Dec
15

Top Prospects Of Decade

By

Last night we went with a “top [whatever] of the decade” theme for the open thread, so let’s continue with that today. Baseball America is running a series in which they looking back at each organization’s top ten prospects of the decade, and so far they’ve gotten to all the clubs in the NL East, NL Central, and NL West. I’m not sure when they’ll get to the AL, probably tomorrow, but I’m going to beat them to it and post my top ten Yankee prospects of the decade.

First off, let’s address the best/worst draft pick issue like BA. Clearly, the Yanks’ best draft pick of the last ten years is Joba Chamberlain. He was a top ten talent before concerns about his weight and a triceps injury caused him to fall all the way to the 41st overall pick in 2006. He’s since rocketed to the big leagues, and his +4.5 career WAR is far and away the best by of Yankee draft pick of the decade (Brett Gardner & Phil Hughes are tied for second at +2.2 each).

As for the worst pick, I’m going to go with Jon Poterson, though I suspect BA will go with a bigger name like Eric Duncan or C.J. Henry. Both Duncan and Henry were elite high school prospects deserving of their first round selection, while Poterson was just a straight up overdraft. The Yanks second pick (#37 overall) in 2004 was a big bodied and unathletic catcher that had to move out from behind the plate before the ink dried on his contract, and he hit just .207-.265-.326 in 215 career games, none above A-ball. Poterson was playing in an independent league less than three years after being drafted. Just a brutal, brutal pick.

Okay, let’s move on to the top ten prospects of the decade. This is all done in hindsight, based on what these guys have gone on to do, not what they were projected to do when they were just minor leaguers. If this were based on potential, it would be Drew Henson then everyone else.

  1. Alfonso Soriano, 2B: One homer away from becoming the fourth member of the 40-40 club in 2002 (he later joined with the Nats), Soriano hit .284-.322-.502 with 98 homers and 121 steals in 501 games for the Bombers before being traded away for some guy named Alex Rodriguez.
  2. Robbie Cano, 2B: A career .306-.339-.480 hitter at age 26, Cano has developed into a bat control freak that’s on the brink of stardom.
  3. Chien-Ming Wang, RHP: Easily the most productive pitcher the Yanks have developed since Andy Pettitte, Wang won 55 games in parts of five seasons with the Yanks, although his tenure came to an abrupt end last weekend because of injuries.
  4. Nick Johnson, 1B: The man who led all of professional baseball (majors and minors) with a .501 OBP (!!!) during the ’98-’99 seasons quietly hit .256-.376-.424 in parts of three seasons with the Yanks before being dealt in a package for Javy Vazquez.
  5. Juan Rivera, OF: Traded away in the same deal as Johnson, Rivera has gone to post an under-the-radar .285-.331-.470 batting line while playing solid defense in the corner outfield spots.
  6. Marcus Thames, OF: Only Soriano has more career homers than Thames among players on this list, and although his contribution to the Yankees was limited, Thames has six productive seasons (107 OPS+) for the Tigers.
  7. Joba Chamberlain, RHP: Just three full seasons into his pro career, Joba’s already got a 31 start season in the big leagues under his belt, plus a rep as being a dominant reliever. Best of both worlds, I guess.
  8. Phil Hughes, RHP: Hughes is the messiah, the first prospect that represented the team’s newfound dedication to building from within after years of eschewing the farm system. Still just 23, Hughes has already been a major contributor out of the bullpen for a World Championship club.
  9. Dioner Navarro, C: Pudgito never got much of a chance in pinstripes, though he’s gone on to be a serviceable backstop for two clubs, not to mention an All Star for a pennant winning club.
  10. Melky Cabrera, OF: Everybody’s favorite fourth outfielder is still just 25-years-old, and has been a fixture in the Yanks’ outfield for the last four seasons. He enjoyed the best season of his career in 2009, hitting .274-.336-.416.

The talent production really starts to drop off after that. There’s Al Aceves, Brett Gardner, David Robertson, Phil Coke, Brad Halsey, and Andy Phillips, none of whom has sustained much of anything in the majors to this point. Just four of the ten players listed above were drafted by the Yanks, the other six were signed off the international market. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: the draft gets all the attention, but the international market continues to be the backbone of the Yanks’ system.

Categories : Minors
  • pat

    The Jesus will put all of these bitches to shame.

  • A.D.

    Everybody’s favorite fourth outfielder

    This made me chuckle.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      Little does he know, MY favorite was and will always be Ashanti, from MTV’s Rock and Jock Softball fame.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        Is your favorite catcher Chris Rock from the same game?

        BTW, that Chris Rock strikes out just a little less than that hacky, aging, low OBP machine Red Sox LF, Mike Cameron.

        I’m not bitter…..watch me walk away. /The Rocker’d

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada
        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          http://www3.pictures.zimbio.co.....qfixnl.jpg

          I’d drive that one into the gap, if you know what I’m saying…

          • Andy in Sunny Daytona

            I’m picking up what you’re putting down.

          • Andy in Sunny Daytona

            http://thecomicscomic.typepad......ftball.jpg

            Mike Cameron or Chris Rock?

            (still not bitter)

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

              I’m trying to figure out who’s in the fuzzy background of that picture.

