2011. He has tinkered with gimmicky stances in the past but stayed with one basic approach in 2012, allowing him to see the ball better and stay consistent. Breaking balls still vex him at times, but he's less pull-happy and makes better use of the whole field now. He has plus raw power, though he'll likely never be a first-division regular because of his lack of plate discipline. Mesa, who shook off a shoulder injury during the season, is a plus runner and a fine defender in center field. His above-average arm makes him an even better fit in right, and he can handle all three spots. Veteran Andruw Jones signed to play in Japan, so Mesa could provide a younger, cheaper, much faster alternative for the Yankees' lefty-heavy outfield. Otherwise, he's ticketed for Triple-A.
Unless he figures out a new role, Betances' big league cameo at the end of the 2011 season will be the pinnacle of his career. Signed for $1 million, at the time a record for the eighth round, he always has been a behemoth whose frequent bouts of wildness have negated his premium stuff. Betances still throws two plus pitches at times, with a fastball that peaks at 97 mph to go with a power curveball in the low 80s. His changeup developed into an erratic pitch, average at times and playable when he threw strikes. Betances never has done so consistently, both prior to 2009 surgery to reinforce an elbow ligament and since then. Triple-A hitters wouldn't chase his pitches last year, and a demotion to Trenton didn't help. Betances lacks the athleticism to repeat the release point in his stiff delivery and doesn't have enough savvy to make adjustments. The Yankees hope his power repertoire and intimidating size can translate into success in shorter relief stints. He worked out of the bullpen in the Arizona Fall League but continued to get hit hard.
As a senior quarterback, Aune accounted for 3,949 yards and 42 touchdowns while leading Argyle High to the Texas 3-A title game. He had a football scholarship from Texas Christian but passed it up to sign with the Yankees for a $1 million bonus. His two-sport background makes him raw from a baseball standpoint. His inexperience showed after signing, as the speed of the game exposed his footwork defensively. His athleticism and natural hitting ability also showed, and he held his own at the plate and showed plus speed. Aune has good balance and plus raw power. He needs to refine his basestealing skills but has a chance to become a top-of-the-order hitter. One club official compares Aune to Shawn Green for his lean, athletic frame and lefthanded swing. It will be a long time before Aune can earn Green comparisons as a hitter, however, so the Yankees will have to be patient. They intend to leave him at shortstop as long as possible, with second base and center field possible future positions. His range and arm strength are solid, but he may not have the hands to stay in the dirt. He will start 2013 in extended spring training before heading to short-season Staten Island in June.
Bichette's father Dante made four all-star teams despite struggling early in his minor league career, posting a .688 OPS in low Class A in 1985 as a 21-year-old. Two years younger at the same level in 2012, Dante Jr. grinded his way to a .653 OPS. That was a far cry from his pro debut after he signed for $750,000 as New York's top draft pick in 2011, when he ranked as the No. 1 prospect and earned MVP honors in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. Bichette struggled with the heavier diet of breaking balls he saw in low Class A, making lots of weak contact. His bat-to-ball skills kept him from striking out more, and when he did connect, the ball often was swallowed up at spacious Riley Park in Charleston. He posted a .591 OPS at home, compared to a more respectable .713 on the road. Bichette has solid raw power with good bat speed and the ability to put backspin on the ball. His defense made significant progress as he became more comfortable with third base. His quickness, range and arm are all fringy to average, so he's not a lock to stay at the hot corner. He'll likely start 2013 back in Charleston.
The Yankees surprised the industry by signing Bird for $1.1 million after drafting him in the fifth round in 2011. The high school catcher for Kevin Gausman, who became the No. 4 overall pick in the 2012 draft, Bird was considered too stiff and too big to stay behind the plate, but the Yankees were buying the bat, and they're all in on Bird's. They did intend to give Bird a shot to catch, but nagging back pain and weakness in the spring lasted into extended spring training, and he went on the disabled list after playing four games in June. He returned in August as a first baseman/DH and mashed, so he's probably there to stay. He hit his way up to Staten Island, where he finished with a flourish and homered in his last game, and he continued to hit well in instructional league. The Yankees are high on his hitting instincts, bat speed and plus raw power. He has the ability to put backspin on the ball and should hit for enough power to profile at first base. He has a strong arm but lacks athleticism, agility and speed. New York praises Bird's makeup, and he should help anchor the Charleston lineup in 2013.
Adams injured his right ankle in May 2010, which threw a wrench into the Yankees' proposed acquisition of Cliff Lee from the Mariners. As New York and Seattle tried to rework the deal, the Rangers swooped in and scooped up Lee. What was originally diagnosed as a high ankle sprain proved to be a fracture that proved frustratingly slow to heal. Adams missed the rest of 2010 and played in just 27 games in 2011. He wound up spending another month on the disabled list with a neck injury, but was healthy from mid-May on. Adams has a plan at the plate, works counts and has an effective two-strike approach. He has the solid power to produce 15-20 homers a season. Never fast, Adams now has well below-average speed. He has lost the quickness to play second base and played almost exclusively at the hot corner in the final six weeks of the season. He has enough arm strength and had played there a bit before getting hurt. His intangibles are a positive. With Alex Rodriguez's Yankees future in doubt, Adams could be an stopgap solution. He's headed for Triple-A in 2013 and will be on call if free-agent signee Kevin Youkilis--who hasn't played 130 games in a season since 2009--gets banged up.
