Time to check out all the Yankee Blogs around the web. Give them all a read. Enjoy.
* An A-blog for A-Rod is looking at a brighter turn through the rotation.
* Bleeding Yankee Blue looks at the future shortstop Eduardo Nunez.
* Bronx Baseball Daily has the details of Pettitte’s contract.
* It’s about the Money Stupid asks if where Tex hits in the order actually matters?
* Lady Loves Pinstripes writes that the Yankees are wounded but are still winning.
* NYY Universe writs about the Yankee closer Dilemma.
* Pinstripe Alley is giving some credit to unappreciated Yankees.
* River Ave Blues writes RISP: Where Yanks big guns go to die.
* The Captain’s Blog has a write up about Ibanez making an early Impact with his bat.
* The Greedy Pinstripes are taking a look at Yankee prospect Angelo Gumbs.
* The Yankee Analysts take a look at Hiroki and the lack of strikeouts.
This article is being syndicated from our friends over at Seedlings to Stars. I will provide some of the article and at the bottom just click the link to read the rest. Enjoy!!
With the S2S 2012 Top 100 Prospects List now in the books, it’s time to take a closer look at the future of each team. And that means team prospect lists!
Most minor league sites will do top-10s, top-15s, top-20s, or some other ranking. Last year, to be a bit different, the FanSided team prospect lists (which were done at Call to the Pen, since S2S didn’t exist), instead listed a team’s top prospect at each position (C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, 3 OFs, 5 SPs, and 2 RPs). This year, we’re keeping that format, but also adding a “Best of the Rest” section that lists the top ten players beyond the positional rankings. That’s 25 players per system, if you’re counting.
New York Yankees
The Yankees system is undoubtedly somewhat down from where it was in years past. Their vaunted “Killer B” trio–Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, and Andrew Brackman–all ran into trouble in 2011, and Brackman ended up released while Betances looks like he may be headed for the bullpen. Jesus Montero was traded away to Seattle, further damaging the top talent, although New York did receive the Northwest League’s top prospect, Jose Campos, in that trade.
There’s still plenty to like here, though. This system has an abundance of two things: upper-minors arms and low-minors bats. Banuelos, Campos, and Gary Sanchez could be excellent contributors even by the lofty standards of Yankee fans.
Position Player Upside: B
Position Player Depth: B-
Pitching Upside: B+
Pitching Depth: B+
System Grade: B
Catcher: Gary Sanchez. You don’t come across a whole lot of 18-year-old catchers with ISOs of .229 in full-season ball. Sanchez also boasts a strong arm and a good eye at the plate, and has superstar potential. He has some major problems with blocking pitches, but at his age, that’s not cause for alarm just yet, and neither is his elevated strikeout rate. At some point, those are going to need to come around, but he’s got plenty of time, and his overall potential is enormous. Grade: A-
Based on their recent actions and remarks, it seems the Yankees are serious about sticking to a smaller payroll now and at least through the 2014 season in an attempt to get under the $189 Million Luxury Tax threshold. In order to do so, the club will need to look to fill important positions from within and develop both impact and role players.
The Yankees system became known in recent years as being deep in Pitchers and Catchers but lacking in strong position prospects. This was definitely a weakness identified by Mark Newman & Damon Oppenheimer and they addressed it by adding several solid up the middle athletes and corner players who can rake in the last 2 years. Now, the system is more well-rounded although there is definitely a lack of upper-echelon hitters in the higher levels of the organization.
The system is still strong in upper level pitching. Even with Nova & Noesi graduating to NY, they still have 5 potential MLB starters in AAA (Banuelos, Betances, Warren, Phelps, DJ Mitchell). The next level of pitching is led by Brett Marshall and several guys that need to take a step forward in 2012. Oppenheimer has a history of drafting good college relievers and there are many strong-armed righties in the pipeline who could advance quickly.
Today, I will list the Top 40 with a quick blurb, then will follow-up with more in-depth on the Top 20 or so players in the coming weeks. Each player has their position, Opening Day 2012 Age & expected level to start season.
