Where Are They Now: Yankees Top 30 Prospects (2016) – #15-11
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 #15 through #11:
Prospect #15: Miguel Andujar (3B)
2016 Scouting Grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 55 | Run: 45 | Arm: 70 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55
Where Is He Now? New York Yankees (MLB/Triple-A)
Where Was He Last? Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
After a future prospect to be on this list made an amazing stint as a rookie in 2017, the Yankees again struck gold when they promoted Miguel Andujar to the MLB in 2018. Going into the season, Andujar was a near-Top-50 prospect by MLB and BA, and they were proven correct after a season where it felt like every one of his hits was an in-the-gap double (he had 47 doubles). However, Andujar finished 2nd for the Rookie of the Year behind 2-way player Shohei Ohtani. Since then the Yankees have been patiently waiting for Andujar to play up to that level again but injuries have kept him from the field with just 78 games (though also 60 XBH) since 2019.
Andujar was the highest paid player in the Yankees 2011-2012 international free agent class, signing on for a $750K bonus out of the Dominican Republic. Up to this point, Andujar has played in the MLB with the Yankees in parts of 5 different seasons from 2017-2021 and has been a part of the organization as a whole for 11 years since signing in 2011. He was recently kept around on the 40-Man roster over players like Tyler Wade and Clint Frazier and many are speculating the Yankees will plan to trade him to an NL team as a cheap DH option for 2022.
What Was His Value? Officially, 1.3 bWAR and potential trade fodder after the lockout.
Prospect #14: Hoy Jun Park (INF)
2016 Scouting Grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 40 | Run: 60 | Arm: 60 | Field: 55 | Overall: 45
Where Is He Now? Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB/Triple-A)
Where Was He Last? New York Yankees (MLB/Triple-A/Double-A)
Hoy Jun Park fell out of prospect favor throughout the years as the New York Yankees started to acquire more and more middle-infield talent and the years since his signing continued to advance. In 2021, however, Park shot out of nowhere to put up his best season while hitting to an OPS above 1.000 while in his first Triple-A stint. His emergence as a great hitter (.327 BA and 10 HR’s in 48 games) had Yankees fans clawing at the bit to see him brought up when the Yankees needed help- especially from the left side. And, soon enough the wish was granted as Park made his MLB debut on July 16th against the Boston Red Sox. Ultimately, he had one at-bat (a fielders choice ground out) and that was it for his Yankee career.
Park who was signed for a $1M bonus out of South Korea was one of 4 international prospects to get $750K+ from the Yankees during the 2014-2015 international signing period. After 8 years in the Yankees organization he was traded- with prospect Diego Castillo)- to the Pittsburgh Pirates for LHP Clay Holmes. Park would finish the 2021 season with 44 games in the MLB for the Pirates while also splitting time in Triple-A.
What Was His Value? Officially, 0.0 bWAR and trade fodder (with Diego Castillo) for Clay Holmes.
Prospect #13: Ben Gamel (OF)
2016 Scouting Grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 45 | Run: 55 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45
Where Is He Now? Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB)
Where Was He Last? Cleveland Indians (MLB)
The Yankees used to have an extremely promising young crop of left-handed hitting outfield prospects including Williams, Heathcott, and now Gamel (with one more still to come). Gamel’s stock was starting to rise around 2015 after a break-out minor league year that finished with an International League All-Star, the next year he would go on to win the International League MVP. If you’re an MVP at the Triple-A level, it only makes sense for the MLB club to bring you up, so that’s exactly what the Yankees did for May 6th, 2016 when Gamel made his MLB debut as a defensive replacement. He would collect his first MLB (and only as a Yankee) 3 days later.
Gamel was the 10th round selection for the New York Yankees in the 2010 MLB Draft out of Bishop Kenny High School in Jacksonville, FL. At this time his brother was playing with the Milwaukee Brewers as part of his short 5 year career. Gamel spent 7 years in the Yankees organization before he was traded to the Seattle Mariners at the August trade deadline in 2016. He was a solid enough player in Seattle for 3 years though he has bounced around the Milwaukee Brewers, Cleveland Indians, and Pittsburgh Pirates in the last 3 seasons. Ultimately, the two prospects he was traded for are out of the Yankees organization (Jose DePaula) or trying to survive in Low-A ball (Jio Orozco).
