2009 Post-Draft Top 30 Prospects


Now that the draft signing deadline has come and gone, we can take a second to step back and try to figure out where all the new guys fit in. I’ve always believed that if you draft & sign a guy and he instantly becomes your top prospect, you either a) landed an absolute stud, or b) have a bad system. More often then not, it’s the latter. Thankfully the Yanks aren’t in that position, although first rounder Slade Heathcott still slides comfortably into the team’s top five prospects.

For the sake of comparison, you can find my predraft list here and my preseason list here. Phil Coke and David Robertson have since graduated to the majors, hence their exclusion. So without further ado …

  1. Jesus Montero, C – out for the year with a broken finger, but a .406 wOBP and a .222 IsoP in AA as a 19-yr is as good as it gets
  2. Austin Jackson, CF – hard to believe he’s still only 22, but more power and/or fewer strikeouts would be nice
  3. Austin Romine, C – constant improvement in every aspect of the game, there’s a whole lot to like here
  4. Slade Heathcott, CF – toolsy outfielder has enormous upside, but for now he’s behind Romine because he hasn’t done anything yet
  5. Zach McAllister, RHP – rock solid, doesn’t wow you … should contribute next year, but also doubles as Grade-B trade bait
  6. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP – top notch stuff but slowed by a recent back injury … big upside
  7. Mark Melancon, RHP – everything is there, just needs an extended chance
  8. Manny Banuelos, LHP – Futures Gamer relies on polish and command rather than sheer stuff
  9. Ivan Nova, RHP – after what seems like an eternity of waiting, it finally clicked this year
  10. Andrew Brackman, RHP – well, he made every start and stayed healthy all year … that’s a positive
  11. Jeremy Bleich, LHP – not performing in AA yet, but polished lefty should be a cheap back-end option sometime next year
  12. Dellin Betances, RHP – more injuries, more walks … still dreaming on upside here
  13. Mike Dunn, LHP – super high strikeout lefty just needs to limit his walks … a nastier version of Phil Coke
  14. Graham Stoneburner, RHP – pounds the zone with three average or better pitches & is allergic to homers
  15. Kelvin DeLeon, OF – gobs of talent and gobs of strikeouts, but has big time power potential
  16. JR Murphy, C – raw hitting ability and defensive skills are there; needs experience and refinement, though
  17. Frankie Cervelli, C – big league ready backup catcher … all that needs to be said
  18. Jairo Heredia, RHP – missed most of the season with some kind of arm injury, but has rebounded well
  19. Adam Warren, RHP - polished, pounds the zone, sits low-90′s and has touched 96 with SI … pleasant surprise
  20. Bradley Suttle, 3B – out all year with a shoulder problem, but he can flat out rake when healthy
  21. Wilkins DeLaRosa, LHP – similar to Dunn, but less breaking ball
  22. DJ Mitchell, RHP – annihilates RHB but gets crushed by LHB, needs to improve that changeup to avoid ROOGY status … Gaudin 2.0?
  23. David Adams, 2B – bat control guy with gap power & good on-base skills … I’m a fan
  24. Brett Marshall, RHP – out with TJ surgery, but a big arm that was holding his own as a teenager in full season ball
  25. Dan Brewer, RF – he’s a hitting savant … mashes lefties, righties, fastballs, breaking balls, pitches down, pitches up, you name it
  26. George Kontos, RHP – out with TJ surgery, but was doing well in AAA prior to the injury and on the cusp of the big leagues
  27. Kyle Higashioka, C – impressive all-around package behind the plate, but a million miles away
  28. Kevin Russo, IF – super high OBP guy can play a ton of positions, he’ll be the backup infielder’s backup next year
  29. Gavin Brooks, LHP – huge arm from the left side could move fast as a reliever, but might get another crack at starting
  30. Corban Joseph, 2B – he can hit, but he can’t do much more than that

Damon Sublett, Matt Richardson, and Nik Turley were pushed out when Heathcott, Murphy, and Stoneburner signed. I’m generally hard on international signees (I want to see them do something, anything, in the States before I buy into the hype), so Gary Sanchez fell well short of the list. I’m a big Graham Stoneburner fan, but I’ll admit I was aggressive in ranking him. Hopefully it doesn’t come back to haunt me like Carmen Angelini did back in 2007.

Obviously major injuries to George Kontos, Chris Garcia, Bradley Suttle, and Brett Marshall affected their rankings greatly. Ivan Nova always had the stuff and projection, but never the polish to earn a high ranking. His breakout with Double-A Trenton vaults him up the list. Remember that the middle of the list is very fungible, I could have easily had someone like DJ Mitchell sitting just outside the top ten. It’s just preference, and this is how it shook out given my mood at the time.

So go ahead, file your complaints in the comments.

Categories : Minors


  1. Reggie C. says:

    Great job as usual Mike.

    I like the rankings. Position prospects now dominate the top of the list and you’ve nailed the spots for A-Viz and Man-Ban.

    I would however have removed Brackman from the top 10. Adam Warren should get #10. The increase in velo, likely start in High-A for 2010, and the potential to be a fast riser makes Warren a major sleeper next season.

  2. the artist formerly known as (sic) says:

    I’m a little surprised to see Brackman that high.

    • Upside still goes a long way. He shouldn’t be moved too far down the list based on a bad season, because we all knew and expected him to have bad seasons. Tall pitchers get injured and have mechanics issues. It is what it is.

      • zack says:

        Eh, upside really shouldn’t go a long way in certain cases. Look, he’s got upside, we all know that. But right now, that’s ALL he has. No track record, no results, no command, no mechanics. Nothing. Nada. The minors are littered with guys with upside, but that doesn’t mean they deserve to be ranked high.

