Feb
13

2009 Preseason Top 30 Prospects

By

champsOver the years I’ve gone through phases when it comes to these lists. A few years ago I was all about upside; if you had a significant ceiling you were making my list, regardless if you struck out 195 times in 134 games (coughTimBattlecough). These days I find myself favoring probability and closeness to the majors. Don’t get me wrong, upside is still a huge part of prospect rankings, but I’m definitely starting to weigh readiness more in my rankings. It just makes sense considering the shift towards younger players in today’s game.

The Yankees’ system was definitely in the red this year. The losses sustained due to graduation, trades, injuries and ineffectiveness outweigh the gains brought on by breakouts and player acquisitions. Three players from last year’s top ten are no longer with the organization, and just one player from the top five makes a repeat showing there this year. On top of that the Yanks failed to sign their first and second round draft picks. While they’ll reap the benefits of the compensation picks this year, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to match the potential of Gerrit Cole, nevermind Scott Bittle. Forfeiting their first, second and third round picks in next year’s draft for signing free agents means they’ll be working at a disadvantage as they try to rebuild the system.

Despite all that, the Yanks’ affiliates did a whole lotta winning this year. Triple-A Scranton and Double-A Trenton (pictured) each won their league titles this year, and it was Trenton’s second consecutive championship. All told the minor league affiliates combined for a 406-287  record (.586 winning percentage), far and away the best in baseball. They were the only club to eclipsed the 400 win mark, and the next best organization (Rangers) had a .556 winning percentage. Winning obviously takes a back seat to development in the minor leagues, but it’s always nice to give your young players a taste of success.

As I was putting this list together, I didn’t have to put too much thought into figuring out who the organization’s top three prospects were. Barring a trade I knew exactly who numbers one, two and three were going to be basically since September. Numbers four through seven are pretty interchangeable in my eyes, eight through nineteen even more so. Don’t get too worked up if I ranked your favorite prospect lower than you would have liked, quite often the difference between a set of two, three or ten prospects is smaller than you may think.

It’s always fun to go back in time and see how things worked out, so here’s my 2007 and 2008 lists. Otherwise, the fun starts after the jump. Ages are as of Opening Day.

30. Steven Jackson, RHRP, 27
s_jacksonThe only player left from the Randy Johnson trade two years ago, it all finally came together for Jackson last year after the Yanks adjusted his mechanics. The result: his slider improved and his strikeout rate jumped from 6.37 Kper9 prior to 2008 to 10.40 last year. The tinkering also made him tougher on lefties, who hit just .212 off Jackson last year after tattooing him for a .336 avg from 2005-2007. Jackson was manager Dave Miley’s go to reliever down the stretch as Triple-A Scranton made their title run, and the Yanks rewarded his breakout year by adding him to the 40-man roster after the season. Jackson will get a long look in Spring Training with an outside chance of winning a bullpen job, but more than likely he’ll return to Scranton to start the year, where he’ll again serve as one of Miley’s most trusted bullpen arms. He’ll make his Major League debut at some point in 2009, and could become a set-up man if his improvements against lefties were real.

garcia29. Chris Garcia, RHSP, 23
Last year was more of the same for Garcia, who continues to demonstrate his plus-plus injury tool. He’s missed time over the years with a strained oblique, a knee strain that required surgery, several elbow issues including Tommy John surgery, and last year he added a sore shoulder for good measure. Garcia reached Double-A last year (albeit briefly) for the the first time in his career, and all told he’s thrown just 265.1 IP in four and a half years as a pro. His fastball-curveball combo is still electric, but it hasn’t completely returned to it’s pre-TJ levels. Everything comes in a little bit slower right now and his command was never great to begin with, but a proper Spring Training routine should help bring him all the way back. Garcia was added to the 40-man roster after the season to avoid exposure to the Rule 5 Draft, so the Yanks’ braintrust obviously still has faith in him. My patience is growing increasingly thin, however. He’s ready for Double-A, but the Yanks could start him in High-A Tampa to keep him out of the cold weather. A September call-up is likely, assuming he’s healthy.

28. Kevin Russo, 2B, 24
russoOne of the Yanks’ few breakout players in 2008, Russo’s season was split into two halves after he took a liner to the face, requiring surgery. Before the injury he was arguably Double-A Trenton’s best hitter, posting a .305-.365-.444 batting line. Russo hit .313-.347-.375 after returning, then cruised to a .309-.377-.464 line in the hitter friendly Arizona Fall League. Those slash stats look nice, but Russo projects to have below average power and is prone to being overly aggressive at the plate, which limits his offensive ceiling. Russo’s best asset is his versatility, as he spent time at second, short, third and left field last season, handling each with aplomb. He’s a classic bench/utility player prospect, especially for a team like the Yankees, but if he improves his plate discipline he could be a league average second baseman. Russo will get a look in Spring Training, but will man second everyday for Triple-A Scranton in 2009.

b_laird27. Brandon Laird, 1B, 21
Laird is one of the more controversial prospects in the Yanks’ system. His supporters point to his quick bat and strong yet still developing power, but his detractors point out that just about everything else in his game is either below average or a question mark. He did improve his defense somewhat over the season, but he’s still below average at the hot corner and passable at first. Luckily for Laird he excels at the one thing that gets guys noticed: hitting. He has an advanced but aggressive approach, and he’ll have to make some adjustments as he climbs the ladder and faces more experienced pitchers. Laird will have to prove himself at each level along the way, which he’ll do while splitting time between first, third and DH for High-A Tampa this year.

26. Frankie Cervelli, C, 23
cervelliPerhaps best known to the casual fan as “the guy that had his wrist broken in that bush league Spring Training collision,” Cervelli is the Yanks’ most advanced catching prospect. After recovering from the wrist injury as well as a slight knee issue, he spent a month or so as Double-A Trenton’s every day catcher, hitting .315-.432-.384 in the process. That performance is out of line with his career stats, and by all accounts Cervelli is a well below average hitter but a premium defender. He represents the organization’s best hope for a homegrown backup catcher in the near future, and ideally he would be ready to step in and replace Jose Molina once his contract expires after the coming season. Cervelli will return to Trenton to start 2009, and could be in line for a mid-season promotion to Triple-A Scranton. He is all but assured of another September call-up.

miranda25. Juan Miranda, 1B, 25
The Yankees signed Miranda two years ago hoping he would develop into a long term first base solution, but halfway through his four year deal he’s blocked behind the team’s shiny new $180M toy. He’s proven to be a classic platoon hitter, mashing righties to a .300-.397-.514 line while slumping to .208-.279-.329 against southpaws. Miranda has value because he’s cheap and Major League ready, but he’s most useful to the Yankees as a trade chip or a bat off the bench. He’ll get a long look in Spring Training with a remote shot of winning a bench job, otherwise he’ll head back to Triple-A where the Yanks hope he’ll boost his trade value by improving against lefties.

