Where Are They Now: Yankees Top 30 Prospects (2016) – #10-6
At the end of the 2016 season the #1 prospect in the MLB was Corey Seager. Earlier this week he just got a contract for $325M over 10 years. This got me thinking: Where are the Yankees Top-30 prospects from that 2016 season?
Today we look at 2016 prospects #10 through #6. Surely some of these guys have been successful. Right?
Prospect #10: Ian Clarkin (LHP)
2016 Scouting Grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 50 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50
Where Is He Now? Colorado Rockies (Triple-A/Double-A)
Where Was He Last? Chicago Cubs (Double-A, 2019)
The New York Yankees had three first round (regular and compensation) selections in the 2013 MLB Draft. By the time the 2016 prospect list came around, one was traded away (Eric Jagielo), one had just cracked into the MLB (Aaron Judge), and the other was a promising left-handed future starter (Ian Clarkin). However, promise does not mean production as Clarkin managed to pitch only 80 innings around injuries in his first 3 professional seasons, sticking around Class-A+ ball for most of it. At the 2017 trade deadline, Clarkin was traded to the Chicago White Sox as part of a prospect package for Tommy Kahnle, David Robertson, and Todd Frazier.
Clarkin was a first round pick by the New York Yankees in the 2013 MLB draft out of Madison High School in San Diego, CA. After spending 5 years in the Yankees organization, Clarkin spent parts of 2 years with the Chicago White Sox before he was released midway through 2019. He then signed with the Chicago Cubs (was released again), signed with the San Diego Padres (but never played in the organization) and after that the Colorado Rockies- where he was finally brought up to Triple-A for the first time in his career in 2021.
What Was His Value? -$1.65M signing bonus and a prospect in the Kahnle/Robertson/Frazier trade
Prospect #9: Rob Refsnyder (2B)
2016 Scouting Grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 40 | Run: 50 | Arm: 50 | Field: 40 | Overall: 50
Where Is He Now? Boston Red Sox (Minor-League Contract)
Where Was He Last? Minnesota Twins (MLB/Triple-A, 2021)
When I think of Rob Refsnyder I think of Clint Frazier. It sounds like a remarkably interesting two players to put together, but they were both incredibly mishandled by the Yankees when they were first on the edge of the MLB. For Refsnyder, he quickly shot up the minor leagues making it to Triple-A just 2 years after being drafted with a dominant 2014 minor league season. For 2015, when Refsnyder was having a great follow-up campaign he Yankees instead opted to use Stephen Drew (who had a -1.0 bWAR in 2014 and a 0.3 bWAR in 2015) as the primary second baseman. Refsnyder was hitting .290/.387/.413 (.800 OPS) in Triple-A at the time of his MLB debut on July 11th, 2015 against the Boston Red Sox. The next day Refsnyder got his first MLB hit and his first MLB Home Run. He stayed on the roster for 4 total games and then went back to Triple-A. At that same point in the season, Stephen Drew was hitting .182/.257/.372 (.630 OPS).
Rob Refsnyder was the New York Yankees 4th round pick in the 2012 MLB Draft out of the University of Arizona. He spent 8 years in the Yankees organization and played in the MLB for them in three seasons (2015-2017) before being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays at the 2017 trade deadline. Before 2018 he was selected by the Cleveland Indians and then purchased by the Tampa Bay Rays who he played for in 2018. He then became a Arizona Diamondback, a Cincinnati Red, and a Texas Ranger in 2019 though didn’t make the MLB until 2020 again as a Ranger. In 2021, he became a Minnesota Twin at the MLB level, though he got hurt in June which cost most of his best season since his 2015 stint. After the season, he became a free agent and recently signed on with the Boston Red Sox on a minor league deal before the MLB owners lockout this year.
What Was His Value? Officially, -0.2 bWAR and trade fodder for Ryan McBroom
Prospect #8: Tyler Wade (SS)
2016 Scouting Grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 30 | Run: 60 | Arm: 55 | Field: 60 | Overall: 50
Where Is He Now? Los Angeles Angels (MLB)
Where Was He Last? New York Yankees (MLB)
I wrote about Tyler Wade two weeks ago and most of us know about what he did with the team. If you want to read more about him, check that out here.