        Brackman and Bettances both should be left off any Yankees prospect list until they can put together a season that actually shows they have something other than “upside.” If they do, whop-de-do, put them back on the list. Until then, there are definitely 20 players more likely to make some sort of impact before them or better than them.

        • Brackman and Bettances both should be left off any Yankees prospect list until they can put together a season that actually shows they have something other than “upside.” If they do, whop-de-do, put them back on the list. Until then, there are definitely 20 players more likely to make some sort of impact before them or better than them.

          Doesn’t that just kinda defeat the point of the lists, then?

          I mean, P.J. Pillitere has accomplished and proven more than tons of these guys. Should P.J. Pillitere be ranked higher than Kyle Higashioka?

          • zack says:

            PJ doesn’t really stand a chance of contributing and has proven just that. Right now, what Brackman has proven is that he is so far away from being able to even get minor leaguers out that ranking him in the top 20 seems pointless, to me at least.

            Again, upside is great, but upside needs to be paired with something. Just because he can throw, or rather, could throw, in the high 90s doesn’t automatically make him a great prospect, and ditto witht he curve. If he isn’t fooling anyone, can’t harness it, and hasn’t actually put together anything impressive in 3 years, than are we really talking about a guy that belongs in a top 20 ranking?

            Sure, hes got more talent than most of the guys on the list, in theory. But ranking guys in A ball with upside in the top ten just seems like a waste to me. Everyone has been screaming that guys like Brackman can’t be traded and have to be super valued because of their upside, and that the whole point of prospect lists are to gauge potential. Guys like Brackman and Betences should be top trade bait for the Yankees, as the actual chances of them ever contributing are so small.

            And as for prospect lists, to me, the point is to rank guys based on their likely contribution to the team, not on their upside. I’d rank almost all of the guys below Brackman higher than him as they are more likely to help the team. Period.

            • If he isn’t fooling anyone, can’t harness it, and hasn’t actually put together anything impressive in 3 years, than are we really talking about a guy that belongs in a top 20 ranking?

              This is Brackman’s first year.

              We drafted him in 2007. He sat out in 2008. He’s pitching now in 2009.

              If he continues to look like crap in 2010 and 2011, then yeah, he won’t be in the top 30. For now, there’s just not enough evidence of suckitude to warrant totally ignoring his massive upside.

              And it is massive. Does it suck that he’s looked like crap this year? Yeah. Should a single craptacular year mean that he’s removed from our top 30 prospect list, when he had a top-5 prospect in the entire 2007 draft class grade and has future ace/All-Star Game starter potential? Hells no.

              Hence, the burrito and the microwave. One bad 2009 does not erase all the reasons to love Andrew Brackman.

            • Sure, hes got more talent than most of the guys on the list, in theory. But ranking guys in A ball with upside in the top ten just seems like a waste to me. Everyone has been screaming that guys like Brackman can’t be traded and have to be super valued because of their upside, and that the whole point of prospect lists are to gauge potential. Guys like Brackman and Betences should be top trade bait for the Yankees, as the actual chances of them ever contributing are so small.

              This is silly.

              You’re saying that:
              1) Brackman and Betances have good upside and thus may be traded in the future
              2) Since they have upside and MAY BE traded in the future, we shouldn’t include them in an evaluation of our top prospects because we anticipate trading them.

              Not only is that wildly speculative, it’s probably false.

              • Bill says:

                Just to chime in on the Brackman argument the guy was an unpolished prospet with a huge frame and inconsistent mechanics when we drafted him. This year he was coming back from TJS. Anyone expecting a ton from him this year was simply fooling themselves. Next year is the soonest we can realistically predict that Brackman will show any signs of controlling his stuff. Lately his stuff has been dominating as he is averaging about 2K’s per inning in his most recent appearances.

                I can see getting a little more down on Betances who has probably regressed this year, but its still too early to throw Brackman under the bus. Betances also deserves more patience, but I can understand the frustration with his lack of progress.

    • JMK says:

      He has a FB that tops out at 97 and sits at 94. Nasty curve too. At 6’10 with two plus-plus offerings, even if he hasn’t done anything (as others have said, staying healthy and getting some innings under his belt is enough of an accomplishment coming off TJ surgery) he should be that high. Only Montero has that kind of potential in the system. Sure, his probability is low but if he works out he could be a Randy Johnson-type. I’d rather have one of those than a handful of average arms with better ML probability.

      • Doug says:

        “He has a FB that tops out at 97 and sits at 94. Nasty curve too.”

        that WAS his stuff. hasn’t been showing that the 2nd half of this year. that’s the problem.

        • the artist formerly known as (sic) says:

          JMK is still working off lane meyer’s brackman piece, it sounds like.

        • Chris says:

          It’s not uncommon to struggle with your stuff after coming back from TJ. He had it earlier in the season, so the only question is whether it comes back. If he still struggles next year then you should start being concerned, but right now it’s too early.

          • Doug says:

            crossing fingers

          • zack says:

            No, its not too early to be concerned. Its too early to write him off I suppose, but its absolutely not too early to be concerned when you are dealing with a guy who has never really proven anything to begin with. Sure, he’s still a prospect, but I don’t think anyone should really be holding their breath…Until he proves otherwise

        • JMK says:

          He just came back from TJ surgery. It sounds like his arm is tired. Building strength takes time. It’s a concern, but I think we might be reading too much into it. If after next year he’s still floundering with low velocity, I’ll change my stance. It’s preemptive to write him off now.

