7/26/2013 11:00 A.M. ET
Yankees' Top 20 Prospects list boasts new faces
By Josh Vitale / MLB.com
In 2012, the Yankees used 45 different players to get through 171 games. In 2013, the Yankees have needed 46 players just to get through 101.
The Yankees have had to bring in a lot of new players due to a constant onslaught of injuries at the Major League level, but most of them have come from outside the organization. New York is letting its farm system mature, and its re-ranked Top 20 Prospects show it.
Catcher Gary Sanchez and outfielders Mason Williams and Tyler Austin have stood pat as the top three in the organization at midseason, and each could become a major piece for the Yankees in two or three years.
Combine a strong top three with a deep group of pitchers and outfielders, as well as a strong 2013 First-Player Draft class, and the Yankees have built a strong foundation for the future.
Two of the players on the Yankees' preseason Top 20 list are now a member of the Major League 25. Pitcher Adam Warren and catcher Austin Romine began the season ranked as the Nos. 16-17 prospects in the organization, respectively, but now they're both members of the big club.
Warren has performed well for the Yankees' bullpen in a long-relief role, compiling a 1-1 record with a 3.25 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 17 appearances this season. Romine has provided solid defense in New York as the team's backup catcher, but his .165 batting average leaves much to be desired.
The next graduate will likely be outfielder Zoilo Almonte, who moved up from No. 10 to No. 6 in the midseason rankings. Almonte batted .261 with a home run and nine RBIs over 26 games with the Yankees before being placed on the disabled list with a sprained left ankle on July 20.
The Yankees' Top 20 lost a trio of right-handed pitchers at midseason, as No. 17 Brett Marshall, No. 18 Dellin Betances and No. 20 Tommy Kahnle were each replaced on the list.
Marshall has been the least effective of the three so far this season, compiling a 5-8 record and a 5.35 ERA in 19 starts with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Kahnle has fared better, with a 2.55 ERA and 11 saves for Double-A Trenton, but he was bumped off the list due to a few big risers in the organization.
Betances was once a highly-touted starting pitching prospect for the Yankees, but his struggles in the Minors led the organization to convert him to a reliever this season. The right-hander is currently 6-4 with a 3.34 ERA and 77 strikeouts for Triple-A Scranton.
The Yankees have five new faces in their Top 20, three of whom were first-round picks in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft. Notre Dame third baseman Eric Jagielo is debuting at No. 5 on the list, Madison High School left-handed pitcher Ian Clarkin is No. 9 and Fresno State outfielder Aaron Judge is No. 19.
Judge and Clarkin have yet to begin their Minor League careers, but Jagielo has already shown some promise for the Yankees. The third baseman has hit .299 with a home run and eight RBIs over 20 games at three different levels in the organization. He's currently playing for Class A Staten Island.
The other two new additions to the list are pitcher Rafael DePaula and catcher JR Murphy. DePaula rose all the way up to No. 4 in the Yankees' system after posting a 3.84 ERA and a stellar 111 strikeouts in 82 innings over 16 starts in Class A, and No. 12 Murphy is putting together a strong season with a .277 batting average, nine home runs and 38 RBIs between Double-A and Triple-A.
yankees' top prospects
DePaula, Jagielo, Clarkin, Murphy and Judge are all the biggest risers in the Yankees' system, but their rise has led a few other prospects to drop in the rankings.
Ten of the Yankees' Top 20 prospects dropped at least two spots at midseason. Outfielder Ramon Flores dropped five spots to No. 16, and third baseman Dante Bichette Jr. tumbled out of the Top 10, as he dropped seven spots.
The biggest drop came from second baseman Angelo Gumbs, who fell 13 spots from No. 7 to No. 20. Gumbs has struggled in Class A this year, batting just .236 with four home runs and 33 RBIs in 65 games.
Top 100 representation
Sanchez, Williams and Austin are still the Yankees' only three Top 100 prospects, but each one of the three either moved up or held their ground in the midseason rankings.
Sanchez -- the second-highest-rated catching prospect in the game -- moved up five spots to No. 31. Williams stood pat at No. 41, and Austin jumped two spots to No. 73.
The Yankees' three Top 100 prospects tie them for No. 13 in the league. Sanchez looks to be the team's future behind the plate, and Williams and Austin could be options in the Yankee Stadium outfield as soon as next season.
Overall, the Yankees rank 15th in terms of "prospect points" -- points awarded to a club based on its representatives on the Top 100 list, with 100 points going to the team with the No. 1 prospect, 99 to the team with No. 2 and on down. Many of the Yankees' elite prospects are still a few years away from being Major League ready, but each of them could be donning pinstripes before long.
Josh Vitale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.