2009 Pre-Draft Top 30 Prospects List

Wang, Hughes and the Yanks' final rotation spot
RAB Live Chat

David RobertsonI post three personal prospect lists a year, but the pre-draft list is by far my least favorite. There hasn’t been enough time for anything to really change from my Preseason Top 30, except maybe for a few injuries and a graduation or two. However, I do like this list because it shows me how much my opinion of some players have changed in a relatively short amount of time. Obviously most of that is performance driven, but we also have to consider other factors like health and consistency. Joe Morgan would be proud.

Anyway, the top five prospects are the same as the preseason list, but you’ll notice they’ve been shuffled around a bit. Unlike most instances when players drop because they’ve been disappointing, this movement is due to a few players making improvements and having tremendous seasons. Two players have graduated to the bigs from my preseason list early in the season (Brett Gardner & Al Aceves), and four others have dropped off the list entirely for various reasons (Carmen Angelini, Humberto Sanchez, Brandon Laird & Steven Jackson).

Keep in mind that there’s really not much difference between prospect #3 and prospect #6, or prospect #11 and prospect #22. It’s just a matter of preference, so don’t get too worked up if one of your favorite prospects is lower than you expected. Anywho, let’s get to it…

  1. Jesus Montero, C: destroyed the pitcher friendly Florida State League, and he’s now playing in AA as a teenager
  2. Austin Jackson, CF: hasn’t shown much power yet and he’ll always be prone to the strikeout, but his walk rate just keeps getting better
  3. Zach McAllister, RHP: more than holding his own as a 21-yr old in AA, and it’s not just because of the pitcher haven known as Waterfront Park (1.40 ERA on the road)
  4. Andrew Brackman, RHP: he’s passed the “just stay healthy” portion of the season, now he needs to start fufilling some of that promise
  5. Mark Melancon, RHP: low walks, high strikeouts, high groundballs, lots to like, he just needs to be challenged now
  6. Dellin Betances, RHP: struggled to maintain the impovements he made in the second half last year, then he went down with a forearm injury
  7. Phil Coke, LHP: he is what he is, a legit ML reliever that’ll make you nervous in big spots from time to time
  8. Austin Romine, C: rock solid, and he’ll finally get a chance to get out from under Montero’s shadow
  9. Jeremy Bleich, LHP: good K/BB, but I’m a bit worried because he doesn’t miss many bats
  10. David Robertson, RHP: he’s done all he can in the minors, now he just has to take advantage of his big league opportunities
  11. Manny Banuelos, LHP: tremendous strikeout rate (9.78 Kper9) and good walk rate (2.77 BBper9), lots to like here
  12. Wilkins DeLaRosa, LHP: ditto Banuelos’ comment, except with a 9.70 Kper9 & 3.42 BBper9
  13. Jairo Heredia, RHP: hasn’t pitched this year because of “soreness and tightness,” but all the tools are there for him to be very successful
  14. George Kontos, RHP: stuff is finally translating into consistent results, he’s pitched his way into big league consideration
  15. Mike Dunn, LHP: a two-outing hiccup in early May skewed his numbers, but he’s dominating both RHB & LHB with a super high K rate (11.53 Kper9)
  16. Chris Garcia, RHP: flashing the same outstanding stuff, but as usual it’s just a question of health
  17. Bradley Suttle, 3B: hasn’t played this year because of offseason shoulder surgery, doesn’t sound like he’ll be back anytime soon
  18. Brett Marshall, RHP: holding his own in his first full professional season, needs to do a better job against RHB though
  19. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP: big time stuff will be unleashed on the short season NY-Penn League later this month
  20. Frankie Cervelli, C: filled in admirably while Jorge Posada was out, but he really needs regular at-bats in the minors
  21. David Adams, 2B: showing good contact skills and plate discipline, in line for a midseason promotion
  22. DJ Mitchell, RHP: burst on the scene in a big way, but has to do better against LHB to keep it up
  23. Ramiro Pena, IF: big league defense, but another guy who should be getting regular at-bats in the minors
  24. Juan Miranda, 1B: big time improvements against LHP bode well for his future as a trade bait
  25. Kevin Russo, IF: struggling with some various leg injuries, but he’s flashed the same offensive skills he showed during his breakout year last year
  26. Ivan Nova, RHP: save for one bad outing in early May, it looks like he’s finally having that breakout year we’ve all been waiting for
  27. Ryan Pope, RHP: having an okay year in AA, but a move to the pen may be in order
  28. Garrison Lassiter, 3B: keeping his head above water in full season ball, but he’s been on the DL for over a month now with a mystery injury
  29. Jorge Vazquez, 1B: has tremendous power, but he’s got an odd reverse platoon split that needs fixin’
  30. Jon Albaladejo, RHP: I still believe he can become a solid ML middle reliever

