2010 Post-Draft Top 30 Prospects


2010 1st round pick Cito Culver. (Photo Credit: Andy in Sunny Daytona)

With the August 16th signing deadline now a thing of the past, we can begin to assess how the most recent amateur draft has impacted the Yankees’ farm system. Although they didn’t land a consensus elite talent, they more than made up for it in volume, signing basically all of their mid-to-late round gambles while filling out with polished college players to strike a nice balance. The Yanks were in a position to gamble some on long-term projects, which is exactly with they did. They could end up with nothing, or they could end up with something really special.

In addition to the new influx of talent, the Yanks have also benefited from a staggering number of breakout performances and strong returns from injury this year, transforming the system from one short on the “wow factor” before the season to one with waves with talent right now. The talent on the mound is both plentiful and diverse, with a mix of high-upside arms and safer, higher probability pitchers starting in Triple-A Scranton and going all the way down to High-A Tampa. And yet the Yanks’ top three prospects (four of the top five) are position players, showing the depth of the system.

Here are my preseason and pre-draft lists, for comparison’s sake. The only player on the pre-draft list that is ineligible for this one is Mark Melancon, who was shipped to the Astros in the Lance Berkman deal. Everyone else is fair game, and several players have dropped out as you can see. Some didn’t perform, others just got leapfrogged by other players. It’s not a bad thing when a live arm like Dan Burawa, a MLB-ready reserve outfielder like Colin Curtis, and a tooled up teenager with supreme plate discipline like Ramon Flores don’t make your top 30. It’s definitely an upgrade over where they were just twelve months ago.

Anyway, on to the list. The level listed is where the player is currently playing, but the new draftees get a “none” because I’m not sure exactly where they’ve been assigned, although I do have a pretty good idea. Let’s start with a completely unsurprising name at the top…

