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As an amateur, Torres trained in Venezuela with Ciro Barrios, who also worked with Athletics shortstop prospect Franklin Barreto. The Cubs signed Torres on July 2, 2013, for a bonus of $1.7 million as part of the same international haul that brought outfielder Eloy Jimenez to the Chicago organization. Torres also worked with Cubs minor league infield coordinator Jose Flores to help him mold the skills that will help him stay at shortstop for the long term. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman reportedly was given a choice between Torres and Jimenez when negotiating the Aroldis Chapman deal with the Cubs, and he chose the shortstop. Torres joined high Class A Tampa after the trade and slotted in at shortstop despite the presence of Jorge Mateo, another of the system's cadre of shortstops and the organization's No. 1 prospect entering the season. Pushing Mateo to the other side of the bag, Torres continued to hit after the trade. He batted .270/.354/.421 with 11 home runs, 21 stolen bases and 58 walks at two high Class A stops and impressed evaluators in the Carolina (No. 4 prospect) and Florida State (No. 2) leagues. Even with a host of talented middle-infield prospects in the system, Torres shoots to the top of the ranking. He's an excellent bet to stay at shortstop because of his soft, quick hands and smooth actions around the bag. He's also got range to both sides, and an accurate arm with enough strength to handle third base if he switches positions. He also played a little second base in the Arizona Fall League (because there are other players who need time at shortstop) and showed the same smooth actions and instincts at the keystone. Moreover, he looked comfortable turning the double play from that position. Evaluators in the FSL compared his defensive chops with the Reds' Zack Cozart. What makes Torres special, however, is his offensive potential. At just 19 years old he already has excellent pitch recognition skills and has shown the ability to sort through breaking pitches in order to get to the fastball he desires. Early in the season, Torres tried too hard to hit for power and got pull happy, but he showed the ability to adjust and got back to an all-fields approach. Evaluators believe Torres has the ability to hit for plus average and plus power, and this season showed pop to both corners. It's evident in both games and batting practice, but Torres has an uncanny ability to put barrel of the bat on the baseball. To prove it, he opened his AFL campaign with a monster home run to the opposite field at Scottsdale Stadium. Though he has just average speed, he has enough baseball instincts, aggressiveness and intellect to make it play on the bases. After being named MVP of the Fall League, Torres should move up to Double-A Trenton in 2017. He'll continue to be paired with Mateo in what should be a dynamic Trenton lineup. He'll play all of the 2017 season at age 20, and with a good year could position himself to make his big league debut before he turns 22.
The Indians used the fifth overall selection in the 2013 draft to take Frazier, the BA High School Player of the Year, and they signed him for $3.5 million. Cleveland dealt Frazier to the Yankees in 2016 along with lefthander Justus Sheffield and relievers J.P. Feyereisen and Ben Heller in the deal that sent closer Andrew Miller to the Indians. Frazier's calling card is his elite bat speed, which is generated by a taut, muscular frame and huge forearms. That bat speed produces well above-average raw power. He has worked to quiet his pre-swing movement to help cut down on his growing strikeout totals. He's got above-average speed, which has served him well on the bases and in the field. He has worked at all three outfield positions in his career, but his above-average throwing arm would serve him well in a corner spot. His range could be helpful in left field, which evaluators have noted is more challenging than right field at Yankee Stadium. Frazier struggled at both Triple-A stops in 2016 and will return there in 2017. A student of the game, he will continue to work on pitch recognition and cutting down his strikeout rate in the hopes that he can make his debut late in the season.
Because he was 19 years old and had a big price tag, Rutherford fell to the Yankees with the No. 18 pick. He had the big price tag because he ranked among the best hitters available in the 2016 draft, with a long track record of success in Southern California high school ranks and with USA Baseball's 18U national team. The Yankees gladly took him and awarded him a $3,282,000 bonus, which ranks as the second-highest figure they've given a draftee. Rutherford spent most of his debut at Rookie-level Pulaski, where he dealt with a hamstring injury that cost him time and eventually ended his season on Aug. 24. Rutherford made plenty of hard contact in his pro debut and projects as a four-tool player. He's athletic and rangy and center field, but his arm is below-average and could push him to left. He also has the potential for plus power, with some scouts putting future 60 grades (on the 20-80 scouting scale) on both his hitting ability and power. Scouts laud his smooth lefthanded swing and ability to cover the plate. He's an average runner, but jumps and instincts will help him stay in center as long as possible. After his first pro offseason, Rutherford probably will start 2017 at low Class A Charleston. He'll continue to get reps in both center and left field.
