Ceilings and floors for top prospects part two

Before we hop into part two of the prospect floor and ceilings, I wanted to remind everyone that this article is purely opinion and completely subjective. If you search the web for another place to read this type of article, you won’t find it. Not this complete anyway. No one likes to give prospects Major League comparisons because it’s a complete shot in the dark and they’re scared to be wrong. But in my opinion, with the season still on hiatus, it makes for a fun read. Right now the Yankees have the luxury of having a really exciting farm system with ton of talent that has unbelievable potential. The most intriguing part about the Yankees right now, are these prospects (at least until the season starts). Like I said in part one, every single one of these could be way off. Whether you disagree, totally agree, or think I’m insane, it’s all conversation starter. So feel free to voice your opinion in the comments or find my personal twitter handle or the blog’s twitter handle and let me know why I am the Nostradamus or baseball prospects or why I should stick to my day job.  Anyway, let’s keep it moving.
Aaron Judge photo via Corey Sipkin | NY Daily News

GRADING KEY
A level – Elite blue chip prospects. Greatest opportunity to not only make the major leagues, but be successful at a higher than above average level.

B level – Highly skilled prospect, but not quite elite. Great opportunity to enjoy successful major league careers as average or at least rotational players.

C level – Possess high level or even blue chip skills, but also have multiple question marks or developmental road blocks.

6) Aaron Judge – Outfield – GRADE B+
Ceiling: Dave Winfield
Floor: Adam Dunn

I’ve heard a ton of people comparing Judge to Giancarlo Stanton. The comparisons make sense in a physical sense, but I think Judge is more refined and athletic than Stanton. They both have raw power and a cannon for an arm, but I think Judge has the potential to hit for a better average and become a better defensive outfielder than Stanton. Please underline the word potential, in the previous sentence. Last year Judge struck out a ton and looked lost at times in big spots at the plate. The good news is, he’s been here before. Every time he’s been promoted, he has struggled initially, before making adjustments and succeeding on every level. We can only hope this trend continues in 2017.

7) James Kaprielian – RHP – GRADE B+
Ceiling: Jacob deGrom
Floor: Gavin Floyd
Photo Credit: Corey Sipkin | NY Daily News
So, this comparison is a bit of a difficult one. The Yankees drafted Kaprielian in the first round of the 2015 draft as a “safe pick.” Many projected him to be a solid middle of the rotation starter and he even drew comparisons to old Yankee farmhand Ian Kennedy. Then he came in and dominated for three games before getting injured for the year. Fast forward to 2016 and Kaprielian has gone from throwing low 90s, to pumping 97 on the gun consistently. He has also developed his fourth pitch change up much quicker than the Yankees expected and he is getting rave reviews from scouts all around the league. Frankly, I would rank him higher in my prospect list if it weren’t for the injury last year. We all know the name of the game with pitchers is staying healthy and developing their arsenal of pitches. Kaprielian seems to have a jump on the latter, but will need to stay healthy to continue his projection to the big leagues.

8) Chance Adams – RHP – GRADE B+
Ceiling: Johnny Cueto
Floor: Jeremy Guthrie
Photo via MiLB.com
Adams is the definition of a late bloomer. He didn’t crack the top 500-prospect list till he was a junior in college at Dallas Baptist, his first year out of JUCO. That was also his first year as a full time starter. The Yankees saw his raw talent and chose him in the fifth round of the 2015 draft. Since then he’s added five MPH to his fastball and has absolutely tore up the minor leagues. This includes a 2.07 ERA and 8-1 win/loss record last year in AA Trenton. Chance is undersized at 6’0 and 215 pounds, but he has a very compact and repeatable motion. Scouts have called all four of his pitches, “plus” pitches and even compared his style to Nolan Ryan. It will be interesting to see if he can keep his rapid ascension going in 2017. Injury issues are always a red flag with the undersized guys, but his exceptional mechanics seem to combat those a little bit. 

9) Domingo Acevedo – RHP – GRADE B
Ceiling: Carlos Carrasco
Floor: Michael Pineda
Photo via Staten Island Advance
Acevedo is a physical beast at 6’7". Baseball Reference has him listed at 190 pounds, but by all accounts, he is well over 200 pounds. His fastball has hit triple digits and he has a very smooth, powerful motion. His slider isn’t known as a “plus” pitch, but certainly can be effective at the big league level. Rounding out Acevedo’s three-pitch repertoire, is a devastating change up that compliments his hard stuff. Like most tall pitchers, Acevedo sometimes faces control issues and must improve his feel for the strike zone. His greatest challenge will be to learn how to pitch conservatively. He has a tendency to try and light up the radar gun with every fastball. This causes him to flame out rather quickly and his fastball falls in velocity as the game goes on. I think Pineda is the perfect floor, because not only are they the same size and their mechanics look exactly alike. Much like Pineda, Acevedo has awesome stuff. Let’s just hope unlike Big Mike, Acevedo can put it all together on a consistent basis.

10) Dustin Fowler – OUTFIELD - GRADE B
Ceiling: Jason Heyward
Floor: Chris Young
Photo Credit: Reinhold Matay | USA Today Sports
Fowler is turning out to be a true diamond in the rough for the Yankees. Selected in the 18th round of the 2013 draft, he has developed past the point of a platoon outfielder into a potential star. He reminds me a lot of Jason Heyward (prior to 2016). He’s not going to hit 40 home runs, but he will hit about 20. He is not going to steal 50 bases, but he could steal 35. His defense may make him a decent centerfielder, or one of the best corner outfield defenders in the game. He doesn’t necessarily do one thing great, but he does many things very well. His over aggressive approach at the plate is one area he needs to approve, although 2016 saw him put up the lowest strikeout rate of his young career.

Article by: Jesse Bartley

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