Sickels’ Top 20 Yankee Prospects

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Here’s John’s list:

  1. Joba Chamberlain, RHP, Grade A
  2. Jose Tabata, OF, Grade B+
  3. Ian Kennedy, RHP, Grade B+
  4. Alan Horne, RHP, Grade B
  5. Austin Jackson, OF, Grade B-
  6. Bradley Suttle, 3B, Grade B-
  7. Dellin Betances, RHP, Grade B-
  8. Austin Romine, C, Grade B- (hate grading guys who haven’t played yet, could be C+)
  9. Jesus Montero, C, Grade C+ (borderline B-)
  10. Dan McCutchen, RHP, Grade C+
  11. Brett Gardner, OF, Grade C+
  12. Damon Sublett, 2B, Grade C+ (love this guy)
  13. Andrew Brackman, RHP, Grade C+ (could slot anywhere from 9 to 20 depending on what you want to emphasize)
  14. Jeffrey Marquez, RHP, Grade C+
  15. George Kontos, RHP, Grade C+
  16. Kevin Whelan, RHP, Grade C+ (check those K/IP and H/IP, but command?)
  17. Frank Cervelli, C, Grade C+ (great glove, bat?)
  18. David Robertson, RHP, Grade C+ (stunning numbers)
  19. Jairo Heredia, RHP, Grade C+
  20. Zach McAllister, RHP, Grade C+

It’s a good list and it’s reasonably ordered. Suttle and Romine may be a bit too high, Brackman and Whelan a bit too low, but it’s all a matter of preference. I do however think that Ajax is better than a B- prospect, and Montero is definitely better than a C+. Sickels also posted an excerpt from his book about Alan Horne; check it out here.

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  • David

    Someone should ask Sickels if he still thinks Cano will never make it in the major leagues as a second baseman.

    • Yankee Fan in Chicago

      Iirc he had Cano as B- going into the 205 season that saw him promoted to Ny.

  • JRVJ

    Bronx Banter has a link to another list:

    I have issues with that list too, but it does have one advantage over Sickels list: it didn’t forget Humberto Sánchez, who seems to have dropped off Sickels radar (or phrased differently, if Brackman can show up on Sickels list, there’s no reason for Sánchez not to show up on Sickels list).

  • Andrew

    He also forgets JB Cox and Mark Melancon.

  • Ben K.

    Sickels is rather harsh with his letter grades.

    • Yankee Fan in Chicago

      He dished out some sweet sweet lovin though for the Sawx prospects.

      Kennedy shouldve been A-, Ajax B, B+ if his Tampa performance is the real Ajax.

      • sabernar


        He definitely upgraded some Red Sox prospects. Pretty much everyone agreed (on John’s site) that Lowrie was overrated. That’s not to mention some of the other guys. How can Kennedy be rated a B+ after his performances last year? Crazy.

        • zack

          Sickles managed to rate 12 Sox prospects at the B- level above vs. 8 for the Yanks. names such as Masterson, Bowden, Kalish, Reddick, and Middlebrooks are all b/B-, Lowrie is an A-(!!) as is Ellsbury. Somehow, though, Kennedy is but a b+, Horne a B (the same as Bowden/Masterson? Lets see them match him), AJax a B-, Montero a C+. I know a lot of the Yanks prospects are far away, but for cripes sakes, so are most of those Sox prospects. I fail to see how this list, unintentionally, does not continue the Sox hype machine and the continual degradation of the Yanks’ farm system.

          I’m not sure I have more of a problem with the low low rankings for the Yanks or the ridiculously high rankings for the Sox. If he can have so many “personal favorites” on the Sox list, it tells me he ‘s paying a bit too much attention to them…

          • Yankee Fan in Chicago

            I think it’s a combination of the Sawx high/Yanks low. Re his massive overrating of Lowrie et al (I’d toss Ellsbury in there too, an A-, other clearly non-Yankee fans have called him on it at his site, and compared the Sawx grades to those of similar prospects on other teams. There’s a lack of consistency and the ratings seem to favor the Sawx, not just in comparison to the Yankees either but to other teams, the Reds etc.

      • kris

        Perception has as much influence on determining a prospect’s value as actual talent . Unfortunately sox fans do a much better job at overhyping their prospects than yanks fans do.
        Why can’t we get more “experts” who discreetly double as PR machines for the sox (like Gammons and Sickels). You guys who comment a lot on this site, the team needs you to mobilize.

  • steve (different one)

    agree with the previous comments. Montero and AJax are too low.