  1. Jesus Montero, C, AAA: took some time to adjust to AAA (.293 wOBA on the day on my pre-draft list), but he’s been on an absolute tear for about two months now (.368 wOBA at the moment) that has reaffirmed his position as one of the very best hitters in all of minor league baseball
  2. Austin Romine, C, AA: he’s certainly slowed down after a hot start (wOBA by month: .395, .365, .318, .276, .199), but that’s not unsurprising for a guy in his first season as a full-time catcher
  3. Slade Heathcott, CF, A-: the power component of his power-speed combination isn’t there yet (.071 ISO), but he’s shown a tremendous eye at the plate (12.4 BB%) and the strikeouts should come down as he continues to refine his swing and make more contact
  4. Andrew Brackman, RHSP, AA: he’s cut his walk rate from 6.28 BB/9 last year to 2.61 this year while maintaining a strong strikeout rate (8.47 K/9) and better than a 50% ground ball rate, plus the scouting reports have been very good
  5. Gary Sanchez, C, Rk: the 17-year-old is annihilating rookie ball (.459 wOBA), but he’s got a long way to go defensively behind the plate, more than Montero did
  6. Manny Banuelos, LHSP, A+: an appendectomy delayed the start of his season, but he’s been simply fantastic since returning (1.79 FIP) and reports indicate a welcome uptick in velocity
  7. Hector Noesi, RHSP, AA: aggressive in the zone with four pitches that are good enough to get swings and misses … he won’t be a star, but he’ll be a very nice fill-in option by this time next year
  8. Dellin Betances, RHSP, A+: I don’t think anyone expected him to be this good (1.84 FIP), this fast after elbow surgery, and the even better news is that reports indicate his stuff is all the way back as well … now it’s just a matter of staying healthy (believe it or not, but his 67 IP this season are the second most he’s ever thrown in a single year)
  9. J.R. Murphy, C, A-: he’s gotten better as the season has gone on (wOBA by month: .253, .293, .323, .389) while showing power and he ability to make hard, consistent contact … seems somewhat underappreciated to me
  10. Ivan Nova, RHSP, AAA: it’s not the highest ceiling in the world, but there’s something to be said for MLB-ready back-end arms that can miss some bats and keep the ball in the park
  11. Graham Stoneburner, RHSP, A+: his .212 AVG against is one of the very best in the minors, and he’s demonstrated the ability to miss a ton of bats and limit walks … won’t be challenged until he gets to AA
  12. Jose Ramirez, RHSP, A-: almost a forgotten man with all the pitching talent ahead of him, but Ramirez has put up a very strong year (3.04 FIP) as a 20-year-old in his first taste of a full season league
  13. David Adams, 2B, injured: crushed AA with a .403 wOBA before a broken ankle ended his season in May … you’re looking at a rock solid everyday second baseman in the bigs
  14. Cito Culver, SS, Rk: holding his own after stepping out of his graduation ceremony and into the batter’s box against the best pitching he’s ever faced in his life … the power has started to come as the season has progressed (ISO by month: .050, .094, .106)
  15. Brandon Laird, 3B/1B, AAA: breakout performer of the year (.384 wOBA in AA) has enough power and just enough defense to fake it as an every day third baseman in the show, but it’s unlikely to be his long-term position
  16. David Phelps, RHSP, AAA: arguably the best pure performance among Yankee pitching farmhands this year, but his lack of a bonafide put-away pitch is what limits his ceiling … doesn’t mean he can’t be an effective big leaguer
  17. Corban Joseph, 2B, AA: hitting machine wOBA’d .352 as a 21-year-old in pitcher friendly Florida State League, now he’s just got to improve on the defensive side of the ball
  18. Zach McAllister, RHSP, AAA: advanced hitters have not been kind of Z-Mac, who has seemingly lost the ability to miss bats, generate ground balls, and avoid the long-ball … very disappointing year
  19. Rob Segedin, 3B/OF, Rk: big time on-base ability with a great swing and moderate power potential, just need to figure out his long-term position
  20. Angelo Gumbs, CF, none: true five tool potential here, but he’s extremely raw … going to be a project
  21. Adam Warren, RHSP, AA: cruised right through A-ball with 7.44 K/9, 1.89 BB/9, and 57% ground balls before moving up, and he’s got enough stuff and command to be a back-end starter or valuable middle reliever
  22. Bryan Mitchell, RHSP, Rk: arguably the best pure arm in the system with a knockout curveball, Mitchell has only been so-so in 33.1 IP this year, but the upside is exciting
  23. Mason Williams, CF, none: received more money than another other Yankee draftee this year despite being the fourth best prospect they drafted … exciting tools, but raw and with questionable long-term power potential
  24. Brett Marshall, RHSP, A-: electric arm just back from Tommy John surgery, his ranking is based on pure stuff and potential because the performance (understandably) hasn’t been there yet
  25. Gabe Encinas, RHSP, none: very diverse arsenal and a whole lot of pitching know-how, he should carve up the low minors thanks to his ability to setup hitters and mix pitches alone
  26. Taylor Morton, RHSP, none: inconsistent spring hurt his draft stock, but he’s been up to 96 in the past with both a changeup and a curve
  27. Melky Mesa, OF, A+: old for his level but he finally seems to be putting it together … the other Melky is a tool shed, with the only knock being his ability to make consistent contact, something he’s done this year
  28. Eduardo Sosa, CF, SS: big time defensive outfielder with great speed and surprisingly good plate discipline, he’s a pretty exciting player to watch live
  29. Kelvin DeLeon, RF, SS: the 2007 bonus baby has two standout tools in his power and throwing arm, but his utter lack of plate discipline will keep from being elite
  30. Evan Rutckyj, LHSP, none: a surprise signing, the big (6-foot-5, 210 lb.) lefty has flashed promising stuff with a surprising good feel for his craft … he’s a long-term project, but there’s a lot to work with here.

Kevin Russo and Burawa were squeezed out last night when Williams and Rutckyj signed. One thing to keep in mind is that I (and we) don’t know nearly as much about this year’s draftees as we do about the guys who have been in the system for years, so it’s tough to pinpoint exactly where they belong. Don’t like having Culver below Adams? Fine, I could easily be convinced otherwise.

Also, remember the fudge factor. There’s so little difference between say, the fourth best prospect and the ninth best prospect, or the 22nd best prospect and the 30th best prospect that it’s a waste of time to get worked up over individual rankings. Think Betances should rank higher than Noesi? Fine, who cares. They’re basically on par with each other. Think of it as tiers. Jesus Montero is all by himself. Romine and Heathcott are behind him. Brackman through Betances is the next tier, and so on. The important thing is the cache of talent, which is the deepest it’s been in at least two years.

Categories : Minors


  1. cano-is-the-bro says:

    thank you Mike. I’ve been waiting to read an article like this

  2. Pete says:

    Nice, very in-depth.

  3. Steve O. says:


  4. Angelo says:

    The farm system has been great this year. I was wondering where Culver and the rest of the draft class would rank. Well done.

