Once upon a time (not too long ago) the New York Yankees were known for emptying their pockets to obtain any player they desired. The front office has always viewed the luxury tax as more of a recommendation, having exceeded it over the last 14 seasons to sign any free agent they desired. If they needed an extra push at the deadline, the Yankees would trade prospects (and money) to acquire the talent that would help in October.
This strategy has brought them a good amount of success over the years; but it has also proved detrimental to the farm system, which has ranked near the bottom in baseball for some time — times have certainly changed. The front office has adapted to today’s game and taken a more conservative approach to trades and free agent signings since the 2013 off-season. Developing a better farm system has been a priority for Cashman and the front office, and now we are seeing dividends.
The New Yankees
According to Bleacher Report, the Yankees now have the number one ranked farm system in all of baseball. The trade deadline acquisitions from 2016 are the pieces that put them over the top.
With a class highlighted by Arizona Fall League all-star Gleyber Torres, the team boasts elite young talent in a variety of positions. Jorge Mateo joins Torres as the “tier 1” infield prospects (both shortstops). The eccentric outfielder Clint Frazier ranks as the number two overall prospect in the Yankees’ system, joined by fellow top outfield prospects Blake Rutherford and Aaron Judge. Hal Steinbrenner had issued a statement earlier in the off-season that he expects Judge to be the Yankees right fielder.
Justus Sheffield and James Kaprielian headline the pitching prospects. While Sheffield is ranked as the team’s number one pitching prospect, Kaprielian (pictured below) offered strong performances in the Arizona Fall League deeming himself as a close second.
For the first time in a long time, the front office is preparing for the future. It’s no secret that every prospect isn’t going to pan out; it’s unrealistic to expect a “Gary Sanchez-esque” performance from all of these guys. However, having such a strong and versatile farm system makes the Yankees a serious threat for the future as well as the present.