In my opinion, there are only two players in this draft class that would unquestionably become the Yanks’ top prospect if the team managed to draft and sign them: Stephen Strasburg & Dustin Ackley. Obviously, there’s basically no chance either player makes it out of the top three picks. There’s about three or four others that would garner consideration for the top spot, but I’d have to think long and hard about it. Not to mention do more research.

The second half of this midseason prospect ranking update comes after the August 15th signing period, when we know who exactly the Yanks have added to the organization.

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac, Getty Images

Wang, Hughes and the Yanks' final rotation spot
RAB Live Chat
  • daneptizl

    Mike, you should do a pre-draft wish list of draftees for the Yanks.

    • Stryker

      yeah with the draft a week away i’d enjoy reading something like that.

      • Reggie C.

        isn’t the draft only 4 days away?

        • Stryker

          well hot damn so it is. i’ve been thinking today is tuesday all day. yikes.

          • Marcus

            Tuesday? Tuesday has no feel.

  • Chris

    is it save to say we wont have to big on Joe Mauer when he becomes avaialable because of the abundance of catchers in our minors?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      And Higashioka didn’t even make the top 30.

      I’d guess he’d make a top 40 list, though. True, Mike?

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

        He was like, #31 or 32.

  • A.D.

    If Garcia really stays healthy how far can he jump on this board?

    • Yages

      If Garcia could stay healthy, I’d put him #2 on this list. He’s got big time, big league stuff right now.

  • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

    Coke ahead over Robertson? Do you think he has better stuff, or is it just because Coke has more MLB success?

    • daneptizl

      I agree. Robertson > Coke.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I was just about to say the same thing. I think D-Rob will soon settle in as the slightly more reliable reliever of the two, which is fine since Coke can always fall back on becoming a LOOGY if he regresses.

        • JP

          Ok, I can’t stand it anymore.

          What’s a LOOGY?

          • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

            Lefty One Out GuY

          • V

            Lefty One Out GuY.

            You’re leading 3-2 in the 8th, your 7th inning reliever gets the first out in the 8th (a righty), a big bat lefty is up, you bring in your LOOGY, then whether or not he gets the guy out, if the next guy is a righty, you bring in another reliever.

            Think: Mike Myers, David Ortiz.

            • JP

              Thanks for the explanation.

              Someday, the LOOGY will be considered one of the finest examples of baseball manager transient dememtia.

              When the Yankees had Myers, the YES guys were always showing the stat that he was doing better against righties than lefties.

              I know the stats, overall, show a big platoon advantage for lefty pitchers to lefty batters. I know managers have lots of data at their disposal, too, and they typically go with the most advantageous numeric matchup, which, most often, will be lefty-lefty.

              But how big is the advantage? And if you factor in the number of times that it isn’t a genuine advantage, but just looks like one because of small sample size, you really have to wonder about this managerial move.

              You’re a manager. Would you rather have an iffy left handed pitcher arm, relegated to the LOOGY role, or a right handed batter who can hit decently and play a defensive position? I’ll take the offensive player. Whenever the other manager coughs up his LOOGY, I’ll pinch hit and take the platoon advantage back.

              • JP

                One final thing on the LOOGY: The television creates an optical illusion which, I think, causes many of us to overestimate the value of the lefty lefty thing.