  5. Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

    Nice pic. That guy is one hell of a photographer.

  6. BG says:

    Is Schaeffer Hall (sp?) a non-prospect?

  7. Ben says:

    Why do scouts think more highly of betances than brackman? A BA writer (can’t remember who) said betances was a sure top100 but brackman was only a fringe candidate. Also is manban a top 100, anyone who knows the minor leagues very well?

    • Angelo says:

      I’m guessing the Betances over Brackman comment was made because Betances is a few years younger, so it makes sense. The only thing that holds people back on Betances is his health. They are virtually the same guy if they reach their absolute ceilings.

      Not sure about ManBan. Seems like people aren’t as high on him because his height takes away from his projectability. However, ManBan has apparently been hitting 92-94, while touching 95 on the radar guns. If that’s true, he should be a Top 100 prospect, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him miss the cut.

    • Steve O. says:

      They think that part of his success is home induced 2.99 FIP away and 3.74 away(stats for both Tampa and Trenton). Still good, but not setting the world on fire. Betances doesn’t have any large split 2.14 FIP home, and 2.04 FIP away.

      Combine that with the age difference and performance, I would guess that’s what’s giving Betances the edge in the eyes of the writers such as BA, Law, etc.

      I’d say Banuelos is a top 100 guy. Good pitchability guy, great results, good secondary pitches, 19, in Hi-A, and a lefty. He’s got a lot going for him.

  8. Tom Zig says:

    There hasn’t been enough draft coverage here.

    Ok now on a serious note. With the steps forward many prospects in the organization have taken this year, where do you think the Yankee Farm system ranks as compared to everyone else?

    • Carlosologist says:

      I think with the breakouts by the pitchers, the farm system could be in the top 10.

      • Angelo says:

        I agree.

        Axisa, where do you think the Yankees farm system ranks right now?

        • Mike Axisa says:

          Top ten still seems a touch high, but 10-15 at the least.

          • Total Dominication says:

            Where are the Sox on that list?

            • Mike Axisa says:

              Probably 5-10 range. Their top guys really fell on their faces this year, but they still have insane depth.

              • AndrewYF says:

                Sure, but most of their depth fell on their faces, too. I would be surprised to see the Sox’s ranking fall out of the top 10 (too many people in BA/BP have too much invested in that system), but the combination of their elite guys taking steps back, and no one really breaking out, it puts their system in real danger of falling out of the top half if you’re talking about an objective ranking system.

                It’s insane to see all those incredibly highly-touted draft picks turned into muck. Imagine that, draft picks not working out despite what the ‘gurus’ say. It’s almost like we have to see how prospects actually perform before judging a draft class…

  9. Total Dominication says:

    No Nunez?

  10. Chuck says:

    Mike Axisa,
    I know you were high on castellanos. Would you rather have Castellanos at 3.45 Mil or Segedin at 0.4 Mil?

    P.S. First time caller. (I’ll hang up and listen.)
    Thank you

  11. crawdaddie says:

    I think you need to look at Marshall’s 2010 numbers again and remember this young man had TJS on July 31st of last year. He’s becoming a pitcher not a thrower.

    Also, in regard to Mason Williams, don’t be too sure he’s the fourth best prospect they drafted this year.

  12. T-Dubs says:

    so I guess when 8 players from your draft land immediately in your top 30 prospects, you’ve done a pretty good job, eh?

  13. Still no Eduardo Nuñez, huh? I’m surprised by that. I know you’re bearish on him, but he’s produced solidly for two years now.

    Is he at least in the 30-40 range? Who else is in that next ten (besides Burawa and Russo)?

    Gamel? Kahnle? Gerritse? DeLuca? Pope? Hirsh? Romulo? Suttle? DJ Mitchell? Snyder? Heredia?

  14. TERPSandYANKSfan says:

    Just curious, would Gerrit Cole be ahead of Montero on this list if he signed?

    KLaw said he would be better than Matusz in his last chat. Matusz was preseason number 5 on BA’s list.

    • Chuck says:

      Maybe Phil will prove that the Yankees system can develop arms, and the Coles of the world will sign in the future.

    • Steve O. says:

      It’d probabaly be like:

      1A.Jesus Montero
      1B.Gerrit Cole

      • Total Dominication says:

        I wasn’t very informed on the draft until this year, so can someone explain the Cole incident?

        • Mike Axisa says:

          Top five kind of talent, fell to the Yanks at 28, indicated that he’d sign, then he changed his mid during the summer and instead decided to go to UCLA.

