The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports
If you like prospects, ranking things, and a lot of lists about those things, you're probably a happy camper these days. It is the season of many, many prospect ranking lists -- the most recent being today's release of Baseball America's Top 100 prospects, which was expectedly topped by the Rangers' Jurickson Profar. On the Yankees' side, outfielder Mason Williams earned the highest ranking at #32, followed by catcher Gary Sanchez at #57, outfielder Slade Heathcott at #63, and outfielder Tyler Austin at #77.
Getting four prospects into the top 100 is a big accomplishment for a farm system that hasn't always been treated as an asset by the front office in the past. The top prospects being all position players, and predominantly outfielders, represents a bit of a change in where the top talent lies for the Yankees, who had been rolling with mostly pitchers (and Jesus Montero) near the top of their rankings when promising young arms like Manny Banuelos were clearly in front of everyone else. Should everyone pan out the way we all hope, the Yankees' reluctance to sign an outfielder to a long deal to replace Nick Swisher may seem like a stroke of genius. No one should bank on that becoming reality, of course, but it's really nice to dream of right now.
The ordering of these prospects is predictably varying from list to list, with some placing Gary Sanchez instead of Mason Williams ahead of the pack, like Minor League Ball's John Sickels does in his ranking of the Yankee farm. That sort of thing is to be expected when dealing with opinions of ceiling and tools. Regardless of where each falls, specifically, these four prospects have certainly distanced themselves from the rest of the system. Being able to claim four prospects among the best 100 in baseball is a proud accomplishment for the team and those rooting for a new homegrown product to become the next Yankee star in the near future.