24. Humberto Sanchez, RHRP, 25
humbertoYankee fans finally caught a glimpse of Hungy Hungy Humberto in 2008, as Tommy John surgery and various other ailments delayed his pinstripe debut by over a year. Acquired in the Gary Sheffield deal, Sanchez is finally healthy and ready to contribute a full season to the organization in 2009. He has been developed as a starter his entire career, but it appears he’ll ultimately end up in the bullpen long term because of his extensive injury history and poor command. He does have three quality pitches (and a fourth usable one), so if he doesn’t break camp with the Major League squad he may work out of Triple-A Scranton’s rotation to start the season. Sanchez will be given a chance to earn that bullpen spot in Spring Training, however he’s at the back of the line.

23. Jon Albaladejo, RHRP, 26
It seemed like Brian Cashman was acquiring nothing more than a spare part when he dealt Tyler Clippard for Albaladejo last offseason, but it turned out that he brought in a valuable asset. Albaladejo made the Opening Day roster last year because Andy Pettitte started the year on the disabled list, and he proved to be a valuable middle innings arm before suffering a stress fracture in his throwing elbow. He capped off some rehab appearances at the end of the year with a dominant winter ball showing (22 IP, 13 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 18 K), proving that his elbow is sound. Albaladejo’s pure stuff isn’t overwhelming, but he pounds the zone and does a good job of keeping the ball in the park (3.13 K/BB & 0.64 HRper9 over the last three years). He’ll be given every opportunity to win a bullpen job in Spring Training.

22. Manny Banuelos, LHSP, 18
The Yankees landed Banuelos in the same talent haul out of Mexico that gave them Al Aceves. The diminutive southpaw draws raves for his mound presence and pitching aptitude, which allows his fringy stuff to play up. Banuelos’ fastball typical sits around 90 mph, and all of his secondary pitches are in their infancy stages. He pitched extremely well in his pro debut (42 IP, 1.07 WHIP, .208 avg against) mostly by outsmarting inexperienced hitters. Banuelos is still extremely young and offers a good amount of projection, and he has a chance to develop into a true frontline pitcher if his stuff comes together. The Yanks love him, and will challenge him with an assignment to Low-A Charleston to start the year.

21. Carmen Angelini, SS, 20
c_angeliniI had high hopes for Angelini coming into the year, and despite his atrocious first full season as a pro I still hold out hope. The knock on him was that more advanced pitchers might knock the bat out of his hands, and that was certainly the case when he hit just .236-.302-.295 with Low-A Charleston. Angelini is a true shortstop and there’s plenty of time for him to add some bulk to his wiry frame (listed at 6’2″, 185 lbs) because he’s still so young. The Yanks gave him a seven figure signing bonus and aren’t about to give up on him after a bad first season, and neither am I. He’s ticketed for a return to Charleston to start the year, and could earn a mid-season promotion to High-A Tampa a la Austin Jackson circa 2007.

adams20. David Adams, 2B, 21
From the looks of it I’m the only one with any real expectations for Adams. The former Cape Cod League doubles champ didn’t take that expected big step forward as a junior at Virginia and went from a potential late first round pick to third rounder. Adams isn’t as dynamic a hitter as the oft-injured Damon Sublett, but he’s better defensively and has a better all around game. He can handle himself all over the infield, and his strong track record with wood bats suggests he could develop into a solid hitter if he finds the stroke that made him one of the nation’s best middle infielders as a sophomore in 2007. I guess I’m just optimistic. Adams will probably start 2009 with Low-A Charleston, but he’s just another Sublett injury from a High-A Tampa assignment.

19. Wilkins DeLaRosa, LHRP, 24
delarosaOnce a no-hit outfielder (.232-.342-.279), DeLaRosa blossomed last year in his first full season as a pitcher. After starting the year working out of Low-A Charleston’s bullpen he moved to the rotation and finished the year with three strong starts for High-A Tampa. DeLaRosa dominated both right (.194 batting avg against) and left handed (.184) batters with his fastball-power breaking ball combo. His command and control were exceptional for a recent convertee and kept improving, as he went from 6.32 BBper9 in April to 2.32 in August/early September. Added to the 40-man roster after the season to keep him from becoming a minor league free agent, DeLaRosa profiles best as a reliever and is officially on the fast track. He’ll likely start 2009 in High-A Tampa for the warm weather, but look for him to get a quick bump to Double-A Trenton as the season marches on. It wouldn’t completely shock me if he gets a September call-up.

marshall18. Brett Marshall, RHSP, 19
Marshall received the largest bonus of the Yanks’ 2008 draftees, and he has the biggest arm too. He’s a classic Texas fireballer with three legitimate power pitches and is working on adding another breaking ball and offspeed pitch to his repertoire. Marshall was impressive in his tiny Rookie ball debut (6 IP, 8 K, 4 baserunners) and his arm doesn’t have many miles on it because he’s only been a full time pitcher for just over two years. Because his command is still a work in progress and his delivery needs some ironing out, Marshall could start 2009 in Extended Spring Training. A strong showing in camp could land him a spot in Low-A Charleston’s rotation, however.

17. Arodys Vizaino, RHSP, 18
Outfielder Kelvin DeLeon received a larger bonus during the 2007 international signing period, but Vizcaino beat him the States. The Dominican born right hander has already started to fill out his gangly frame and projects to add even more heat to his low-90′s fastball. Rookie level hitters stood no chance against his power breaking ball, as he struck out 9.82 batters per nine innings while allowing just a .222 batting avg against. Command is still a work in progress as is a changeup, but there’s no rush. Vizcaino has one of the highest ceilings in the organization, and Keith Law labeled him a sleeper for 2009 (subscription req’d.). He’s a prime candidate for Extending Spring Training followed by a trip to Short Season Staten Island.