          • indicated that he’d sign,

            Did he? I’m trying to remember if the Cole family actually indicated to the Yankees that they were interested in him signing and then later changing his mind.

            This Bruins fan website cites an LA Times article stating that the Coles never even listened to offers from the Yankees, that they did their own internal deliberations and decided they weren’t signing with anyone.


            • Thomas says:

              He did have Boras advising him, which is a pretty good indication that a player wants to go to the pros assuming a good offer is present (which the Yankees did).

              • I’d say it’s more a good indication that a player wants to get the most amount of money possible.

                The Yankees were offering a lot of cash, but he, his dad, and Boras probably figured they could get more as a top 5 pick than they could extort out of the Yankees as a #28 pick. We drop heavy coin, but Jameson Taillon just got 6M plus from the Pirates; we weren’t offering 6M plus.

                • Chris says:

                  I believe the Yankees never made an official offer because Boras advised them not to. That doesn’t sound like the negotiating strategy of someone that’s looking to make more money in three years.

                  The reports before the draft (I remember specifically KLaw mentioning it) were all that he would sign eventually, but be very expensive. Ultimately, it sounded like no amount of money would have signed him.

                  • I believe the Yankees never made an official offer because Boras advised them not to. That doesn’t sound like the negotiating strategy of someone that’s looking to make more money in three years.

                    I don’t follow. Boras advised them not to because the Coles believed that no offer would possibly trump the offer they’d get 3 years later.

                    • rbizzler says:

                      IIRC, the family thought that Cole was not mentally prepared for the rigors of pro baseball and felt that college would be a good growth experience for him.

                      Plus, his fam has loot and the (reported)$5 million dollar offer that was floated did little to sway the family away from their revised plan.

                    • Not exactly. I direct you back to that LA Times article:

                      We did a ton of thinking, just an absurd amount of thinking about this, says Cole. My dad has a Ph.D., and he’s a real visual kind of guy, so he made charts, and we went over financial figures, comparing people who are drafted in the first round and have somewhat of a baseball career with others who graduated college and the average gross of what they make in baseball and afterward.

                      And money wasn’t the only variable charted: The Coles evaluated whether three years in the minors would necessarily yield a shorter path to the majors than three years of college. And if an 18-year-old is truly ready for the real world of professional baseball.

                      As they pondered, UCLA waited on pins and needles in its own private yes-or-no lottery. As the college route seemed to become the clear choice, there was still one possibility nagging at the Cole family. To truly consider all the factors, they had to account for the very real possibility of a career-ending injury. It was the availability of specialized disability insurance — a little-known benefit sold through the NCAA and open to athletes who, in the governing body’s words, can “realistically anticipate receiving a substantial amount of money as professional athletes” — that tipped the scales.

                      All the bases were covered. With a new policy in his back pocket and the old thunder still in his right arm, it was a done deal. Gerrit Cole was headed to UCLA.

                      But what about that offer from the Yankees? “There never was one,” says dad Mark, who was well aware of the reasonable range of the impending windfall. “It was a decision based on what was the best route for Gerrit at the time.”

                      So no, “Let’s hear the number just for fun”? Weren’t the Coles even curious?

                      “No. We didn’t need to hear an offer,” insists the elder Cole. “I made it very clear to the Yankees that if we went down that road and talked about money or other aspects of a contract, it would just be giving them the wrong impression.” The kid was going to school no matter what.


                      We drafted him, figuring we could buy him out of his college commit. He and his dad studied the market and history of college pitchers and determined that he could benefit from UCLA, and also have a quicker path to the majors and make more money as a polished college pitcher going at the top of the draft rather than a high-upside but rawer high school pitcher starting at the bottom rung of the majors. They came to the conclusion that waiting and going to UCLA and trying again in 3 years was the best thing for him long term.

                      It’s both a “I want to go to college issue” and a “I want to improve my draft stock issue and have more leverage, a higher position, a bigger bonus, and less time toiling in obscurity in the Sally League” decision.

                    • rbizzler says:

                      Thanks for the link. I don’t believe I ever saw that article. I find it amusing that his dad is the one doing the analysis. One would think that Boras Corp. has access to the same type of info, but may be more interested in him signing for big money now/then rather than playing the waiting game for the possibility of a bigger payday later.

