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MLB New York Yankees

New York Yankees Top 10 Prospects why they can’t stop spending now

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Top 10 New York Yankees Prospects

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Rick Osentoski - USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are changing their way; with that change the teams’ scouts and coaches at the minor league levels will have to get the young guys ready to play. This is a tough assignment for a team that has for so long went out and bought the thoroughbreds, and traded their best minor leaguers to get to a championship. Now the Yankees are tired of paying the luxury tax and in 2014, they have said they want payroll under $189 million. With that, the Yankees have a long, tough road ahead because they have not conducted business like this before. It is not impossible but it will take time, time for the young to be major league ready and patience from a fan base that has the mentality that nothing less than a championship is a good year. General Manager Brian Cashman and his staff have their work cut out for them, but the team cupboard isn’t completely bare. Here are the Top 10 Prospects for the Yankees:

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10 - Adam Warren, RHP

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Brad Penner - USA TODAY Sports

Adam Warren, RHP - At 25 years old, Warren moved up through the Yankees system fast and is getting to the point where he either gets better and makes the big team in the Bronx, or he becomes a lifer in the minors. He did make some big strides the last two seasons in the Yankees’ system, pitching all year in Triple-A in 2011. He repeated the level in 2012, making his Major League debut in late June. Warren’s stuff has improved as a pro, but he’s never going to wow scouts. Warren was a call up in September and is an innings eater, which is good for a team that never knows what they are going to get from their starters on any given night. He has very good command and control of his pitches and doesn’t walk many. Right now he is on the fence and the next two seasons will decide if he will be a New York Yankee or just part of the Yankees organization.

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9 - Nik Turley, LHP

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The Star-Ledger - USA TODAY Sports

Nik Turley, LHP - The Yankees need their young lefties to excel and be ready to come up to the big club within the next two seasons. The pitching staff after 2012 will have many openings, and on a team that lacks lefties to begin with, Turley has a great opportunity if he gets over the injury bug and continues to mature. After suffering a broken bone in his pitching hand in the second half of 2011, Turley became one of the most effective pitchers in the Yankees’ system in 2012. The big lefty will touch the low 90s with his fastball and complements it with a very good curve. Turley also has a nice changeup that is a good third pitch. He has good control and doesn’t hurt himself with walks; he also has a nice drop to his pitches, and has a nice ground ball to fly ball ratio. Turley's another player right on the fence as to what kind of player he will be. With some work though, he has a very good chance at pitching in the big leagues.

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8 - Dante Bichette, Jr., 3B

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Brad Penner - USA TODAY Sports

Dante Bichette Jr., 3B - Bichette was the Yankees first selection in the 2011 Draft. He is the son of a big leaguer, he signed quickly and went out and played well. Bichette can hit the ball all over the field and for those that remember his father, it can be a bit eerie when he steps to the plate, with all their similarities, but the younger Bichette proved he is his own man in 2011 and ended up MVP of the Gulf Coast League. As the son of a player, he has an advanced approach to the game and he was better than advertised at third base. In 2012 he did fall off a little as many young players do, but the Yankees are going to need a third baseman soon and this kid has all the weapons to be a good one. Many view his poor 2012 season as him struggling with moving up in the system, but no scout would ever doubt his glove. With a little more time, which he will have unless the Yankees can get rid of Alex Rodriguez, Bichette has all the makings of a player that will be able to be part of a major league team in the next few seasons.

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7 - Ramon Flores, OF

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Rick Osentoski - USA TODAY Sports

Ramon Flores, OF - Flores is very young but he can flat out hit. He is a 20 year old left-handed hitter that has a terrific approach at the plate, with outstanding discipline. In his brief minor league career he is batting .303 with 85 runs and 29 doubles. With his left handed stroke, Yankee stadium fits him perfectly. He also boasts a little power, but he’s more of a gap hitter, evident with his nice number of doubles, and he knows how to go with a pitch to any part of the park. Flores doesn’t have great speed but he still has the ability to hit doubles and even seven triples in 2012, as well being a very good baserunner, who will steal a base when he gets the chance. He could be a nice lead off man in the future for the Yankees, but like most of the guys in the minors, he is a few years away from being ready. Being able to play all three outfield spots as well as at first base doesn’t hurt his chances of running up the ladder a little faster. Flores has great bat speed and even though he lacks that speed on the basses, he uses his quickness and hustle to give his team everything he has every day.

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6 - Manny Banuelos, LHP

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Howard Smith - USA TODAY Sports

Manny Banuelos, LHP – Banuelos has been rated in the top 100 of all prospects, and is rated in the Top 10 LHP prospects. He is another good lefty the Yankees would really like to see perform well this year; with Banuelos, he is only a step away as he pitched six games in AAA last season. Banuelos has all the stuff to be really successful at the Major League level, but he has to learn how to harness it more consistently and stay healthy. His biggest problem is staying healthy, as he will miss the entire 2013 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in October. Banuelos has three pitches that can be above average or better, with his fastball, curve and changeup. Banuelos has some gas, as he has struck out nine batters per nine innings throughout his Minor League career, and his stuff keeps improving. He needs to work on his command when he gets back, and Tommy John surgery isn’t what it once was, a death sentence to pitchers, so he still has a very good chance if he can find his command.