After signing for $225,000 in 2012, Mateo quickly blazed a path through the lower levels of the minors. Despite playing just 15 games in 2014, Mateo jumped to low Class A Charleston in 2015, and he responded by showing off an all-around tool set and leading the minor leagues with 80 stolen bases. His performance took a step backward in 2016, and his makeup took a hit, too, when the Yankees announced a two-week suspension for insubordination. He reportedly lashed out at team officials over not receiving a promotion to Double-A Trenton. As ever, Mateo is still blessed with 80-grade speed on the 20-80 scouting scale. How the Yankees want to employ it, however, is another question. That level of speed will play in the outfield, and Mateo saw time in instructional league in center field. He plays average defense at shortstop and second base, leading multiple evaluators to project center as his best path to the big leagues. He's got plenty of bat speed to catch up to good fastballs but still has rough edges to polish at the plate. He showed a vulnerability to breaking balls, though he should be an average hitter with surprising power for his wiry frame. Mateo probably will move to Double-A Trenton in 2017, where he will pair with Gleyber Torres and see time at shortstop, second base and center field.
The Yankees drafted Kaprielian with the No. 16 overall pick and signed him for $2.65 million in 2015. The team expected big things from him after a strong pro debut, and general manager Brian Cashman hinted Kaprielian had an outside chance of making his big league debut by season's end. Instead, Kaprielian dealt with a strained right flexor tendon in his elbow and made just three starts. He made it back for instructional league and performed well enough there to warrant an assignment to the Arizona Fall League. After touching 95 mph toward the end of his college career, Kaprielian added 20 pounds of muscle prior to this season and saw his velocity jump again. He touched 97 mph both with Tampa and again in the AFL, and he sat between 94-96. He throws all four pitches, including a slider and curveball that have both been plus at their best, as well as a changeup that could be an average fourth pitch. Evaluators note that his delivery, featuring a plunging arm action, is high-stress and could contribute to further injury issues. Kaprielian has front-of-the-rotation makeup and stuff with a well below-average delivery. After six weeks in the AFL to make up for lost time, Kaprielian could join either high Class A Tampa or Double-A Trenton in 2017.
The Yankees drafted Judge with their second of three first-round selections in 2013 and awarded him a $1.8 million bonus. He found success at every stop before becoming a bit streaky when he reached Triple-A late in 2015. He missed time in July 2016 with a knee injury but made his major league debut on Aug. 13. He and Tyler Austin that day became the first teammates in history to record back-to-back home runs in their first major league at-bats. Judge continued to show the big-time power, but he also struck out in 42 of his 84 at-bats. He easily has the best raw power in the system, and the tool rates as a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He won't completely access that power until he cleans up his approach and lowers his strikeout rate. He cut his strikeout percentage to 23.9 this year at Triple-A--his lowest mark since low Class A--but big league pitchers exploited holes in his swing. He's a slightly above-average runner underway and plays average defense in right field with a well above-average throwing arm. The right-field job in the Bronx is Judge's for the taking, but he'll have to continue to work to cut his strikeouts in order to seize the job in 2017.
Sheffield was set to pitch at Vanderbilt with his brother Jordan before the Indians made him a first-round pick and signed him for $1.6 million. He blitzed the competition in the Rookie-level Arizona League in his debut but was arrested in the offseason for underage drinking and criminal trespass. He pled guilty to those charges. Cleveland traded him to the Yankees at the 2016 trade deadline, along with outfielder Clint Frazier and relievers J.P. Feyereisen and Ben Heller, in the deal that sent closer Andrew Miller to the Indians. A short lefthander, Sheffield owns three plus or potential plus pitches. His fastball, which has sinking action, sits in the 93-95 mph range and can touch 97. He complements it with a short-breaking slider in the low- to mid-80s and a changeup in the same range. His slider is his best secondary pitch, but he has good feel for his changeup, and with more reps it could be as good as the slider. Sheffield, who will open 2017 as a 20-year-old, is probably headed for Double-A Trenton with a future as a mid-rotation starter if he achieves his ceiling.