                Picture in your mind the image of Mike Myers pitching to a left handed batter. As you watch on your plasma screen, Myers pitching hand seems to release the ball somewhere in the upper left corner of the screen, and the ball follows a trajectory which seems to begin about 12 feet behind the batter’s back. The ball whips across the screen and it appears the batter is swinging at a pea moving diagonally in front of him at such an angle that there is maybe 5 inches of travel where it’s physically possible for his bat to make contact.

                Contrast this to what you see when a fairly straight throwing righty like Kyle Farnsworth or Mo is pitching. The ball travels on a fairly straight, bullet like path across your screen, right into the strike zone.

                It’s all an illusion. The cameras are always in left center field, so you get this parallax effect where the ball seems to be moving on more of an angle when the pitcher is a lefty.

                If the cameras were in right center, righty pitchers’ pitches would look all weird and angled, and the lefties would look straight…

                Sorry, had to rant there.

          • pat
            • daneptizl

              Don’t know how that works out, but pretty fresh..

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

      There’s not much of a difference between the #6 prospect and the #10 prospect. Coke and Robertson are basically the same pitcher in terms of what they are/should become. Robertson’s younger, but Coke could conceivably start if need be, and that’s UGE.

      • Brendan

        Coke is better than Roberston anyway.

  • Joba to the Pen

    Wow no one to replace Jeter for a long time.Even catching is not a long shot.At Least Joba will eventally head to the pen to replace MO.

    Yankees have too many high risk high rewards players.

    • UWS


    • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

      Which is exactly what a club with their resources should have. You can get low risk low reward players in free agency, or through trade. It is the high reward guys you need to develop, and as long as you are picking at the end of the first round, you need to take some risks.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tADvb3yyhwM Slugger27

      Yankees have too many high risk high rewards players

      i dont get what “risk” you’re talking about… unless you’re talking about brackman who got a big signing bonus… how is having a prospect “risky”?? what are we risking exactly?

      • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        I think by “high risk” he really means “low probability.”

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          I think by “Joba to the Pen” he means “Ignore my comment because it’s batshit insane”.

          • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Ha. I also have no idea what he means by: “Wow no one to replace Jeter for a long time.Even catching is not a long shot.”

            • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

              Those two sentences roughly translate to:

              “I have less baseball knowledge than Francesa’s Diet Coke can.”

              • Brendan

                Why wouldn’t you want high reward players in your system?

                And replacing Jeter. You ever hear of “free agents”? And the way hes hitting he wont stop for a long time.

    • Tampa Yankee

      Joba to the Pen = touchtoneterrorist? The writing style (lack of spacing after punctuation) and message is the same:


      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Unfortunately, the writing style and message is indicative of dozens, nay, millions of people. The literary tradition in this country is going to hell in a handbasket.


        Oh, and it’s “touchtoneTERRIOST”. Don’t correct his idiotic misspelling of his own name.

  • zack

    Dominated by RHP and low level, lower ceiling bats. I still say they need to put together a package for another upper level bat. Betances is prime material (gasp, trade a high risk high reward player years away, noooo! Every single high reward player must always be saved!!)

    • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      “(gasp, trade a high risk high reward player years away, noooo! Every single high reward player must always be saved!!)”


      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tADvb3yyhwM Slugger27


    • Arman Tamzarian

      Alright Zack, give me the package?

    • pat

      Why in God’s name would you trade a kid with his ceiling whose only in High A?? Sorry but I have to disagree with that sentiment.

      • pat

        I also disagree with my spelling of who’s.

        • RichYF

          Actually, you correctly used “whose” in that situation.

          • pat

            Ahh nice, thanks, that’s what i thought but then it looked weird.

    • whozat

      Zack, no one’s trading an upper level bat for a pitcher in A-ball. You get upper level bats for established major leaguers. Once Wang shows that he can return to form, THAT is the guy that you trade this offseason — or at the 2010 trading deadline — for an upper-level bat. And it’s precisely the presence of Brackman AND Betances AND ZMac AND Kennedy et al that lets you do it. You have some high-probability guys close to the majors that let you fill that fifth spot on the cheap while CC, AJ, Joba and Hughes front the rotation, while a couple of high-upside guys give you a good chance of replacing Wang with a comparable producer in a year or two.

