Feb
18

2010 Preseason Not Top 30 Prospects

By

Every year as I put together my Top 30 Prospects list, I always pay a little extra attention to the players in the last few spots. While elite prospects like Jesus Montero get all the attention, the best way to gauge the depth and strength of a farm system is by looking at the No. 10, or No. 15, or No. 30 prospects. The better those players are, the better the system is overall. Potential superstars are nice, but having waves of young talent coming up bodes much better for future success.

Along those same lines, the players that get shut out of a top prospects list can also tell you about the quality of a system as well. Last year I presented six players that weren’t able to crack the Yanks’ top 30, and sure enough two managed to make the leap into the big boy’s list this year. Two others were among the final cuts as well. That group featured some higher upside kids in the lower levels of the minors, however given the hit the farm system has taken in the last 12 months, the pickin’s were pretty slim this year.

Here’s five players (presented alphabetically) that could work their way into next year’s Top 30 if they continue to improve this season. Ages are as of April 1st of this year.

DeAngelo Mack, OF, 23
The Yanks’ 13th round pick last year, Mack dominated younger competition in the NY-Penn League after signing. He hit .306-.372-.513 with 30 extra base hits in 66 games, good for second in the league. By no means is he a spring chicken, but Mack made major strides with his approach as a redshirt junior at South Carolina in 2009. He’s strong enough to hit balls with authority the other way, and he does a good job of being what they call “aggressively patient” (he waits for his pitch, but he’ll jump all over something he likes early in the count). Mack has good baseball skills and athleticism, though he projects best in a corner outfield spot. He could end up being a classic ‘tweener; not enough defense for center, not enough pop for a corner (despite this). He’ll jump to Low-A Charleston to start the season, but should get a bump at mid-season if he’s performing well.

Photo Credit: Rich Glickstein, AP

Melky Mesa, OF, 23
Despite sharing a name, this Melky has almost nothing in common with the departed Melky Cabrera other than his arm strength. Mesa hit .270-.338-.491 with 17 bombs in the season’s first three months last year, though he slumped so badly in the second half that he finished the year with a .225-.309-.423 batting line and 20 homers. He also struck out 168 times in 564 plate appearances, pushing his career total to 306 K in 1,020 PA. Even at his age, Mesa is raw in terms of baseball skills, though he possesses tremendous physical gifts. His insane bat speed leads to huge raw power, among the best in the system, and his top of the line speed is a weapon both on the bases and in the outfield, where he’s a passable centerfielder but an elite rightfielder defensively. Of course, the biggest question mark is Mesa’s ability to make consistent contact, which is kind of a big problem. If he ever improves his approach and learns how to get the bat on the ball with regularity, he’d vault right up the ladder and become a truly elite prospect. Mesa will patrol the outfield for High-A Tampa next season.

Photo Credit: Mike Ashmore

Jimmy Paredes, 2B, 21
The speedy Paredes has been one of the system’s bigger sleepers since signing a few years back, but it wasn’t until he received regular playing time with Short Season Staten Island in 2009 that he started to live up to some of that promise. His .302-.336-.410 batting line isn’t eye popping, but his batting average, on-base percentage, and OPS improved every month of the season, as did his slugging percentage minus a slight hiccup in August. Paredes’ best tool is his blazing speed, which allowed him to steal 23 bases in just 54 games, and he’s also versatile enough to play the three non-first base infield spots proficiently. He profiles best at second, where he’ll play every day for Low-A Charleston in 2010.

Photo Credit: Hilton Flores, Staten Island Advance

Jon Ortiz, RHRP, 24
By no means is Ortiz young, but he’s steadily climbing the ladder and will begin the 2010 season with Double-A Trenton. Once a guy reaches Double-A, you can start talking about him as a potential big league contributor. Just ask Chase Wright. Ortiz isn’t a huge stuff guy – he works in the low-90′s with a very good changeup – but he makes up for it with outstanding command and control (273-39 K/BB ratio in 201.1 career IP). The Yankees have built a steady pipeline of relievers in recent years, and Ortiz is just another product of that. Remember, you don’t have to turn into a star to be considered a success. There’s plenty of value in getting 80 or so league average innings out of a guy like Ortiz, who was basically an afterthought when he signed.