Adams started his college career at Yavapai (Ariz.) JC before transferring to Dallas Baptist as a junior. He made just 10 starts--all in his sophomore year--before the Yankees popped him in the fifth round in 2015. He moved into the rotation this year and was one of the breakout stars in the minor leagues. He went 13-1, 2.33 and led all qualified starters with a .169 opponent average. A stocky-bodied righty, Adams starts his four-pitch mix with a hard, lively fastball that sits in the mid-90s and can check in as high as 97 mph. He complements his fastball with a hard slider that he uses as his out pitch. His changeup is his third pitch, and he's worked hard to make sure he throws it from the same arm slot as his fastball. He's also got a curveball, but it's well behind his other three pitches at this point. He pitches with ferocity and has shown the ability to command the strike zone. Scouts noticed that Adams' fastball tended to flatten when left up in the zones. The Yankees shut down Adams just before Double-A Trenton began the Eastern League playoffs because he reached his innings limit. He will move to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2017 and has a ceiling of a No. 3 starter.
The Astros signed Abreu for $185,000, and a mere two years later he had added 5 mph to his fastball, giving him a mid-90s heater that has touched 99 mph as well as a useful assortment of secondary pitches. Houston traded him to the Yankees as part of the Brian McCann deal after the 2016 season. Abreu's pure stuff allows him to succeed so far with an approach that can best be described as, "Here it is--try to hit it." He doesn't really set up hitters and finish them off as much as he overwhelms them. Abreu's plus fastball blew away hitters in the low Class A Midwest League in 2016, especially when he located it to his arm side with excellent run. His average curveball is a slower, bigger breaker that is generally best as an early-count offering, but he will flash a harder curve that flashes plus in late-count situations. His slider is even more inconsistent, but it flashes above-average potential when he stays through his delivery. His changeup will show fade and deception at times. Abreu's delivery is quite simple, but he doesn't repeat it consistently yet from either the stretch or windup, and there is some recoil in his finish. His control is below-average at this point. Abreu's four-pitch assortment screams starter, but his approach and his control lead many to think he'll end up as a high-leverage reliever.
Fowler was a Louisville commit out of high school, but the Yankees liked his all-around ability and signed him for $278,000 as an 18th-round pick in 2013. So far, they've liked what they've seen. He began to break out in 2015, when he put up dynamic numbers at two Class A stops and finished with a nice run in the Arizona Fall League. He continued that trend this year at Double-A Trenton, where he was a force on both sides of the ball for a team that made it to the Eastern League championship series. Fowler is an above-average defender in center field with range both side to side and back and forth. His arm is a little bit below-average, but he makes up for it with a quick release. He's a slashing type of hitter with above-average speed that serves him well both on the bases and on defense. Some evaluators noted that his speed will play even better once he learns to take more aggressive leads. He's got more power than other players his size. It's primarily to the gaps, but his speed helps earn him extra bases. For example, his 15 triples led the EL. His biggest weakness is that he tends to expand the zone, and he walked just 22 times all year. After a successful season in Double-A, Fowler will move to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2017 and play all season there as a 22-year-old.
Signed for just $7,500, the Yankees have already gotten more than their money's worth from Acevedo. The burly righthander cuts an imposing figure on the mound, but injuries have slowed his rise. He started last season at low Class A Charleston, but was limited to just one start after blister issues surfaced. He opened this year at Charleston again, dominated there and then was pushed to high Class A Tampa. He was limited to just eight starts there because of hamstring and right shoulder injuries and was shut down for the season on Aug. 15. With Acevedo's massive frame comes massive velocity. He can sit in the mid-90s and touches triple-digits regularly. His changeup is above-average and has the makings of a plus pitch. His low-80s slider is still a work in progress, and is a key to determining whether he ends up a starter or in the bullpen. He throws plenty of strikes with his arsenal, and finished the year with 102 punchouts against just 22 walks. Acevedo is a tantalizing prospect with some flaws who could become elite with a few key improvements. He will return to high Class A Tampa to start 2017 but should make his Double-A debut at some point.