      • JMK

        I’m not sure you’d get enough from Wang this off-season or even at the trade deadline of 2010. He’s due to come back around that time, right? I’m just not sure he’d have enough innings to show he’s totally rebounded for teams to be willing to give up a high-level bat.

  • sic

    Nice write up Mike. Can I ask why you have Banuelos one spot higher than WDLR, seeing that DLR’s stats that you listed are slightly better?

    • daneptizl

      Wilkins is like 23 while Manny is 18.

    • Arman Tamzarian

      I imagine it’s because WDLR is said to ultimately be a bullpen option.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Both of those two things.

        I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see Coke and WLDR as our two lefties in the pen come 2010-2011 and Marte put on the trading block.

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

      Age had a ton to do with it, plus Banuelos has better stuff and projects to remain a starter. WDLR is a reliever in the bigs.

      • handtius

        Is this something that has already be decided? He seams to be doing pretty good in the rotation. Is there no chance that he can keep progressing into a started? He seems to keep his stuff through the innings and has dominated at times.

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

          No, it hasn’t been decided. But he doesn’t have a third pitch at all, and his command of his slider is nothing to write home about. He’s a 1.5 pitch guy.

          • handtius

            Good to know. I see those starts where he goes 6, strike out 9 and doesn’t give up many hits and makes me think, man a good, young lefty in the rotation would be sweet. Guess we got to wait for Banuelos…not much longer.

      • JMK

        Banuelos a possibility in 2011, or is 2012 more likely (assuming he continues to pitch well)?

    • Chris

      He listed K and BB rates, both of which are better for Banuelos (9.78 vs 9.70 K/9IP and 2.77 vs 3.42 BB/9IP). Not sure what stats you’re referring to.

  • Reggie C.

    I’d really like to hear any updates re: Betances’s health. The vague “forearm tightness” diagnoses doesn’t do much to inspire confidence.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tADvb3yyhwM Slugger27

    13 of the top 16 are pitchers… yikes

    • handtius

      I don’t see that as a bad thing…they are the hardest players to obtain.

      • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Well, they’re hard to obtain at the MLB level… But not necessarily so hard to obtain in the draft, are they? I mean, isn’t that the point? That the Yankees have an easier time drafting promising arms than position players because they don’t draft high in the first round?

        • Chris

          The other thing to consider is that FA hitters are generally safer than FA pitchers.

          • JMK

            Good point. Also, as others have mentioned, it seems that high-upside pitchers and catchers in the upper minors are better trade pieces.

        • handtius

          I don’t think so. We get guys who should go higher because of signability issues or injury concerns. Joba and Brackmen come to mind. Price was a high pick, this years first pick will be a pitcher, Matusz was a #4, Crow was a #9. Of course there are high pick position players, but you can find guys later on as well. There are diamonds to be found. Look at Puhols.

          • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Sure… But my point is that there are high-profile arms to be had in the draft for a team like the Yankees and that, judging from recent experience, there seem to be more high profile arms than high profile position players available for a team like the Yankees. I mean, if year-in and year-out the Yankees find that they can draft high-profile arms in the draft, doesn’t that, ipso facto, show that pitchers are not, as you said, the “hardest players to obtain” in the draft?

            • handtius

              Just read this over at MLBTradeRumors, “You can buy the bats, but you have to grow the arms.” That’s just how I feel. I don’t know. The redsox draft around our position and they’ve managed to get their hands on some high-end hitting talent.

              • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                That quote you cited buttresses my position that while pitchers may be hard to obtain at the MLB level, they are not the “hardest players to obtain” in the draft.

                I’m not so sure the Sox have drafted so much more high-end hitting talent than the Yankees have in recent years.

                • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tADvb3yyhwM Slugger27

                  I’m not so sure the Sox have drafted so much more high-end hitting talent than the Yankees have in recent years.

                  jacoby ellsbury stole home… the defense rests

                • V


                  I’m still not convinced that Ellsbury is all that much better than Gardner, and I’m not high on Gardner.