1) Jesus Montero – C/DH, 22 – MLB
Has an elite bat that will make him a middle of the order MLB hitter for the next decade+. Rare blend of natural power to all fields with ability to make adjustments and take what pitcher gives him. Only question is whether he will be anything more than a DH but a .300 hitter with 30 HR power will always find a spot even if he’s eventually a full-time DH.
2) Manny Banuelos– LHSP, 21 – AAA
Had control issues in AA/AAA but most believe it’s just a matter of trying to be too fine as he has solid mechanics and repeats his delivery well. Threw a career-high 130 innings so will be in line for 150-160 this year and could be ready to pitch for NY in 2nd half.
3) Gary Sanchez – C, 19 – HiA
Has big-time raw power and still growing into his 6’2″ frame. His defense has been poor but I think he has the athleticism to convert to corner OF or 1B down the line and his bat is definitely strong enough to support such a switch.
4) Dellin Betances – RHSP, 24 – AAA
This is a big year for Betances. At 24, he needs to have a good year in AAA to prove he can pitch in a MLB rotation. Has plus, swing-and-miss stuff but most improve his control to cut down his pitch counts.
5) Mason Williams – CF, 20 – LoA
Dynamic player with plus-plus MLB speed and defense already. He put on a show in rookie ball and if he shows his offensive skills are for real this year in full-season ball, he may vault to #1 on this list next year.
6) Dante Bichette, Jr. – 3B, 19 – LoA
Drafted for his plus power, he’s shown better defense than was thought. He’s really impressed the organization with his intangibles & makeup – namely his work ethic, advanced approach, knowledge of the game & leadership. Baseball America named him top prospect in Gulf Coast League and VP of baseball operations Mark Newman calls him “a special player and person.”
7) Austin Romine– C, 23 – AAA
His defense behind the plate is MLB-ready now. His bat isn’t special but will be good enough for him to have a long career as a starting catcher in the bigs.
8) David Phelps – RHSP, 25 – AAA
Phelps is a winner who knows how to pitch. He’s 38-15 with a 2.61 ERA in his 4 years in the organization. He’s maintained the same solid numbers at every level including a 7.4 K/9 & 2.0 BB/9. Reminds me a little of Ian Kennedy. Missed time with shoulder issue but came back strong in August and was solid in AFL also.
9) Ravel Santana – OF, 19 – LoA
Tremendous physical skill set with power & speed. BA rated the wiry 6’2″ 160 pounder right behind Bichette as best in the Gulf Coast League after he put up a .425 wOBA. Will have to overcome the broken ankle & torn ligaments he suffered last season so will likely start in extended ST this year.
10) Tyler Austin– 3B, 20 – LoA
I seem to be in the minority but I really like this guy. He made his debut in the Gulf Coast and smashed to a .517 wOBA in 20 games, then followed up with .448 wOBA in Staten Island. Has power to all fields and an advanced approach that helps him drive off-speed pitches. How many 20-year olds can you say that about? BA ranked him 8th best prospect in NY Penn League. Only question mark is his defense at 3B but he’s athletic enough to play the OF if need be. He even stole 18 of 18 bases in just 47 games which tells me he has good instincts and a feel for the game.
11) J.R. Murphy – C/3B, 20 – HiA
Improved his game offensively & defensively before ending season early with leg injury. Rips line drives to all fields and scouts now believe he has the ability to remain as a catcher while also showing the athleticism to play 3B and OF. Could become a very versatile asset in the Majors.
12) Slade Heathcott – CF, 21 – HiA
He’s Gardner-like in the OF right now and has more offensive potential. However, I’m a little concerned with his constant injuries and questionable makeup. To have his speed and get thrown out stealing 17 times in 38 attempts is baffling. But, if he matures and stays healthy, he could be special.
13) Brett Marshall– RHSP, 22 – AA
Now fully recovered from his 2009 Tommy John Surgery, he threw career high 140 IP with 3.24 FIP. Has good low 90s sinker and makings of a plus slider. Has flashed mid 90s velocity at times and will be interesting how he does in AA this year.