What Was His Value? Officially, 0.0 bWAR and trade fodder for two no-name prospects
Prospect #12: Luis Torrens (C)
2016 Scouting Grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 35 | Arm: 60 | Field: 55 | Overall: 50
Where Is He Now? Seattle Mariners (MLB/Triple-A)
Where Was He Last? San Diego Padres (MLB/Triple-A)
The Yankees used to be a major player on the international amateur market going all-out in certain years to acquire as much talent as possible. Given the “hit” rate on prospects, it doesn’t seem like the worst idea. Luis Torrens was originally signed as a shortstop given a lack of speed and projectability in the infield. This proved to be a right move for Torrens, who quickly took to the position and was starting to excel as a catcher for the Yankees. However, injuries did play a role in hurting his development between 2014 and 2015 around shoulder problems and labrum surgery.
Torrens came to the New York Yankees, signing for $1.3M out of Venezeula as part of the 2012-2013 international free agent class. He spent 5 years in the Yankees organization before- as a player who only just reached Class-A ball- was not protected and then selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 2017 Rule 5 Draft. Soon afterwards he was traded to the San Diego Padres and was kept on the MLB roster for all of 2017 so that San Diego would retain his rights going forward. He was then used mostly in the minors between 2018 and 2019 before being traded to the Seattle Mariners, where he has been since the delayed 2020 August Trade Deadline.
What Was His Value? -$1.3M signing bonus
Prospect #11: Jacob Lindgren (LHP)
2016 Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 65 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45
Where Is He Now? Likely out of professional baseball
Where Was He Last? Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox: Triple-A, 2021)
I remember being so high on Lindgren while he was a prospect. He was (like all the left-handed hitting outfielders on this list) a seemingly perfect fit for the New York Yankees as a left-handed budding closer. However, injuries and surgeries kept Lindgren from the baseball field frequently and for long periods of time. Heck, he didn’t even have 50 innings pitched in the minors (over 2 years) before the Yankees called him up in 2015. Lindgren made his MLB debut on May 25th, 2015 with a solid enough 2 IP, 0 R, 2 K, 2 BB performance against the Kansas City Royals.
Lindgren was the New York Yankees 2nd round pick in the 2014 MLB Draft coming out of Mississippi State University. He would spend 4 years in the Yankees organization before he elected free agency after the 2016 season and signed within the Atlanta Braves organization. Ultimatley, Lindgren wouldn’t play in any professional games across 2017 or 2018. For 2019, he signed with the Chicago White Sox organization and had played in both 2019 and 2021 but was released halfway through the 2021 minor league season.
What Was His Value? Officially, 0.0 bWAR.
What’ve We Learned So Far? (Part III)
We’re now in the list of prospects who should have been solid picks to make something out of their MLB careers. Of these 5 former prospects, 4 have made the MLB, though for the New York Yankees they have combined for 246 total games with 232 of them coming from Miguel Andujar. Combine that with an overall bWAR of +1.3 (again, all from Andujar) and we find ourselves again looking at a pretty disappointing list. Outlook: Replacement level play, at best
Collectively, in order to sign the 5 players above the New York Yankees spent $4,568,700 to get players from the draft or as international free agents ($1.3M for Torrens, $1.018,700 for Lindgren, $1M for Park, $750K for Andujar, and $500K for Gamel). If each bWAR costs $8M on the open market, then this looks to be a group that paid for itself with some wiggle room…however, this doesn’t consider MLB contracts. Outlook: Meh
The Yankees have gotten back a few players from trades with the prospects in this list, most notably being Clay Holmes (for Park+), who did a fantastic job down the stretch for the Yankees in 2021. However, the prospects acquired back for Ben Gamel haven’t turned into anything themselves. (Though, Juan De Paula was a piece in getting Andrew McCutchen who was good for the Yankees in 2018.) Outlook: Better than nothing!
We’re entering into a crop of prospects who should be making MLB appearances, as have these 5 players today. Combined from prospects 30-11, these 20 players have played 511 games in pinstripes/road grays. Together they’ve combined for +7.2 bWAR. Together they’ve cost the Yankees $15,246,700 in signing bonuses (not counting MLB or MiLB salaries).