          • Doug says:

            oh, i agree. i just hope it’s just post-TJS stuff and not that he some kind of further injury

            • JMK says:

              Same. I’m hoping that he would have the good sense to make the Yankees aware of another injury when he’s going 3 innings with 5bb’s and 6 ERs.

  3. Makavelli says:

    I know with our infield we don’t really need much in the Top 20…but you would still think we’d have at least ONE!!!

    • Januz says:

      When you have a starting infield that may be the best since the Cincinatti Reds of the 70′s there is not exactly a burning need for infield prospects (Although I think Garrison Lassiter will Make it). ps: Two years in a row taking guys away from North Carolina Lassiter and Mitchell).

    • Jamal G. says:

      Bradley Suttle would definitely be a top-15 prospect (based on this list, I’ll guess and say he would be #14) in this system if he were healthy.

    • Jamal G. says:

      Oh, and Bradley Suttle is ranked 20th, i.e., in the “top 20.”

  4. Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

    *a single tear*

  5. Crab Dribble Ointment says:

    Wait…so Ned Medchill ISN’T the second coming of Pujols?

  6. Great job Mike. A little surprised to see Brackman that high and Richardson not make the cut, but we know how fast these things can change.

  7. Makavelli says:

    And where’s Pat Venditte???

  8. the artist formerly known as (sic) says:

    Just for clarification – Melvin Croussett has his own list, correct?

  9. Stryker says:

    nice list; hard to argue with it. i’m a big brad suttle fan – here’s to hoping he rebounds nicely in the future.

    mike, what do you believe is stoneburner’s ceiling or a solid MLB comparison? i’m not too familiar with the guys we drafted this year.

  10. Chris A says:

    Great job once again Mike. Interesting to see Brackman so high, but I guess the upside is still there, and as you said he had a full healthy season.

  11. Jersey says:

    I actually don’t have a problem with Brackman being ranked that high. The performance bar for this year had to be set low given his situation…that said, next year needs to see some real development or he drops like a rock.

    • Stryker says:

      my thinking is more in line with this. were we really expecting much out of him after a) having tommy john surgery and b) not pitching in over 2 years? i know it’s been used as a joke around here, but we should just be thankful that he’s healthy and pitching at this point. but if he’s still a walk machine, his velocity is still down, and he’s not making ANY progress the yankees will have to think long and hard about what to do with him.

      he is a definite project and it’s going to take a lot for him to come back from the surgery and learn to be an effective pitcher considering his size. the same can be said for betances as well. both guys are very, very raw and need time.

      • Tremont says:

        That’s all well and good if you took a 6th round flier on the guy. But we drafted him #1 and gave him A MAJOR LEAGUE CONTRACT. This is a train wreck.

        • Jersey says:

          I honestly think it’s much too early to call this a train wreck. It certainly could have gone much better this year, sure; and 15 months or so from now I might well agree with you. But as Stryker said, this is going to take time, and even if he ends up being the second coming of Randy Johnson, it was never going to happen this year.

        • Jersey says:

          We basically have our own Pronk.

        • That’s all well and good if you took a 6th round flier on the guy. But we drafted him #1 and gave him A MAJOR LEAGUE CONTRACT. This is a train wreck.


        • Jeffrey says:

          Why is Brackman on the 40-man roster? That’s currently a waste of space. Is it due to his contract?

          • Doug says:

            yup. insisted on it as part of his contract

            • He got an ML deal.

              In retrospect, we probably should have tried to give him a few extra mil to get a minor league deal, but whatevs. It’s not the worst thing in the world.

              • Ed says:

                My memory of the situation is this. Everyone knew the odds were high that he needed Tommy John surgery. He refused to have a physical before signing.

                With a Major League deal, once the deal is signed it’s guaranteed. If the teams wants a physical, they have to have it done before the signing.

                With a Minor League deal, you can do a physical after the signing and then void the deal if the player fails the physical. There may be provisions to restructure it as well, I don’t know.

                Brackman was a two sport player, which means the Yankees could spread his bonus over 5 years. With a minor league deal, it may have been possible to release him after TJ surgery if he didn’t recover well and not have to pay the full bonus.

                So in short, I believe that going for a Major League deal guaranteed him the full bonus, whereas a minor league deal could have left him with a fraction of it had his arm been really bad. So that’s probably why he insisted on a Major League deal.

                • J.R. says:

                  I believe that a signing bonus is guaranteed money. The advantage of delaying it through the “two sport player” is that it costs the team less money in the long run as $2mil right now is more valuable than $2mil 5 years from now.

                  A signing bonus would have to be paid even if it were deferred money.

        • A.D. says:

          The reason it’s not a train wreck is the Yanks don’t need the 40 man spot, and if you look at the players drafted around him, there isn’t much that jumps out as “OMG we missed out on that guy”, so while Brackmam hasn’t excited much as of yet the lost opportunity cost has been minimal.

          • Yeah. The only guys who went in the sandwich round after Brackman you’d maybe want over him in hindsight is probably Brett Cecil or Nick Hagadone (and even that one is debatable).

            And while I’d love to have the 40-man spot back, giving the occasional ML deal to a draft pick isn’t horrible, as long as it’s not habitual. If we’re tying up a 40-man spot EVERY YEAR, that’s bad. But Brackman is the only draftee we’ve given an ML deal to this decade.

            Whatevs. People make a bigger deal out of it than is necessary. Our 40 man includes guys like Shelley Duncan and Juan Miranda and Kevin Cash, they’re just as worthless.