14) Adam Warren– RHSP, 24 – AAA
Warren is next in a succession of Yankee right handers, behind Nova and Noesi, ready to advance to the majors. He threw 152 IP in AAA with a 3.60 ERA and on a lesser team without depth, he’d have a great chance to make the rotation.
15) Corban Joseph – 2B, 23 – AAA
Has patient approach and nice lefty stroke that generates hard line drives but there are concerns about his defense at 2B and 3B. He had .346 wOBA in Trenton with 38 doubles and 8 triples but doesn’t get the lift and backspin to hit HRs.
16) Zoilo Almonte – OF, 22 – AA
Solid all-around skills. Good defense, speed and power that has improved the last 2 years. Yanks added the switch-hitter to their 40-man to protect him from Rule 5 draft and he could be a candidate to make the team in 2013.
17) Graham Stoneburner – RHSP, 24 – AA
Season was marred by a neck injury that kept him out 2 months and he was never quite effective as excellent debut in 2010. But he still has a great sinking fastball that gets tons of grounders.
18) David Adams – 2B, 24 – AA
The ankle injury he suffered in 2010 lingered all season and the Yankees were very careful with Adams. He played sparingly in only 29 games. If he’s finally healthy this season he could progress quickly as he has an excellent bat that rips line drives to all fields.
19) Angelo Gumbs– 2B, 19 – LoA
Great up the middle athlete shows lightning quick bat speed and raw power to go with strong arm and nice speed. BA rated him 14th best prospect in NY Penn League where he had .341 wOBA, 4 triples & 11 SB in 220 PAs.
20) Nik Turley – LHSP. 22 – HiA
6’7″ lefty reminds me a litle of Andy Pettitte. Took a step forward with 2.51 ERA and 8.9 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 82 IP in Charleston til a broken hand ended his season after being promoted to Tampa.
21) DJ Mitchell – RHSP, 24 – AAA
Similar to David Phelps, Mitchell is someone who just keeps pitching well and winning. Sinker/slider pitcher with solid change-up could be another back end starter/long-relief candidate.
22) Mark Montgomery – RHRP, 21 – HiA
Overwhelmed hitters with low-mid 90s Fastball and an unhittable slider leading to a 16.4 K/9 and 1.91 ERA as closer in Charleston. His slider is just unfair to young hitters and he needs to be tested against more advanced hitters to see how quick he can advance.
23) Brandon Laird – 3B, 24 – AAA
Strong defensive 3B with good power but he doesn’t take many walks or hit for much average. Has also played some 1B & LF so could be a backup candidate in NY.
24) Cito Culver– SS, 19 – LoA
Showed strong arm with smoothness in the field and compact swing from both sides of the plate. BA rated him 6th best prospect in NYPenn League where he hit .250/.323/.337. He’s a project that will take time to develop his offensive game.
25) Ramon Flores – OF, 20 – HiA
Sweet lefty stroke and patient approach at plate, had .350 wOBA in Charleston. Good OF with strong arm and solid all-around tools. Only 5’10” 160 so should get stronger and develop some pop.
26) George Kontos – RHRP, 26 – MLB
Standard FB/Slider reliever, held RH hitters to a .182 BAA in AAA. Averages about a strikeout per inning but is a fly-ball pitcher who is prone to HRs.
27) Claudio Custodio – 2B, 21 – LoA
Talented 2B/SS with very good speed. Hit ball well in GCL and showed willingness to take a walk. Hit .325 with .433 OBP and 26 SB in 28 attempts.
28) Tommy Kahnle – RHRP, 22 – HiA
Power reliever had 2.45 FIP in 81 IP with 12.4 K/9 but also 5.4 BB/9. Sits around 93-95 and can dial it up to 96-97 with a developing slider. Needs to improve his command and secondary pitches.
29) Isias Tejada – C, 20 – LoA
Next in line of promising Yankee catcher prospects, Tejada showed his ability to make good, hard contact with a .971 OPS in the GCL with only a 12% strike out rate.
30) Brandon Pinder – RHRP, 23 – LoA
Dominated mostly younger hitters as closer in Staten Island with 11.0 K/9, 1.4 BB/9 and 1.16 ERA. Has great command of 94-95 mph Fastball but has no quality secondary pitch yet.