Andujar signed for $750,000 in 2011 and was trained by Basilio Vizcaino, who also helped mold catcher Gary Sanchez before he signed with the Yankees. No single tool stood out as an amateur, and he continues to show an overall blend of skills as a pro. Andujar returned to high Class A Tampa to begin this season and earned a promotion to Double-A Trenton as a 21-year-old. He has a level, balanced swing that could allow him to hit for average and power if he sharpens his pitch recognition and improves his plate discipline. Despite being a free-swinger, Andujar makes a lot of contact. He struck out just 72 times in 512 at-bats last season, along with 39 walks. The raw ingredients are there for Andujar to stick at third base, but there are rough edges to be polished. Evaluators who like him see the ability to move laterally as well as in on a bunt and a plus arm as well. He needs to improve the accuracy on his throws, however, and learn when to hold onto it. After a successful stint in the Arizona Fall League, Andujar is likely to return to Double-A Trenton to start the season.
After watching him go 20-7 over three years at South Carolina, the Yankees spent a fourth-round pick on Montgomery and signed him for $424,000 in 2014. Despite a pedestrian-appearing repertoire, Montgomery shows excellent control and command of all of his pitches, which has helped him zoom through the system. He reached Double-A in his second season and returned to the Eastern League in 2016 before finishing with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and earning the start and the win in the Triple-A Championship Game. His 2.13 ERA was ninth-best in the minor leagues. Montgomery's 88-92 mph fastball won't blow away hitters, but the angle on the pitch produced by his large frame helps mitigate the lack of velocity. Montgomery complements his fastball with a fringe-average changeup in the low-80s and an average 12-to-6 curveball in the high-70s. His 134 strikeouts ranked second in the organization behind only Chance Adams' 144 whiffs. Montgomery is likely to start back at Triple-A to begin the year, and if he can continue to throw strikes he has the future of an innings-eating starter in the big leagues.
The owner of the perhaps the most complex background in the Yankees' system, Florial has already earned a considerable amount of fame in prospect circles. An identity snafu as an amateur led to a suspension and led to a signing bonus of just $200,000 instead of the seven-figures he could have received without complications. By any name, Florial is still among the system's most tooled-up prospects. His power, arm and speed earn 70 grades on the 20-to-80 scouting scale, and evaluators who saw him in 2016 believe he has the potential to stick in center field. Florial spent most of his time with Rookie-level Pulaski in center field, although he occasionally slid to a corner or DH to accommodate 2016 first-rounder Blake Rutherford. The biggest knock on Florial is the amount of swing-and-miss to his game. He struck out 78 times in 236 at-bats with Pulaski, one less than league leader and teammate Dermis Garcia. As one of five Pulaski players age 18 or younger, however, strikeouts were to be expected. Florial made cameos at both low Class A Charleston and high Class A Tampa during the season, and he is likely to begin the season back with Charleston.
After pitching as UC Santa Barbara's closer as a sophomore, Tate moved into the Gauchos' rotation in his junior year and raised his stock dramatically. The Rangers took him No. 4 overall and signed him for $4.2 million. Tate suffered through hamstring injuries and poor performance throughout his first full year in pro ball, however, and the Rangers traded him away a year after drafting him as part of the Carlos Beltran deal. Tate moved to the bullpen after joining the Yankees system and returned to form at low Class A Charleston. His fastball peaked at 97 mph in the Arizona Fall League after sitting in the high 80s to low 90s in the early part of the season, while his slider and changeup each flashed above-average and garnered swings and misses but lacked consistency. After making 16 starts in 17 appearances with the Rangers, Tate was used exclusively out of the bullpen at both Charleston and in the AFL. He projects as a reliever long-term, but could be a high-leverage arm out of the pen with improved command. He is likely to start 2017 at high Class A Tampa.
Even before he was drafted, Austin had been through a lot. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer in high school and had surgery to remove the tumor. Little more than a week after the surgery, he played in a high school showcase. The Yankees drafted Austin in the 13th round in 2010 and gave him a $130,000 bonus to forgo a Kennesaw State commitment. He rocketed through the lower levels of the system and earned a place on the 40-man roster in 2014, but injuries and struggles stalled his career and led to him being designated for assignment after the 2015 season. Finally healthy in 2016, Austin found success at Triple-A and made history in his major league debut when he and Aaron Judge became the first teammates to go back-to-back with home runs in their first big league at-bats. Austin showed all-fields power and patience in the minors, though he struck out at a 40-percent clip once he got to the majors. He is an average defender in right field and at first base, and could win a job in a utility role with the Yankees out of spring training.