              Tony Peña Sr. and Dave Winfield?
              Willie Stargell and Frank Thomas?
              Richard Roundtree and Chris Webber?

              • Andy in Sunny Daytona

                Winfield and Franco Harris?

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

                  That might be it.

  • http://hardballtimes.com/main/blog Dan Novick

    Ummm…

    Where’s Melvin?

    • DP

      #0

    • pat

      The Melvin has no beginning and no end. He cannot be constricted into one decade alone.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      Melvin is not a prospect, He’s a sure thing..

  • Ivan

    Wow Nick Johnson was that good of a prospect.

    Yo Phil Hughes was main reason why I follow the minors/prospects the way I do now. That year in 06 when Hughes was in Double-A was to me the best year for me following a prospect (at least as a yankee prospect) Dude every start was throwing a no-no.

  • DH=Dime a dozen

    what about Ted Lilly?

    • Scooter

      Ted came to the Yankees from the Expos in the deal for the Fat Toad (and left the Bronx for – ugh – Jeff Weaver)

      Westbrook is another former Expo farmhand (went to the Indians in the Justice deal)

      • DH=Dime a dozen

        good call…

  • Dan

    the name Drew Henson makes me cringe

    • Dan

      what could have been, if all stayed healthy and realized their potential…. an infield of.

      1B – Nick Johnson
      2B – Alfonso Soriano
      SS – DJ
      3B – Drew Henson

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        Yup.

        Unfortunately, Henson just couldn’t put it all together to master AAA pitching, and Soriano sadly contracted a terminal case of “Pedro Cerrano’s Disease”.

        • pat

          Cannot hit the curved ball!

          • DH=Dime a dozen

            “Fuck you Jobu….I do it myself”

          • Ivan

            Nah, it was the sliders down and away that was the killer. He ALWAYS K on that pitch lol.

        • rbizzler

          Henson also couldn’t master the art of reading defenses while playing QB in the NFL.

          I am warming to the idea of bringing Nick the Stick back to DH, assuming he is open to a mostly DH role. He was nasty in the minors despite his resemblance to Private Pyle.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        I’d be happy with A-Rod over a fully-realized-potential Drew Henson anyday….and twice on Saturday’s.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

    Clearly, the Yanks’ best draft pick of the last ten years is Joba Chamberlain. He was a top ten talent before concerns about his weight and a triceps injury caused him to fall all the way to the 41st overall pick in 2006. He’s since rocketed to the big leagues, and his +4.5 career WAR is far and away the best by of Yankee draft pick of the decade.

    So, what you’re saying is, he’s not a massive bust and a total bum? That he’s actually a very, very good starting pitching prospect?

    Huh. Color me surprised.

    • Steve H

      That he’s actually a very, very good starting pitching prospect?

      But imagine him in teh 8th!!111!!!11!

    • Evil Empire

      I saw him fail as a starting pitch with my own two eyes. The Yankees have completely wasted two years of this kid’s career as a starter. Stop flip-flopping him back and forth because the Yankees have no idea what they’re doing. He’s a reliever!

      /Ignorant masses’d

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        This guy sucks, he’ll never make it as a legit starter.

        Let’s trade him for (Insert awesome or semi-awesome player from another team) immediately.

        • ROBTEN
          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            Did he just call him “Carl” Henry?

            I guess he’s a little distracted. This Sistine Chapel fresco isn’t gonna paint itself, you know.

            Sincerely,
            Leonardo daVinci

        • DH=Dime a dozen

          (Hanley Ramirez)

    • Riddering

      No, TSJC, that was before he struggled in the latter portion of 2009. Now he is a massive bust and dead weight keeping the Yankees’ rotation down.

      If only they hadn’t played around with his innings he wouldn’t have been ruined. Le sigh!

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        Ah, thanks for clearing that up. Now it makes sense.

        Chamberlain pre-August 2009: teh awesome
        Chamberlain, post-September 2009: dump this bum before he comes back to haunt us with his epic suckitude

        Gotcha.

  • Ed

    Sadly, I think that part you quoted says far more about every other pick the team made than it does about Joba.

  • Kyle

    Didn’t we draft Jose Tabata? That guy is an ubelievable prospect.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      Tabata was an IFA signing.

    • pat

      No on both accounts.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        Well, Tabata is pretty ubelievable.

        • Steve H

          Do ubelieve in miracles?

          /Al Michaels’d

  • MikeD

    So Joba is clearly the best, but he comes in number 7 on the list? And Gardner is tied for second-best at +2.2, but he doesn’t make the list? I’m guessing the list is based on actual production in the Majors to date.

    • DP

      Best draft pick in the last 10 years.

      4 guys ahead of him were international free agents, and 2 were drafted in the 90s.

    • ROBTEN

      “I’m guessing the list is based on actual production in the Majors to date.”

      Yup, that’s what the article says:

      “This is all done in hindsight, based on what these guys have gone on to do, not what they were projected to do when they were just minor leaguers.”

  • Kyle

    ubelievable – so funny hahahahaha

    =)

  • http://pendingpinstripes.net Greg F.

    Damnit, Mike. I had this exact idea a week ago but never did anything about it. Stupid RAB being really good.

  • Lanny

    That list is why the Yanks didnt win a title from 01-08.

    The farm system was left to rot and the price was paid.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      Classic Boversimplification.

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