16. George Kontos, RHSP, 23
kontosI’ve never been shy about my KontosDoubt, but it’s getting to the point where it’s impossible to ignore his success at a high level. Long billed as a guy with firm stuff but little results to show for it, Kontos broke through last year by taking the ball every fifth day for Double-A Trenton. His 6-11 record doesn’t do him justice, as he struck out more than a batter per inning, did a good job of keeping the ball in the park, and held opponents to just a .236 batting avg against. Rule 5 Draft eligible after the season, Kontos might end up trade bait because of the Yanks’ perpetually crowded 40-man roster. I fear he may be this year’s Jeff Marquez, the guy who’s bandwagon I finally jump on only to have him fall flat on his face during the season. Kontos is ready for Triple-A, but could start the year back in Trenton due to the number’s crunch.

dunn15. Mike Dunn, LHRP, 23
The Yankees put Dunn back on the mound after he hit just .160-.269-.230 over two seasons (he was a two-way player in college), and the move was an instant success. After a breakout season in Low-A Charleston’s rotation in ’07, Dunn moved to the bullpen in the second half of 2008 and became one of manager Tony Franklin’s most trusted relievers during Double-A Trenton’s march to the league title. Dunn’s fastball jumped a full grade when he made the switch to the bullpen, and he’s always shown a put away slider. He’s held lefties to a .216 batting avg against in his career thanks to a 11.52 Kper9 rate. Dunn’s in the bullpen for good, which suits his bulldog mentality, and to become more than a lefty specialist he’ll have to do a better job of throwing strikes with more consistency. Because he was added to the 40-man after the season the Yanks could push him to Triple-A Scranton to start the year, although a return to Double-A is more likely. Dunn should make his big league debut at some point this year.

14. Bradley Suttle, 3B, 23
b_suttleBilled as the best pure college hitter in the 2007 draft by Baseball America, Suttle was an easy guy to pick on last year because he landed a gigantic $1.3M bonus as a draft eligible sophomore, was poor defensively and didn’t hit a lick in his brief pro debut. Although he battled through hip issues, Suttle improved his defense substantially and picked up his performance at the plate, batting .271-.348-.456 with a .350 wOBP. He’s more of a contact oriented guy with a keen eye from both sides of the plate, and doesn’t offer the typical power output associated with corner infielders. Given his improved defense and no need for a long term third base solution by the organization, Suttle may get shifted out to right field in the future, possibly even second if he maintains some athleticism as he fills out. He’ll start 2009 manning the hot corner in High-A Tampa.

robertson13. David Robertson, RHRP, 24
Robertson’s baseball life changed forever during the summer of 2006, when Yarmouth-Dennis pitching coach Taylor Childress taught him a curveball during the Cape Cod League season. He took to the pitch immediately and was named Playoff MVP after retiring all 22 batters he faced in the postseason, 15 via strikeout. The Yanks jumped in and signed their 17th round pick to a well over slot $200,000 bonus, and have no reason to regret the signing. D-Rob dominated across four different minor league levels in the span of fourteen months (0.93 WHIP, 12.39 Kper9) before making his big league debut in late June. Undersized (listed at 5’11″, 180 lbs) but still armed with the knockout curve and low-90′s heat, a middle relief gig is his to lose in Spring Training. He should fill a set-up role down the road.

12. Jairo Heredia, RHSP, 19
jairoAn unheralded signing out the Dominican Republic in 2006, the Yankees eagerly bumped Jairo to full season ball last year, where he held his own. He dealt with a tender arm that caused him to miss some time in May, and spend most of the year working on his control (3.78 BBper9). Heredia also wore down a bit at the end of the year, giving up at least four runs in five of his last six starts. His ability to change speeds and pitch like someone five years his elder are still his strong points, although his stuff is merely solid and not holy crap good. The Yanks skipped him over the Dominican Summer League and had him in Low-A Charleston as a teenager, so it’s easy to foresee Jairo “don’t call me Felix” Heredia starting 2009 with High-A Tampa.

gardner11. Brett Gardner, CF, 25
Perpetually doubted because of his old school game built around speed and making contact, Gardner cracked the big league roster in mid-season, then held down the fort in center field for just about all of September. Typically a slow starter at a new level, his big league debut was no different. Gardner hit .153-.227-.169 before a demotion back to Triple-A, then returned a month later and hit .294-.333-.412 the rest of the way. He fits the classic leadoff hitter profile, but unfortunately he has less power than you would like out of even that kind of hitter. Gardner’s future will depend on his ability to maximize his slap hitting approach while not having the bat knocked out of his hands by big league fastballs. He’ll be given every opportunity to win the center field job in Spring Training.

10. Phil Coke, LHRP, 26
Coke’s been a lurker in the Yanks’ system since he was drafted way back in 22nd round of 2002. He was in danger of being released following the 2005 season when he put up a 5.42 ERA and 1.51 WHIP in the Low-A South Atlantic League when he was old for the league. He picked a great year to finally breakout, as he would have been a minor league free agent after the season if he wasn’t added to the 40-man roster. Brilliant in his first foray into the Double-A level, Coke forced the Yank’s hand and earned himself a September call-up. With three solid pitches Coke could still make it as a back-end starter, however his stuff and ceiling are much greater when he works in relief. Lefties handled him better than righties last year (.293 BAA vs .223), however that’s inconsistent with his career splits and is likely just a fluke. Unless he falls on his face in Spring Training, he’ll likely be the second lefty out of Joe Girardi’s bullpen to start 2009.

9. Jeremy Bleich, LHSP, 21
The Yanks’ highest signed pick from the 2008 draft, Bleich is the Yanks’ best lefty pitching prospect since Sean Henn. Unlike Henn, who’s sole claim to prospectdum was his high-90′s pre-Tommy John surgery heat, Bleich is a classic pitchability lefty that succeeds by mixing his pitches all over the strike zone and attacking hitters’ weaknesses. He made his pro debut in the now defunct Hawaii Winter Baseball league, finishing second in the circuit with 35.2 IP and second amongst starters with a 1.77 ERA. Despite constant knee-jerk reactionary rumors that he needs elbow surgery, Bleich’s elbow is sound and has been since returning from an elbow strain during the spring college season. He’ll begin next season with High-A Tampa and has a chance to blow through the minors.