In a system with Didi Gregorius in the major leagues and new acquisition Gleyber Torres atop the depth chart, something had to give with the Yankees' glut of shortstops in the minors. With that in mind, Wade spent the Arizona Fall League beginning his conversion to the outfield. Wade returned to Double-A in 2016 and continued showing his ability to do a little bit of everything. He sprayed the ball to all fields nearly equally and his splits against righties and lefties were nearly identical. He is an above-average runner as well, and his 66 walks were the second-most in the system behind only Hoy Jun Park. Wade still has the skills to play shortstop or second base if necessary and scouts praised his range at shortstop, arm strength and willingness to hang in on double-play turns. He also gets high marks for his makeup and workman-like effort. Wade won't wow anybody with his tools but the sum of his parts makes him an attractive candidate as a utilityman in the major leagues. That is especially true if he shows a smooth conversion to the outfield. He is likely to start 2017 in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Martinez was a two-way player at Culver City (Calif.) HS just outside Los Angeles throughout his career, but scouts preferred him as a pitcher. The Yankees agreed with that assessment, drafted him in the third round and gave him a $1.15 million signing bonus to sway him from a San Diego State commitment. His fastball was measured with the highest spin rate the World Wood Bat Association event in Jupiter, Fla., that typically closes the showcase season. The pitch typically sits in the 87-93 mph range but reached 95 mph the summer before he was drafted. His primary offspeed pitch is a curveball in the upper-70s that flashes plus. He can land the pitch for strikes and use it to get chases as well. He has a changeup but, like most dominant high school pitchers, didn't need it to get outs against prep competition. He will continue developing the pitch as a professional to fulfill his starter's potential. Further, the Yankees want to add strength to Martinez's frame to help him handle a starter's workload as he develops. They'll be patient, but they believe he has massive potential as he matures. Martinez will likely spend 2017 at Rookie-level Pulaski.
After shifting between second base and the outfield in the Cape Cod League between his sophomore and junior years, Solak settled in at second base on a stacked Louisville club for his junior season. He hit .376/.470/.564 as the Cardinals made a run to Super Regionals, and found enough helium along the way to earn a $950,000 signing bonus as a second-round pick. Solak is a contact-oriented hitter who struck out just 67 times over three years at Louisville while showing consistent gap power and home run juice to the opposite field. His range is limited at second base, but he has worked hard to improve and get himself playable at the position. He is an above-average runner who stole 36 bases in college and then added nine more in as many tries in his professional debut with short-season Staten Island. A polished hitter in the mold of current Yankee Rob Refsnyder, Solak has a chance to skip low Class A Charleston altogether and begin next season at high Class A Tampa.
Green was drafted in 2013 out of Louisville, where he was teammates with fellow righthanders Kyle Funkhouser and Nick Burdi, who are currently prospects in the Tigers and Twins systems, respectively. He signed for $100,000 then reached as high as Double-A with the Tigers before being dealt to New York along with righty Luis Cessa in exchange for lefty setup man Justin Wilson. He bounced up and down between Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and the big leagues, and made eight starts with the Yankees before being shut down with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament and a strained flexor tendon in his right elbow. He did not have surgery. At his best, Green pitched with a fastball that averaged 95 mph and an above-average hard-breaking slider in the mid-80s. He also has an above-average cutter and a rarely-thrown below-average changeup. The four-pitch arsenal gives Green a chance to start, but his fastball and slider would play well out of the bullpen as well. He'll compete for a rotation spot in spring training.
Garcia was one of the jewels of the Yankees' $30 million international spending spree, and his $3 million bonus is tied with Gary Sanchez for the fifth-highest in franchise history. As an amateur Garcia was coveted for his tremendous raw power, and the same is true two years into his pro career. His 13 home runs were second in the Appalachian League and his 32 walks were the fifth-most in the league in 2016, but his 79 strikeouts were a league-worst. Scouts are split on his future hitting ability, but the consensus is he will be no better than average unless he makes major strides with his pitch recognition and plate discipline. Garcia has put on nearly 30 pounds since signing and a move off of third base over to first is considered inevitable. He has a strong arm, but his feet are clunky and he's already nearly too big for third. He is a bottom-of-the-scale runner. The Yankees will look for more development at the plate to unlock his double-plus raw power more in games. He could wind up at low Class A Charleston to start the year.
