BA’s Top 10 Yankee Prospects

Prospect Profile: Jairo Heredia
Yanks tell Cano to quit winter ball

The list won’t hit the website until January 7th, but the good ol’ print edition of BA’s magazine showed up in the mailbox today. Here’s who they got for the Yanks’ top 10:

  1. Joba
  2. Austin Jackson
  3. Jose Tabata
  4. IPK
  5. Alan Horne
  6. Jesus! (montero)
  7. Jeff Marquez
  8. Brett Gardner
  9. Rock ‘n Rohlendorf
  10. Andrew Brackman

Personally, I wouldn’t have Marquez or Gardner in the Top 10, and I wouldn’t have Ajax ahead of Tabata, at least not until Tabata stops hitting .300 as a teenager. I’m stunned at how far Dellin Betances has fallen, the dude was ranked #3 last year, one spot ahead of Joba. Overall, it’s solid list, and I suspect the pundits at BA find numbers 2-6 pretty interchangeable. So what do you think? Did they get it right?

Prospect Profile: Jairo Heredia
Yanks tell Cano to quit winter ball
  • brockdc

    No quibble with the top five, though 6-10 seem sort of random. I was a bit surprised to see Brackman rated higher than Humberto at this point, being that they both had TJ. This would suggest that the list rewards upside, though that wouldn’t explain why Gardner, et. al. are rated above Betances and Melancon. J.B. Cox is conspicuously absent as well.

  • Lanny

    Well, you can make a case that Betances falling on the list is a good thing. it means the system is getting more talented and deeper because its not like he has regressed or anything.

    And why would JB Cox be on a top 10 list? That would mean the system didn’t improve over the past yr and the future would not look bright today.

  • brockdc

    Cox was highly touted until he went under the knife. Judging from what I’ve read about Marquez, he projects to be a back-of-the rotation guy. Still, I’ve never seen Cox pitch, so, for all I know, he could be Lee Gutterman redux.

  • Adrian-Retire21

    Austin Jackson as our #2 prospect is funny.

  • daneptizl

    Pretty surprised by the list. I’d also have Tabata ahead of Jackson. Surprised Ohlendorf is there, but I guess they value ML experience. Brett Gardner is there and Juan Miranda isn’t. How can you put a pitcher who just had TJ and not pitch, but not those who will actually perform following it; either neither or both. Also, I have a request. Scouting Report for Chris Garcia if you will. Thank ye, thank ye.

  • Mike R.

    I think that this list shows a preference for players that are closer to the MLB level, which makes the inclusion of Montero that much more impressive.

  • jaffa

    Surprised at Kennedy’s rank… Yeah, it does look like theres a preference for players close to the big leagues with the inclusion of Gardner and Ohlendorf, but then why is kennedy so low? Even BA admits he’s probably a #3 starter and he is major league ready right now.

  • Lanny

    Brackman is obviously very highly thought of in the scouting world. There was a reason he was presumed to be the #1 pick in the draft prior to the season.

  • Mike

    I’m not sure why Gardner doesn’t get more respect from Yankee fans. It could be that they think the Yanks already have their young CF in Melky and then Ajax. But Gardner consistently puts up 100 points of isolated patience (career OBP of .381 versus .340 for Melky) with 85% SB. As soon as next year he could be stealing playing time from Melky.

  • Ben K.

    Rock n Rohlendorf is my new favorite nickname.

  • Achilles17

    Because Gardner also has a career SLG of .374. He is a slap hitter with speed, that’s really it. He also posted a .674 OPS in almost 200 AAA at bats last year, as a 24 year old. I think the chances of him stealing playing time from Melky at the big league level in the near future is pretty slim.

  • dmh81

    this list does show some preference to the guys thatare closer, kinda weird to see the minor league pitcher of the year at number 4 with him being so close and jackson showing only flashes of greatness in the 2nd half. I just don’t see Gardner in the top ten and i;d like to see Marquez at lest down to 10. As for betance i think you’ll see him on this list again by mid season, he was supposed to blow through the lower levels, which with as young and raw as he was was very optomistic but he’s got all the talent in the world so if he works hard hell b back. The only other thing is that i would really like to see a top 25 list for the yanks with all the TJ kids available it would be interesting to see where they would fall

  • sabernar

    “Did they get it right?”

