Sickels’ Top 20 Yankee Prospects

Open Thread: Zim
Yankees agree to deal with Feliciano

John Sickels of the Minor League Ball released his list of the top 20 Yankee prospects on Wednesday, led of course by Jesus Montero. Rather than simply copy and past the list here, I’ll let you click through. What I do want to mention is Sickels’ blurb on the overall farm system, which I’ll stick right here…

This system has two excellent hitters at the top, but thins out quickly in position players with impact potential after that. The pitching is quite rich; I count eight guys with the ability to hold rotation spots at the major league level, including a couple of potential anchors, and there are more arms behind them.

The system has some toolsy outfielders and some interesting catchers past Montero and Sanchez, but could use additional depth. Overall, though, it is a system that has a lot going for it, and if some of the sleepers from the ’10 draft pan out it can look even better next year.

The Yankees really went for upside in the 2010 draft with guys like Cito Culver, Mason Williams, and Angelo Gumbs, so most of their top shelf position players are still in the low, low minors. Montero and Brandon Laird are the only guys at the Triple-A level with the potential to be impact players at the big league level, and even Laird is on the fence in that regard. If he turns into a righty Eric Hinske (not a good comp, by the way), I wouldn’t consider that to be much of an impact even though he’ll certainly be useful.

The pitching is very important, because as we know the Yankees don’t have much of it at the big league level. It’s not just the Manny BanuelosDellin BetancesAndrew Brackman trio either, the Yanks have pitching coming in waves. The Triple-A level will offer David Phelps, D.J. Mitchell, Hector Noesi, and Andrew Brackman next season. Double-A will have the remaining two-thirds of the Killer B’s, Adam Warren, and Graham Stoneburner. Below that you have Marshall and Jose Ramirez. It just keeps coming, which is a great thing because not all of these guys are going to work out. Some will get hurt, some will suck, some will get traded away. It’s the nature of the beast. Unlike most of the position players though, the high-end pitching talent is no more than two years away, and that’s being conservative.

As for Sickels’ actual list, I don’t have too many issues with it. No one strikes me as way out of place and the grades aren’t worth the argument, though I do think Brett Marshall deserves to be a little higher. More importantly, there are 20 players on the list, and 19 of them play an up-the-middle position or pitch. The lone exception is Laird. Strength up the middle is absolutely key and the Yankees thrived on it for years, getting well above average production from shortstop, centerfield, and catcher throughout the late-90’s and early-00’s. If a prospect at an up-the-middle position can’t cut it, he simply moves to a corner. If a prospect at a corner position can’t cut it, well then he’s out of luck. That why these guys are so valuable and why it’s important to have hordes of catchers and middle infielders. They have value both to the team and for use in trades.

So I guess that’s my minor league rant for the night. I’m just glad that despite all the holes in the big league roster, help is on the way in one form or another.

Open Thread: Zim
Yankees agree to deal with Feliciano
  • Meat Loaf

    Cito Culver made the list. Love it.

    • A.D.

      Though not the most rave review on him by Sickels

  • Jake LaMotta’s Left Hook

    When I saw this, I thought his grading was spot-on, but I would have graded David Adams maybe a B- instead of a C+. Either way, it doesn’t really make a difference, though.

    • Plank

      F-ing up his ankle may have hurt Adams’ rating a bit.

  • T-Dubs

    Scranton and Trenton’s pitching staffs are going to be so fun to follow.

  • mikebk

    very fair list all the way around. agree Marshall should be higher. i would put phelps just ahead of warren and stoneburner but that is really semantics since grouped together.

    surprised to see Noesi that high on the list with how he got hit late in the year.

    last year was a huge year for pitchers, so let’s hope the hitters make huge strides this year

    • T-Dubs

      Agree. I’d also throw Murphy in front of Nunez.

    • Jake LaMotta’s Left Hook

      Laird and CoJo took huge strides.

      • AndrewYF

        Sanchez probably took the biggest step forward out of any Yankee prospect last year.