8. Al Aceves, RHSP, 26
acevesThe Mexican Gangster literally came out of nowhere last year; I wasn’t aware of his signing until his name popped up in the box score for High-A Tampa’s fourth game of the year back in April. He signed for just $450,000 last winter and dominated across three levels of minor league baseball before displacing Darrell Rasner from the rotation late in the season. Aceves started 2008 at just 25 years old despite being a six year veteran of the Mexican League, and he didn’t walk a soul in the minors (1.73 BBper9) before pitching admirably during his September cup o’ joe. His diverse repertoire includes a total of five pitches, the best of which is a fading changeup. He often succeeds on guts as much as talent. Due to his age and lack of a put away offering Aceves is what he is at this point, but what he is is a serviceable back-end option for a big league rotation. Now that Andy Pettitte resigned, the chances of TMG winning rotation job out of Spring Training are remote. He’ll have to settle for a spot in Triple-A Scranton’s rotation if he doesn’t make the club as a swingman.

7. Austin Romine, C, 20
One-half of Low-A Charleston’s stud catching prospect tandem, Romine established himself as one of the best all around catching prospects in the game this year. He finished at .300-.344-.437 while doing most of his damage with RISP (.376-.434-.486). Romine’s two best assets are his good power and top notch arm, although poor footwork and a raw transfer allowed him to only throw out 20.4% of attempted basestealers. He’ll have to work on his footwork and receiving to reach his considerable defensive ceiling, but there’s plenty of time for that as he climbs the ladder. A natural leader, Romine made significant strides with his game calling and takes command of the clubhouse. He’ll jump up to High-A Tampa and will presumably do the catcher tandem thing again.

6. Dellin Betances, RHSP, 21
Perhaps the biggest project in the entire system, Betances took a major step forward this year after returning from a bum shoulder that caused him to miss all of June. Prior to the injury Betances was walking 6.54 batters per nine innings, but when he returned he cut that down to 2.83. His strikeout rate never wavered from approximately 10.5 Kper9, but his hit rate did jump a bit (6.05 Hper9 to 7.46) simply because he was putting more pitches in the strike zone. Betances struggles with his mechanics because he’s so big (6’8″, 245 lbs), and it’s going to take a few years to straighten things out. With a fastball that touches the upper-90′s and a power curve, there’s no doubt Betances has frontline potential. His changeup and ability to control the running game need work, typical of 20 year old pitchers. He’ll be part of a star studded High-A Tampa rotation in 2009.

5. Zach McAllister, RHSP, 21
My breakout pick for 2008 didn’t disappoint as McAllister dominated across two levels as a 20 year old in his first full season ball experience. Finishing with the fourth lowest ERA in A-ball (2.08) and the seventh lowest in all of minor league baseball, Z-Mac has all the ingredients needed to be a true workhorse in the middle of a rotation. His frame is a scout’s dream at 6’6″, 230 lbs, and he’s able to induce ground balls for quick innings by working off his filthy low-90′s two seamer. He has strong command of his four seamer, slider and changeup to round out his four pitch repertoire. The only drawback is that McAllister lacks a true out pitch which limits his ceiling from being any higher, but he still has plenty of time to sharpen his slider. The Yanks may decide to start him back with High-A Tampa to keep him in the warm weather, although a jump to Double-A Trenton to start the year isn’t out of the question.

4. Mark Melancon, RHRP, 24
The closest to a sure thing in the Yanks’ system, Melancon returned from Tommy John surgery to annihilate three levels (.202 BAA, 8.43 Kper9, 0.96 WHIP) in his first healthy professional season. His devastating fastball-curve combo eventually returned to it’s pre-Tommy John surgery levels, and he even added a changeup for good measure. Melancon established his durability last year by throwing multiple innings in all but four of his 44 appearances, and his makeup and work ethic have long been billed as top of the line. Melancon will again participate in Major League Spring Training this year, with a slim but real shot of breaking camp with the big boys. If not, he’ll return to Triple-A Scranton for a few weeks before inevitably coming up. It’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which Melancon’s a key cog in the Bombers’ pen by the second half.

brackman3. Andrew Brackman, RHSP, 23
A year and a half later, the Yankees will finally be able to turn their 2007 first round pick loose. Set back by Tommy John surgery, Brackman put together a strong comeback performance in Hawaii Winter Baseball (.235 BAA, 9.53 Kper9), but more importantly flashed his old stuff (with the typical command and control issues associated with a TJ comeback). A top notch athlete with a legit mid-90′s fastball and a knockout curve, Brackman’s supreme athleticism gives him an advantage over other 6’10″ pitchers. Still raw on the mound, the crucial elements for his development are improving his command and control and finding comfortable mechanics. Since he missed all of 2007 due to injury, the Yanks can request an extra option year for Brackman, giving him four full years before he has to stick in the bigs. He’ll start the year fronting a great staff, and close to the braintrust, in High-A Tampa.

2. Jesus Montero, C, 19
The Bombers’ prized international free agent signing in 2006, Montero made his long awaited full season debut in 2008 and did not disappoint. He led the South Atlantic League with 171 hits, and went from a .309-.348-.453 line with a 3.14 K/BB ratio in the first half to .344-.407-.534 with a 1.70 K/BB in the second half. Montero’s calling card is his top of the line hitting ability and power thanks to his strong bat speed, but his downside is his lack of athleticism and defensive questions. Standing 6’4″, 225 lbs as an 18 year old, he needs to improve just about everything he does behind the plate, from his footwork to his transfer on throws to his blocking ability. He’ll probably add a bit more bulk to that frame as he matures, and the difference between Montero and other big bodied catchers like Joe Mauer and Matt Wieters is their extraordinary athletic ability. There’s no sense in moving Montero out from behind the dish just yet, he has three levels ahead of him to improve his defense, and a move to first would decrease the value of his bat. And besides, it’s first base, not the most difficult of positions to pick up. He’ll head to High-A Tampa in 2009 to do the catcher-DH tandem thing with Austin Romine again.

1. Austin Jackson, CF, 22
Expectations for the Yanks’ eighth round pick in 2005 were sky high following his breakout .962 OPS and .415 wOBP in the second half of 2007 with High-A Tampa, and he followed it up by holding his own in Double-A, hitting .285-.354-.419. Jackson’s athleticism and tools are exciting, however he’s still learning to translate them into on-the-field performance because he’s been a full-time baseball player for just under four years. The most encouraging thing about Jackson is the improvements in his plate discipline. He’s improved his strikeout rate in each of his three full seasons (4.05 PAperK in ’06, 5.09 in ’07, 5.17 in ’08) while improving his walk rate from 11.56 PAperBB in ’07 to 10.43 in ’08. The best thing for Jackson’s development in 2009 would be a full season in Triple-A, but don’t be surprised if he makes an appearance in the Bronx at some point during the summer.