                • handtius

                  I understand your point. and I was not referring ellsbury. more the, as much as i hate to say it, youk and lars and pedrobitch, Hanley (even though he is no longer there). I think we are talking in circle or not in the same direction though. I’m not saying that there aren’t more pitchers of high quality available, I’m saying I have no issue of taking them, since so few of them truly turn into the hype surrounding them.

                • handtius

                  last line sums up what i was trying to say and for some reason could not:

                  This is an organization philosophy: stockpile arms that can contribute at the major leagues. See how many do more than just contribute. I like it.


                • Chris

                  Just to clarify, Hanley Ramirez was not drafted – he was an international free agent (like Melky, Cano, Montero)

                • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  “I’m not saying that there aren’t more pitchers of high quality available, I’m saying I have no issue of taking them…”

                  Ok, but the disagreement was over your original statement that pitchers are the “hardest players to obtain.” I said sure, they’re hard to obtain at the MLB level, but not really in the draft (as has been evidenced by the recent historical record). You don’t seem to disagree, so let’s just put that one to bed.

                  As far as the Sox’ success in drafting hitting talent that you referred to… Careful with that analysis. Kevin Youkilis is certainly a successful draft pick, but he was drafted in 2001 (so the current front office can’t really take credit for that one). Of course, though, he was a good pick. Lars looks like a good pick, too (we’ll see). Pedrobitch? I’m not sure who that is. Hanley? Not drafted, but signed as an international free agent.

                • Chip

                  Also, Youk was drafted by Oakland and traded over. Lars fell to them due to signability if I’m not mistaken

                • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  No, Boston drafted Youk. You have Oakland on the brain because Beane wanted Youk, bad, in Moneyball, but Youk was never in any other organization than Boston.

                • Chip

                  Yeah, my bad. I just remember so many trades where he would have gone to Oakland

                • handtius

                  I wasn’t comparing front offices, I was just saying good talent can be had. Boston was just a team of the top off my head that drafts around our drafting spot. my bad on Hanley. And I still don’t see top-shelf pitching easy to be had. pitching is, but not those of Joba’s ilk otherwise everyone would have rotations of young aces.

                  Pedrobitch = pedroia (not so easily understood, my bad)

    • AndrewYF

      Sure, but the top 2 are hitters.

      • JP

        The premium on pitching is a creation of the current state of major league baseball. It could be corrected, if they wanted to. The reasons for the premium on pitching:

        1. THIRTY teams. Simple dilution. The last years of relative pitching dominance, maybe the early 1970s, had 24 teams, each with maybe 10 pitchers on the roster regularly. That’s 240 pitchers. Today, 30 teams, 12 pitchers apiece, equals 360. Fifty percent more pitchers needed. Quality is going to drop, even with a substantial expansion of the pool of candidates. One could argue that there is a compensatory dilution in hitting ability. But that doesn’t seem to be so. See #3-5 below.

        2. The DH. We needed it when Yaz won the batting title at .301 and nobody was scoring runs. We don’t need it anymore.

        3. Baseball history is a story of the battle between offense and defense, and offense is winning right now. I think it’s Bill James’ fault. The importance of walks, and the de-emphasis on batting average, has led to a generation of hitters far more efficient than in the last 30 or so years.

        4. Evolution. Seriously…when they laid out the dimensions of the batting boxes in the late 1800s, the average baseball player was probably 5′ 9″ tall and weighed 165 pounds. “Long Bob” Meusel was 6’3″…this is probably average today. Pitchers have suffered, because batters can drive balls on the outside corner more today than ever. They can reach them, and they wear body armor to protect them, and the league suspends any pitcher who throws at a batter. Batters own the plate today.

        5. Technology. We figured out it was bat speed, not mass, that makes the difference. So we break 8000 bats per year because these are the ones that hit the ball the hardest.

        6. Pitch counts, stemming from the desire to “protect” pitchers, which stems from the fact that baseball is such a big money thing today that the players are literally multi-million dollar assets and must be protected at all costs. Fewer pitches, with better, more efficient hitters, equals an explosion in demand for pitchers.

        I think we need a little more balance in the game right now, because it’s getting stupid. Too many pitchers are needed.