Photo Credit: Screen cap’d from here

Gary Sanchez, C, 17
The comparisons to Montero are inevitable, however they aren’t similar players at all. Sanchez can legitimately remain behind the plate long term, and his bat isn’t nearly as good. That’s not meant as a knock on Sanchez, who projects to be a better than league average hitter with very good power for a backstop. He’s raw, which is not unexpected given his age, and like Montero he struggled in his first taste of instructional league. Once he gets some innings under his belt and makes his way to the States, Sanchez will jump comfortable into the team’s top ten prospects. Until then, he’s on the outside looking in. His 2010 season will start in Extended Spring Training before officially debuting with the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League Yankees in June.

Photo Credit: Jorge Arangure, ESPN

Unlike last year, most of these guys are older prospects who project more as role players than starters on a contender, but that’s life. The Yanks’ system isn’t as deep as it was just a year ago, but with a few breakouts from players like the five mentioned above, they’ll be just fine. Remember, the Yanks’ goal isn’t to have a great system, it’s to win at the big league level, and they don’t exactly need any fixes at the moment.

Make sure you check back in tomorrow for the full fledged Top 30.

Categories : Minors

137 Comments»

  1. The legend of Jestin Romtero begins in earnest.

    Andy shall be overjoyed.

  2. Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

    Jestin Romtero doesn’t make your Top 30 List? Wow. I guarantee he’ll be on there next year.

  3. All praise be to Mo says:

    No Melvin?

  4. Drew says:

    Damn, Ortiz dominated Low A and High A last year in 60 innings.

    http://www.minorleaguesplits.c.....?pl=467802

    Hopefully we see more of the same in AA.

  5. DeAngelo Mack looks like Wesley Snipes/Willie Mays Hayes in that pic.

  6. DP says:

    Jeez, what’s Claussen doing up there? He had a 1.42 ERA for us! Maybe if the Yankees organization didn’t suck so much we could get more guys like that????

    /Ram-BO’d

  7. radnom says:

    Speculation on the two from last year that made the top 30 this year?

    I’m going to guess….

    Higashioka and Kelvin DeLeon make the top 30 this year.

    Abe Almonte and Turley are the late cuts.

  8. Reggie C. says:

    The Sanchize probably wont be seen much outside the squad games of EST, though I hope to see the kid play in Staten Island later in ’10.

    Charleston shouldnt have much trouble generating offense with Mack and Medchill in the lineups.

  9. Omar says:

    Yeah, Sanchez isn’t Montero in the bat, but there’s guys who think Montero has an 80/80 bat and power. Of course it’s unfair to compare Sanchez to Montero, but he’s still 17 and from what I’ve read has impressive tools. I think you’re a little down on him. Aren’t most of these teenagers that come from Latin America pretty raw? I mean, aren’t most teenage baseball players period raw?

  10. Steve H says:

    How’s Paredes’ defense? Best case scenario future utility guy who can hit for an empty .280 or so with speed or potential starter?

  11. Make sure you check back in tomorrow for the full fledged Top 30.

    I can’t wait to see this lovely photo in that post, and the shitstorm it will likely cause…
    http://blogs.denverpost.com/ca....._1_2_3.jpg (safe)

  12. Hughesus Christo says:

    The comparisons to Montero are inevitable, however they aren’t similar players at all. Sanchez can legitimately remain behind the plate long term, and his bat isn’t nearly as good.

    That’s a shot at Montero.

  13. pat says:

    PPlus said Sanchez has Matt Wieters potential with the bat and glove, minus the switch hitting aspect.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Aaaaaaaaand that’s why I unsubscribed from PPlus.

      • Christian Garcia is their #9 Yankees prospect this year.