    Does it really matter? I’m a follower of the Yankees farm system just as much as anyone is, and whether Player A is ranked 4th or 7th doesn’t really seem to matter much. Everyone knows ranking these guys is a crapshoot. It seems that more realistically if you’re going to rank prospects, do a tiered system. Tier A, B and C. Or something like that. Part of me likes John Sickel’s letter grading system, but there are too many arguments on whether someone is B+ or A-. It’s TOO granular. And with his system, a grade of C+ can mean any number of things. How about separating prospects into categories. “Toolsy” and “Pitchers With Great Numbers But Mediocre Stuff”. Or something like that. This ranking thing has been totally beat to death, and it really is a waste of time and energy.

  • Mike

    It just goes to show how much the stolen base is undervalued. Dude, swipes 85% of them. Think about any speedster who starts with a walk or single and then is a pest to take second and even third – that’s Gardner’s game. Add those extra bases onto his SLG and he’s easily a .800 OPS player. That’s more valuable than Melky – he’s more likely to get on base and more likely to score once there.

    Further, if you look at Gardner’s trajectory it has taken him two half seasons (duh, one season) to advance a level. That’s not out of the ordinary. He was a impact college guy and in the three years since will have mastered A+, AA, and now AAA. I can certainly understand why he’s ranked where he is. He’ll be in his year 24 season in 2008 (DOB: August 24, 1983) – just like a certain speedster prospect in Boston.

    When’s the last time the Yankees had a guy who could swipe 50-60 bases after getting on base at a .380 clip?

  • TurnTwo

    i like the list, have the same thoughts as most seem to have… this basically cements the value of IPK as a more than reasonable trade chip for Johan.

    and it seems like an awfully big jump for AJax; in lieu of including one of the Holy Trinity, I wonder if the Yankees would try and sell high on their “top positional prospect” in a deal with the Twins.

    i know for statheads, Brett Gardner and his OPS doesnt exactly make teams quiver with fear… but i think a player of his skillset can have a spot on this team, as long as he can continue to get on base at a .375 clip, and steal 40-50 bases a season at a high percentage. Juan Pierre has built a pretty decent career as a speedy slaphitter, and while he’s grossly overpaid now, you cant argue his value at the top of the lineup for those pesky Marlins teams several years ago.

    I think Gardner has a chance to be better defensively than Pierre, because from all indications he doesnt have a flaccid spaghetti noodle for a throwing arm, and with the sluggers already in this lineup, the Yankees could use some versatility and consistent OBP at the bottom of the order to set it up for Damon, DJ, and Abreu as it turns back over. Is Melky that guy? He’s shown he can at least hang, but over his 2 seasons, he’s seemed to be incredibly streaky. It wouldnt surprise me to see Gardner up if he starts the season at Scranton strong, or be given a chance in Spring Training should Melky be included in any Johan deal.

    • JP

      I think Gardner is much more of an impact player than people give him credit for. It doesn’t matter if he’s batting or stealing bases, the other team always knows when he’s on the field. But I think ranking him #8 was an odd choice by BA – it seems like he moved up based on his performance in the AFL – but they failed to rank him in the top 20 AFL players. The scouts loved him in the AFL so maybe it just took some convincing.

  • sabernar

    “flaccid spaghetti noodle”

    +1 for mental imagery

  • Pablo Zevallos

    They did a great job on #’s 1-6, but screwed up on 7-9. They don’t have Betances or arguably Heredia, Sanchez, or Melancon/Cox. Brackman at #10 isn’t bad, but Ohlendorf, Marquez and Gardner are low-ceiling players. What business do they have in a Top 10 prospect list?

  • Jay

    Just having this arguement is excellent. It shows how far the Yankees farm system has come in the last 3 years. In the scheme of things, rankings 6-10 are meaningless. All of those guys can end up being important cogs in the next great Yankee dynasty.

  • daneptizl

    I like Gardner more than Cabrera.

  • SavePhil

    If you add Gardner’s steals to his TB, and his CS’s to his AB’s, his ‘SLG%’ in his 181 AAA AB’s goes from .331 to .440, bringing his adjusted OPS to .783. I don’t know if it’s really accurate to do this, but I agree that Gardner can make an impact on the big club. He’s one of those guys that can’t just be defined by OPS. Anyone know what his EqA’s were in AA and AAA last year?

  • ColoYank

    You know what the coolest thing about this list is? That it doesn’t have McCutchen, Horne, Robertson, Suttle, or Sanchez.

