You know it's getting close to prospect season when the end-of-year top prospect lists come out. Today marked the first significant step in the beginning of that process as Baseball America unveiled its top 10 Yankee prospects for 2013.Without further ado, here it is:
1) Gary Sanchez
2) Slade Heathcott
3) Mason Williams
4) J.R. Murphy
5) Eric Jagielo
6) Aaron Judge
7) Ian Clarkin
8) Greg Bird
9) Luis Severino
10) Gosuke Katoh
My thoughts after the jump.
- I think anybody who doesn't have Sanchez #1 is foolish. And it's hard to argue with putting Heathcott, Williams, and Murphy anywhere in the top 5. You want to place them anywhere from 2-5 and I can get on board with that.
- A top 10 without Tyler Austin, on the other hand, is just ridiculous. I know he had a down year in 2013, but he did it mostly with a wrist injury and he still managed a .333 wOBA and an 11.2% BB rate in Double-A. Plus he talked some pregame shit and then backed it up before Game 1 of the Double-A championship series. You're telling me that guy is a lower prospect than Aaron Judge right now? I don't buy it.
- The grouping of Jagielo, Clarkin, and Judge is understandable given their high ceilings and close draft proximity, but personally I think they all deserve to be a little lower. I can't call Ian Clarkin a better prospect than ManBan after just a handful of innings. And I want to see how Judge's big body and long swing translate to a full season league before I get on board with the tools.
- Greg Bird at 8 is a surprise. It seems like the general consensus is that his power is a question mark going forward. I'm still trying to figure out where I would rank him, but I'll say this. If he puts up another year like he had next season, ideally split between High-A and Double-A, he vaults into the top 5 no questions asked.
- I'm also struggling with how high or low to rank Severino and Katoh, and while I would never consider putting them in the top 10 until they show they can do it consistently in a full season league, I can't argue with the decision to do it here. They're both young, they both expanded their ceilings with very good seasons in 2013, and they both already possess some above-average skills in important areas.
- This is as good a time as any to start plugging the return of the AB4AR Top 30, so consider this the first plug. Sometime about a month from now, not sure when yet, the second annual AB4AR Prospect Week will commence and the highlight will be the weekly unveiling of the 3rd annual AB4AR Top 30 Prospects list. I've been working on it for a few months now and I'm trying to put the finishing touches on it. Be on the lookout for the announcement in the weeks to come, and in the mean time here's the last 2 lists (2012, 2013) to review if you need a refresher on my awesome prospect evaluation skills.