* * *

If you’re curious, I would have ranked Jose Tabata right behind Jesus Montero, Gerrit Cole behind Andrew Brackman, Dan McCutchen behind Jairo Heredia, and Jeff Marquez behind Juan Miranda. Alberto Gonzalez, Scott Bittle and Jhonny Nunez would have been in consideration for the last few spots, although they probably would have fallen short. Ross Ohlendorf graduated from prospect status in 2008 and wouldn’t have been eligible for the list, and Chase Wright was in the 31-35 range prior to being dealt to Milwaukee.

Aceves was the most interesting guy to rank. When I first started compiling the list, I had him in the 15-20 range, but as I learned more and more about him, he just kept climbing. He doesn’t have the highest ceiling or the sexiest stuff on the list, but there’s something to be said for a guy that’s a surefire contributor at the Major League level.

After compiling the list, my first thought was that there are way too many relievers. Eight players on the list work out of the bullpen, and at one point before I made my final revision I had as many as ten relievers crack the top thirty. A dozen players on the list have never set foot above Low-A ball, and half of those players have never played in a full season league. In general, the Yanks’ system is short on impact talent at the upper levels, but is loaded with it in the lower minors. Hopefully some of these players develop like we hope they will.

I’m going to be holding my weekly Friday chat as usual this afternoon (2pm), so make sure you bring your questions there. We’re goin’ long today.

Click here to see the list of photo credits.

Categories : Minors
  • http://mlb.mlb.com/stats/individual_player_postseason.jsp?c_id=nyy&playerID=121250&statType=2 Slugger27 Back From Hiatus

    good stuff as always… my initial reactions were that marshall and garcia were a lot lower than i expected, and dunn much higher

    when do u think bleich could make a contribution to the big league team?

  • http://mvn.com/milb-yankees Eric

    Well done as always. My list, which I am publishing soon, looks to be slightly different, but that’s the fun part about ranking prospects.

  • Tom Zig

    Couple things i noticed:

    Z-Mac’s elbow looks like it is about to fly off.

    De La Rosa also looks to have a crazy delivery

    and Kevin Whelan in the 2007 post looks fierce!

  • http://evizions.com eVizions

    Great job – as expected. I probably would have expected Gardner to be a little higher, considering he is the odds-on favorite to be the NYY starting CF this season, maybe swapping him and Aceves, but this is definitely the most well put together list that I’ve seen so far (haven’t seen BA yet).

    • whozat

      Even so, his upside is “borderline starting OFer”

      The guy’s contact rates concern me greatly.

      • http://evizions.com eVizions

        I think his upside is definitely higher than “borderline starting OFer”… I think he could develop into a pretty solid CF. He’ll never be an all-star, but if he can hit .270-.290 and get on base at a .380 clip, wouldn’t you take that with his speed and defense? The guy has a knack for adjusting to a league the second time around, so I think he sticks around the league for awhile, whether it’s with the Yanks or not.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Everyone would take that. Problem is, he barely OBP’d .380 in the minor leagues (career .389). Thinking that he could OBP .380 at the big leagues requires a massive leap of faith.

          • steve (different one)

            like i said yesterday, the expectations around Gardner are unrealistic.

            there is zero chance he is a .380 OBP player in the bigs.

            • Rob in CT

              I’d be pleased with .350. If he managed that, and stole at a good success rate, he could be valuable. But that’s probably the high-end.

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            For comparison’s sake, two of the comps for Gardner that we’ve been floating around here recently are Brett Butler or Dave Roberts. Butler had a big league career line of .290/.377/.376, Roberts is .266/.342/.366.

            In the minors, however, Butler put up an aggregate line of .338/.461/.452. Roberts put up an aggregate .294/.380/.405, making him a much better comp for Gardner (.290/.389/.385)

            The ceiling you described is Brett Butler, but Butler’s probably not a realistic ceiling for Gardner. More Roberts. And Roberts is a quintessential “borderline starting outfielder”, IMO.

            • http://evizions.com eVizions

              I would definitely be happy with Brett Butler-type production and would definitely be disappointed with Dave Roberts-type production. The question is: would you be happy with somewhere in between?

              • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                I’d be happy with Roberts-type production.

                I’m not askign for miracles, just usefulness.

          • http://evizions.com eVizions

            Maybe I’m seeing something that’s not really there, but if you look at his starting level each year, he’s got an OBP the last 3 years of .433, .392 and .414. I think he can develop into a .380 OBP guy.

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

              Just for the record, only 21 players had at least a .380 OBP last year:

              http://tinyurl.com/b4cz7o

        • whozat

          I think he could develop into a pretty solid CF. He’ll never be an all-star, but if he can hit .270-.290 and get on base at a .380 clip, wouldn’t you take that with his speed and defense?

          What makes you think that he will be able to do this? Is it his prodigious strike-out rate, coupled with a lack of ability to drive the ball?

          A more realistic projection is provided by the MLE calculator, which gives .250/.350/.350 or so. Which I’d still take, if he does in fact have plus defense and steals lots of bases at a 75% rate.

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Yup, I’d take it too. Just not as a permanent starting outfielder for the next half decade.

            If Gardner can manage to get on base 34% of the time, his plus defense and basestealing can keep CF warm until AJax is ready. After that, he settles into the 4th OF/pinchrunner/late-inning defensive substitute role that is useful but not starter-worthy.

            I’m already getting excited to call him “The White Dave Roberts”.

          • http://evizions.com eVizions

            I see him probably hitting closer to .250/.350/.350 than .270/.380/.380 THIS year (I think somewhere in the middle would be good production for what we need), but I think moving forward he’ll be able to put up numbers closer to .270-.290 than .250. His strikeout rate is high (wouldn’t quite call it prodigious), but his strikeout-to-walk ratio is damn near 1:1. I don’t care how many times you strike out, if you can walk as much as you strike out, I’ll take it any day of the week.

            • MattG

              A K:BB rate of 1:1 usually leads to a BA around .300. The point is that the 1:1 rate will not be sustainable for Gardner at the next level. His walks are due to working deep counts, and either handling or laying off fastballs. In the majors, he’ll need to handle a bigger fastball, or 3-2 sliders.

              Methinks we’ll see the average and BB:K rate slip just a wee bit.

  • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

    Dunn and Aceves seem a bit high, Garcia a smidge low, and I would flip Betances and McCallister.Otherwise, it seems pretty much right on.