            • Tremont says:

              You are either being ignorant or dishonest. Frazier, D’Arnaud, Cecil, Donaldson, Hunter, and Hagadone are all compensation picks that clearly would go ahead of Brackman if the draft were done over. There are probably several others that would go ahead of him as well. I am not trying to say the Yanks did a bad job. I’m just saying they took a chance and it appears to be blowing up in their faces.

              • AndrewYF says:

                But it’s not blowing up in their faces. That’s the thing. They took the best player with the biggest upside late in the first round. Would you rather them have gone the Mets route and taken a guy who would likely perform up to his potential, but his potential is a bench player?

                The result has been bad. The process is not.

            • Tremont says:

              And Jordan Zimmerman, Mike Stanton, and Jesse Todd went in the 2nd round.

            • J.R. says:

              I believe that we signed Juan Miranda to an MLB deal also.

      • Brian M says:

        What is his velocity down to?

      • Doug says:

        i think after the way he pitched in hawaii (not great, but pretty good), expectations were raised some by many.

  12. OmgZombies! says:

    Wow Juan Miranda fell off the face of the earth.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Yeah, he kind of has. He is what he is at this point, and that’s someone with no spot on the Yankees. He’s mostly gone in the offseason because he’s out of options next year and would likely get claimed off waivers.

      • Jamal G. says:

        You don’t see him fitting on the bench with Cervelli, Pena, and Russo? Juan Miranda would basically be what Eric Hinske is now, just non-equipped with the defensive versatility.

        • Juan Miranda would basically be what Eric Hinske is now, just non-equipped with the defensive versatility.

          But that’s the point. If you take away Hinske’s defensive versatility, even he is pretty worthless.

          • Brian M says:

            You could platoon Miranda but signing Teixiera made him basically worthless to us. Maybe in September it is worth bringing him up as a pinch-hitter.

            Like Igawa, he has most value as good AAA player who keep Scranton winning and therefore helps prospects coming up develop a winning attitude.

          • the artist formerly known as (sic) says:

            He organized the Yankees fantasy football league. That’s worth at least 3 David Ecksteins (points for intangibles).

          • Short Porch says:

            Now a 26 year old AAA first basemen with a decent bat are a dime a dozen,even if he is lefty, but Scranton, like Trenton and Tampa, are big pitcher’s parks. Look at the man’s home/road splits over the past several years.

            While we are at it, look at all our minor league pitching and hitting prospects and these splits. Seems to me we are consistently over-valuing the pitchers and under-valuing the hitters.

            Do we have at all some adjusted park stats at the minor league level? That would be real helpful.

        • Charlie says:

          i’d try to trade him for something.. we wouldn’t get much but better than losing him for nothing

    • Johan Iz My Brohan says:

      His trade bait status is probably gone now, when he becomes a minor league FA (after this year, correct?) I think he signs with the Royals… just a wild guess.

  13. the artist formerly known as (sic) says:

    What is the expectation for young players like Jackson w/r/t strikeout rates? Since he’s only 22, is it reasonable to expect him to cut down on the K rate and develop more power in AAA next year?

    • Stryker says:

      they say power is the last thing to come. and to think, jackson is only 22 years old and only playing baseball full time for 3 or 4 years. it’s a wonder he’s got such a grasp on the game and i’d expect him to learn more patience as time goes.

      • Tremont says:

        A wonder is a bit strong. He is a good, not great prospect.

        • Stryker says:

          not disagreeing with you. but in a system that was almost all but depleted in position player prospects at the higher levels, jackson – a good, not great prospect – shines.

          • Angelo says:

            very true. Hopefully guys like De Leon, JR Murphy, Heathcott, Brewer, and to a lesser extent (extremely raw) IFA signee Gary Sanchez can improve the Yankees system from a positional standpoint.

            Until then Romine, Montero, and Jackson are good enough.

  14. gxpanos says:

    Bravo to the MC jokes thus far in the thread, and bravo, Mike, for this list.

    My favorite prospect for a few years has been Nova (great name, good stuff, a great first ~40 IP as a pro in ’06), and I was ecstatic to see him click in AA. I was/am equally disappointed thus far with his showing in AAA. Should we be worried not at all, some, or a lot? I mean, his AA numbers could be the outlier, considering his AAA numbers are in line with his A and A+ numbers, not his good year in Trenton.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      I wouldn’t worry too much about. Just being there and getting experience is enough at this point.

    • zack says:

      The whole “power is the last thing to develop” and “hes only 22″ lines get thrown around a lot here, and they are both accurate/useful, to a degree. Sure, power is the last thing to develop, but there also needs to be a base to build on. With Jackson, you aren’t talking about a guy who is going to hit a lot of homeruns, the chances of him suddenly developing that kind of power just aren’t that great at this point. Sure, he’s only 22 and started playing baseball full time 4 years ago, but if you look at the track record of players with similar minor league #s along the way, there is a very strong suggestion of what type of player he is.

      And so, a player who strikes out a lot and doesn’t hit for a ton of power doesn’t make for a great prospect. That doesn’t mean he won’t be a good player, or even an all star. But lets put it this way. Jacoby Ellsbury had a higher minor league slg than Jackson has.

      • Doug says:

        and he’s a better basestealer

      • A.D. says:

        Ellsbury had a better slugging by 12 points in the minors, and that was partly helped by coming in and playing in low & high A as a 22 year old advanced college bat, instead of playing in the A’s as a 19-20 year old HS bat.

        Basically Ellsbury started his minor league career at the age AJAX is in AAA holding his own right now.

        Ellsbury AAA Slug: .380
        Jackson AAA Slug: .413

        • Angelo says:

          Thank you AD we think alike. id say Jackson develops 10 to 15 homerun power. Which isnt amazing of course but he sprays the ball to all fields and has plus speed.