    Suttle is probably too high, though.

    where is Humberto Sanchez? i can understand leaving off ALL the TJS guys, but if Brackman is on the list, i would think Sanchez would have made it.

  • NC Saint

    Suttle at 6 is maybe a bit too high? Obviously the man deserves to have judgment reserved until he’s had a real season and built up a serious sample size, but between Cape Cod and winter ball, there have to be enough questions about his ability to hit with wood to knowck him into the twenties, or at least teens. Is there anyone on earth who would give up Bentances, Montero, or Brackman (for instance) to hang on to Suttle at this point?

  • Andrew

    People still aren’t used to the Yankees having a good farm system. They remember guys like Eric Duncan and all the horrific drafts in the early 2000’s, and get used to thinking the Yankees didn’t change their ways. It’ll lag a little bit, but people will catch up to the new Yankees pitching factory headed by the great Nardi Contreras.

    • Alvaro

      No, actually the “prospectr gurus” will probably never look at the Yankees as having a first class farm system but who really cares. They can assign whatever grades they want (and the Red Sox will always win that game) but when guys like Wang, Cano, Melky, Hughes, Joba, Kennedy are contributing on the MLB level the gurus ratings are meaningless.

      Here’s hoping that Cash is able to disuade Hank from making a huge mistake on Santana.

  • Marcus

    Check out Sickels’ latest entry. He’s upgraded Austin Jackson to B and tries to explain his reasoning for Jed Lowrie at A-.

    • zack

      I don’t understand how Lowrie “screams A-” yet Horne is comfortable at just a B.

      • Marcus

        Well, in fairness to Sickels, he says you can’t compare pitcher grades to position player grades. I don’t know enough about his methodology to defend his choice any further. His readers are pretty much in consensus that he’s overrating Lowrie.

        • CB

          I like Sickles site and you can always take exception with ratings, particularly when you start going into letter grades.

          But I was pretty surprised to see him rate Cameron Maybin an A- and then also rate Lowerie and Ellsbury as A-‘s.

          I’m really not sure how that works? Cam Maybin and Lowerie are equivalent prospects? Really? I

          • Yankee Fan in Chicago

            I’m not a huge Maybin fan, but the kid is 20 and has already played in the bigs. And as a 19-20 year old in the minors he put up a .309/.396/.488 line.

            When Ellsbury was 20 he was at Oregon St. He’s now 23 and put up a .313/.389/.425 line in 3 seasons in the minors.

            So Maybin (who’s really a cf, no?) plays the same position as Ellsbury, is 3 years younger, has a track record of hitting for avg and getting on base just like Ellsbury, but, crucially, and unlike the punchless Ellsbury also hits for power, and given his age may develop more power, has the same grade as Ellsbury?

            Ellsbury should be carrying Maybin’s bags for him.

  • bart

    so what is wrong with trading Hughes and bunch of B players for Santana?
    10 days a aog tjhese guys were athe next Koufax and Mays — or Mantle and Ford

    • steve (different one)

      oh, i didn’t realize that this report changed anything about these players. all of a sudden everything the yankees like about these guys has gone away.

      if Sickels calls someone a B, that’s it. the book has been written. they might as well not even play our their careers.

  • Moses

    He upgraded Horne a few days back with this note:

  • Bergeneddi

    In looking at this list, I wonder if Sickels is being too influenced by “proximity” to the majors and not “projectability.” Since we are speaking of overall impact at the major league level(at the peak of his ability, how good a player will he be) and not necessarily how close to mlb-ready a player is, I disagree with several of Sickels selections.
    From everything I’ve read and seen, the biggest upside of any prospect in the Yankee system is Andrew Brackman. He gets mediocre grades sometimes because most people saw him pitch last spring when he was struggling with elbow and hip problems and he was still throwing mid-90’s with little effort. I understand he hit 101mph two yrs ago at the Cape and, again, effortless. It’s unfair to call this guy a right-handed RJ because Brackman’s a much better athlete with a much cleaner, smoother delivery. I think when he’s healthy and able to regain the power in his lower body, he will set a new velocity standard and instead of Zumaya, fans will compare the latest phenom to Brackman.
    Also, Ryan Pope has great upside. He has it all. velocity with movement;great mechanics;very good secondary stuff;outstanding command;a pitcher’s mind;all similar to IPK but slightly better and he possesses one more trait…he has the mound presence of a Rich Harden. He is very aggressive.
    Enough has been written about Betances natural talent to put him in a high position and, if he gets healthy, Christian Garcia as well.
    Net,net…I think we need to keep in mind what the word prospect means and not confuse it with closeness to major-league-ready.