        Take some steps to reel in offense, and you’ll start to see pitchers make it into the 8th and 9th inning on 100 pitches more often. We’ll need fewer pitchers, which will make for more varied, dynamic rosters and more opportunities for managers to manage, not just shuffle pitchers in and out of the game.


        • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

          Raise the mound six inches. problem solved for 30 years.

          • MattG

            One problem solved, another created. Strikeouts are already at historically high rates. Raising the mound will reduce offense by inducing more strikeouts.

            We need some restrictions on bats, ban body armor (or prevent the batter from getting first when hit on body armor), a tweaking of the balls, and for umpires to call the strike at the letters (and not the strike 6 inches outside).

            • JP

              I like your thinking Matt G.

              Bats: thicker handles mandatory, restrict the ratio between handle and barrel thickness.

              Body armour: ban it, or, alternately, if a player gets hit on body armor, it’s just “ball 1” and not “take your base.” I prefer a ban.

              Strike zone: agree.

              Batters’ boxes: Move them about 4 inches further off the plate. Do it very gradually, 1/2 inch per year, for the next few years, to make the transiation gradual. Enforce it.

              DH Rule: Get rid of it (never will happen, but I can dream).

  • JeffG

    Might be showing I don’t pay enough attention to things but –

    What ever happened to JB Cox?

    • pat

      His stuff never returned from tommy john.

  • Arman Tamzarian

    George Kontos, RHP: …he’s pitched his way into big league consideration

    Is this in reference to him being able to start or relieve?

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

      Given the current big league situation, relieve. But he could probably start for a few teams out there.

      • Mike

        can he be the long man to let hughes go to AAA and start while letting Ace roam to certain situations?

        • Brendan

          Kontos is the definition of trade bait come July.

  • http://statspeak.net dan

    Miranda is very close to not being a real prospect anymore because of his age. Let’s say they trade him this season…what could they get in return?

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

      Not very much. Limited to 1B/DH, and he’s a platoon guy in the bigs (yes, I know his numbers against LHP this year). Plus he has no more options left.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tADvb3yyhwM Slugger27

      probably a jon albaladejo type

  • A.D.

    Who’s the picture of?

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tADvb3yyhwM Slugger27

      looks like robertson

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Of all those pitchers on the list, is it safe to say the following breakdown is accurate:

    Ace Starter potential:
    Andrew Brackman, RHP
    Dellin Betances, RHP
    Manny Banuelos, LHP
    Arodys Vizcaino, RHP

    Solid starter potential:
    Zach McAllister, RHP
    Jeremy Bleich, LHP
    Jairo Heredia, RHP
    Brett Marshall, RHP
    DJ Mitchell, RHP

    Closer/Ace reliever potential:
    Mark Melancon, RHP
    Mike Dunn, LHP
    Wilkins DeLaRosa, LHP
    Chris Garcia, RHP
    Ivan Nova, RHP

    Solid reliever potential:
    Phil Coke, LHP
    David Robertson, RHP
    George Kontos, RHP
    Ryan Pope, RHP
    Jon Albaladejo, RHP

    I love Dunn, WLDR, and Nova’s K and BB rates and think it could turn all of them into excellent, closer-worthy relievers. Garcia I put there just because I think his plus-plus injury tool probably precludes him from throwing 200+ innings…

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tADvb3yyhwM Slugger27

      apparently youre big on banuelos too… had no idea his ceiling was so high

      and i realize u like WLDR’s k/bb rate, but i think (probably the minority on this) that you’re being uber-generous saying hes closer or ace releiver potential… in fact i think most of you “solid reliever potential” guys are better than him, both now and in the future

      other than that i like your list… aside from thinking nova should be considered a starter and i admit to knowing nothing about ryan pope

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        and i realize u like WLDR’s k/bb rate, but i think (probably the minority on this) that you’re being uber-generous saying hes closer or ace releiver potential… in fact i think most of you “solid reliever potential” guys are better than him, both now and in the future

        Probably right. I was hoping I wasn’t over-rating WLDR’s stuff, but I probably am.

        • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

          are those in order per classification?

          and while you’re at it, can you put ‘time to taking the 4 to the stadium’ column in there?


