2008 Pre-Draft Top 30 Prospects List

Draft Chats
Was Joba getting squeezed?

The third point of the season isn’t the best time to take stock and assess how the prospects in the minors are doing, but that’s not going to stop me. There’s been a decent amount of movement at the top, which is the result of just about everything: graduation, injuries, ineffectiveness, hissy fits and domination.

Here’s my updated look at the Yanks’ top 30 prospects, as they stand the day before some fresh blood is infused into the system. You can check out my preseason list for comparisons sake.

  1. Joba Chamberlain, RHPright at 50 IP for his career, so he hasn’t passed the rookie limit yet … i think we’re all looking forward to seeing him in the rotation for the rest of the year (or at the least the smart ones are)
  2. Jesus Montero, Csurpassed all expectations for this year, there’s no one in the draft class that can knock him from this spot
  3. Austin Jackson, CFimproved his plate discipline, hitting for power, playing good D … there’s a lot to like here
  4. JB Cox, RHPcame back from TJ like a champ, much better than I expected
  5. Mark Melancon, RHPsee above
  6. Zach McAllister, RHPwent from sleeper to stud thanks to his lights out first half
  7. Dellin Betances, RHPthe walks are high, and the tired shoulder is a minor concern, but he’s doing about all you could ask him to do in his first attempt at full-season ball
  8. Ross Ohlendorf, RHPyep, he’s technically still a prospect, and he’s better than his numbers suggest
  9. Alan Horne, RHP if it wasn’t for the biceps injury, he would probably be in the bigs
  10. Andrew Brackman, RHPtoo much talent to ignore, TJ or not
  11. Jose Tabata, RFif you want to act like a baby I’ll rank you like one … lucky for him he’s just 19
  12. Brett Gardner, CFhitting for enough power to keep pitchers honest, and that’s all he needs
  13. Jeff Marquez, RHPfinding out that Triple-A hitters make you pay when you don’t get the ball down
  14. Carmen Angelini, SSnot the best start to the year, but he’s young for his league and has loads of ability
  15. David Robertson, RHPjust keeps mowing guys down
  16. Dan McCutchen, RHPis he the guy that dominated Double-A, or the guy that’s scuffling in Triple-A?
  17. Abe Almonte, CFflashing all 5 tools and putting up the numbers … stud
  18. Austin Romine, Chaving an impressive year at the dish and behind it, which is more than you can ask from a teenage catcher in full season ball
  19. Chris Garcia, RHPgetting back into game action was step 1, step 2 is putting in the work needed to be great, because he’s got all the talent he’d ever need
  20. Colin Curtis, LFnot flashy, but he does everything just good enough
  21. Jairo Heredia, RHPtoo bad I don’t know what the “upper body injury” was
  22. Humberto Sanchez, RHPstill MIA
  23. Bradley Suttle, 3Bmashed his way into the top 20 between injuries this year after a brutal debut last year
  24. Juan Miranda, 1Bshoulder issues have sapped his power, but it was already clear that he’s a classic platoon first baseman/DH
  25. Kevin Whelan, RHPalmost a forgotten man in the system
  26. Ryan Pope, RHPenigmatic isn’t the right word, but he’s … unique
  27. Frankie Cervelli, Cholding down a spot based on reputation after the injury
  28. Mike Dunn, LHPhopefully he won’t be the top ranked lefty when I do the post-draft list, no offense to Mike
  29. Edwar Ramirez, RHPstill prospect eligible, and still striking out almost 2 batters an inning
  30. Justin Snyder, 2Ball he does is get on base and score runs
Draft Chats
Was Joba getting squeezed?
  • rbizzler

    Hi Mike! Two quick questions for you as I know that things are crazy with pre-draft sftuff (and life in general)…

    1) Why Angelini ahead of Abe, considering they are both young and play premium positions, but Abe is tearing it up right now?

    2) Does Curtis profile more as a 4th OF type? Nate McLouth maybe?

    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      1) Angelini is more polished. Once he starts hitting, he could rocket through the system. Abe is uber-talented, but still raw. There’s more that can go wrong with Abe than there is with Angelini at this point, not that either of them are locks or anything.

      2) Solid 4th outfielder. I think McLouth has proven this year that he;s an above average big leaguer. More power, more speed, better D at a more premium position than Curtis.

  • Dillon

    Overall pretty good. If this list is about potential I think Cox, Marquez, and Gardner are too high. Garcia and Sanchez are too low.

    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      It’s not just as pure potential. If it was, Brackman would be rated number 1. Closeness to the bigs also plays a pretty large role.

  • xkevinx

    Small disagreement – many of these guys have spent more than 45 days on the active roster and no longer qualify as rookies, regardless of IP.