The Yankees scooped up a pack of international prospects in 2011, including righthander Luis Severino, third baseman Miguel Andujar and Avelino from the Dominican Republic. Avelino's $300,000 bonus was second-highest of that group, behind only Andujar. Since signing, Avelino has shown steady production. He bounced back and forth between shortstop and second base at high Class A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, but that was mostly due to the presence of Jorge Mateo and Gleyber Torres at Tampa and Tyler Wade in Trenton. Evaluators believe Avelino still has the range, instincts and arm to play shortstop despite the shuffling. Offensively he is a contact-oriented player with a hint of power, but the Yankees would like to see him work the middle of the field more instead of seeking to pull the ball over the fence. He is an above-average runner, but he needs to work on his base-stealing technique to maximize his speed. He is likely to return to Double-A Trenton, where he'll defer at shortstop to top prospect Gleyber Torres.
Ramirez was initially signed by the Diamondbacks as a position player and spent a season as a hitter in the Dominican Summer League before moving to the mound in 2012. He pitched for three more seasons in the DSL and short-season levels before the Yankees took him in the minor league phase of the 2015 Rule 5 draft. After finally making it to full-season ball, Ramirez's 132 strikeouts ranked third in the Yankees system behind only Chance Adams and Jordan Montgomery. Ramirez works primarily with three pitches--fastball, curveball and changeup--from a high three-quarters slot. His fastball sat in the low-90s for most of the season but touched 96 mph during Tampa's run to the Florida State League championship series. His changeup, which sits in the low-80s, and his curveball both rank as average pitches. He effectively used both offspeed pitches to handle both righthanders and lefthanders with nearly equal success. The Yankees thought enough of Ramirez to add him to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, and he will begin 2017 in Double-A Trenton.
The Mariners drafted Littell as a 17-year old long-term project in 2013 and signed him for $100,000 to buy him out of an Appalachian State commitment. Seattle began to see the payoff three years after drafting him, but needing lefthander relief help traded him after the 2016 season to the Yankees for James Pazos. Littell's fastball sits 89-91, touching 93, and plays up because of high spin rate and advanced command. His main secondary offering is a true curveball that flashes plus, and he rounds out his three-pitch mix with an average to above-average changeup. Beyond his stuff Littell draws praise for his pre-start preparation, which includes advanced study of hitters' swings and tendencies. Littell often excelled most when pitching the final game of a series, when he had two or three days to watch an opposing team's hitters and figure out their weaknesses. His ERA has dropped every level he has climbed and his growing strength helped him hold up over 165.2 innings last season. He projects as a back-end starter and will begin 2017 in high Class A Tampa's rotation, with a strong chance to ascend to Double-A Trenton by summer.
A year after Yankees scout Lee Sigman plucked Manny Banuelos from Mexico, he signed Gallegos for $100,000 as one half of a package deal with righthander Luis Niebla, who was selected by the Rockies in the minor league portion of last year's Rule 5 Draft. After a brief cameo at Double-A Trenton in 2015, he returned to the level as the team's closer and turned into one of the system's most dominant relievers. He struck out 12.2 hitters per nine innings across 42 appearances at the system's upper levels. Gallegos' best pitch is his mid-90s fastball with excellent downhill angle and tailing action, but he had to be coaxed into throwing the pitch more often by Trenton pitching coach Jose Rosado. He couples the pitch with a low-80s curveball that flashes plus at times and a below-average changeup as his third pitch. The Yankees added Gallegos to the 40-man roster this offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, and he could make his big league debut at some point in 2017 in a relief role.
