Beyond The Top 50 Prospects

Rookie Davis will be back in the Top 50 soon

We had over 80 players considered for our Top 50 Yankee Prospects rankings. For those who barely missed the "Top 50", they have not been forgotten. As we take a look at the near misses we'll analyze how close they came, where they might rank next season and why they missed the list altogether. Now, let's look "Beyond the Top 50."

RHP, Zachary Arneson: Last year's ninth round pick missed most of the 2012 season battling some nerve issue in his neck and some shoulder inflammation as well. When healthy he has a great power fastball that sits mostly 93-94 mph and tops out at 97 mph, and his slider shows plus potential at times. He wasn't able to develop his breaking ball this year, however, and he'll need it to crack what has become a very, very deep farm system.

RHP, Manny Barreda: On pure stuff alone Barreda is a definite Top 50 type talent, possessing three plus pitches on any given day, including a fastball that can top out at 97 mph and a wicked changeup. The slider can be inconsistent though and his command can be spotty for long stretches. He has pure strikeout stuff across the board but he needs to cut his walk rate down from its present five walks per nine innings to make better use of his terrific stuff. He can be electric, he just needs to stop giving up the free pass.

LHP, Jeremy Bleich: The former supplemental first round pick finally worked his way back from shoulder surgery with a solid 2012 campaign, going a combined 2.76 ERA over three minor league levels. More importantly, however, was the stuff came back relatively quickly. He was sitting mostly 90-92 mph and the curveball was once again a swing-and-miss pitch. It remains to be seen if he'll stick in the starting rotation going forward or be a full-time reliever, but it's certainly good news that he appears to be back stuff-wise and command-wise after essentially a two-year layoff.

C/OF, Chris Breen: Here's a prime example of just how deep the Yankee farm system has become. A sure-fire Top 50 prospect type in years passed with his above average to plus power potential, he was oh-so close to making the Top 50 but there are some questions as to his long-term position and while the hitting ability seems advanced, the approach could use some work too. He's a big-time 'sleeper' for now and don't be surprised if he finds permanent residence in the Top 50 in the coming years.

RHP, Danny Burawa: The former St. John's flame-thrower had a fantastic 2011 season that saw him throw a ton more strikes and develop his slider into an above average and sometimes even plus offering at times. He tore his oblique in Spring Training, however, and then had an undiagnosed rib injury following that and the combination kept him out of the entire 2012 season. He has significant upside though, thanks in large part to his plus fastball. He just has to prove his 180 degree turnaround command-wise in 2011 wasn't a fluke. He could be a fast mover though if he's able to do that next season.

DH/1B, Saxon Butler: This year's 33rd round pick has to be taken seriously because he has big-time power as evidenced by his remarkable 32 extra-base hits in just 61 games played between short-season Staten Island and low-A Charleston. It remains to be seen what kind of hitter for average he'll be at the higher levels given his propensity to swing and miss and his defense at first base is rather shaky, but the power is legit.

OF, Yeicok Calderon: The Dominican native has always been known for his plus power potential and he sure displayed that in the Gulf Coast League in 2012, leading the GCL Yankees with eight home runs. His 52 strikeouts also led the team, however, and his swing and miss approach doesn't mesh well with his rather sub-par defensive abilities in the outfield. The power will always make him intriguing but there's a lot of work to do in the other areas of his game.

RHP, Preston Claiborne: The former 17th round pick doesn't have sexy stuff but he does have three above average pitches on any given day, including a once inconsistent slider that has developed into a reliable pitch over the years. He held opposing batters to a .220 average between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton, and while he doesn't profile as a back-end of the bullpen type at the big league level, he is a safe bet to become a quality middle reliever type.

RHP, Caleb Cotham: It was a solid first full season back from his shoulder surgery back in 2010, posting a combined 3.64 ERA between low-A Charleston and high-A Tampa. The stuff was solid too, including a 90-92 mph fastball and an average slider-changeup combination. He wasn't nearly overpowering as he was before his surgery though and it remains to be seen if the Yankees intend on keeping him in the starting role going forward. He has potential for both roles but he falls victim to a very deep group of promising pitchers in the organization right now.

RHP, Rookie Davis: Statistically it was a good year for the 19-year old when he pitched, posting a 2.65 ERA in seven games for the Gulf Coast League Yankees in his debut season. He battled a mysterious illness, however, and lost nearly 30 pounds and some arm strength along the way. He got healthier by season's end and the curveball made some good improvements too. He will be back to being a Top 50 fixture in the rankings sometime soon, but for now he is just on the outside looking in of a very deep farm system.

