As critiqued as the Yankees’ farm system deservedly is, one of our favorite features at NoMaas is our Minor League Players of the Week. Each week, we provide a look at the system’s top performers over the previous seven days and organize it in a way that even the most casual prospect watcher can get to know some of the more relevant kids in the organization.

While the Yankees currently possess very few top-shelf prospects, you never know who might bust on to the scene or eventually contribute to some degree at the big league level. If you’ve followed MLPW over the past few seasons, you would have read about players like David Phelps, Adam Warren, Vidal Nuno, and Dellin Betances before they hit the big stage.

And with that, we kick things off for 2014. This was a short week of games as Minor League Opening Day was on Thursday, April 3rd, so this edition will cover 4/3-4/6.

Pitcher:
Rookie Davis, 20, RHP, A
5 IP, 5 K, 1 BB, 2 H, 0 ER
Notable: First year in full-season ball

His name sounds like it’s out of Baseball Stars, but that isn’t the reason why Rookie Davis is taking home our first MLPW of 2014. The 20-year old was Charleston’s Opening Day starter and pitched 5 innings of scoreless ball against Augusta (SF Giants affiliate).

Davis was drafted by the Yankees in 2011 (14th round) out of Dixon HS (North Carolina), where his uniform number was retired after racking up 422 Ks in 209 innings. The Yankees gave him a signing bonus of $550,000. He’s a big dude listed at 6’3″, 235.

His first two seasons in the NYY organization were spent primarily in short-season ball, both in the Gulf Coast League and most recently Staten Island. In 42 innings at SI, he had a 2.36 ERA/2.71 FIP. This will be his first full season of professional ball.

Hopefully, he makes some noise this season because his name is fantastic.

Hitter:
Mike Ford, 21, LHB 1B, A
.467/.529/.533 in 17 PA
Notable: Signed by the Yankees in 2013 as an undrafted free agent

In terms of offensive output, the system was very shallow in this short week. We’re hoping it’s a case of small sample size, and not what’s been plaguing this system in recent years. However, the standout performer was Charleston’s Mike Ford, who had a 1.063 OPS in the first four games of the Low-A campaign.

A Princeton graduate, Ford’s journey is a fascinating one, as he was not selected in the 2013 June draft, despite winning both Ivy League Player and Pitcher of the Year awards in the same season (first to do that in Ivy League history). The Yankees signed him in July after he was leading the Cape Cod League in BA (.407), OBP (.495), and SLG (.663). He had also pitched 7.2 innings and struck out nine, but the Yankees have used him exclusively in a position player role.

The Jersey native grew up a Yankees’ fan and was pumped to be signed by the Bombers:

“I’ve been a Yankees fan my entire life, and I was fortunate enough, I felt like it was a great fit. I was just really happy with everything.”

Very cool story.

Honorable Mentions:

Andrew Benak, 24, RHP, A
2 IP, 3 K, 0 BB, 1 H, 0 ER

6’5″ 2012 14th round pick

Cesar Cabral, 22, RHP, A
5 IP, 7 K, 0 BB, 4 H, 0 ER

2nd season in a row he’s starting in Charleston

Danny Burawa, 25, RHP, AAA
1 IP, 2 K, 0 BB, 0 H, 0 ER

Yanks are reportedly high on him, but he walked way too many guys last season in AA
(5.7 BB/9)

Eric Wooten, 24, LHP, A+
5 IP, 5 K, 1 BB, 1 H, 1 ER

Indy league signing from last June, been outstanding since signed

Manny Barreda, 25, RHP, AA
3.2 IP, 4 K, 0 BB, 1 H, 0 ER

Starting things off in Trenton, after doubling up in Tampa

Philip Walby, 21, LHP, A
1 IP, 3 K, 0 BB, 0 H, 0 ER

2013 12th round pick

Tyler Webb, 23, LHP, A+
2 IP, 3 K, 0 BB, 0 H, 0 ER

2013 10th round pick, 40 K/6 BB in 30.1 IP in Low-A last season — could move quickly

Abiatal Avelino, 19, RHB SS, A
.333/.467/.500 in 15 PA

2011 international free-agent signing (Dominican Republic)

Miguel Andujar, 19, RHB 3B, A
.313/.313/.500 in 16 PA

Also a 2011 IFA out of the DR