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5 - Zoilo Almonte, OF

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Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports

Zoilo Almonte, OF - Almonte is a young player with a huge upside, he played in 2012 with the Yankees Double-A team, the Trenton Thunder, and put up impressive numbers. Even though this was the young Dominican outfielders first time reaching Double-A, he upped his numbers in every offensive category in 2012, batting .277 with 64 runs, 21 homeruns and 78 RBI’s, even with him missing over a month during the 2012 season. Almonte has some work to do, as do every Yankee minor leaguer, but he has a lot of natural ability and raw power and speed, enough for him to be a double-digit contributor in homers and steals. He’s played all three outfield positions and might be a fourth outfielder for the Yankees this season if they don’t find a good free-agent. Either way, if his power continues to come, he could settle into a corner spot nicely.

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4 - Ty Hensley, RHP

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The Star-Ledger - USA TODAY Sports

Ty Hensley, RHP - This may be a little high of a rank for this young 20 year old, but he has shown everything so far to deserve such a high ranking. Not only has he shown a lot, but until the Yankees do totally figure out how to build from within, they will need guys like Hensley to mature faster than most kids his age. Hensley was the Yankees first pick in the 2012 draft, straight from the fields of the Oklahoma high school ranks. If the Yankees are going to be a strong core in the minors, this young pitcher will be in the middle; he is strong and durable, and a fastball that is above-average. He hits the radar gun in the mid 90’s when he needs to reach back for a little extra. He has a natural hard curve that has great rotation at times, but he is young, he is raw, but with the right coaching, this kid will be a force in the majors. Hensley was the first pick with their new mindset and they expect him to come through and be a part of the young barrage of the future. In high school, Hensely didn’t need much more than his fast ball and curve, though he does have a changeup, but it should be a usable third pitch. He’s aggressive on the mound and was around the strike zone, with his command sure to improve as he refines his mechanics. He was 1-2 in the GCL for the Yankees pitching only 12 innings but had eight strikeouts, which is a good sign of things to come for this young star.

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3 - Mason Williams, OF

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Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports

Mason Williams, OF – Williams is one of the top prospects in all of baseball; he is a talented outfielder signed out of high school in 2010. Williams didn’t waste any time showing the Yankees they found a guy who should have been picked much higher than in the fourth round during his first extended play in pro ball in 2011. Williams continued to impress the Yankees in the South Atlantic League in 2012, showing off some of his power which got him promoted to Class A Advanced Tampa in early July. As with many Yankee prospects, he comes with some baggage, as he was hurt soon after being promoted to Tampa. Williams tore his labrum and ended his season in early August when the injury required surgery. Williams is a lefty who if he can work through this injury and continue to progress, can take advantage of Yankee stadium. Williams proved he can hit for average and has pop to his bat. With a little more time and age, that power should increase. Williams’ maturity at the plate has impressed the Yankees the most, and how well he has taken everything in and they believe strongly in his ability on the field as well. Williams has speed and like all these young Yankee pups, he will only get better on the basepaths as he gains more experience. He has everything, the speed, the power, and the defensive skills to be a strong centerfielder as long and the Yankees feel he will come back from his injury and be stronger than ever.

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2 - Tyler Austin, OF

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Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Austin, OF - Austin’s a young outfielder, one the Yankees are banking will be ready by the 2014 season, even though he is only 21 years old, he has all the tools to be a very good player for the Yankees. He reminds many of another former young outfielder in the Yankees organization; Austin Jackson. The only Austin the Yankees care about now had a wonderful year in 2011, hitting for a combined .354 average, which was better than any hitter in the Yankees’ minor league system, and he crushed the New-York Penn League in the playoffs, by hitting .429, leading his Class A Staten Island short-season team to a championship. Austin has continued to hit the ball well, in 2012 he put together a .320/.405/.598 in the South Atlantic League, earning a promotion to Class A Advanced Tampa in July. After splitting time at first and third in his first two seasons in the organization, Austin played almost all of his games in 2012 in right field. Austin can play multiple positions with the Yankees and has a huge upside and could easily be the top player in the minors if he keeps his rapid growth up. He may not be in New York in 2013 but he will be in 2014, and he will play a major role on the team no matter where they decide to use him.

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1 - Gary Sanchez, C

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Howard Smith - USA TODAY Sports

Gary Sanchez, C – The Yankees were once a team full of young talented catchers but now the big club hasn’t even decided on a starter yet, so Sanchez may go from top Yankee prospect to a shot at making the roster in 2013, although that is very unlikely. It is almost impossible to rate such a weak farm system, but Sanchez is at the top because he has the most upside of any other player in the Yankees farm system. Sanchez, like former Yankee catching prospect, Jesus Montero, is an offensive-minded backstop, but he's still on the bottom rungs of the Yanks' system. Sanchez does have some defensive ability, but will most likely move to a different position, like Montero, when he gets to the majors. He does however have an above average arm and has shown a glimpse of other skills. In 2011, though, his glove work overall took a step backward. Sanchez's bat helped him advance in 2012, earning a promotion to Class A Advanced Tampa in early July, after putting up a .297/.353/.517 slash line in the South Atlantic League. The best part about Sanchez is he is young and so very talented with the bat. He is only 19 years old and for all of 2012, with only his raw abilities, he hit way above-average and showed off his power and the potential to be an excellent all-around hitter. Even though he has time to learn and time to mature, the Yankees may need him before he is completely ready or they could do the best thing for both he and the team and trade Sanchez to a team that can give him time to mature into the great player he is going to be.

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