The Astros signed Guzman out of the Dominican Republic in 2014 and sent him to the Dominican Summer League to begin his first professional season. They moved him to the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League later in the season and returned him there to begin 2016. He struck out 12.2 hitters per nine innings between the GCL and the Appalachian League in 2016, and was sent to the Yankees with righthander Albert Abreu in the offseason in the deal that sent catcher Brian McCann to Houston. Guzman's calling card is his lightning arm speed and corresponding velocity, which has peaked at 103 mph and normally sits in the high-90s. He is working on a slider to complement the fastball, but the pitch is below-average. He drops his arm slot and slows his arm down when he throws the slider. Guzman also has a changeup, but it is in its developmental stages. Despite his premium velocity, Guzman's delivery isn't particularly violent. He has a three-quarter slot and can get a little bit stiff and across his body, but it's not as high-effort as most triple-digit-throwers. Guzman is likely a reliever down the line, but he could have a big-time impact if everything develops as planned. He's likely to begin the year at low Class A Charleston.
Herrera has been traded twice since originally signing with the Athletics in 2011, first to the Padres for Kyle Blanks and then from San Diego to the Yankees for Jose Pirela after the 2015 season. The Yankees assigned Herrera to Double-A, where he spent the first portion of the season as one of the Eastern League's most dominant arms. His 131 strikeouts were fourth-most in the organization. Herrera's fastball sits in the low-90s and touched 94 mph during the season. He also throws a slider and changeup that get swings-and-misses, but he fell in love with the changeup and had to be coaxed into a more equal division of his offspeed pitches when his fastball got hit. Mechanically, Herrera's delivery is mostly sound but it has a small stab in the back and he can throw a little across his body at times. He commands his arsenal well and walked just 2.4 hitters per nine innings. The Yankees added Herrera to the 40-man roster this offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. He'll move to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2017.
Holder was teammates at Mississippi State with lefthander Jacob Lindgren, whom the Yankees selected with their first choice in 2014 but has since been designated for assignment and signed by the Braves. Holder was a closer in college but was used early in his professional career as a starter. He moved back to the bullpen in 2016 and had one of the more dominant seasons in the minors, including a game in which he struck out 12 in four innings, including 11 straight. Overall, Holder went 5-1, 1.65 with 101 strikeouts against just seven walks in 65.1 minor league innings. After initially not being on the Yankees' list for September callups, the team reversed course and he made his debut Sept. 2. Unlike most relievers, Holder uses a four-pitch arsenal that includes a fastball that tops out at 94 mph and a cutter in the high-80s with sharp bite. He supplements his fastballs with a mid-70s curveball he uses to get swings and misses and a seldom-thrown changeup in the mid-80s. His repertoire has given the Yankees thoughts of returning him to the rotation, but he could battle for a spot in the big league bullpen.
The first season away from the complex leagues did not go well for Garcia, who ranked as the No. 7 international prospect in 2014 and was part of the Yankees' $30 million haul that summer. The Yankees liked Garcia's feel to hit from both sides of the plate and his advanced discipline for his age. He missed out on a full-season assignment to begin this year because of a shoulder injury from spring training, then struggled as one of the younger players in the Rookie-level Appalachian League. He hit .198/.255/.284 with Pulaski and managed 14 extra-base hits in 54 games. Scouts inside and outside of the organization still believe in Garcia's ability to be an average hitter as he matures, albeit without much power. He's a polished defender with an arm that some rate as just average while others have seen it flash above-average. He's an average runner, and scouts who saw him this year think he might have to move to second base. The Yankees could continue with an aggressive track for Garcia and assign him to low Class A Charleston, but another year in extended spring training followed by short-season Staten Island is a likely path as well.
Estrada was signed for just $49,000 in 2012 as part of a larger international class that also included shortstop Jorge Mateo and catcher Luis Torrens. Estrada has moved relatively quickly, reaching A-ball as a 20-year-old for the first time in 2016 and spending the bulk of his season at high Class A Tampa. He played mostly second and third base with Tampa in deference to shortstops Jorge Mateo and Gleyber Torres. The Yankees see Estrada as a second baseman in the long-term because he lacks the range for shortstop. He has a plus arm, however, and saw time at third base as well. He is a plus runner who can get from home to first base in 4.2 seconds, but needs to refine his base-stealing techniques. He is more of a contact hitter than a power threat, but he has improved his body as he's grown and shed fat from his teenage years. As that process continues, the Yankees believe Estrada could develop into a double-digit home run threat. He's likely to begin 2017 in Double-A Trenton with Torres, Mateo and Miguel Andujar.