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

      I feel the same way. Great stuff Mike.

      • George

        Ditto

  • http://www.bronxbaseballdaily.com Rob Abruzzese

    I’m surprised to hear that you said Manny Banuelos has fringe stuff. PP said that he already has three pitches that range from major league average-plus. I was kind of shocked to hear that.

  • Pingback: RAB Top 30 Prospects | The Yankee Universe

  • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Don’t get too worked up if I ranked your favorite prospect lower than you would have liked, quite often the difference between a set of two, three or ten prospects is smaller than you may think.

    Mike, I am going to hunt you down and kill you like a dog for saying that Player _____ is not as good as Player _____. You spineless, idiotic, halitosis-having choda-boy.

  • Ed

    Since he missed all of 2007 due to injury, the Yanks can request an extra option year for Brackman, giving him four full years before he has to stick in the bigs. He’ll start the year fronting a great staff, and close to the braintrust, in High-A Tampa.

    That sounds off to me. My recollection of the story is this:

    He was drafted in ’07 and signed a major league contract. He was immediately optioned to the minors. About a week after being optioned, he announced that he was going to have Tommy John surgery. He then spent the remainder of ’07 on the minor league DL.

    He spent all of ’08 on the major league DL.

    So my understanding would be he starts with 3 options. One was used in ’07, taking him down to 2. No option was used in ’08. If the Yankees request another option, that would take him back to 3. So where does the 4 full years come from?

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

      I remember seeing that the Yanks never assigned him to the minors in 2007 to keep from using an option. The Rays did the same thing with Price, and the O’s did the same thing with Matusz this year. I could be wrong.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        http://www.usatoday.com/sports.....2715_x.htm
        http://mlb.mlb.com/news/articl.....8;c_id=nyy

        Upon signing that ML deal, it is stated in numerous placed that he was “assigned to Tampa”. Can you sign a big-league deal and be assigned to a minor league club without officially being optioned? My guess would be no.

        My elementary-level research leads me to believe he used up an option in 2007…

      • Ed

        Dug a little, here’s a USA Today story. Says he was assigned to Tampa immediately.

        Wikipedia says Price was optioned after signing. Didn’t dig hard on Matusz.

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

          I could be wrong, I have to dig a little more. It could be that he was on assignment to Tampa for less than 20 days (because the season ends in early September), meaning an option wasn’t used up.

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            That makes sense. He’s signed in August, assigned to Tampa for recordkeeping purposes, and then recalled to the official big league roster but placed on the DL immediately…

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

            That has to be it. The Florida State League playoffs started on September 2nd that year (based on milb.com’s archives), so at the very latest the season ended on Sept. 1st. That would put him at exactly 20 days.

  • Carig

    If Brackman is #3, than Garcia should be much higher than #29…His stuff is that good.

    His mechanics have improved greatly & he posses 3 plus big league pitches. Yes, the injuries have been frustrating, but he’s close.

    • Reggie C.

      +1

      Especially now that Garcia is on the 40 man, he’s going to get pushed through the system. Yanks can’t baby him anymore.

      • whozat

        Do you really think they’ve been babying him? Or is it more likely that he’s fragile?

        Garcia is extremely high-upside, but pretty low probability.

        • A.D.

          Yeah its been injuries not babying or taking their sweet time. But they will likely push him through, although without a trade there is becoming a log jam of starting pitching that can prevent guys from moving accordingly.

  • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Russo’s best asset is his versatility, as he spent time at second, short, third and left field last season, handling each with aplomb. He’s a classic bench/utility player prospect, especially for a team like the Yankees, but if he improves his plate discipline he could be a league average second baseman.

    So, if Cody Ransom is hitting a Varitekian .210/.250/.290 in 90 plate appearances come July, do we DFA him and bring up Russo? Do you think Russo could hit well enough to be our super-sub utility infielder in 2009, or is he still a year away?

    • K.B.D.

      I nominate that Varitekian be kindly instituted into RAB nomenclature.

      Varitekian (adj): “To produce at levels far below the average player at your position, but to have apologists point to your ‘intangibles’ and claim they somehow outweigh statistical analysis. See: David Eckstein – World Series MVP, gritty.”

      That is all.

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

        How long before Jeter fits in that category?

        /low blow

        • Mike Pop

          Blasphemy!!!!

          4 rings>>>4 no hittas!!!

        • K.B.D.

          The fact that I had to look up Jeter’s numbers to reassure myself he was an above average hitter last year is not a good sign. And he was barely better than average.

          • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

            Second-best offensive short stop in the American League behind Jhonny Peralta – who, by the way, is a short stop in name only.

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

              who, by the way, is a short stop in name only.

              Like Jeter.

              • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

                Bah, I still have hope that the Captain’s 2008 defensive numbers are not an extreme outlier like his abhorrent 2007 defensive numbers were.

          • A.D.

            He was just above avg for all positions, not in terms of value at SS, where he was relatively more valuable that Tek was among catchers

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          How long before Jeter fits in that category?

          Call me when Jeter starts putting up lines of .238/.325/.400/.725/.310 (’06) and .220/.313/.359/.672/.299 (’08) twice in the span of three years.

          Until he truly gets to levels of Varitekian offensive ineptitude, his positives still drastically outweigh his negatives.

          Jeterian = definitely overhyped, but still a star player far and away above average
          Varitekian = utterly worthless; unquestionably below replacement level; costs your team wins

          • K.B.D.

            TSJC, all your fancy statistics like batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and the like can’t account for how he handles the pitching staff and the way he calls a game… and… and households with more than two televisions and other things of that nature.

            • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              I’ll just have to take your word for it… Number 2…

              • jsbrendog

                ietc

      • Rob in CT

        So… Womackian + grit.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Womackian + grit + the ability to accessorize your wardrobe patriotically.

          http://allstarsportinggoods.fi.....ees_30.jpg

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Womackian + grit + the ability to accessorize your wardrobe patriotically + being a fuckin’ righteous BADASS!!!

            http://i108.photobucket.com/al.....aritek.jpg

          • K.B.D.

            America, f*ck yeah!

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

      Probably a year away. I think the reasonable expectation for him this year is doing well in Triple-A, getting a Sept. call-up and making a strong case for a 2010 bench job.

  • Mike Pop

    D-Rooobbbbb!!

    I’m hoping Laird and Suttle can continue to hit and develop well so the Yanks have some nice positional prospects in a couple years. Maybe use them as a trade chip to get something pretty valuable. (JJ Hardy)

  • WhizzoTheWize

    Outstanding work.