                      I was working off of the assumption/rumor that Cole was kind of a spoiled/arrogant type whose parents thought that three years of school would be helpful to his emotional maturity. Contrast that with him banking 5 million and running around the minor leagues with enough flash cash to get into a good deal of trouble and it made sense for him to honor his UCLA commit.

                    • Ed says:

                      I had never heard of the disability insurance program before – that really changes things. I wonder what sort of payout he could get from it if something happened. Without the insurance, I’d imagine the risk + time value of money would easily make the Yankees offer the better choice.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      He might have been. It would have been a very fun debate with no loser, but alas.

  15. Where is Z-Mac pitching this time next year? Scranton? Someone else’s org?

  16. Ted Nelson says:

    Thanks for the update, Mike!

  17. Where would Luis Heredia slot in here, do you think? I know you’re hesitant to put IFAs on the list, just wondering ceiling-wise.

  18. Reggie C. says:

    That Stoneburner & Jo Ram clock in just outside the top ten is a definitive indication as to the progress made in stock piling starters.

    I had to think about it for a long minute, but I do end up afreeing with your statement that Betances & Noesi are on “par.” Hopefully it doesnt stay that way as Betances’s power could elevate him to the top 3, but his health is still too much a wildcard.

  19. B-Rando says:

    Nice read Mike. I always look forward to your analysis of the Yanks farm system.

  20. Jose the Satirist says:

    “he’s got a long way to go defensively behind the plate, more than Montero did”

    What is this based on? Any specific scouting reports you have read?

    • Mike Axisa says:

      BA had some stuff on him a few weeks ago, it was rather ugly.

      • Thomas says:

        Didn’t BA (or someone) say that unlike Montero, Sanchez has the tools and athleticism to be a catcher long term though? Sort of like how Romine wasn’t good defensively when he started but was projectable behind the plate.

        • Angelo says:

          Pretty much. Sanchez is just further away than Montero was at this point, but he has plenty of projection behind the plate. Not a big worry at this point.

      • Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

        Unlike BA, I’ve seen him play.


      • Jose the Satirist says:

        Hmm. I know he has been struggling so far this year. But I thought most scouts thought he had the agility and arm strength to stay behind the plate. I remember reading some scouts clocked his pop time at around 1.8 seconds.

        • I think you two are talking past each other a bit.

          Mike said he heard that Sanchez has a long way to go at the plate, not that he can’t stay behind the plate. Sanchez probably does have a great arm and agility, he’s considered a solid athlete. He’s just raw, though, really raw, and needs a lot of time and instruction to master the catching position.

          I assume that’s what Mike is saying when he says Sanchez has a long way to go. The fact that he has more to learn than Montero doesn’t mean that he may not be a long term catcher like Montero, because the positional issues for Montero are athleticism/body size, not skill/technique/training.

        • Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

          Seriously, when I saw him catch he looked fine. He threw a runner out at 2nd with an absolute guided missile of a throw. The only stolen base allowed that day, was when Matt Richardson forgot to pitch from the stretch.

      • Steve O. says:

        Here it is, it was in the hot sheet.

        Sanchez has shown skills advanced beyond his age when he steps into the batter’s box, hitting for average and for power while showing a solid approach. Behind the plate has been a different story. Sanchez’s receiving has never been a strength, and with a league-high 12 passed balls and six errors in 13 games at catcher, he still has plenty of work to do to clean up his defense. Sanchez has a strong arm, but teams have stolen more bases on him than any other catcher in the GCL with 28 in 35 attempts for an 80 percent success rate.

        • Jose the Satirist says:

          I don’t see the Montero comparison though. Sean Serritella says “His hitting isn’t as good as Montero’s when Montero was at his age but he’s a better catcher defensively.” He is saying Sanchez’s defense is better than Montero’s was at the same point.

          • Steve O. says:

            Meh, people love making comparisons. I guess the comparison is that they both have advanced bats with lagging defense.

            • Jose the Satirist says:

              You’re missing my point. The article you linked says he has a lot of defensive work to do. Mike said his defense has a longer way to go than Montero’s did at the same age. I’ve found someone saying the opposite. That Sanchez has better defense at the same age. I’m just wondering if a scout out there said Sanchez has longer to go than Montero, or that was Mike’s opinion.

              • Steve O. says:

                It’s that Sanchez is at such a low level he’s got a hell of a long time to work on his catching skills. I see your point, but different scouts will probably have different views but they’re all in ageement that they’re not good defenders.