          The strike outs are what really hurts him.

          I’d expect Jackson to have a line somewhere along these lines once he’s at his potential in the majors:


          Not great but good, since a lot of scouts believe he can be a potential gold glover as a centerfielder.

    • Angelo says:

      Nova is only 22, so no big deal. I agree with Mike.

  15. OmgZombies! says:

    So which major leaguer does AJax’s ceiling compare to?
    At the beginning of the season and currently.

  16. rbizzler says:

    Love the list, very exciting times.

    I am hoping the Bleich puts together a nice run in AA down the stretch and is primed for a breakout next year. Otherwise, it is great to see some positional prospects ranked highly (despite the fact that many of the non-Jesus/AJax variety are years away).

  17. Tremont says:

    Warren and Mitchell will both be quality back end of the rotation guys. Brackman and Betances will be Long Island Ducks in 2012.

  18. Brian M says:

    Nice job, I was hoping you would do a new list.

    I’d probably drop DeLeon a few spots though and maybe bump up WDLR.
    I’d probably swap Melancon and Heathcott as well.

    BTW all the talk about the Strasburg contract got me thinking about Brackman. I saw a report about how Washington would run out of options if Strasburg somehow doesn’t make it to the bigs in 4 years. Got me thinking about how long it might take for Brackman to find the strike-zone.

    Am I right in thinking that his time on the DL means the clock didn’t start ticking on him until this year, or has he only got 2 years to make it to NY before we have issues?

  19. Reading the list the only thing that jumped out at me was that I thought George Kontos was ranked a bit low. Mike… I know you’ve never been a huge Kontos believer, but isn’t 26 a bit low for a guy who was pitching very well in AAA and probably would have been a candidate for the 5th starter role with the big league club (or a nice trade chip) had he not gotten hurt this year? I just went back up to the list to pick out a few names of guys I think he can/should be ranked higher than, and I think there’s too many. Maybe I just place much more emphasis than you do on how close a guy is to the big leagues, but I’d rank Kontos way higher than 26 in this system.

    • PS: You had Kontos at 16 on your preseason list. He has dropped 10 spots? I know the guy got hurt, but he had a really nice season (both AA and AAA) before the injury. Suttle, Betances and Heredia do just about nothing this year and each drops 6 spots (and Brackman stays healthy but disappoints while on the mound and drops 7 spots), Kontos has surprisingly good numbers in AA and AAA and drops 10 spots?

      • Mike Axisa says:

        Remember that other players have passed him because they’ve performed well and stuff. Arodys, Man Ban, etc.

        • Yeah, fair enough. But other guys have fallen down the list or off the list completely, too. I still think Kontos was docked a disproportional amount. Whatever, the disagreement is the fun of these lists, anyway. I pull for Kontos a bit… Wildcat pride.

          • Bill says:

            The Kontos drop was very fair and actually he could’ve dropped further. I mean his injury was quite serious. You don’t see guys like Humberto Sanchez or Alan Horne on this list for a reason and both were more highly regarded than Kontos at their peaks and both are just now getting healthy.

            • “You don’t see guys like Humberto Sanchez or Alan Horne on this list for a reason and both were more highly regarded than Kontos at their peaks and both are just now getting healthy.”

              Look, these lists are all a matter of opinion… But Kontos isn’t exactly in the Humberto/Horne pantheon of oft-injured players. Those guys have never stayed healthy, their injury histories are notorious. And Horne, for that matter, stayed on these prospect lists, ranked decently, until this year, and the guy’s been injured constantly and is a few months away from 27. Horne was number 16 on the 2008 post-draft prospect list, during a season in which he appeared in 11 games with an ERA of 8.77. So don’t act like Horne immediately dropped off the list because he had some injury problems, he stuck around and stuck around at a relatively high level on the list.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      I can see that, for sure. I might have docked him too much for TJ, but yeah, I’ve been a big fan.

  20. Makavelli says:

    What about Heathcott’s potential? Who does he compare to?

  21. Johan Iz My Brohan says:

    I also noticed this list has an entirely different feel compared to the other (preseason one especially). We had Albaladejo, Humberto Sanchez, Miranda and Steven Jackson on that list. That list sure was ugly.

  22. Co-Jo over Richardson?

    Otherwise, I love the list. Great work as always

  23. Tremont says:

    How close was Zoilo Almonte to making this list. I have a scout buddy who was assigned to NY-Penn and he thinks he is a real sleeper.

  24. Jake H says:

    Good list. I do wonder if Manny B will every add velocity. If he does that guy could be s stud.

  25. King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

    this is my first year with your prospect list…i was wondering how a guy who’s had major league time and is described as ‘big league ready backup catcher … all that needs to be said’ still gets ranked 17th?

    is it the ridiculous upside of the previous 16?

    so are you also saying mcallister and vizcaino are better than melancon?
    romine is better than cervelli?


    • Mike Axisa says:

      It’s a combination of things, a balance between upside and probability. McAllister has good upside and a lot of probability, but Arodys has way more upside but much less probability.

      I’ve always been hard on Cervelli, I just don’t believe in the bat. Romine is definitely a better prospect, but better bat, good defense, decent probability.

      • Think of it this way: You’d trade Frankie Cervelli for any of the 16 guys in front of him, straight up. You probably wouldn’t trade Cervelli for the guys below him.

        Now, it’s not that cut and dried, but generally speaking, that’s how it works.

      • Chris V. says:


        Do you say Arodys has “much less probability” than McAllister simply b/c he is at a much lower minor league level or is there more too it, like bad delivery/command/needs more pitches? Just wondering what probability is based on thanks.