        I’m not making that up.

        http://yankees.scout.com/a.z?s.....46741.html

      • pat says:

        Haha, I knew that would get a rise from you. I just look at the fact that they didn’t bat an eyelash when they dropped 3 million on the kid from square one. Didn’t let any biddig war develop, didn’t let any other teams negotiate. They wanted this kid badly. I mean hesus was a huuuuuuge signing back in the day and they only gave him a mil and change. I guess less teams were active in the LA market back then.

      • Omar says:

        Maybe they’re referring to 2009 Matt Wieters.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

        This is the one time I’m rooting for PPlus to be right. Well…on second thought, I wish Patrick was always right on with his predictions.
        PPlus is like a $10,000 call girl. It’s an illusion.
        RAB is like your wife and bratty kids, it’s the brutal truth.

        • LoHud is like your astronaut mistress who steals a car, puts on a diaper, and drives cross country with a BB gun to attempt to abduct your other mistress.

        • Don W says:

          PPlus is a Mets fan evaluating Yankee farm system talent. That’s about as impartial as it gets. He speaks with virtually every Yankee front office official that deals with the draft and farm system. From GM to position coaches. He only ranks the players he has seen himself unless he has overwhelming evidence from trusted sources. He didn’t rank Sanchez until he saw him in Tampa instructs.

          To me it sounds like Mike and Patrick use similar methods except Patrick has much better access.

          • Mike Axisa says:

            And that’s the problem. You don’t go to the Yankees and their people for evaluations of their prospects.

            • Don W says:

              That’s like saying you don’t go to the Yankees for stories on the Yankees. OF COURSE you talk to their people. You also talk to scouts of other organizations, which he does, and use your own eyes, which he does.

              Patrick goes to multiple games of all of the minor league affiliates, goes to instructs, he even goes to the Yankee academy in the Dominican Republic. If he doesn’t have enough info on a player he doesn’t rank him but passes on what he’s heard. It kind of nervy implying that his information is less informed than yours.

          • gxpanos says:

            C’mon, man. To reach for the stars for a 17-year-old in Tampa is a little reckless–at worst irresponsible. Wieters? Really? The rise in salary in recent years is market-based as more teams get into the international market in earnest–2.5 mil doesnt necessarily mean he’s Piazza or Bench. Let’s see him in a pro league.

            And dont bring that “Patrick has seen him play” stuff. Your ad hominems carry no weight. To raise expectations for Sanchez to Wieters-level is ridiculous, even without seeing him. What could he possibly have done in Tampa to allow PPlus to make an evaluation like that?

      • Don W says:

        Yeah, why take someone word who’s actually SEEN him perform? (Tampa instructs) I’d much rather listen to all the evaluators who compile information from all of the information compilers.

        I can’t imagine why anyone would have a problem with Patrick’s comment about Sanchez having Wieter’s potential. The kid is 17 and got a $2.5 million signing bonus, obviously professional scouts saw something drool worthy.

        It’s potential not current performance that’s being discussed. The guy’s a specimen by all accounts, we’ll see how he develops.

        • pete says:

          yes but at this point saying gary sanchez has “matt weiters potential” is like saying that Melky Mesa has elite rightfielder potential. When you’re referring to nothing other than pure tools at age 17 without any performance to back it up, it’s a very empty and pointlessly outrageous comparison to make. Gary Sanchez doesn’t have a similar body type or swing to matt weiters, so honestly, where are the comparisons coming from?

          • Don W says:

            Funny you brought up Melky Mesa because I wrote a post to gxpanos stating that, when young, Melky Mesa probably had the potential to be Jesse Barfield. (post lost somewhere in the ethernet) Obviously his potential to be that now is very slight but he definitely has the distinguishable tools physically to be that. Likely it’s the tools that can only be distinguished after hundreds or thousands of AB’s like plate discipline and/or hand eye coordination being used to put bat on ball that will keep him from fulfilling that potential.
            I guess I don’t understand why people don’t understand that when someone thinks a 17 year old kid has the potential to be Matt Wieter they don’t implicitly understand that means if EVERYTHING goes right. Work ethic, genetics, avoidance of injuries, proper instruction…everything. Obviously the younger and further down the ladder that player is the less likely they will reach that potential. Is that really so hard to understand. If someone had said that, at 17, Montero had the potential to be Greg Zahn wouldn’t they look pretty ignorant now? Obviously Montero’s potential was much greater than that of another Zahn and, so far, he’s proved it. Does it really help to get an evaluation of a young player that doesn’t describe his ceiling?

