NEW YORK -- Impressive right-hander Luis Severino and power-hitting outfielder Aaron Judge cracked MLB.com's list of the Top 100 Prospects in baseball heading into the 2015 season, headlining the Yankees' recent efforts to replenish their farm system and build for the future.
Severino is rated as baseball's 23rd overall prospect and Judge came in at No. 68.
The annual ranking of baseball's Top 100 Prospects is assembled by MLBPipeline.com Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis, who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. The list, which is one of several prospect rankings on MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Watch, only includes players with rookie status in 2015. Team-by-team Top 30 Prospects lists for 2015 will be unveiled in March.
Severino, who turns 21 in February, signed for $225,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2011 and shot toward the top of the rankings with a pair of strong seasons that included a scoreless inning in the 2014 SiriusXM All-Star Futures game at Target Field. A 6-foot tall, 195-pound hurler with an easy delivery, Severino features a fastball that usually sits between 94-95 mph with sink and can run as high as 98 mph. His changeup is developing into a plus pitch and his slider shows potential.
"Coming into this season, he was probably our big secret," Yankees Minor League pitching coordinator Danny Borrell recently told MiLB.com. "I don't think we'll be keeping a secret in him anymore. Anytime you're 93-99 [mph] and you have a breaking ball that he changes speeds on, he can make it a breaking ball/curve, and then he'll throw 89-90 [mph] as a true slider. Both of those can be plus pitches, and then his changeup just drops off the table, and he can throw it to righties and lefties. I don't think there's anyone in baseball who hasn't heard about him now."
Severino reached Double-A Trenton as a 20-year-old in 2014, going 2-2 with a 2.52 ERA in six starts there, and was 6-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 24 combined outings with Class A Charleston, Class A Advanced Tampa and in the Eastern League, leading the system with 127 strikeouts against 27 walks in 113 1/3 innings. He projects to begin the year in Trenton and could reach the Majors by 2016.
"He has that uncanny ability to slow the game down," Borrell said. "When runners get on base, he can just eliminate a running game just because of how quick he is to the plate. And he knows what pitches to throw in what counts. He's a lot of fun to watch."
Judge, who turns 23 in April, was a supplemental round pick by the Yanks out of Fresno State in 2013. The 6-foot-7, 230-pounder has drawn physical comparisons to Hall of Famer Dave Winfield and split last season between Charleston and Tampa, batting a combined .308 with 17 home runs and a system-leading 78 RBIs in 131 games.
"Everyone is enamored with his size," Yankees Minor League hitting coordinator James Rowson told MiLB.com. "A guy with that size and that type of plate discipline, I think is very hard to come by. He doesn't chase many pitches out of the strike zone, he's a patient hitter and that's going to go a long way."
The Yanks were pleased to see Judge's production continue in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit .278/.377/.467 with four home runs in 24 games and showed a strong arm from the outfield. Judge projects to see time at Double-A in 2015 and could advance to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, putting him on track to get to the big leagues in '16.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.