      • Tom Gaffney says:

        I love Mike and RAB, but, in my opinion, this list is way, way, way too focused on “ceiling” over floor. How can you put all those guys who have never played a whole year of full season ball ahead of Francisco Cervelli who is a lock as at least a major league backup catcher. Have we learned no lessons from Carmen Angelini and Abraham Almonte, who got placed on most of the 2008 pre-season lists before ever playing a full season?

        90% of the guys ahead of Cervelli will never wear a major league uniform. Most scouts will tell you that (except for really, super high-end talent) you can’t tell much about a guy until he’s successful at AA or at the very least, high-A. Everyone seems like they have a high ceiling before they actually face decent competition.

    • Doug says:

      “backup” is pretty key here

  26. Tremont says:

    Any word on whether Heathcott, Murphy, or the other newly drafted guys will get a taste of the GCL?

  27. Michael says:

    No love for Gary Sanchez?

  28. Johan Iz My Brohan says:

    Lane Meyer:

    Slade Heathcott told me he is currently in the GCL with the team, and is hopeful to get in a game tomorrow (8/20) or Friday.

    JR Murphy will also be playing in the GCL right away according to a blog from his high school.

    Caleb Cotham informed me the plan for him is to start out at Staten Island. He’s preparing in Tampa, will be headed up to NYC sometime around the middle of next week, and said that it’s possible we’ll see him pitch by the week’s end.

    Joseph Talerico told me he has just landed in Tampa and will be finishing the season up in the GCL along with Heathcott and Murphy.

  29. Tom Zig says:

    Where would Sano be on this list? (kidding)

    Cue Andy in Sunny Daytona

  30. Z says:

    Why not a top 50 list?

  31. Jake H says:

    Mike, could you see Turley or Richardson jumping into the top 20 if they have a good next year?

  32. joey says:

    what about the 19 year old lefty Juan Marcano from the DSL dominican league. he has 47IP-27 HITS-70 SO with a 2.20 ERA.. any info on him ?

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

      He has given up 27 Hits in 47 innings with 70 strikeouts. His ERA is around 2.20 or so.

      • joey says:

        yeah i messed that up a little, thanks for adressing it.

      • Rick in Boston says:

        And I wouldn’t think too highly of him – he’s facing a lot of 16 year olds who swing at everything. If his stuff was good enough, he’d be in the GCL at this point. Non-prospect is the best I’d go with. I could be wrong, and he could come over and pitch his way to the show in 2010…but I’m not going to Vegas with those odds.

  33. A.D. says:

    No Caleb Cotham, you have Warren, Stoneburner, and Brooks all ahead of him? I understand Warren given what he’s done so farin the pros, but surprised Cotham doesn’t make this list.

  34. dannYboY says:

    there is a 20 year old i heard about in the DSL dominican league who’s really good. his name is Jose Quintana he is a lefty.


    anyone have any news on him life what type of stuff he has ?

    • Rick in Boston says:

      I’ll re-phrase what I said above: it probably doesn’t matter much since he’s 20 years old playing against a large number of 16 or 17 year olds who are extremely raw. Unless he’s a late bloomer, he probably won’t see the Tampa facility except with a ticket.

  35. Simon B. says:

    Betances and Brackman aren’t in the same boat.

    Betances got injured. It sucks, and sure his prospect status is way down because of it, but he pitched really well last year, has great stuff, and is still young. If he’s healthy, he’s a big prospect.

    Brackman just sucks, and has always sucked, and his curve was never good, only projectable by scouts who have a hard-on for tall hard-throwers.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      Brackman just sucks, and has always sucked, and his curve was never good, only projectable by scouts who have a hard-on for tall hard-throwers.

      Oaktag much? Seriously if a prospect has ONE bad year he automatically sucks? He had TJ surgery prior so it’s not a surprise he isn’t putting up an ERA of 0.00

      Seriously wait one god damn year before making such a stupid assessment. Or is that too long to wait?

  36. Mike bk says:

    biggest surprise for me not on the list is david phelps. he has been excellent at both levels this year.

    • A.D. says:

      I thought the same thing, then when you looks at the list, probably don’t take him instead of DJ Mitchell, then going down the list didn’t find someone I’d really take him over.

      • Mike bk says:

        i would definitely take him over russo or even brooks cause of brooks control issues and phelps has been absolute horse at 140+ innings this year if you are talking about who take out of the list.

        as far as ranking mitchell should be closer to 15 than 22 and i would slot phelps right around wilkins low 20′s.

  37. Makavelli says:

    Where did Michael Jordan place on a list of prospects? Was he actually any good? Or was it mainly because he owned the world in the 90′s and people listened to him?

    • Hold on… What!? This only makes sense if you’re talking about Michael Jordan, Birmingham Baron. That’s what you mean, right?

      And, in that case, I don’t think he was ever too high on anyone’s prospect list, if he made any lists at all. Nobody really thought he’d make it in baseball.

    • Rick in Boston says:

      Nowhere. All he had going for him was athleticism and speed – neither translated that well. He was 31, stole 30 bases but only at 62.5% (18 CS). He OPS’ed .556 while making 11 errors in the OF. The best player on that Birmingham club might have been Matt Karchner (unless you want to give credit for Dan Pasqua or Steve Sax holding onto their careers).

      Best “prospect” would have been their manager – Terry Francona.

  38. Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

    Where’s the “Dominican Andrew Brackman”?

  39. Dela G says:

    Where is deangelo mack on the list?