            • pete says:

              it’s just a ridiculous comparison. there are almost no similarities between the two players other than that they could become excellent catchers, and even that is quite skewed because at this point the chances of Sanchez being an excellent MLB catcher are wayyyy lower than the chances of weiters becoming an excellent MLB catcher.

              The best way to describe sanchez is as he is described above: a catcher with great offensive and defensive tools – he has drool-worthy promise, and is young enough that it is not yet just a pipe dream for him to materialize into an absolute stud prospect. That does not, however, mean that he has already materialized into a stud prospect.

              • Don W says:

                BTW – I just read what Patrick actually said. He said that he has a chance to compare favorably to Matt Wieters.

                I retract everything I’ve said, let the beating commence immediately.

  14. mryankee says:

    Any hope for Brackman still? I know he is “older” for a prospect. However now that he is fully healthy can he rediscover the stuff that made him a 1st rounder?

  15. Riddering says:

    Prospect posts three days in a row. I’m in heaven.

  16. Mike Pop says:

    Here’s to hopin’ Melky Mesa finds ‘it’ this season.

  17. Rose says:

    Dirty Sanchez, C, 17

    The comparisons to the Glass Bottom Boat are inevitable, however they aren’t similar at all. Sanchez can legitimately remain smeared on the face long term, and the finger isn’t nearly as clean. That’s not meant as a knock on Sanchez, who projects to be a better than average act with very good reaction from the backstop. It’s raw, which is not unexpected given the location, and like the Glass Bottom Boat the receiver struggles in their first taste of instructional play. Once the finger gets some more attempts from under the belt and makes its way to the face, Sanchez will jump comfortably into the receiver’s top ten acts to use. Until then, the finger is on the outside looking to get in.

  18. [...] posted here:  2010 Preseason Not Top 30 Prospects | River Avenue Blues Tags: archimedes, drew, melky, minors, News, riddering, yankees, [...]

  19. pete says:

    It’s funny the system is so “depleted” now but it’s got an easy shot at being a top 10 system by this time next year. If Slade, Sanchez, Ramirez, Warren, and Banuelos (and more that I’m forgetting about I’m sure), all have good years (a big if, but not a huge if), then they should all be top 100 prospects next year. The 2011 Yanks minor league system could easily be as strong as the 2010 Sox minor league system.

    • Camilo Gerardo says:

      Ranking the farm at 25 makes it easier to write stories next year on how Cashmann has revitalized the farm. Cop out? not saying there were alterior motives to rank a farm so much lower after jackson and teh Viz were traded.

  20. CJ says:

    Regarding Sanchez, other sites, such as BP, have had good things to say about him. I remember they said “plus plus power and the chance for four plus tools”. A comparison to Wieters is absurd, but in discussion of his absolute ceiling (which is the context in which PP made the comparison), its not that absurd.

    http://www.baseballprospectus......cleid=8950

    • CJ says:

      Of course, evaluating Sanchez is a bit tough, because only the Yankees have actually seen him play. Once his agent recieved the offer from the Yanks, he pretty much yanked him from the market, only allowing him to showcase his talent by hitting BP and not allowing him to practice catch with full gear.

  21. [...] you to miss my Top 30 Prospects list, which I posted last Friday. I also put together a list of five players that could jump into the list next season, and chatted about the whole thing as well. So in case you missed it last week, [...]

  22. [...] players from last year’s Not Top 30 List jumped into this year’s top 30: Melky Mesa and Gary Sanchez. Mesa punched his ticket by [...]

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