                It doesn’t matter about where Montero was in his development at Sanchez’s age because Montero still isn’t capable. Sanchez can become elite defensively in a few years. Is it likely? No.

                They’re development paths probably won’t be the same. That’s all I’m saying.

          • dmh08 says:

            I ve read alot of scouting reports about Sanchez and his comparison to Montero at the same age. The big difference behind the plate seems to be that Montero’s receiving skills were a little better at that age. Montero’s size at that time was the big question and Sanchez seems to be ok size wise long term. Sanchez has alot of time to work on his recieving skills so i don’t see it as a problem. He might never end up a gold glove catcher but if his bat continues to progress as Montero’s has he very well could end up being our long term catcher, imo possibly an all star at some point but thats so far away.
            Overall with Sanchez’s hitting ability and the time he has to develope defensively i think he got a chance to be almost as good as prospect as Montero

    • Angelo says:

      Do not question, Axisa! He knows all. Joking. I would love to know this as well.

  21. JSquared says:

    I thought Mikey O’Brien would’ve fell ight in between 25-30… Seen him pitch in SI, looks good enough to slot in there.

  22. Mike HC says:

    Nice write up. Seems like we are pretty deep.

  23. Sweet Dick Willie says:

    Mike, is there a differnce between a fringe prospect and an org guy? Big? Tiny?

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      I’m not Mike but a fringe prospect would have a shred of upside that could help the big league club. A guy like Venditte. An org guy is just stuck in the minors forever like Igawa.

      Or that’s what I think.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Very little. A fringe prospect has a very, very slight change of contributing to the big leagues in some way. An org guy is someone with no big league future because he’s just not good enough.

  24. Yankee27 says:

    Mike, Thanks for the great piece. Without ranking them in any order could you provide the Yankees that would make up 31-50?

  25. JobaWockeeZ says:

    I think Lanny got the farm situation handled for me tough it was a different year.

    Yeah my mind was blown too. But those sentiments exactly.

  26. Needs more Tommy Kahnle.

  27. Ted Nelson says:

    Ranking in tiers–as described in the final paragraph–instead of numerically seems like a good idea…

  28. Bill O. says:

    Interesting list. I agree with your last paragraph where you explain the tiers of the system and how there is little separation between a lot of these guys. Although I found it interesting that you felt Slade was a lock for the #3 spot. ManBan, Betances, Brackman, and Sanchez all seem to have higher ceilings (debatable) and 3 of them are performing at higher levels. I’m certainly not knocking Slade but it doesn’t seem like he has deserved that #3 spot quite yet. Frankly I put Slade at 7 behind all 3 pitchers and Sanchez. But that’s in large part cause I’m pessimistic about his power projections even though it is early.

    Also I know you don’t like Nunez, but come on. He’s easily top 30. The fact that he could start at SS for some teams right now is proof of that. I agree he doesn’t look to be a great major leaguer right now, but he can hit for average, has good speed, and has improved defensively. Few SS’s in the majors are asked to do much more than that. As for the Tony Pena Jr. comparison, Pena was a .250 hitter in the minors with a .280 OBP. Nunez with a little more plate dicipline and better defense two areas where he has shown marked improvement this year could be an ok starting SS in the majors. He’d likely be a back of the lineup guy, but most SS’s usually are.

    • Although I found it interesting that you felt Slade was a lock for the #3 spot. ManBan, Betances, Brackman, and Sanchez all seem to have higher ceilings (debatable) and 3 of them are performing at higher levels.

      I’m not Mike, but I could totally justify putting Slade above ManBan, Brackman, and Betances since ManBan is short, Brackman’s older and has injury issues, and Betances has serious injury issues. Position players in general are safer than pitchers, and these three all have dynamite upsides, yes, but all have real injury dangers as well.

      As for Slade over Sanchez, it’s probably just the level thing. Until Gary’s in a full-season league, it’s hard to put him in front of Slade.


    • Steve O. says:

      Heathcott has a lot going for him. He’s a legit 5 tool player who will stick in Center Field.

      There are many more questions about the other players you just listed. Banuelos doesn’t have a lot of projection left and doesn’t have overpowering stuff. Betances and Brackman have long injury histories and short periods of sustained success. Sanchez may or may not stick at Catcher long term and he’s still in Rookie ball.

      • JobaWockeeZ says:

        FWIW ManBan’s fastball has gained a few miles on his fastball which is his biggest concern in reaching his ceiling.

        If that added velocity sticks with him IMO he may be the best pitching prospect in the organization being very close with Brackman.