3B, Matt Duran: Last year's fourth round pick looked lost for a large portion of the 2012 Staten Island season but really picked it up at season's end, hitting .288 with an .821 OPS over his final 21 games. An aggressive hitter who has the ability to use all fields, he can be a little pull happy and that gets him into trouble. He could also use a bit more patience at the plate and make taking walks a higher priority, but he does have a significant ceiling if he could focus more on hitting for average and less on the power production. There's real talent here.

RHP, Shane Greene: Outside of Barreda there might not be a pitcher with better pure stuff than Greene. Armed with two great moving fastballs that will range anywhere from 90-97 mph, a knockout slider, and one of the best changeups in the farm system, like Barreda his biggest bugaboo is limiting the walks and consistently getting ahead in counts. He probably profiles best as a short-inning reliever but it has been beyond tempting to keep him in the starting role because he has three great pitches and maintains his plus velocity deep into games. If he can throw strikes more consistently, watch out, he could be a huge 'sleeper'.

LHP, Shaeffer Hall: He isn't close to over-powering but what the left-hander has is a four-pitch big league mix that he can consistently throw for strikes efficiently and pitch deep into games. There's nothing tantalizing about the stuff or the upside, but he's the type of guy all starting rotations need to give it some length and help out the bullpen. He's the type of pitcher who will go unnoticed on his way to the big leagues but could surprise some folks, especially if he were given a shot on a second tier division team.

RHP, Jairo Heredia: The Dominican native is the poster child for just how important health is during player development. He was downright filthy in 2011, boasting two plus secondary pitches and a big league above average fastball, and commanding all three pitches. He succumbed to shoulder surgery at the end of last season, however, and he is still on the mend. It remains to be seen if the stuff and command will come back to pre-surgery levels once he does return, but if he can he has the chance to be an impact starting pitching prospect once again.

RHP, Joey Maher: Last year's 38th round pick out of high school didn't have a great statistical year in his debut season with the Gulf Coast League Yankees in 2012, posting a 5.64 ERA and allowing a .308 batting average. Don't let the stats fool you, he has some significant upside. At 6-foot-5, he throws a very good sinking fastball with excellent downward plane and his curveball dramatically improved over the course of the year. A ground ball pitcher, his numbers are likely to improve as he moves up the minor league ladder and has better defensive players playing behind him.

UT, Kevin Mahoney: The former 23rd round pick has a lot going for him; he can play third base extremely well, second base very well, a solid first base, and even some outfield if need be, and he has a nice combination of some left-handed power and the ability to draw some walks. He was an Eastern League All Star for the Double-A Trenton Thunder after clubbing 29 extra-base hits in limited duty. Don't be surprised if he gets a shot at a potential bench role for the Yankees someday because he can really play defense and he can run into a few balls at the plate.

RHP, Taylor Morton: Nobody had as big a regression development-wise as Morton had in 2012. He posted a disastrous 9.13 ERA in six games for the Staten Island Yankees. Throw his season out entirely because he's vastly more talented than the numbers suggest. He was one of the best pitchers in Spring Training this year and when he's going right he sits 90-95 mph with his fastball and showcases a plus changeup and a developing slider. He's already one of the favorites for 'comeback player of the year' down on the farm in 2013 -- he's just too talented not to turn things around.

UT, Ronnier Mustelier: At 28 years old he doesn't really profile as a prospect, but the Cuban native can flat-out hit! He batted a combined .314 with 45 extra-base hits between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton, posting an .859 OPS along the way. That's the good news. The bad news is he's listed at a generous 5-foot-10 and he doesn't have a real defensive position. He can play second base, third base, and left field, but none of them particularly well. He could, however, be a productive bat off of a big league bench if given the opportunity.

1B, Reymond Nunez: The Dominican native is one of the biggest anomalies in the entire Yankee farm system. Possessing true plus power potential and able to hit some incredibly remarkable home runs, the power just hasn't translated into game production as of yet. He puts on amazing power displays in batting practice that could rival the likes of Alex Rodriguez in his prime but for some reason the ball just doesn't leave the yard in games [he hit just five home runs in 2012]. He plays a good defensive first base too and he can be a good hitter for average for long stretches, but he's just too inconsistent right now.

