A Minor Review of 2015: New York Yankees

Welcome to the annual series: ‘A Minor (League) Review of 2015.” This series is a great way to receive a quick recap of the ’15 minor league season for your favorite club(s), while also receiving a brief look toward the 2016 season and beyond. It can also be a handy feature for fantasy baseball players in keeper and Dynasty leagues.

A Minor Review of 2015: Yankees

The Graduate: Luis Severino, RHP: New York did not rely overly heavily on rookies in the early stages of 2015 but there have been some key freshmen performances down the stretch. With injuries to Mark Teixeira and Nathan Eovaldi, players like Greg Bird and Severino have emerged. The right-handed hurler has had a meteoric rise considering he was in Rookie Ball in 2013. In eight MLB starts, he’s averaging more than nine strikeouts per nine innings and has a 3.12 ERA. On the downside, he’s been touched up for six home runs (after allowing just seven in his four minor league seasons). Another thing to keep an eye on with Severino is his workload. After pitching a career high 113.1 innings in 2014, he’s already up above 142 in 2015 with the playoffs yet to come.

The Riser: Jorge Mateo, SS: Mateo came to the U.S. from the Dominican Summer League in 2014 with high expectations but an injury wiped out his season after just 15 games. The Yankees aggressively moved him up to full season ball in 2015 and he responded — producing encouraging numbers at the plate and stealing 82 bases in 99 tries. The 20-year-old infielder received a late-season promotion to High-A ball and should reach Double-A at some point in 2016. He has a massive ceiling as a top-of-the-order ignitor.

The Tumbler: Luis Torrens, C: New York has been a catcher-producing factory over the past 10 years — at least in terms of players with potential. Jesus Montero was a bust, although he’s shown some potential as of late as a first baseman. Gary Sanchez moved swiftly through the lower levels of the minors but hit a wall with his defence and spent parts of three seasons in Double-A. That led to much excitement when Torrens, a large-dollar signee out of the Latin America free agent market, started to show immense potential in the Rookie Ball leagues. Unfortunately, he suffered a serious injury to the labrum in his shoulder and underwent surgery, which wiped out his 2015 season. In the meantime, Sanchez began to show signs of life — and veteran backstop Brian McCann is enjoying a bounce-back campaign. Even backup J.R. Murphy has shown to be a capable big leaguer. In other words, there are a lot of options if Torrens cannot bounce back from the injury and missed development time. If he can, though, there clearly is no need to rush him.

The ’15 Draft Pick: Kyle Holder, SS: There was a lot of head-scratching going on with his selection by New York with the club’s first round pick in 2015. Holder was known for being one of the better college defenders at shortstop but his bat comes with a massive question mark (think Stephen Drew circa 2014-15 without the home runs). His pro debut wasn’t overly encouraging with a .213 batting average and .252 wOBA in 56 games but he did show the defence that made him attractive to the Yankees. Still, I’ve learned to never underestimate the Yankees and they employ some skilled talent evaluators so he bears watching in 2016.

The Lottery Ticket: Domingo Acevedo, RHP: Standing 6-7, Acevado is an imposing figure on the mound and he can also bring the heat (touching 100 mph). Pitching mostly in the New York Penn League in 2015, he struck out 53 batters in 48 innings while walking just 15. He currently doesn’t have a repertoire that screams starter so unless he can improve his breaking ball he might end up as yet another scary late-game option for New York. Already 21 — having signed at the age of 18 out of the Dominican — expect the Yankees to be aggressive with his development, especially given the promise he’s shown to date.

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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old tex
7 years ago

Aaron Judge