    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      This is true, but I disregard service time when ranking prospects. Too much of a pain in the ass to check.

      • xkevinx

        Fair enough – “many” was also overstated – I think it would just be Ohlendorf, Joba and Edwar.

  • Evan V

    if marquez cant get by in AAA ball with stuff up in the zone, how can the ghost of igawawawa

  • Miles Roche

    Oh, Top Prospects List!

    Can’t wait for the post-draft Top 30. . .

    You’re best, Mike.
    Take care of yourself. . .

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=594331910 Jamal G.

    Brett Gardner is a very interesting deal, what are we talking about if he can sustain this power in the Major Leagues? Is Melky Cabrera on a timer here?

    • TurnTwo

      not this year, i dont think.

      melky is a completely different animal when he’s batting lefty than when he’s batting righty, or it seems to me.

      that would make Melky and Gardner almost interchangeable, and because Melky’s done it with the big club already, i dont think he’s going anywhere in 2008…. now for 2009, all bets are off.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Melky’s on a timer because of A-Jax (and to a lesser degree these days, Tabata), not Gardner. And because he’s got a career OPS+ of 91.

      • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

        But Ben, he makes some good throws. That alone is worth like, 15 OPS+’s.

    • Reggie C

      Definitely. Joe G. is making note of Melky’s non-existent offensive refinement. He can’t work a count nor draw walks. Two things which Gardner is clearly demonstrating at the Triple A level. Imo, Gardner is gonna see at least 100 at-bats at the ML level after the all-star break.

    • A.D.

      Unfortunately for Gardner is Damon having a good season, staying healthy & signed through next year, he’d potentially be a perfect replacement for Damon

  • http://www.pinstripealley.com jscape2000

    It’s always nice to get a feel for how you think the prospects are moving their stock up or down, but I’m surprised you listed guys like Wheelan (24), Dunn (23), and even Pope (22) ahead of closer to MLB ready guys like Robertson (22) and Wordekemper (24). Is their ceiling really that much higher?

    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      Yes their ceilings are that much higher, but I did rank Robertson ahead of those 3 you mentioned. Wordekemper is nothing special, but he did have one helluva season last year.

      • http://www.pinstripealley.com jscape2000

        I just missed Robertson on your list. My bad.

        • A.D.

          Wordekemper hasn’t looked good this season

  • Bo

    Why are so many people trying to push out Melky for Bret Gardner? Melky is younger and a better defender and can actually hit for some power.

    The guy they both should be worried about is Jackson.

    • whozat

      Because Gardner is the evil we don’t know, and he has more speed. Even though that only matters when you get on base, and his MLE numbers don’t indicate that he’d do that any better than Melky.

    • Reggie C

      Melky hits for power? Okay. Melky can’t hit for average or get on base at a decent clip. Gardner’s got a better athletic body and he’s shown at the Triple A level that he can post a good BA and a stellar OBP. Its only a matter of time before the Yanks decide pull the plug on the Melky experiment and go with Gardner.

  • Geno

    A few questions Mike. First, how long before Melancon, Cox and Robertson are in the big show & how effective do you think they’ll be once there?

    And finally, if Garcia stays healthy, what kind of ceiling does he have? Who would you compare him to?

    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      They’ll be effective, but not shutdown relievers like Joba, not right away anyway. They shouldn’t be much worse than Jose Veras initially.

      I hate playing the comp game, but Garcia has AJ Burnett written all over him.

      • http://yankeesfuture.wordpress.com Pablo Zevallos

        that’s good in one way (stuff + results), very bad in another (injuries!)

  • Piquay

    Good list, Mike. Just one thing..

    I am a HUGE fan of Angelini.. he is probably my favorite prospect in the system behind A-Jax. Having said that, he really has not done enough to warrant a spot above Romine. Granted, Romine has been out with the injury for a couple of weeks, but during the time he was playing, he has shown an ability to hit for average (around .300), power, and has shown good defensive skills.

    Angelini has not hit for average, power, and has been a wreck in the field (17 errors to date, is it?). Again, I really love the kid, and hope his performance in recent weeks is an indication that he is getting comfortable, but at least so far, he hasn’t done enough to warrant being ranked above Romine, IMO.

    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      That is a very good argument, and you have me reconsidering my rankings. Romine does play a more premium position, but he loses a few points because of the injury. I consider prospects 12 through like, 25 to be pretty interchangeable thoiugh.

  • Matt G.

    How about Jason Jones? What does the guy have to do to get some recognition?

    • A.D.

      get younger?

  • http://thefinalseason.blogspot.com/ Mike

    What do you guys think about Eric Duncan??