Warren started 2012 as part of a highly touted Triple-A rotation, and he was the only prospect left when the playoffs rolled around, as Manny Banuelos got hurt, Dellin Betances got demoted, D.J. Mitchell got traded and David Phelps spent most of the season in New York. Warren joined him in late June, failed to make it out of the third inning against the White Sox and quickly found himself back in Triple-A. Warren is a durable, physical veteran whose fastball sits at 90-93 mph and touches 94-95. He pitches off his four-seamer and mixes in a two-seamer at times, then goes to his curveball, slider and changeup. More often than not, the slider is his best secondary pitch, though it's really more of a cutter. He's not overpowering but throws strikes and usually gives his team a chance to win. Warren didn't get a second chance in 2012 after Chicago shellacked him, but he remains on the 40-man roster and will head back to Triple-A as big league rotation insurance.
Black had Tommy John surgery as a high school junior in San Diego and wound up attending San Diego State. A dispute with the coaching staff prompted him to transfer to Faulkner (Ala.), an NAIA school where he could pitch immediately in 2012 rather than sit out a year. He went 11-2, 1.53 there, prompting the Yankees to draft him in the fourth round and sign him for a below-slot $215,000. He had one of the better pro debuts in New York's draft class, and Black's quick arm has impressed the Yankees' pro staff. He touched 100 mph and never dipped below 94 during instructional league. With a week of rest as an amateur, his sinking fastball sat at 95-98 at its best, and he worked around 95 in pro ball. His athleticism helps him repeat his release point and allowed him to adjust his delivery as a pro, eliminating a head whack that worried scouts. Black throws an average changeup and improved 83-85 mph slider to go with an early-count, fringy curve. Black could open his first full pro season in high Class A, and New York will keep developing him as a starter.
Tracy got as much playing time in the outfield as on the mound at Mississippi. The Yankees liked his physical frame and fresh arm, waited until the 24th round to draft him in 2011, and signed him for just $2,000. Hitting 94 mph with his fastball, he pitched his way into the Staten Island rotation in his pro debut and continued to impress during instructional league. He jumped to Tampa for his first full pro season, but he strained his right hamstring in spring training and had an inconsistent 2012. Tracy's arm strength and size are his best traits. His fastball sits at 89-92 mph and he has a feel for locating it inside against righthanders, making them uncomfortable. His curveball and changeup also have their moments. New York worked with him in instructional league on getting better snap on his curve, altering his grip. A wrist wrap in his arm action makes it tougher for him to repeat his breaking ball's release point. He also could use better control and command. He'll join forces again with Nik Turley in 2013, this time in Double-A.
The younger brother of Orioles minor league catcher Caleb Joseph, Corban reached Triple-A for the first time in 2012 and posted career bests in home runs (15), slugging (.465) and OPS (.840). Joseph has an easy line-drive stroke, swings at strikes and draws walks. Scouts fret about the movement in his hands before he swings, yet he makes consistent hard contact and added loft power last season. He has significant limitations, though, and doesn't run well, with fringy range and fair footwork. Most scouts consider him a below-average defender at second base. New York has worked him at third base, including in big league camp last spring, and he has taken fly balls in the outfield during pregame drills as well. If Joseph maintains his power production, he could hit enough to be a regular. Otherwise, his bat could make him a useful utilityman.
The Yankees drafted Culver with their top pick and signed him for $954,000 in 2010. New York knew he would need time, but he's behind where the franchise hoped he would be. He posted the fifth-lowest OPS (.604) among South Atlantic League batting qualifiers. Culver faces several offensive challenges, starting with switch-hitting. Because he's just an average or slightly above-average runner and not a burner, there's no major advantage to having him switch-hit, and some club officials want him to bat solely righthanded. Culver has a good idea of the strike zone and recognizes pitches, but he can't hit them with authority from the left side, and his righthanded swing gets long and mechanical. Culver can make highlight plays from the hole with good footwork and an above-average arm, and he was fairly reliable in 2012, making just 22 errors. Culver's bat has to improve for him to be a future regular and not a utilityman. He's likely to return to Charleston in 2013.
A native of upstate New York, Kahnle helped Lynn (Fla.) win the 2009 NCAA Division II national championship. In 2012, he earned a late promotion to Double-A and pitched in the Eastern League playoffs, after a shoulder strain pushed his debut back to May. He pumps his fastball into the high 90s, touching 98 mph, and threw more strikes with it last year. Kahnle has effort in his delivery and favors power over precision, attacking with the fastball and using his changeup and improved slider as chase pitches. His changeup has splitter action at its best and helps him neutralize lefthanders, who hit .161 against him in 2012. As the season progressed, Kahnle improved at locating his fastball on the inner half. His control got better as well, as he issued 12 walks in May and 12 more for the rest of the season. Kahnle isn't a great athlete and has spent time on the disabled list in each of his two full pro seasons. He projects as a set-up man and will return to Double-A to begin 2013.
While the Yankees focused mainly on hitters in the 2010 draft, they spent $1.25 million on a trio of prep pitchers. Encinas ($300,000) has emerged as the best of the lot, surpassing lefthander Evan Rutckyj ($500,000) and righty Taylor Morton ($450,000). He hasn't put up big numbers as a pro yet because he's still learning to harness his newfound power stuff. He sat at 90-92 mph with his fastball in high school and has added velocity since signing, at times reaching 97 with his two-seamer and working at 92-95. At times Encinas loses his release point, resulting in 5.0 walks per nine innings last season. As his arm slot wanders, so does the consistency of his curveball. His changeup has its moments but remains inconsistent. Encinas encouraged the club with his progress in instructional league. He's slated for his first full-season assignment at Charleston in 2013.