31) Bryan Mitchell – RHSP, 20 – LoA
Plus stuff but still very raw. Put things together by end of year and shows strikeout (8.6 K/9) and ground-ball stuff (2.19 GO/AO rate)
32) Jose Rosario– SS/2B, 20 – LoA
Hit just as well as teammate Bichette with .331 average and .529 SLG%. He’s a hacker with a 3.2% Walk rate but he’s caught the attention of the organization and earned a late season promotion to Charleston. Mark Newman stated, “He can run (11 SB in 43 games) and throw. He hit 6 HRs, so he has some ability to impact the ball. By diligence, he’s turning himself into a quality prospect.”
33) Taylor Morton – RHSP, 20 – LoA
Made impressive debut in GCL. The 6’3″ righty should get stronger and he already possesses a plus change, low 90’s FB and good command.
34) Rob Segedin – 3B, 23 – HiA
Big 3B/OF with strong hitting skills. Earned promotion with .395wOBA at Charleston but struggled some in Tampa. Yanks put him in AFL this Fall where he went .250/.367/.407.
35) Daniel Lopez – CF, 20 – LoA
Another emerging all-around athlete with good speed. Showed power potential this year hitting .327/.413/.490 with 27 SB in 61 games across 3 levels.
36) Jose Ramirez – RHSP, 22 – HiA
Promising arm took a step back this year but still notched strong K rates so stuff is still there.
37) Evan Rutckyj– LHSP, 20 – LoA
Big strong 6’5″ lefty got stronger as the season progressed and generates a lot of ground-balls.
38) Cesar Cabral – LHRP, 23 – MLB
Rule 5 pick from Red Sox system, he’ll have chance to make team in ST as second lefty in pen. Gets a lot of Ks with good Fastball and plus Changeup.
39) Pat Venditte SWRP, 26 – AAA
Doesn’t have dominating stuff but continues to post good overall numbers and solid K rates at every level. Biggest drawback is he’s a heavy flyball pitcher.
40) Abe Almonte – OF, 22 – AA
Plus defender and baserunner but wildly inconsistent at the plate. Switch-hitter had huge 2nd half, riding a 30-game hitting streak and showing off good extra base hit power. Needs to prove 2nd half surge was real at AA this year.
Other Notables: Walter Ibarra, Kyle Roller, Zach Nuding, Dan Burawa, Chase Whitley, Ronnie Mustlier, Yeicock Calderon, Robert Lyerly, Melky Mesa, Dan Brewer, Brad Suttle, Jorge Vazquez, Ben Gamel, Gabe Encinas, Matt Tracy, Zach Wilson, Evan DeLuca, Mikey O’Brien
The Short-Season Staten Island Yankees won the regular season 14-team New York Penn League with a 45-28 record and also won the league post-season championship. They did so with a strong all-around team that was 2nd in team average (.265), 3rd in runs scored and 5th in team ERA (3.50). The success of the Yanks 2 lowest level teams (Staten Island and Gulf Coast Yanks) proves the success of the latest drafts in 2010 & 2011 and bodes well for the future of the organization.
Williams was arguably the best prospect in the entire NY Penn Lg and he did nothing to disappoint with his on-field performance. He tore up the league finishing 2nd with a .349 average and 1st with 28 stolen bases & 94 Hits. He also finished in the top 10 in OBP (.395), SLG(.469), OPS(.863), Triples(6), Total Bases(126) and Runs(42). Mason is a wiry athlete with plus speed, a plus arm and a smooth left-handed stroke. He has a good feel for the strike zone but was very aggressive at the plate.
Williams has been compared to Brett Gardner because of his outstanding speed and defense. He projects to add more power as he grows into his slim frame and could end up being a cross between Gardner & Curtis Granderson.I was impressed to see that despite his immense physical talent, his coaches also regard him as a very hard worker who lives in the batting cage and has an infectious personality. Be prepared to see Williams in everybody’s Yankee Top 10 prospect lists this year and with his skill set & work ethic he could rocket through the system. He’s shown the ability to make hard contact so it will be interesting to see how much power he can generate as he starts to add more strength and weight to his 6’0″ 150 lb frame.