    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      He’s going to have to do a lot more than have a good two weeks to get back into the Top 30. I like E-Dunc, and I almost feel bad for him because the Yanks’ rushed him so aggressively (to up his trade value) that it screwed him up like this.

  • Scott

    I ‘m confused when you mention Gardner and Jackson showing power. Each of them have only 3 HR’s a piece in over 200 AB’s?

    • A.D.

      For Gardner is that he’s shown he can put it out, not that he does regularly, just enough so guys can’t groove it to him.

      For AJAX, he’s hit 17 doubles & 3 triples along with the 3 which have all been recent

  • dan

    I know it’s only one spot, but I’m assuming Cox is higher than Melancon based purely on AAA experience.

    And maybe someone will remember that minors guy that MVN brought in for the yankees but only stayed for like 2 posts…. everyone ripped on him for saying that Melancon could be in the majors sometime in July… we look awfully foolish now don’t we?

    • A.D.

      Whomever ripped him was foolish, Cashman or someone said in the spring that Melancon could start in AAA coming off surgery but they were going to take some time

      • dan

        It was like 40 people doing it lol… no one expected him to be this good and this sharp so soon.

    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      They’re pretty much even in my eyes, it’s just that JB has way more innings under his belt. I’ve made it no secret that I’m a big fan of Cox. Okay, that came out wrong…

  • A.D.

    McCutchen needs to cut down the walks in AAA

    • A.D.

      Never mind he has 1 for some reason I though I read he had more

  • caffy

    To answer Mike’s question first: I was a little surprised that Eric was not on this list. I know that he’s lost favor since his 2004 prospect days, but seeing as he is still the youngest guy at Triple A and that he has showed a lot more promise this year than he did in 2006 and 2007, I am very optimistic that he’ll be able to add value to a major league team. I think going back to his natural swing and the lower weight were key for him, as it will help keep him from straining his back again and give him more of a presence on the base path, something he was DEFINITELY lacking in years past.

    I think the most compelling thing for me is Eric’s behavior when he’s going through a slump. He doesn’t make wild swings, he works the pitch count, and he still draws walks, setting the stage for offensive outperformance when he gets his swing down. Those things considered, as well as his impressive flashes of brilliance this year really make me think that he still has that potential that he once showed, albeit in potentially smaller doses.

  • nick blasioli

    if snyder is that good,,bring him up and send cano down to get his game back in shape…it makes good sense to me…

  • Simon B.

    Kind of strange how you put most of the relievers ridiculously high and Edwar at 29. I know he had a bad game yesterday, but he probably has the best stuff except for Melancon and he has great numbers stretching back 3 years.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      Ramirez has one good pitch (okay, it’s a great pitch), but the other guys have two or three good pitches. Plus he’s already 27, which is a huge factor.

      • Simon B.

        A slightly above-average fastball and a godlike changeup (and a slider that’s really not that bad—hovering just below average maybe) is fine enough. He also strikes out far more than anybody else.

        Does 4 MPH on Ohlendorf’s fastball compensate that his best secondary pitch is a slider which he can’t command and hangs half the time? That’s not to mention his track record. And yes, I found it, his relievers ERA in the minor leagues is, in fact, 4.57. He does not deserve a major league spot.

        I’m also hesitant on Cox. I know he throws the two-seamer mostly, but he does sit 86-88 and none of his secondary pitches really stands out a great deal. I like him, but he shouldn’t be #4.

  • dave

    I hadn’t heard about this kid until i was reading chad jennings, but he talked to a scout who was raving about Alfredo Aceves. What are your thoughts on him. His numbers are pretty good and got better when he moved up to AA.
    4-1, 2.11 era, 47 inn, 37 k’s, 8 bb
    1-1, 0.78 era, 23 inn, 18 k’s, 1 bb

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      Don’t know enough about him, but I really should. I’m kinda kicking myself more not ranking him.

  • Todd

    Mike. Please explain how a “prospect” who has made it to the show possibly be rated 29th. I would wager that over half of these guys on the list will never even make the majors. And how can that same guy possibly be rated lower than a guy (McCutchen) 13 spots lower that he has out-performed significantly in AAA.

    BTW, outstanding work on your article about unsigned draftees… Tremendous!

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      Edwar is what he is at this point. If nothing else, the other guys off a little more projection and ceiling.

      • leftylarry

        Seems to me that Brandon Laird is one of the best hitting prospects in the Yankees system.
        He may end up a DH or first baseman but the kid has power and shoud hit for average also.
        After a horrible start this spring, he’s hitting .260 and hitting HR’s in bunches.
        I think he’s better than some listed above him.

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