    That’s a deep system!

    • Mike A,

      Horne is up there, number 5. But still, point taken.

  • Travis G.

    i dont have a problem with gardner at 8. he’s closer than any other top position player and has 2 guaranteed plus-plus tools: speed and D, with another plus tool, OBP.

    Kennedy too low, Ajax, Brackman, Marquez, Jesus too high. i dont know how they could have Brackman but not Melancon or Sanchez.

  • Matt M.

    i never understood how Ellsbury gets all this hype like he’s the next Willie Mays (for a good september and winning everyone a taco) and Gardner is treated like a scrub.

    ellsbury is clearly better than gardner, but gardner is like a poor man’s ellsbury at least if not almost comprable to him.
    gardner doesnt get his due usually but i like him and i think he can contribute to this club.

    honestly. he’d be better at melky’s “energy” role than even melky would be. gardner would get on base more. i read he walks a lot and hits the ball up the middle of the field. steal bags at an alarming rate. (slot him in the 9 hole. he’ll get on and steal. and then Captain singles hitter would have 65 rbi’s by the allstar break.)

  • ColoYank

    Oops! Thanks, Mike.

    Remedial reading. Still a problem.

  • Steve

    Top 6 looks good. Think a lot of faith was put in Ajax’s 2nd half last season. Perhaps too much faith. Woudln’t put him ahead of Tabata until he shows it at AA/AAA where he’ll face many more pitchers likely to reach the bigs.

    BA’s top 10 tends to lean more towards “who will more likely succeed in the bigs” than what they’ve done in the minors. Think that explains why Brackman is on the list. High ceiling when/if he gets healthy. Despite a mildly disappoinitng season with the SI Yanks, Betances on his live arm alone should be on the list. I get an eerie Dave Roberts vibe when I think about Gardner.

    Think they are right on Sanchez. His star was falling hard before Detroit put him in the Sheffield deal.

  • Brian Foley

    BRACKMAN come on….I really think he is going to be a failure with his shoulder/arm issues already popping up

  • Realist

    ColoYank…you summed it up perfectly! The system is deep and I pray it continues to evolve , as free agency usually works out for the FA player than the purchasing team. Develop your own!

  • Sciorsci

    At what point do these guys stop being “prospects” and start being considered MLB players. I mean, at this point, Joba’s not a prospect anymore. He’s a valuable member of the Yanks’ staff. To some extent, the same can be said for IPK. It’s not like these guys were September call-ups. Particularly in the case of Chamberlain, he’s already (deservedly or not) a star. He does not belong on a prospect ranking list, IMO.

    • Mike A.

      It’s hard to say when these guys stop being prospects. Who’s to say Joba or IPK don’t need another 100 IP in the minors or so? Most people just use the rookie eligibility criteria (< 130 AB or 50 IP without regards to service time) when determining if a guy is still a prospect. BJ Upton used up his rookie eligibility way back in 2004, then spend all of 2005 and most of 2006 in the minors before coming back up. Technically he wasn't a prospect, but he still had plenty of things to work on, so yes, he was a prospect. It's a tough question, and there's no right answer. You have to take it on a case-by-case basis.

  • Sciorsci

    Fair enough – and maybe I’m biased because I work in MiLB – I’ve seem Mike Zagurski go from low A to MLB in one year, and I’ve seem 1st round draft picks like Jayson Nix stall out at AAA despite an excellent season regardless of stats.

    I just don’t think of someone like Joba as a “prospect” – he’s a young MLBer looking for a foothold for a future career. IPK to a lesser extent, but the same argument holds.

    Again, I’ve worked in MiLB for more than a few years – I cut my teeth in the Phillies org., and saw guys like Zagurski go from low A to MLB (and Golson will likely go from high A to MLB this season) and have never been considered “prospects” meanwhile guys who will accumulate 1,000 ABs at Tampa and Charleston will get plenty of hype but have no ability to help the team this decade, but will give Sickels goosebumps and will generate plenty of pub here.

    Maybe I’m just of the opinion that an organization’s top prospects should help within the next year or two, but to me, Tabata does not belong ahead of Gardner anyway – he’s younger, yes, but aside from that, he’s got the same lack of power and plays a power-reliant corner-OF position. He gets a break because he’s younger, but powerless is powerless – at what point do we stop waiting for him to develop more than gap power and start considering him the Latino Ichiro?

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