  • Tom Zig

    I love the fact that Brett Marshall and Jose Ramirez made the top 20. I’m really curious about Bryan Mitchell who made the Others of note list. What’s his projection?

  • Pottsey

    What happened to bleich?
    Chances the two picked in rule 5 stay?

    • Mike Axisa

      Bleich had major shoulder surgery. Fish and Turpen aren’t likely to stick at all, I bet they get offered back to their original teams at the end of Spring Training.

  • Rivera Venue Blues

    That’s how I have the Killer Bs ranked too. Exciting farm system we have, either way.

  • Jess

    “The pitching is very important, because as we know the Yankees don’t have much of it at the big league level.”

    Oh please. So we missed out on Cliff Lee and all off a sudden we are the KC Royals or Mets? Save me the drama.

    • whozat

      They’ve got Hughes, who might become a front-end guy, two relievers, and a guy who might become a back end starter. That’s not really a lot…

      • Ted Nelson

        That one CC guy is ok. Burnett could certainly put together a good season. Pettitte may be back. And it’s not like they can’t pick up a starter before the trade deadline.

        Two relievers? Mo, Robertson, Joba, Logan, Mitre… Where’d you take math?

      • Harrill Lovelace

        Having a top # 1 starter, an up and coming # 3, and maybe a rebounding # 2 along with maybe the best bullpen in basball is actually a great start for a pitching staff. They need 2 guys to break through as solid 4 and 5 starters, and Burnett to win again. That’s about it for the Yankees. Every year most teams have to have a couple guys come through. The Phillies have a great top 4 and a decent bullpen-yet they are deemed the best in baseball. The Yankees are very close as far as top to bottom talent on the entire lists of staffs. The offense will be superb this season if the guys just have their “average” seasons. Last year injuries hurt 5 of the starters performances, so the Yankees are due to have memorable season.

    • Poopy Pants

      Another ignorant homer.

      • Ted Nelson

        Yeah, I mean CC, Hughes, maybe Pettitte, Burnett, Nova… basically the same rotation from a 95 win ALCS team… plus the resources to go out and get someone via trade. How can this guy not see that the sky is clearly falling?

        • Harrill Lovelace

          The Yankees had Gardner, Granderson, Teixiera, ARod, Nick Johnson, and Posada hurt last season. Except Johnson being gone all of these guys look to have better seasons. That could mean a half a run a game better offense. AJ is better than last season, so we have 3 good pitchers as starters even without Pettite, 3 to 4 good relievers, and some top prospects and money to fill the holes from a 95 win lineup. The Red Sox are better, so even though it is a dogfight coming don’t sleep on the Yankees making a push for 100 wins. I see Gardner hitting .300 with 60 stolen bases and 100 runs , Granderson, Swisher, ARod, Cano, Teixiera, Posada all hitting from 25-40 HRs. That is a good lineup.

  • Avi

    I wonder if part of the reason Cashman hasn’t been aggressive in signing a righty reliever is because he thinks Phelps, Warren and maybe Noesi can do a decent job in that role this year. I mean the Yanks haven’t engaged one righty in negotiations yet despite there being many available.

    • Harrill Lovelace

      You have to wonder why we did not go after Kerry Woods seeing as how he only asked 1.5 million, and getting Feliciano for 4 million makes Woods look like a steal. He had an ERA under 1.00 as a Yankee. This is the worst move-one they did not make in getting a right handed set up man who did not ask for closer money who was already a Yankee. Woods was a great starter at one point also. Having Mark Prior and Kerry Woods both be good would be a page out of history when they were the future of the Cubs.

      • Gary Mank

        Wood obviously wanted to back to the Cubs and not just because it was in Chicago because he turned down more from the White Sox

  • http://none Angel
  • http://none Angel

    $,Nunez,Nova(or Noesi) x Jackson…put Romine if the Sox want the Yanks eat Quentin salary

    • whozat

      I’d rather have Nova than Jackson.

