The Yankees drew the short end of the bunch by getting paired with the Los Angeles Angels prospects. That isn't to say that Taylor Ward isn't a good player, he just isn't an elite talent. The Scottsdale Scorpions are a top heavy team, but even that talent doesn't compare to other clubs in the league.
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- Glendale Desert Dogs
- Mesa Solar Sox
- Surprise Saguaros
- Peoria Javelinas
- Salt River Rafters
- Scottsdale Scorpions
Four Players to Watch
Gleyber Torres - SS – New York Yankees
Listed as a shortstop, I see Gleyber Torres transitioning to second base in the near future. Either that or the Yankees switch gears with the development plan for Jorge Mateo. Torres profiles higher for his offensive capabilities than his ability to field the position. He has above average home run power with an improving approach. He tends to make adjustments to his weaknesses which is an excellent indicator of future success.
Torress doesn't have superstar potentia,l but he has the makings of an above average MLB player when moved to second base. He profiles out to be a five category contributor who could hit above .280 at maturation.
On the year, Torres hit .270 with eleven home runs and twenty-one stolen bases. He did so as a 19-year-old in Class-A (Advanced). There isn't much for Torres to prove in the AFL that isn't already on showcase in the MiLB. He is already succeeding above his age and just needs more at-bats and opportunities in the field to justify an early call up at some point in 2018. Torres currently sits as the 36th overall prospect.
Miguel Andujar - 3B – New York Yankees
Miguel "Big Arm" Andujar is a walking hype machine. He has a cannon at the hot corner and can put on quite the show defensively. He has a maturing bat that can generate above average to advanced power and with time he could hit for average. His speed isn't a liability, but it also isn't a strength.
When watching him, he continually has strong at-bats and adjusts well to hard breaking balls with his excellent bat speed. He shows all the makings of true third basemen - one with a bright future at that. It will be worth seeing the results Andujar can log in the AFL because a lot of his skill set is still speculation. He hasn't shined against the top tier of pitching, and the AFL could solidify just how high his ceiling may end up being.
On the year Miguel Andujar hit twelve home runs while hitting .272 between Class-A (Advanced) and Double-A as a 21-year-old. More pop is to come from him as his profile makes it plausible he could turn out to be one of the better power prospects in the minor leagues. He is currently rated as the 189th overall prospect but likely will come out of the AFL inside the top 150.
Taylor Ward – C – Los Angeles Angels
Taylor Ward is one of the few catching prospects I can see stay at catcher and reach the bigs. A lot of catching prospects worth touting for their offense have a large defensive hurdle to overcome that ends with them in the field. Catchers are phenomenal athletes, and that is true with Taylor Ward. He has a big time arm and has shown tremendous strides in game management to complement his growing framing ability.
Offensively, he flashes plus in contact and boasts occasional power. Ward quickly teed off against the lower levels of the minors before offensive struggles plagued him in Class-A (Advanced) during his sophomore campaign. He finished 2016 hitting .242 with ten home runs while striking out only 81 times in 466 at bats.
Taylor Ward sits as the 195th prospect in baseball and shouldn't move much higher until he can succeed in Class-A.
Greg Bird – 1B – New York Yankees
Greg Bird continues to fight back in his recovery from a torn labrum in his right shoulder. His inclusion of the AFL roster is a great sign that he will be on pace to make the Opening Day lineup. While healthy in 2015, Bird was a standout rookie in his limited at-bats.
Bird is an advanced hitter with a smooth power stroke. He can hit the ball all over the field and has the aptitude to keep a clean strike zone. He forces meaningful at-bats and has all the makings of a strong big league first basemen.
Bird profiles out as a player capable of hitting more than twenty home runs while batting over .280. He has legit pull power but can hit gaps all across the field. That skill set in Yankee Stadium could lead to some very productive seasons.
Four More to Watch
Victor Alcantara – SP – Los Angeles Angels
Tyler Wade – SS – New York Yankees
Scott Kingery – 2B – Philadelphia Phillies
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