        • Steve O. says:

          Yeah, I know about the added velocity, just wanted to see him sustain it for an extended amount of time before I change his scouting report.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Slade has a better chance to stay at the premium up-the-middle position long-term. He doesn’t have Sanchez’s raw hitting ability, but he’s no slouch himself. Plus he has the speed element.

      It’s certainly debatable, though.

    • Pete says:

      slade, a toolsy and athletic (despite being white) CF who has the height/tools to project possible 15-20 HR power in the future currently has a 12.5% walk rate as an 18 (19?) year old in his first pro season. That’s a pretty big plus. Power can develop, contact can develop. Speed you’re born with. Plate discipline doesn’t always come at all. Slade has the two hardest things to develop already going for him.

  29. JSquared says:

    Mike, How would you rank the top 5 relievers in the system?

  30. JobaWockeeZ says:

    This farm compared to the farm just before the draft seems a lot different for the better. That’s awesome.

  31. Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

    Here’s a pic of Sanchez, if anyone is interested.

  32. Jose the Satirist says:

    I’m still looking forward to when Cristofer Cabrera comes to America and makes this top prospect list. He is one of my favorite Yankee prospects that no one really knows about, unless you follow IFA signings.

  33. j_Yankees says:

    Nothing gets the RAB crowd going like a prospect list. Its like letting kids run loose in a candy store without grown ups.

    I really don’t think there is anything to debate here. As mike notes, you got JESUS. Then you got Romine and Slade. and then rest. We may have some nitpicks here and there…but after romine and slade it is what it is.

  34. T-Dubs says:

    Who’s the biggest dark horse to become a star on this list?

    I, of course, love Adam Warren.

  35. Good stuff on Yankees prospects as always Mike. My one question is Melky Mesa. Of your 25-30, Mesa’s the only guy I’ve heard of, and I’ve been hearing great things about him from you and other analysts. Any reasons besides age that he’s not higher?

  36. Pat D says:

    Did anyone/everyone see KLaw’s wrapup article today? Seems as if he thinks the Yankees were stingy with the amateur scouting and that they didn’t really draft for ceiling.

    I thought they did OK all things considered, in terms of draft positioning. Or am I just too much of a novice here?

    • Thomas says:

      They did OK. The Yanks drafted a bunch a fairly high ceiling HS players (Jordan, Gumbs, Williams, Morton, Encinas, etc), but most are very raw. The problem with the Yankees’ draft was that they didn’t draft any very-high end talent like Cole, Castellanos, Allie, etc. However, since they didn’t draft any very high end talent, it allowed them to sign the majority of their top picks.

      It seemed like the Yankees went with more quantity of good picks, than one major quality pick.

  37. Andrew Brotherton says:

    I wonder if we will take a shot at Barrett Loux now that he is a free agent? He has pretty decent stuff.

    • Steve O. says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go to Indy ball, then re-enter the draft next year to increase his stock.

      • I don’t think he can re-enter the draft now that he’s a free agent.

      • rbizzler says:

        Why would he want to re-enter the draft, rather than negotiate and solicit offers from as many org’s as he wants? If he re-enters the draft (if that is even possible), he will have no leverage left. Right now, he is in the most enviable position possible. Look how much Cuban FA’s get on the open market and you will realize that the draft system significantly suppresses bonuses. I mean, Juan Miranda got 2 million in a lesser market a few years back. That amount of guaranteed money would have put him in the top 10-15 of this year’s draft bonuses. Compare that to what more well regarded talents like Iglesias, Chapman, and Hechavarria received and it is a no-brainer to use his situation to leverage a serious bonus.

    • rbizzler says:

      Yeah, I posted about this in the off-topic thread. You have to figure the Yanks will at least check in on the asking price and the medicals.

  38. Pete says:

    I can’t reply to it b/c it’s past the nesting limit, but this: makes me want Cole even more. That’s some Billy fuckin Beane shit there

  39. Captain Jack says:

    I like Flores a lot more than I like some of the recent draftees. I think you’re too bullish on Sedgin, Rutckyj, and perhaps Gumbs for placing them above Flores. Though that’s just me, I also wouldn’t put Noesi in the top ten since I think of the bigger pitchers (Brackman, Betances, Stoneburner, Ramirez, Banuelos, and him) he’s the least likely to contribute to the team in a meaningful way at the ML level. Disagreement in philosophy, no biggie.