    Potential is always fascinating to ponder.

  • Mike Pop

    Could Miranda really be a valuable trade chip?

    • http://evizions.com eVizions

      He’s got a ML bat, so I don’t see why he couldn’t. We aren’t going to land anything major with him alone, but he could be a nice way to sweeten a deal or to land a backup/utility player mid-season.

      • whozat

        He’s got HALF an MLB bat.

        He’s completely neutralized by lefty pitching, so it’s tough to use him off the bench late in a game if the other team has any kind of lefty in the pen. So that limits his utility to an NL squad…he’s their starting 1B or nothing. To an AL team that wants a cheap lefty-half of a DH/1B platoon…sure, he has some value there.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          What if we give them both Miranda and Shelley Duncan? The two of them together equal one kinda-non-sucky first baseman…

          It’s like George and Jerry combining forces to make one full, normal man.

          • K.B.D.

            I knew this idea sounded familiar to me…

            http://tinyurl.com/c9pfsj

            I don’t know how to make that linked. Sorry.

            • K.B.D.

              Or I do. Pysche.

  • Mike Pop

    Mike Dunn-bulldog mentatality. 8th inning baby!

  • Thomas

    The list looks excellent as expected. My only change would be to drop Melancon to 7, because his ceiling is the bullpen and I just think McAllister’s, Betances’, and Romine’s upside outweigh Melancon’s floor. But as you said they are all in the same tier of player and can essentially be ordered in any way.

    Also, no Melvin Croussett?

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

      He gets his own list. His own list consisting of one player. He’s that good.

      • Tom Zig

        If mo were a prospect he’d be the only one ranked ahead of him

      • K.B.D.

        Can we just retire Croussetts No. 6 right now?

      • Thomas

        Ahh, that was my assumption. To put Jackson 2 to Croussett’s number 1 would be an insult to Melvin.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Orthodox Jews cannot speak or write his full name. They merely say “Melv_n”.

          • TheLastClown

            The Holy Unspeakable Melv-a-grammaton.

      • Andy In Sunny Daytona

        Melvin will be in the top 2 next year. You guys can’t get over your obvious Jesus bias.

  • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

    I think people do an injustice to Austin Jackson by not mentioning how adversely affected he was by Mercer County Waterfront Park (Trenton Thunder); his home-road splits are as follows:

    Home: .252/.313/.332/.645
    Away: .311/.388/.496/.884

    Granted, his BABIP was higher on the road (.379) than it was at home (.311), but that park really kills Jackson’s offense.

    Does anyone have the park factors for Waterfront Park?

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

      Check out Montero’s home/away splits.

      http://tinyurl.com/cyjh3g

      • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

        I love that he still kept the above-average power (.459 SLG%; .175 IsoP) at home.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        common gateway interface protocol for interfacing external application software with an information server (commonly a web server) FAIL.

    • Chris

      It looks like Jackson was hitting more line drives on the road:

      GB% LD% FB% IF/F
      Home: 49.0% 11.0% 40.0% 7.8%
      Away: 42.5% 15.9% 41.1% 6.6%

      Not sure what it means, but something to consider.

  • Jim

    Anyone know when ticket plans get released? Also, anyone know when the exhibition games will go on sale?

  • barry

    It’s interesting how catching talent around the league seems to be improving though, no? We have 3 catchers that are list-worthy in our system alone, one as a back up yes but two who could turn into starters. Then look at the situations around the league, Texas is chalk full of young catchers, McCann in Atlanta, Martin in LA, Soto in ChiTown, got to still consider Mauer young although it seems like he’s been around forever. Seems like we’re walking into a generation of strong catchers, which, as we saw with a Yankees team with weak catchers last year, is undoubtedly going to be great for baseball.

    • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

      Don’t forget Kyle Higashioka and Chase Weems for the Yanks.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Don’t forget Posey, Skipworth, Baker, Wieters, Clement… yeah, seems like a mini-renaissance.

      • barry

        Yeah I pretty much didn’t want to keep going so I went with guys that are already impacting.

  • A.D.

    Z-Mac ceiling = Wang?

    • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

      I think it’s slightly lower. CMW is a legitimate number-two starter on a championship club while ZMac is a mid-rotation starter at best.

      • K.B.D.

        God, think of that. You could make a case he should be our 3rd or 4th starter in the post-season (depending on what you think of Burnett):

        1. CC Sabathia
        2. Joba Chamberlain
        3. A.J. Burnett
        4. Chien-Ming Wang

        Ridiculous.

      • K.B.D.

        But what separates them if Z-Mac hits his ceiling? Quality of his number one offering?

        I mean, Wang really only has his sinker and slider, no real out pitch, though his increased use of the slider has resulted in more Ks (only to the tune of 4.91 K/9 last 2 years, as opposed to 3.39 his first 2).

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

          Wang’s sinker >>> anything McAllister throws.

          • K.B.D.

            That’s what I assumed. There really aren’t many sinkers like Wang’s around.

            • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              That’s what SHE said!

  • http://amonthoffundays.blogspot.com Phil in LA

    Really nice work! I’m still a big believer that AJack will bust out at some point. I believe this, primarily because he has sick bat speed, his walk rate is improving and he has the aa to make any adjusment he’ll need to. He’s just thousands of AB’s behind most other prospects his age.

    I’m surprised Chris Malec didn’t get a big league ST invite cause he does have a knack for getting on base.

    I think Cervelli’s wrist injury held him back last year, but I do think he will put up good OBP’s, so if he starts doubling more again and adding some homers, I wouldn’t rule out a starting gig for him somwhere in the future. He’s a dynamic defender.

    • A.D.

      I’m a big Malec fan, could be a nice utility guy, would like to see him playing some corner outfield like Eric Duncan is doing.

    • K.B.D.

      I thought that most reports said his bat speed was just average, at best slightly above-average. Anybody?

      • whozat

        That’s what I’d read. I don’t think he has “sick” bat speed at all.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Maybe he meant “sickly average”.

          • K.B.D.

            I’m slowly coming to the realization that the only thing sick about A-Jax will be his nickname and defense.

            • A.D.

              Or just the hype

              • http://amonthoffundays.blogspot.com Phil in LA

                The scouts I’ve heard from raved about his bat speed.

  • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

    Mike, what do you like better about Kelvin De Leon than you do Eduardo Sosa? It seems to me that the consensus is that Sosa is the better all-around prospect because he a true five-tool player (and gets a lot of praise for his athleticism and defense in center field), but you ranked De Leon in your list yesterday – which I thought meant that Sosa would crack the list today – and made no mention of Sosa.

    • kSturnz

      he could have listed Sosa yest; it was 5 prospects that may jump high in the list next year, and we have many of those to be honest. Mike is not too optimistic in DSL prospects in general, so I wouldn’t think too much about it.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Speaking of which, the post yesterday was explicitly stated to be a non-honorable-mention, non-#31-#35 listing of potential “breakout” candidates.

        So, Mike, who are the actual honorable mention or actual #31-#35 guys for you?

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

          Send this in during the chat, more eyes will catch it then. I need a few mins to dig back through my notes (and finish lunch).

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Mike, I am going to hunt you down and kill you like a dog for making me wait to hear players #31-35, you pathetic non-question-answering stupid-list-that-I-disagree-with-superficially-writing choda-boy.

          • TheLastClown

            What an excellent list. The prospect knowledge-ability of the regular DotF posts were what made me stick around here at first.

            Where do you get all of this information on these guys?

            Question: Is Bleich appx= IPK lefty?

            I’m not an IPK hater, if that’s relevant.

            • TheLastClown

              Will post this below.

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

      I don’t know much about Sosa. There’s just not enough reliable info about him out there, so I’m not going to rank him in that case.

    • Reggie C.

      Hopefully DeLeon and Sosa dont toil too long in EST. Michael Almanazar (RS int’l signee of like year) already made his Sally league debut after destroying Rookie league. And our boys are still in the DSL??

  • Thomas

    Speaking of top prospects, Kevin Goldstein of BP has just posted his list of Top 100 prospects. http://www.baseballprospectus......cleid=8506

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

      Man, some people are just so stubborn when it comes to Pedro Alvarez. There’s conditioning issues, defensive questions, strikeout concerns, and he has yet to see a pro pitch. He’s not a top five prospect right now, he just isn’t.

      • Thomas

        I agree, I find Goldstein’s list pretty bizarre. Bumgarner at 3, Alvarez at 4, Bowden over Jarrod Parker, he had some odd choices.

      • Reggie C.

        I’m biased b/c we both went to the same HS (different times) , but Alvarez has terrific college numbers overall and he’s torn up good pitching in the SEC.

        • K.B.D.

          Horace Mann? I went to Poly Prep and played against Pedro.

          • http://amonthoffundays.blogspot.com Phil in LA

            I went to Trinity and played against both Horace Mann and Poly Prep.

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

          Nice. Horace Mann is an excellent school. But let’s go Dutchmen!

          • Reggie C.

            heh…i got no complaints. could’ve studied alittle harder though.

            Alvarez isn’t going to spend alot of time in the minors. He’s going to win his share of ROY votes.

    • K.B.D.

      Brackman can’t crack the top 100? Jose Tabata at 91? Michael Inoa at 20?

      Some weird placement here. At least he gave Montero more love than K-Law did.

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

        Yeah seriously. Let’s see how Inoa takes to the U.S. first.

        • K.B.D.

          I mean, I don’t have a problem ranking him, but ranking him that aggressively is strange. When there are plenty of guys who have… how do I put this… thrown a pitch in a game on American soil?

          I don’t expect to see many more top 25 rankings for Inoa this year. I’d really be shocked if I did.

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

            Exactly. Hyped up international free agents will break your heart, then come back and do it again.

  • Pingback: RAB: Top-30 Yankee Prospects | The Yankee Universe

  • TheLastClown

    What an excellent list. The prospect knowledge-ability of the regular DotF posts were what made me stick around here at first.

    Where do you get all of this information on these guys?

    Question: Is Bleich appx= IPK lefty?

    I’m not an IPK hater, if that’s relevant.

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

      I get the info from literally everywhere. BA, ESPN, BP obviously, but I also look at scouting reports on college recruiting classes, newspaper articles with direct quotes, everywhere. Google is my best friend.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        WHAT?!?!?! YOU DON’T SEE THEM WITH YOUR OWN EYES?!?!?!??!

    • K.B.D.

      I think most people would make that comparison because both of them are pitchability guys who don’t have real electric stuff. Being a lefty would automatically make him more valuable than IPK, though (given he performs well in the minors and moves quickly).

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

        Bleich pitches more aggressively. He attacks hitters inside, Kennedy can get a little skittish out there.

        • TheLastClown

          Was Kennedy also inside-shy through his ascension through the minors?

  • anonymous

    Cole is going to bother me till Joba, Hughes, and Brackman can distract me.

    • http://amonthoffundays.blogspot.com Phil in LA

      How bout till Marshall outshines him?

      • Chip

        How about till he blows out his shoulder his freshman year of college and never gets his fastball back a la Henn?

  • JeffG

    Nice job – this is one of my favorite reads.

  • Bo

    From uninspiring to #1.

    • KW

      To be fair, Mike said he was an uninspiring #1, which isn’t false. A-Jax doesn’t exactly compare to Wieters…

  • Pingback: Kevin Goldstein’s Top 100 Prospects | River Avenue Blues

  • bill

    Thanks for the list.

    But have you actually seen Manny Banuelos actually pitch.

    I heard he is rated much higher than you have him listed and he throws in the low 90′s.

  • JerseyJohn

    Somewhere Anthony Clagett weeps.

    • inman

      somewhere brien taylor wants to kick someone’s ass

  • Pingback: How To Beat The Stretch Mark Blues By Summer | Diet recipe club News

  • Pingback: Those Yankees fans…. « Zell’s Pinstripe Blog

  • erik

    any chance vehionacci/sardihna will turn into anything or are they done?

  • jake

    out of curiosity, where do u have swith pitcher pat venditte

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

      He wasn’t all that close to making the list, I think I had him in the 45-50 range.

  • Pingback: Kevin Goldstein’s Top 11 Yankees prospects | River Avenue Blues

  • Pingback: Joe’s 20 Most Important Yankees | River Avenue Blues

  • Pingback: 2009 Pre-Draft Top 30 Prospects List | River Avenue Blues

  • Pingback: Yankees set to acquire Curtis Granderson, pending physicals | River Avenue Blues

  • Pingback: 2010 Preseason Top 30 Prospects | River Avenue Blues

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention 2009 Preseason Top 30 Prospects | River Avenue Blues -- Topsy.com