    • Arman Tamzarian

      The Plus-Plus injury tool actually refers to a players ability to sabotage their career through non baseball tomfoolery. Taylor, Cox, etc.The second plus is kind of like a Darwin award.

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals


    • handtius

      It amazes me that Garcia comes back from injury and almost immediately starts dealing. I can’t take him out of the starter list just yet. I know he’s injured often, but maybe its a maturing thing. If he can get through the rest of this year without injury, him and Z-mac duo at AAA will be a nice set to watch and also a great backup to our ML starters.

  • Joe LA

    but we also have to consider other factors like health and consistency. Joe Morgan would be proud.

    You have a lot of nerve, publicly Joe-baiting like that.

    Or as Ken Tremendous once said:

    Excellent JoeBaiting. You’re at the top of the JoeBaiting game. I am just lucky to watch these guys JoeBait.


    Well played, sir. well played.

  • Steve in MN

    How is it that Coke is still on the list, he’s been in the bigs more than Aceves this year. If Gardner and Aceves “graduated”, why hasn’t Coke?

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

      The rookie cutoff is 50 IP or 130 AB in the big leagues.

      Aceves (51.1 IP) and Gardner (244 AB) have passed those marks, Coke (36.2 IP) hasn’t.

      • Chris

        Doesn’t the cutoff also include 45 days on the 25man roster outside of September? That would eliminate Pena and Coke…

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

          Yeah, for ROY eligiblity. That stuff is too difficult to keep track of, so I stick to IP and AB.

  • MattG

    This is rather remarkable that some 20 or so pitchers are ranked ahead of a fringe major leaguer like Albaladejo. Some are there due to projectability, but being ahead of Albaladejo means everyone of them can be in the major leagues.

    At least half won’t have more than a cup of coffee. Care to guess which ones?

    • Jake K.

      I still look at Brackman and Betances as lottery tickets. It’d be awesome if they panned out, but I wouldn’t plan on ever seeing them pitch in the Bronx.

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        I highly doubt they’ll never reach the majors. I don’t know why, but I have more faith in Betances than in Brackman.

        • Jake K.

          Me too. I think it’s Brackman’s age relative to his level (which he’s not exactly dominating).

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tADvb3yyhwM Slugger27

        exactly… but wouldnt u rather have a 10% chance at randy johnson with a 90% brien taylor outcome than a 100% jonathan albaladejo outcome?

        obviously mike knows more about this stuff than i could ever hope to, but in my eyes, brackman should be no. 1 just on that possibility alone, regardless of how raw he is

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tADvb3yyhwM Slugger27

      we realize most prospects dont pan out… but when you say but being ahead of Albaladejo means everyone of them can be in the major leagues. … thats probably true, to a certain extent

      i feel that once the relievers on this list are developed, they CAN pitch in the bigs, albeit not successfully… i mean albie threw 21 innings this year to a tune of a 6 era, 76 era+, and 1.62 whip… id imagine any reliever on this list could potentially do that

      albaladejo’s grow on trees, and anyone with potential to be better than a mediocre middle reliever is a better prospect than him just on that fact alone, which this list mostly contains

      • MattG

        Albie’s been better than this in the past, and he is young enough to be considered a potential league-average middle reliever. I think to have 20 guys in on organization that have that label, as mediocre as it is, is remarkable.

        And of course, several of the 20 have a much better label than that.

        This is an organization philosophy: stockpile arms that can contribute at the major leagues. See how many do more than just contribute. I like it.

  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

    I’m really high on Mike Dunn. I hope we get to see him in the Bronx this year.

  • Jake H

    I was a little surprised to see this list today. I was thinking it was going to come out Monday. Garcia dominating has been a very good sign.

  • V

    Garcia made BP’s daily hit list:

    ‘He’s healthy, so he’s good

    Christian Garcia, RHP, Yankees (Double-A Trenton)
    Thursday’s stats: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K
    A third-round pick in 2004, Garcia has spent more time in the trainer’s room or rehabbing from surgery than on the mound of late, as last night’s outing was just his 30th since the beginning of the 2006 season. This thing is, when he’s available, he’s awfully impressive, with a big, power frame, decent velocity and two solid secondary offerings. He’s pitched scoreless baseball in three of four starts since returning on May 20th, and he could see Triple-A soon.’