  40. Makavelli says:

    Where would Dioner Navarro be on this list if he were down there…

  41. ADam says:

    What about Eduardo Nunez down in Trenton…

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Not a fan at all. Questions about his bat, questions about his defense. About the only thing there’s no question about is his arm, and just last year he was prime candidate to be converted into a pitcher.

      He got caught in the hype machine that gobbled Ramiro Pena up in ST because A-Rod wasn’t there for the writers to kick around.

      • Andy says:

        Still hitting over .300, with 8 HR and 18 SBs in AA, having just turned 22, after hitting .271 in Tampa last year, the same batting average Suttle had at low A and two years older. BA isn’t everything, but the guy is a SS with speed, good pop for a SS, and has hit for a good average at every level. Should a least get mentioned, espcially since you mention guys like Sublett, who just sucks.

        • ADam says:

          Hopefully he can tie it all together in a year or two… and become a MLB ready Shortstop

        • Todd says:

          Yeah Mike. I agree with Andy. It almost seems personal with you and Nunez…lol It seems as if there is nothing the guy can do to budge your position on him. I can only think if Angellini was doing what Nunez was doing at Trenton at age 21/22, he would be a top five.

  42. Mike bk says:

    update from lane on when some of these guys will play:

    -Slade Heathcott told me he is currently in the GCL with the team, and is hopeful to get in a game tomorrow (8/20) or Friday.
    -JR Murphy will also be playing in the GCL right away according to a blog from his high school. (quote from the blog “Murphy will report to the Gulf Coast League Yankees and play for the team through the regular season and any playoff games. He’ll then return home before reporting to Instructional League in the middle of September. After a few weeks in the league, he’ll travel with some other recent signees of the Yankees to a winter league in the Dominican Republic.”)
    -Caleb Cotham informed me the plan for him is to start out at Staten Island. He’s preparing in Tampa, will be headed up to NYC sometime around the middle of next week, and said that it’s possible we’ll see him pitch by the week’s end.
    -Joseph Talerico told me he has just landed in Tampa and will be finishing the season up in the GCL along with Heathcott and Murphy.

    • A.D. says:

      he’ll travel with some other recent signees of the Yankees to a winter league in the Dominican Republic.

      Interesting didn’t know they did that with guys just signed

      • Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

        Melvin is going to embarass him with his bevy of pitches. But, Melvin will then touch him on his shoulder, and JR will suddenly become one of the best hitters of any generation.

  43. Mike bk says:

    one thing interesting about this list is that many of us think of the farm being light on position players but the top 4 are all non-pitchers. granted after that pitchers make up 5-14, but nice to see that there is the potential of some position players down there.

    • 27 this year says:

      nearly all of our position guys are pretty low in the system. Only A-Jax and Montero are a year or two away. The rest still have a long way to go.

  44. Mike bk says:

    other than melancon and probably cervelli to replace molina how many of these players will actually graduate from the list next year?

    • A.D. says:

      Figure A-Jax the other main one with a shot to have graduated by next year this time.

    • Well, you’re correct in that Cervelli and Melancon probably graduate past prospect status next year since both of them are probables to break camp with the club.

      Besides that, Montero, AJax, McAllister, Nova, Bleich, Dunn, WDLR, Kontos, and Russo are all good bets to open the season in Scranton, leaving them all just one stop away (and likely all on the 40-man), meaning we probably see some or all of them by September 2010 at the latest, I’d say.

  45. I’m very intrigued by Adams; I hope he comes along well.

  46. Makavelli says:

    Is there a way to ‘easily’ put together a Yanks/Sox prospect list in the order with them on the same list? Without putting much time into it.

    Basically I’m curious as to where Lars Anderson, Bowden, Bard, Reddick, Westmoreland, Kelly, etc would rank amongst our guys…

  47. Andy says:

    “Bradley Suttle, 3B – out all year with a shoulder problem, but he can flat out rake when healthy”

    Really??? He can? When did he “flat out rake”? In Rookie ball in 2007, when he hit .125 (albiet in 8 ABs)? Or in low A, when he hit .271/.348/.456, which was not quite as good as Brandon Laird’s .273/.334/.498 the same year, same league, except Laird is two years younger and not exactly lighting up high A right now?

    Just don’t understand the hype with Suttle, he has proven absolutely nothing in the pros, and was old for his league BEFORE he missed the entire year.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Switch hitter with real good power and good eye, what’s wrong with that? Numbers in Low-A are almost useless.

      And Brandon Laird couldn’t hold a candle to Suttle. You could drive a truck through the holes in that kid’s swing.

      • Andy says:

        Not trying to point out that Laird is good, but rather that he, even in his badness, was better than Suttle last year when two years younger. The guy will get his first AB in high A at age 24, and hasn’t proven he can “rake” with a wooden bat. Just thing he was ranked too high, but we may have to agree to disagree…

  48. S says:

    Phelps didn’t make the list? WOW!!

  49. K.B.D. says:

    Reegie Corona can’t even crack the top 30?

    Sure, he’s struggled in AAA, but he was mashing at AA and plays good defense from everything I’ve heard. He improved his plate discipline while keeping his strikeouts just about the same.

  50. Doug says:

    Current Callis chat with mention of Yankee signees and non-signees

    Q: Who were the most impressive players from the Cape that were just drafted and signed?

    A: I mentioned Reyes earlier. Rangers lefthander Chad Bell, a 14th-rounder. Yankees righthander Caleb Cotham, a fifth-rounder. I thought the White Sox should have made a stronger run at third-rounder Bryan Morgado. The Yankees apparently ran out of money–imagine that!–to sign 10th-rounder Tyler Lyons and 28th-rounder Aaron Meade. Bell, Morgado, Lyons and Meade were four of the Cape’s six best LHSP prospects.