Wilson was a 21st round pick out of Arizona State who finished 2nd in the lg with 10 HRs plus a big solo shot for the 1st run in the 2-1 championship game. He hit .256 with a .346 OBP & .456 SLG% but doesn’t do anything particularly well except hit for power.
Gumbs is an athletic, up the middle player taken by the Yanks in the 2010 Draft. He got a $750,000 bonus as a 2nd -rd pick and has flashed all of the tools the team paid for despite tailing off at the end of the season due to injuries. He has great bat speed and a lot of raw power which he used to hit .264/.332/.406 with 3 HRs. Gumbs showed off his good speed with 11 SBs & 4 triples. This speed may make him better suited as a CF or LF moving forward because he wasn’t great at 2B with 9 errors.
SS – Cito Culver, 19 – 6’0 185
The Yanks were criticized for taking Culver with their 1st pick in 2010 but he’s impressed scouts with his rocket arm and a nice compact swing from both sides of the plate. Like most players right out of HS, he was inconsistent during the season but he showed a good approach at the plate but his poor August had him finish at .250/.323/.337. Cito is going to take a while to develop both offensively & defensively as he must cut down on his 17 errors. One area he is advanced in is his base running, as he shows good instincts and above average speed which he used to steal 10 of 10 bases.
3B – Tyler Austin, 20 – 6’2″ 200
Austin was a 13th round pick in 2010’s draft who started the season in the Gulf Coast Lg where he mashed the ball to a .390/.438/.622 clip in 20 games before he was promoted to Staten Island. He kept on hitting after the promotion in 27 games to finish a combined .354/.418/.579 for a .997 OPS. Tyler was also a perfect 18 of 18 in Stolen Base attempts.
Leading up to the draft Austin was considered a high ceiling H.S. player with big time power and solid speed & arm strength. But many thought he was a project but he has come out mashing. Tyler overcame testicular cancer as a teenager and battled back from a broken had last yr. He also has a reputation as a “gamer”, a hard-nosed type of player. He sounds a lot like Bichette to me and it seems the Yanks are looking for guys like this based on their recent draft picks. With his MLB power, solid speed & attitude, Austin is one of my favorite prospects and I will be following him closely as he develops.
RHP – Bryan Mitchell – 20, 6’2″ 175
Mitchell is a tantalizing prospect with a high ceiling but is still very raw. He has plus stuff but his questionable mechanics and inconsistent arm angle make him a project. The couple of videos I saw of him look like 2 different pitchers. Mitchell had a mediocre season but finished with 4 strong starts at the end of the season during which he gave up 3 ER in 21 IP. Overall, he went 1-3 with a 4.09 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 4.5 BB/9 & impressive 2.19 GO/AO ratio. The high strikeout & ground ball rates are very encouraging as he is likely to improve his command/control as he refines his mechanics.
LHP – Evan DeLuca – 20, 6’1″ 195
DeLuca is a New Jersey kid who played his HS ball at Immaculata in Somerville where he was picked in the 44th rd of the 2009 draft by the Yankees. Like Mitchell, he has taunted with his amazing stuff and wild bouts of inconsistency. I read scouting reports on him in the beginning of the season where he was sitting at 91-93 and topping at 94-95 and was getting excellent results at 3-1 2.19 ERA through July 22. But later reports had him at 87-89 which led to him getting ripped in his last 4 starts and eventually finish the yr on the DL.
LHP – Matt Tracy – 22, 6’3″ 212
Tracy was a 24th rd pick out of U of Mississippi this yr who had a solid season splitting time as a starter and reliever. He was 1-2 with a 3.04 ERA, 2.65 FIP, 9.1 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and 2.26 ground out to Air out ratio. He was the team’s best starter in the post-season going 2-0 including 6 shutout innings of 3-hit ball in the clincher.
