The 2014 edition of the Yankees Organizational All-Stars had a young righthand pitcher whose rise through the system created so much anticipation. Luis Severino had cracked the Yankees’ Top 10 prospect rankings and was listed as my #2 UTR-OAS. Here’s is what I wrote about Severino:
This outstanding young arm should already be on your radar with his fast progression through 3 levels and an appearance in the Futures Game in 2014. Some touters have reservations whether Severino will project as a starter, but scoring a .076 TPS over three levels in 24 starts convinces me otherwise. With his hard throwing and easy mechanics, there is no doubt that we could see him as the next dominant pitcher in the Bronx.
Entering the 2015 season, Baseball America named Serverino as the Yankees Top Prospect and he made the Bronx later that season. He started the 2016 season in the Yankees rotation and suffered a sophomore slump. Expectations are always high in New York and fans were hoping for Severino to be an instant ace. Only turning 23 in February, that time will come very soon, patience. My system had Caleb Smith ranked above Severino in 2014, but command issues have regaled him into a relief role, with an occasional spot start with Double-A Trenton.
The UTR-OAS’s for Yankees in 2015 had a host of solid pitchers making the list. That list consisted of all true UTR’s with Rookie Davis, Chaz Hebert both have advanced to Triple-A, and Jonathan Holder made his way to Yankee Stadium. Jordan Foley flirted with being tagged as a “Legit UTR”, but struggled with command/control in HiA Tampa. The “Legit UTR” of the bunch was Justin Kamplain, who ranked #2 TPS UTR-OAS in 2014, was selected as my 2015 “One to Watch and had a solid year. This past season Kamplain was utilized exclusively as a reliever and shined with a 4.88 K/BB ratio in 22 appearances over three levels. Besides Kamplain, the 2015 ranking had two other arms that were “Ones to Watch”. 2014 OTW Dietrich Enns (19th Rd-2012) was still hanging around as the #5 TPS then and could break Spring Training on the 25-man roster. #1 TPS in 2015 was Gilmael Troya (.067) who was named this past season’s OTW. Troya’s TPS (.119) elevated this season during his time with the GCL Yankees. Troya shows level peripherals since his pro debut, so he will be continued to be watched. Some names that didn’t make the list below, but could make some noise in 2017 are: Daniel Alvarez, Domingo Acevedo, and Adonis Rosa.
Five pitchers saw mid-season promotions from the Dominican Summer League. 2016 International Watch Orby Tavares would have been number six, but his season didn’t go well enough to be included on my spreadsheets. Tavares started the season in the DSL, was sent to the Gulf Coast League for month, then shipped back. Some of those looking for that promotion in 2017 are: Deivi Garcia, Luis Rijo, and Pedro Barrios.
Top 5 Starting Pitchers – (Factor Score) / TPS
1. LHP Josh Rogers– 27/.105
22 years old (LoA Charleston / HiA Tampa)
11th round – 2015
Rogers is a durable pitcher and a projected innings eater who threw 136.1 innings in his first full season taste after only logging 5 appearances in 2015. He’s a work in-progress and the coaching staff is working on boosting his velocity and bettering his below-average changeup.
Selected by Yankees in Rule 5 Draft – December 2015
The Yankees are likely to have mined a gem in Ramirez who was steady over two levels in 2016. In his first outing after being promoted to HiA Tampa, Ramirez threw a career-high 11 strikeouts. The right-hander spent 4 seasons with Arizona and only reached the Pioneer League level. His first full season could be described as a breakout year in throwing 124.1 innings, striking out 124 with only 32 walks.
Morris was a rotation-mate with Ramirez but spent the whole season at LoA Charleston. He had a very solid year going 8-5 with a 2.99 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. He displayed good control with 7.4/K9 and 1.8 BB/9 rates.
Vargas was released by the Texas Rangers halfway through the 2012 season and the Yankees signed him the following January 2013. While with the DSL Rangers, the right-hander only pitched 4.2 innings before getting his walking papers. The Yankees brought him state-side in 2015 and gave him a taste of LoA ball with 2 starts. He showed enough promise to begin the 2016 season with LoA Charleston and had himself a workhorse-type season, pitching 131.1 innings, going 10-8 and a 2.95 ERA.
Of course, Clarkin returns as a UTR-OAS after missing the 2015 season with an injury. More impressive is that he scored well enough to be ranked, even though he was shutdown in July after 98.0 innings. The top prospect has a lot of time to get back on the development track, as he turns just 22-years-old just as Spring Training gets underway.
Top 3 Relief Pitcher – (Factor Score) / TPS
1. RHP Andrew Schwaab – 1o/.108
23 years old (LoA Charleston / HiA Tampa)
Undrafted – 2015
Yankees plucked Schwaab after the 2015 draft and may have found a developing closer of the future. Schwaab led the Yankees system with 21 saves in 43 appearances over two levels, but most were with LoA Charleston. He also posted very respectable 10. 2 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 rates over 53.2 innings.
24 years old (LoA Charleston / HiA Tampa/ Double-A Trenton)
Undrafted – 2014
Keep a close eye on Hissing who has enough big league-type stuff to move up the ladder in 2017. He breezed through three levels in 2016, making 35 appearances and tacked on a 1.88 ERA, 84 strikeouts and only 12 walks in 72 innings.
21 years old (Short-Season Staten Island/ LoA Charleston)
12th round – 2016
A really nice debut season for Widener, as he went 3-0 with 0.47 ERA in 13 appearances (with 2 starts). He may be listed here as a reliever, but Widener showed starting rotation flashes with a mid-90’s fastball and a plus-breaking ball. He could be considered for a move into a rotation once he masters the changeup.