  51. JSquared says:

    Jairo Heredia should be higher as a 19 year old who is just ridiculous.

    Also, Francisco Rondon not even making the top 30? that’s a joke, he can pitch.

    • Tremont says:

      Rondon doesn’t throw enough strikes has only average stuff. If you really love him you could make a case that he could be in the 25-30 range. If you think he deserves to be higher than that you are lost.

  52. Dominik says:

    How come no Jorge Vazquez? He was killing the ball in Double-A before his mysterious disappearance.

  53. Johan Iz My Brohan says:

    Anybody who goes/is going to the GCL or SI games. Take pictures/videos of Heathcott, Murphy, Stoneburner, Cotham and the other please!

  54. JSquared says:

    Wait… You would have to think Gary Sanchez is top 30… i don’t see how we can’t put him in the top 20 or 15… Yankees would not have given this kid 3+ million bucks.

    Where would you rank Aroldis Chapman if he were signed by the Yankees? (speculative, because they can not yet)

    • Reggie C. says:

      Speculating on Aroldis Chapman is fun. I think he’d be the first pitcher on that list and only behind Montero and Jackson overall. Chapman would need at least a full season in the minors beginning at AA ball.

    • Tremont says:

      Chapman would probably be behind Montero and definitely be ahead of Jackson.

  55. How about Neil Medchill or Zoilo Almonte?

    • Johan Iz My Brohan says:

      Neil Medchill could possibly make it eventually, but right now he’s not that close. I’d wait until next season if anything.

  56. A-l-e-x says:

    I like the list, however I think you’re selling Kelvin De Leon short. He’s playing VERY well in the GCL this year, and his upside should put him very close to the Top 10 at least.

  57. xavier says:

    What about Garcia,..I know he got injured but TJ again?,.will we ever see him?

  58. Bo says:

    Brackman at #10 has to be some kind of joke.

    • Says the guy who doesn’t shut up about rating prospects we haven’t seen.

    • Hmm, that’s an interesting and poignant observation. I’d love to hear more about why you feel that way. Please, elaborate and let us know what observations factored into your excellent comment.

      Oh, what’s that? You’re not going to elaborate at all? Well, FUCK IT THEN. I’LL IGNORE THE SHIT OUT OF YOU.

      • JMK says:

        You have Battered Poster Syndrome, TSJC. It hardly seems a day passes where you don’t remind Bo (and yourself) that he never follows through with his points. You can’t help yourself and you can’t ignore him either!

        Maybe next time he’ll change. Oh, but you’ll be back–they always come back.

  59. bottom line says:

    Very nice list. Just a few quibbles.

    Cotham is a curious omission. Also think Nunez being sold short. Showing very nice power for such a young middle-infielder.

    I’m sure I’ll be scalded for this but I would not be surprised if one or more of the following lame and halt come through next year: Garcia, Horne, Humberto.

    Would also be interested if anyone has seen reliable velocity reports for Arodys, Man-Ban and Jairo.

  60. younguns says:

    In addition to being a stud center fielder on his championship high school team, Slade Heathcott was also a dominating left-handed pitcher who dialed it up regularly into the 90s on the radar gun.

    Is there any chance that Slade gets developed in the same manner as Casey Kelly of the Red Sox?

    The Sox had Kelly pitch at the beginning of this season as a lefty starter. Once he reached his innings limit for the season, they switched him over to playing shortstop for the remainder of the season.

    • Bill says:

      Nope, they’ll want Slade batting all year. As for Kelly they mostly let him play SS because he reached his innings limit. He’s a pitcher and next year I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t have him play any SS as he really isn’t doing much with bat and was absolutely dominant on the mound.

      Slade also barely pitched in high school. He closed out the state championship game simply because he has the best arm on the team. However I don’t think he pitched all that much otherwise.

  61. younguns says:

    Who are the prospects that the Yankees need to add to the 40-man roster after the season which are worth protecting from the Rule 5 draft?

  62. Amol says:

    I’m curious why you would rank Heathcott so much higher than de Leon. They seem awfully similar to me as 18 year-olds with huge tools and little polish. There are differences, to be sure, but the biggest one seems to be that de Leon has actually performed in professional ball, while Heathcott hasn’t had the opportunity to show us what he can do. Unless you’ve got some information indicating that Heathcott’s physical tools are markedly better, I’ve got to give the slight edge to de Leon.

    • Tremont says:

      I disagree that de Leon should be ahead of Heathcott, but you make an interesting point. It doesn’t make much sense ranking Heathcott #4 and not ranking Gary Sanchez at all. The Yanks obviously hold the two players in similar regard and neither has seen a professional pitcher yet. Sanchez should almost definitely be in the top 15.

  63. nonseq says:

    Jorge ‘El Chato’ Vazquez should be considered a prospect. And given his age, he’s probably the most advanced hitter in the system.

  64. Captain Bawls says:

    even though I guess he’s technically not a prospect, where would Ian Kennedy be on this list?

  65. Basil F. says:

    Meyer calls Cotham a poor man’s Joba & expects him to move quickly & dominate early… do you think he is over-rating him?

  66. Dave Luch says:

    Who is more raw Chapmen or Brackman?

  67. Rankdog says:

    What about Neil Medchill?

  68. leftylarry says:

    Brandon Laird after a slow start again this season, now leads the league in R.B.I.s. Hope he can sneak in as an honorable mention at some point.Led in HR’S last season.
    Kid seems to hit.Has a brother in the majors too.Sounds like a prospect.

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