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-
Baseball America came out with their Top Prospects and of course they did one for the Yankees as well. The three lists include the top ten prospects, Best Tools (my favorite one to look at) and what the projected lineup will be in 2015 (pretty cool as well). Below is all the information. Enjoy and discuss what you agree and disagree with in the comments section.
TOP TEN PROSPECTS
|1.||Jesus Montero, c|
|2.||Manny Banuelos, lhp|
|3.||Dellin Betances, rhp|
|4.||Gary Sanchez, c|
|5.||Mason Williams, of|
|6.||Dante Bichette, 3b|
|7.||Ravel Santana, of|
|8.||Austin Romine, c|
|9.||J.R. Murphy, c/3b|
|10.||Slade Heathcott, of|
|Best Hitter for Average||Jesus Montero|
|Best Power Hitter||Jesus Montero|
|Best Strike Zone Discipline||Ramon Flores|
|Fastest Baserunner||Mason Williams|
|Best Athlete||Mason Williams|
|Best Fastball||Dellin Betances|
|Best Curveball||Dellin Betances|
|Best Slider||Mark Montgomery|
|Best Changup||Manny Banuelos|
|Best Control||Nik Turley|
|Best Defensive Catcher||Austin Romine|
|Best Defensive Infielder||Cito Culver|
|Best Infield Arm||Cito Culver|
|Best Defensive OF||Mason Williams|
|Best Outfield Arm||Ravel Santana|
PROJECTED 2015 LINEUP
|First Base||Mark Teixeira|
|Second Base||Robinson Cano|
|Third Base||Alex Rodriguez|
|Left Field||Brett Gardner|
|Center Field||Mason Williams|
|Right Field||Curtis Granderson|
|Designated Hitter||Jesus Montero|
|No. 1 Starter||CC Sabathia|
|No. 2 Starter||Manny Banuelos|
|No. 3 Starter||Ivan Nova|
|No. 4 Starter||Dellin Betances|
|No. 5 Starter||Phil Hughes|
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
Almost all of the Yankees minor league affiliates have finished their 2011 season. It’s time to take a look at how each team fared and, more importantly, which individual players stood out by showing skills that could make them move up the ladder successfully. First up, we’ll look at the Rookie level Gulf Coast Yankees.
The GCL Yanks won the Gulf Coast League title and finished 37-23. This team was a blend of young foreign-born players making their debuts in the U.S. and players drafted out of high school in 2010 & 2011. Their lineup was stacked with 6 of the league’s top 14 hitters in batting average and smashed their way to the title. As a team they had a .298/.378/.466/.843 line which was by far the best in the 15 team league in all 4 categories. They also led with 116 stolen bases & 6.5 Runs per game to give their pitchers a lot of support.
The staff had a 4.31 ERA which was 10th in the league. When you consider how dominant the offense was, the team’s ERA may be skewed a bit since they pitched with so many leads.
Taylor Morton RHP, 19 –
Was the team’s top pitcher finishing 2nd in the league with a 1.98 ERA. Morton has excellent potential and is making the Yanks look good for giving him an overslot bonus of $450,000 as a 9th round pick in 2010. He’s got a sturdy 6’3″ 200 lb frame that generates low 90’s velocity. Morton already possesses 2 traits that are rare in a young pitcher – a plus change up and good command. His command translated to a 35 to 8 strikeout to walk rate and he’s only allowed 1 HR in 50 ip. The impressive 19-yr old was brought up to Staten Island to finish the season.
Gabe Encinas – RHP, 19
Another overslot HS pitcher taken in last yrs draft. Encinas got $300,000 as a 6th rounder and went 3-0, 5.08 era. He struck out 46 and walked 18 in 51.1 ip.
Evan Rutckyj – LHP, 19
A big 6’5″ 213 lb lefty from Canada. The 19 yr old got a huge $500,000 bonus as a 16th rd pick and went 5-3, 4.76 with 37 Ks & 24 bb in 45.1 ip. Evan generated a lot of ground balls with an impressive 1.76 GO/AO ratio. He finished the season strong going 3-0, 2.25 and will be a very interesting pitcher to follow as a big, strong lefty who gets ground balls.
Dante Bichette – 3B, 18
Led the way offensively finishing with a .342/.446/.505/.951 line. He led the league in Hits (67), Doubles (17) and RBI (47) and was second in Average & OBP. The things that are most impressive are his 12.5% Walk Rate ad 17.1 K rate. This indicates a very clear understanding of the strike zone and ability to make contact. He had a solid .163 iso and he projects to have plus-plus power as he continues to develop. He’s been brought up to Staten Island and promptly homered his first game. Most scouts project him as a corner OF but he played a solid 3B with only 6 errors to lead all 3B in fielding %. Bichette’s dominating debut has answered many who criticized the team for taking him as their top pick (51st overall) this year.
So far he’s done everything right. He quickly agreed to a $750,000 bonus and got a full pro season under his belt while most top picks were still negotiating. When he got off to a poor start, he made some mechanical adjustments on his own to adapt to the harder throwing pitchers in pro ball. As someone who grew up around MLB, he seems to have the perfect blend of work ethic, baseball smarts and pure ability that will lead to success. Hopefully, he will be like other sons of MLB players like Ken Griffey, Barry Bonds, Prince Fielder, etc. who have even better careers than their illustrious fathers.
Ravel Santana – OF, 19
Although Bichette gets most of the attention, Santana may be the most talented player from this team and perhaps in the whole GCL. Unfortunately his season was cut short by a nasty broken angle and torn ligaments. 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. If he makes a full recovery and starts to add strength to his frame, he could be a special player.
Daniel Lopez – OF, 19
Lopez began the year in the Dominican Lg but was called to make his U.S. debut and didn’t disappoint. The tall, slender (6’2, 175) speedster hit .305 with 22 sbs in 47 games. He had a solid .167 ISO with 18 extra base hits. He was promoted to Charleston at the end of the season .
Juan Rosario – SS, 19
After 2 sub par seasons in the DSL, he came to the states and had a great year hitting .331/.372/.529/.901 and 11 sbs in 43 games. He had an impressive .417 woba but needs to be more selective as he only walked 3.2% of the time. But as they say about Dominican Players, you can’t walk off the island.
Claudio Custodio – 2b, 20
Custodio was 4th in the GCL with a .433 obp and led the league with 26 sbs in 28 attempts. He was 7th in hitting with a .325 average. He didn’t hit for much power with a .089 iso but his biggest problem was he committed 17 errors in just 39 games…ouch.
Isias Tejada – C, 19
Here’s the next name to add to the Yankees long line of quality Catching prospects. Tejada mashed to a .331/.404/.568/.971 line. That .971 OPS was 3rd in the league and he only struck out 12% of the time showing he makes consistent and hard contact.
Yeicock Calderon – OF, 19
Calderon came to the GCL with a big reputation. The Yanks signed him for $650,000 in 2008 and he tore up the Dominican League the last 2 years. But he struggled to make contact with a ghastly 33.1% strikeout rate and 4.9% walk rate which led to a .225/.264/.457/.721 line. He showed some of his power potential with 11 2bs, 3 3bs & 6 hrs for a .232 iso.
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.