RHP – William Oliver – 24, 6’2″ 185
Oliver had a strong season going 5-2 with a 3.45 ERA, 7.5 k/9, 3.7 bb/9 & 1.83 GO/AO rate. The 35th rd pick in 2010 out of Palomar College is a lot older than most of the players in this league so will need to prove himself at a higher level to show he’s a prospect.
RHP – Branden Pinder – 22, 6’3″ 210
Pinder was a 16th rd pick out of Cal State Long Beach this year and quickly got himself comfortable as Staten Island’s closer. He used his 94-95 MPH fastball with excellent command to finish 2-2 with 14 saves and a minute 1.16 ERA. He held hitters to a .152 BA and had a 11.0 k/9 & 1.5 bb/9 in 31 ip. He really has no quality secondary offerings but with command of a mid 90s heater he need only develop one other pitch to advance as a MLB reliever.
The Yankees have wrapped up their signings from their 2011 Draft class and it seems they had a clear goal going into this Draft/Signing period. On the pitching side, they continued their recent trend of going with high upside HS arms while also adding experienced college power bullpen arms. They appeared to focus on adding some good young High School hitting prospects, kids with good size & power upside but athletic ability that will limit them to corner IF/OF types. This is what many believe to be a weakness within the organization so guys like Dante Bichette, Jake Cave & Greg Bird are welcome additions.
Last year there was a clear focus on athletic, up the middle type position players in the Draft and many of those players are off to good starts in their professional careers. Now that the 2011 Draft class is complete, this is a good time to take a look at how some of the prospects added since last year’s Draft are progressing.
Williams is a wiry athlete with plus speed, a plus arm and a smooth left-handed stroke. He was a 4th-rd pick in 2010 but got the team’s highest signing bonus ($1.45M) and he is paying immediate dividends with a whopping .425 wOBA! Mason’s ripping up the NY-Penn Lg, leading the league in BA (.369), hits (75), Total Bases (105), Triples (6) and is in the top 5 in SB’s (20), OBP% (.414), SLG%(.517) & OPS(.932). Be prepared to see Williams in everybody’s Yankee Top 10 prospect lists this year and with his skill set he could rocket through the system. He’s shown the ability to make hard contact so it will be interesting to see how much power he can generate as he starts to add more strength and weight to his 6’0″ 150 lb frame.
Gumbs is another athletic, up the middle defender taken by the Yanks in the 2010 Draft. He got a $750,000 bonus as the 2nd -rd pick and has flashed all of the tools the team paid for. He has great bat speed which he’s used to post a solid .368 wOBA, .442 SLG% & .800 OPS. With 11 SBs & 4 triples he’s demonstrated his wheels
Bichette was the top pick for NY in the 2011 draft. He’s a strong 6’1 215 pound corner IF who is currently playing 3B but profiles as a probable corner OF down the road. This was another criticized pick but Dante signed quick and reported to the GCL immediately to try to prove the pundits wrong. Unfortunately he got off to a terrible 3 for 26 start but since July 1st he has hit everything that moves. He’s got a .446w OBA & 175 rc+.He’s shown a very advanced feel for the strike zone (14.5% walk rate) which is a great skill to have for a young power hitter and contributes to his gaudy .344-.458-.519-.976 line. I’m excited to see how he fares against more advanced pitching as he gets more strikes to hit.
Santana spent the last 3 years in the Dominican Lg and made his U.S. debut in the Gulf Coast Lg this summer with a bang. He’s a 6’2″ 160 athlete with speed and power. He showed both these tools with a .273 ISO, .425 wOBA and 9 HRs and 10 sbs in just 40 games. Unfortunately, his awesome season was cut short 2 days ago as he broke his ankle and tore ligaments sliding into 2nd base. Hopefully he will be 100% by next spring because he has that rare power/speed combo that is coveted in young players.
Culver got a lot of boos when the Yanks took him with their 1st pick in 2010. He wasn’t a sexy pick but he’s been exactly what we thought so far He’s exhibited a solid approach at the plate with solid walk (10.7%) and strikeout rates (17.4%) hitting .283 with a .358 OBP with glimpses of power potential when he gets stronger. Cito’s a raw switch-hitter with solid all-around ability but must cut down on his 14 errors.