  40. Captain Jack says:

    Where is DJ Mitchell in all of this too? I mean, he seems like he might be able to be a Chad Gaudin type.

  41. ABS says:

    Left out Ramon Flores – a guy with tools and that kind of plate discipline at that age is amazing. I know he’s young and all, but the plate discipline is a 80, and for a tools guy that is ricockulous.

  42. sandy g says:

    i believe the yankees have a plan to put robby cano back at ss after jeter retires and give the 2b job to david adams or corban joseph.cano did play ss in the minors.

  43. bonestock94 says:

    Wow, the Yankees system is confidence inspiring. I love this era.

  44. Will (the other one) says:

    Any chance Laird could hack a corner outfield spot?

  45. poopy says:

    Yankees are awsome

  46. sleepykarl says:

    Any thoughts on the Yankees going after Barret Loux since he was granted free agency? Would he be in the top 30?

  47. shane says:

    My fave non-mention is probably Juan Marcano. Lefty, 19 years old, BAA .148 and has pitched a few innings in High-A.

  48. Dave Mac says:

    Hey man much respect for the list top 30 that’s pretty impressive.I do have 2 disagree on a couple guys though….I woulda put Sanchez higher def ahead of Slade, Sanchez got the largest bonus the Yankees have ever given out 2 an international signee…. and he actually has exceeded the expectations, as a 17 year old he is destroying the gulf coast league. He was more highly touted then slade and has out performed Slade.You could go as far as to argue Sanchez has as much upside as anyone in the system. Think Betances should b higher as well.. Hasn’t he always had a ton of potential?.doesn’t he throw mid to upper nineties.. His numbers this year are flat out off the charts. sometimes it takes taller pitchers a little while to put it all together. Seems like thats what he’s doing this year…Anyway thats all i got, great list.

  49. hello9 says:

    Uh, if you’re projecting David Adams as a solid mlb level 2nd baseman (and not as his ceiling) then there’s no way he’s not a top 7/8 prospect right now (unless you have the best or second best farm in teh league)

  50. nycsportzfan says:


    Also, Banuelos should be number 3, that kids the real deal holyfield, and i can’t wait to watch him breeze next yr, great control and can strike guys out, gets kinda a unfair shake because of his Size i think, but for some, that just happens to not matter.. I said in the beggining of Yr to watch D.Phelps this yr, and hes freaking blazed through the minors and hasen’t even been touched at any level, and i don’t see his So Called Out pitch problem’s happening to often, the guys struck out more then enough and never walks guys, he had a freaking 10k 0bb game in like his 5th triple A start, i can’t wait till he makes u all eat crow, all though, if he hasen’t yet, then you guys just dont see it… Also, Tommy Kahnle is a beast, and should be on the list, and i gurantee u won’t be able to keep him off next yr

  51. nycsportzfan says:

    my list would go like this.

    1. montero
    2. austin romine
    3. manny banuelos
    4. dellin betances
    5. andrew brackman
    6. slade
    7. gary sanchez
    8. ivan nova(can’t discount a guy who reaches mid 90′s with his size+secondary
    9. jr murphy
    10. david phelps(dude simply hasen’t been stopped, period!)

  52. Plank says:

    I always feel like prospect lists should be divided into two rankings. One should be based on future potential ceiling and the other based on the best players based on performance/age level. It seems like every prospect list attempts to balance to two.

    Someone like Brackman or maybe Heathcott would do well on ceiling but not as well on actual performance. ManBan would rank lower on ceiling due to his size but higher in terms of what he actually does on the field.

    It seems like most disagreements are based on people valuing the two lists differently rather than having differing opinions of the players in question.

    • nycsportzfan says:

      ya, but banuelos actually has a good heater, and good secondary stuff, and hes a Lefty, his size shoulden’t be a factor, hes a rare breed…

  53. Naved says:

    ManBan last start his fastball hit 97! He is only 19 and can add muscle to his frame. Dare I say he could touch 100? Also Betances should be way higher. Only thing that doesn’t make him a top prospect in baseball is his limited time.

  54. Joe says:

    nunez should be on your list. that is just bias

  55. pep25 says:

    I like reading about Yankee prospects, but think you really missed the boat on your list Mike. After the season Brad Suttle has had, he should definitely be on this list. Also Cito Culver and his .125 BA, really? He was a reach in the draft and has shown nothing. We also have many international players who are much better than many players from the 2010 draft. Ramon Flores is better than both Culver and Gumbs.

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