  • Steve O

    Where is Melvin on the list?

  • james

    Mike, is there any chance Grant Green falls to us at 29? I would love to see him as Jeter’s replacement in a couple years.

    • JP

      Grant Green: Legendary jazz guitarist. RIP

  • Manimal

    Cervelli is a bit low on that list.

    • Chip

      Cervelli isn’t actually that good. His ceiling is either below-average starting catcher or back-up catcher. The defense is there but the bat isn’t. Of course, great defensive back-up catchers are still very valuable

  • SM

    Pat Venditte not close again…

  • rbizzler

    A logical question concerning this list and the system in general is how has it progressed since the preseason.

    I think it is safe to say that Montero and Z-Mac have done nothing but raise their stature. While A-Jax has been steady and, power concerns aside, has kept his head above water at SWB. Guys like Pena and Cervelli have shown that they have at least passable value at the MLB level.

    The relievers, Robertson, Coke and Melancon, have been as good as advertised and Melancon seems primed to be challenged at the MLB level as he is treading water at AAA.

    Banuelos, Mitchell and Marshall have each had solid debuts and WDLR seems to be progressing as a pitcher.

    The injury-related concerns around Brack, Betances and Suttle are a bit alarming to say the least.

    All in all, I see the farm as being in better shape now than it was on opening day. Some high-risk talent has underwhelmed, but we have seen serious development in a number of guys while also using the farm to fill some holes on the MLB level.

  • Andy

    I like the list, good job Mike. I still think Brackman is way overrated (23 at low A, and doing poorly, with no real track record of success and an injury history), and I think Robertson is way better than Coke (younger, way better track record in the minors and in college, good moving fastball and plus curve, better stats in the majors this year), but it is hard to argue much with this list…

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I still think Brackman is way overrated

      Brackman is 6’10” and has a fastball that legitimately SITS at 94 and touches 97 and has a hammer curve.

      Every 6’10” pitcher with two plus pitches will be a prospect on those two facts alone for at least 3 years, even if he never accomplishes anything.

      Think of it this way: Brackman’s FLOOR is probably Daniel Cabrera. That’s probably his FLOOR. His ceiling is Randy Johnson. Anybody with a Johnson-Cabrera ceiling/floor is a legit top 50 in the entire game prospect.

      • Andy

        Not saying he’s not a prospect, just not our fourth best. He may have more ceiling than anyone else, but he also has as much bust potential as anyone else. To me, you have to perform before I annoint you the next coming.

        And his floor is not Cabrera – the minor leagues are riddled with guys with high ceilings who never pitched an inning – do I even have to mention Brien Taylor?

        • Andy In Sunny Daytona

          Do you actually know anything about Brien Taylor, or are just repeating a name you’ve heard about?

    • MattG

      Andy, I am with you. I can’t get my head around how, with everything that is now known, projection play suchs a huge role in a draft pick. I understand the idea is to draft Randy Johnson, but I can’t understand how you ignore all the probability. It’s not that Brackman shouldn’t be drafted, and shouldn’t be on a prospect list–he should be.

      This to me is one of the disadvantages of being the Yankees. 20+ teams, maybe everyone besides the Yankees, Mets, and Sox, can pass on Brackman because it’s too risky. But the Yankees need to assume more than their share of risk.

      Do they really need to accept such risk? I can’t say–I think that maybe they do need to make the bold moves that embody their brand.

    • Ayer

      At what point do we start to see some IFA’s like de Leon really hit the scene?

  • The one who signs his name -Scott

    Basically playing devil’s advocate here:

    “Frankie Cervelli, C: filled in admirably while Jorge Posada was out, but he really needs regular at-bats in the minors”

    The guy went from AA ball to the majors, no one complained one iota about his defense and he’s hitting around 300. What else does he need to do to prove himself?

    (Small sample size, I know….) Is this why I’m not too upset that Molina (who I really like alot) is hurt again?


  • Brendan

    Gerrit Cole should be #2 on this list right now.

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