RHP, Mikey O'Brien: All the former ninth round pick does is put up solid season after solid season since his selection in 2008. He posted a combined 3.87 ERA between high-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton this year and allowed less hits than innings pitched for the third straight year. There's nothing too sexy about the overall stuff though and at 5-foot-11 he's a bit undersized for a starting pitcher. He has shown he can sit in the low to mid-90s though in short stints and with a quality curveball-changeup combination, he could be a viable middle reliever type should the Yankees decide to go that route.

LHP, James Pazos: This year's 13th round pick has a long way to go towards becoming a legitimate long-term relief prospect for the Yankees but the left-hander showed a quality fastball in Staten Island this season, sitting mostly in the 91-93 mph range. His secondary pitches need work, however, especially his slider, but he can throw strikes with his eyes closed and has just enough juice to keep right-handers at bay. If he can get the slider going the Yankees could have something here.

RHP, Kelvin Perez: The Dominican native has always had a plus arm and profiled as a potential power reliever even dating back to his starting days. He sits mostly in the 94-96 mph range and his curveball can be a plus pitch for long stretches. His changeup can also be a very good pitch on any given day and now he's throwing more strikes than ever. The makeup isn't great though and it has taken him a while to improve his pitch-ability, but with a 1.58 ERA between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton he could be on the short list of potential in-house bullpen candidates next season.

SS, Jose Pirela: The Venezuelan native had his best year yet in 2012, hitting a career-high .293 for Double-A Trenton and also setting career highs in home runs [8] and OSP [.804]. The former shortstop really struggled at the position and became more of a utility type this year, playing mostly second base and left field, but also played some third base. He doesn't have one outstanding tool but he can do a lot of things in solid fashion and he's carving himself out a niche as a potential bench player for the Yankees.

1B, Kyle Roller: Like Nunez, Roller can really put on some impressive power displays in batting practice but unlike Nunez he has the ability to transfer over into actual game situations. He hit a solid .266 for the Tampa Yankees and hit a career-high 18 home runs in the pitching-friendly Florida State League, not to mention he was at his best with runners on base [.330]. He might not ever be a top prospect but he could sneak up on some folks and become a solid prospect on a second tier division team.

RHP, Hayden Sharp: The towering 6-foot-6 right-hander could be the biggest 'sleeper' in this list, thanks in large part to a plus fastball that sits mostly 93-96 mph. His slider is improving too and it still has a lot of room to get better, and so could his changeup. He could be a slower developing prospect because 2012 was the first year he focused solely on baseball ever, but the ceiling is sky-high.

1B, Matt Snyder: The former Ole Miss standout was drafted in the tenth round this year and proved in short order that he has true command of the strike zone, hitting .362 over the final two months of the Staten Island season and walking more than he struck out. A serviceable defensive first baseman too, the only thing lacking in his game is plus power at a power hitting position and he's working hard to rectify that this offseason. Anybody that can hit like him though is a 'sleeper' candidate.

RHP, Graham Stoneburner: Just like Jairo Heredia, Stoneburner knows all too well the importance of staying healthy. He missed a significant portion of the 2011 season with a pinched nerve in his neck and then battled a groin injury this year that had him on the shelf for a good three months. He used to sit 92-95 mph with his fastball and showcased a great changeup and developing slider, but the lost development time due to the injuries has put him behind quite a bit. He still has a high ceiling though if he can just remain healthy for an entire year, something he hasn't done since his debut season in 2010.

C, Isaias Tejeda: It's never a good sign when your bat is your calling card as a catcher and you go out and hit just .187 like he did with the Staten Island Yankees this year. However, his average is not truly indicative of his true hitting potential. He shows good plate discipline and the power is at least average, he just needs to get accustomed to hitting under the lights. Defensively he still has a lot of work to do though. It's too early to give up on him because he has the chance to bounce back in a big way in the coming years.

RHP, Cesar Vargas: The Mexican native had a solid first season in the United States this year, posting a combined 3.13 ERA between rookie level Gulf Coast League and low-A Charleston. He's armed with three above average pitches, including a fastball that sits 90-94 mph and shows good movement. He could use a bit better command with all three pitches but he's showing at an early age that he can throw all three for strikes and that's a good sign of his long-term potential.

RHP, Philip Wetherell: Last year's 8th round pick is a true power reliever, able to sit 95-96 mph in short stints and possesses a great split-finger too. His slider, however, has remained a work in progress, so much so that he was transitioned to the starting rotation in Charleston at the end of the season this year. Forget his numbers [6-8, 5.97 ERA], he has fantastic stuff if he can learn to throw strikes more consistently overall and get the slider into becoming a reliable pitch. He has huge upside too and he gives the Yankees another potential long-term bullpen guy.

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