What Was His Value? Officially, +0.3 bWAR and trade fodder for a PTBNL
Prospect #7: Domingo Acevedo (RHP)
2016 Scouting Grades: Fastball: 80 | Slider: 40 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50
Where Is He Now? Oakland Athletics (MLB/Triple-A)
Where Was He Last? New York Yankees (Triple-A/Double-A, 2019)
The Yankees, especially during the late-2010’s, were experts at getting pitchers in their system to develop extra speed on their pitches. Acevedo was one of those players. With an 80-grade fastball that sat 96 MPH+ and was topping out at 103 MPH, Acevedo had one of the highest ceilings of the pitchers that the Yankees were developing. It was also thought that if he couldn’t make it as a starting pitcher that his fastball would carry him through to be a dominant reliever. Ultimately, that fate wasn’t going to be seen with the Yankees. Acevedo spent the 2020 season at the alternate site but never got a call-up to the MLB.
Acevedo was signed by the New York Yankees during the 2012-2013 international free agent class as an older prospect at 18-year-old out of the Dominican Republic. He spent 10 years in the Yankees organization- including pitching at the 2017 Futures Game- and elected free agency after the 2020 season. For 2021, Acevedo signed on with the Oakland Athletics where he spent the majority of the season in Triple-A but did finally break into the MLB and accumulate 10 games while finishing 7. Still just 27, Acevedo is likely going to be used as a back-end guy for the Athletics going forward.
What Was His Value? -$7,500 signing bonus
Prospect #6: Dustin Fowler (OF)
2016 Scouting Grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 60 | Arm: 55 | Field: 60 | Overall: 50
Where Is He Now? Minor League Free Agent (Elected November 7th, 2021)
Where Was He Last? Miami Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB/Triple-A)
Dustin Fowler may have one of the most saddening baseball moments in recent history. He was a late round draft pick who exploded in the minors in 2014 and he continued to keep the pace going through quick advancements up the classes. Come 2017, Fowler was again hitting near a .300 average while putting up power numbers for the first time in his career. The Yankees noticed they had a center fielder budding in Triple-A and brought him up for a game against the Chicago White Sox on June 29th, 2017…as a right fielder. This likely caused Fowler to be taken out of the game after just 2 batters as he trailed for a foul ball, ultimately running into an uncovered metal plate and rupturing his right patella. That was the end of his season and ultimately Yankee career.
Dustin Fowler was the 18th round selection for the New York Yankees in the 2013 MLB Draft out of West Laurens High School in Dexter, GA. He spent 5 years in the Yankees organization and two months after his injury Fowler was included in a prospect package to the Oakland Athletics for Sonny Gray. He made it back to the MLB for 69 games in 2018 and held around Oakland for until he was DFA’ed in 2020. The Pittsburgh Pirates picked him up for 2021 and made a short stint, but was brought back to the minors and released before being picked up by the Miami Marlins at the end of the year. He is now a minor league free agent.
What Was His Value? Officially, 0.0 bWAR and part of the prospect package for Sonny Gray
What’ve We Learned So Far? (Part V)
In a group of prospects that should have made the MLB, 4 of them have, although none have really made a major contribution at the level yet. Tyler Wade (Angels) and Domingo Acevedo (Athletics) have the best shot to do something in the MLB of these five. Combined these 5 prospects played in 359 games for the New York Yankees (thanks to Wade’s 264 games and Refsnyder’s 94 games) while producing to a +0.1 bWAR. Outlook: Easily replaceable (though, Tyler Wade was looking much better in 2020/2021)
Collectively, in order to sign the 5 players above the New York Yankees spent $2,512,800 to get players from the draft or as international free agents ($1,650,100 for Clarkin, $371,300 for Wade, $278K for Fowler, $205,900 for Refsnyder, and $7500 for Acevedo). Outlook: A couple good deals, but nothing to get excited over
The Yankees have gotten back a few players from trades with the prospects in this list. Rob Refsnyder got the Yankees Ryan McBroom…who never played for them. Tyler Wade has gotten a PTBNL (so we’ll evaluate that again in a few years). Dustin Fowler got the Yankees part of Sonny Gray, who was a very good pitcher before and after his Yankee tenure. Outlook: This was either a weak farm or some poor trades
Combined from prospects 30-6, these 25 players have played 870 games in pinstripes/road grays. Together they’ve combined for +7.3 bWAR. Together they’ve cost the Yankees $17,759,500 in signing bonuses (not counting MLB or MiLB salaries). If this was (hypothetically) an MLB team they would have had a pretty low payroll while winning about 55-56 games (assuming a team that combines for 0 WAR would win 48 games). These are the players 5 years ago we were terrified of trading away.
It really makes you think.