    • Ghost of Scott Brosius

      Make that Buerhle and we’ll talk.

  • Sean C

    Thanks to this site, I have actually paid attention to the farm system for over a year now. I really, really enjoy it.

  • Phillies

    Sorry you losers didn’t get Cliff Lee.. have fun watching us play Boston in the World Series this year

    • Plank


    • Doug

      *pauses, briefly lowers newspaper*

      Try harder.

      *resumes reading op-ed section*

    • Sean C

      And if that doesn’t work, maybe try going to a Phillies blog.

    • Slappy White

      I believe the last time the 2 were in the world series , YOU were the LOSER….you dont get a trophy for winning the off-season

    • kenthadley

      maybe, but seeing that you have never beaten the Yankees in a world series, I can understand your looking forward to the Sox…..oh yes, you did beat a recent expansion team for your only win…..bravo

    • http://msn Joe Giradi

      Think San Frans going to lie down? The old guys wont make it to September.

  • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

    What about Shaeffer Hall? Is he sleeper like Marshall?

  • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

    On the hitting side, could Flores and Yeicok Calderon make huge strides this year?

  • Monteroisdinero

    Watching Montero destroy Pawtucket last year has given me long lasting comfort that has sustained me through these last few weeks.

  • OldYanksFan

    I’m STILL glad we didn’t get Lee.
    7 years at $23m per??? OMG!!!!
    And we almost traded Montero for this?

    Following the Farm is great. When you consider that we have had basically the worst picks for 15 straight years, it’s AMAZING we have such a decent farm.

    How did that happen?
    Does Cashman get a lot of the credit?

    LoHud quotes Cashman as saying if healthy, Martin is definitely the staring C, and he is glad there is less pressure to promote Jesus.

    I gotta tell ya, if they trdae Montero, I might have to start rooting for the Sox!

    • Hughesus Christo

      I don’t believe a word Cashman says about anything. It wouldn’t make sense for him to be honest with the media.

  • viridiana

    Montero, ManBan, Dellin untouchables IMO.
    Have to wonder sadly if Boy Genius up in Boston hasn’t eaten our lunch. By signing Jenks, he pretty much limits Yanks to Soriano, who would cost a first round pick. Cash looking like the guy without the chair to sit in when the music stops. Really a bad off-season for him. The farm offers hope. BUt now I fear they’ll make bad trade moves to compensate for free agent failures.

    • Clay Bellinger

      What exactly has Cash done wrong this season? Make a full effort and offer a huge contract to the best SP on the market? Is it his fault that the guy chose to accept a significantly lesser deal?

      The Yanks aren’t going after Soriano.

    • Ted Nelson

      It made some sense for the Sox to throw 2 yrs $12 mill at a set-up man because outside of Bard the back end of their pen is a question mark. With Mo, Robertson, and Joba plus way more righty pitching prospects than rotation spots why are the Yankees paying a set-up man coming off a down season $6 mill per?

      Epstein looks like the guy without a chair after missing Martin and going with Saltalamacchia/Varitak as his C. The Yankees probably have 3 C on their roster better than any Sox C, and Cervelli may well be better too.

  • A.D.

    Not too shabby right there, just a shame there aren’t some more impact bats

  • Bob

    Strength up the middle is clearly the best way to dvelop a young foundation for a team; when it works out — well, we just have to look back to see the potential — Bernie, Derek, Jorge, Andy & Mariano were/have been the nucleus of NYY for years.

  • Ted Nelson

    “Montero and Brandon Laird are the only guys at the Triple-A level with the potential to be impact players at the big league level”

    Love how you don’t mention Nunez…

    “I’m just glad that despite all the holes in the big league roster”

    Is this sarcastic? One starting P and some bench players/relievers = all the holes?

    • Ted Nelson

      I mean the Yankees are basically taking the team that won 95 games–3rd most in the MLs–last season and made the ALCS into this season… Plus probably better production at C. Some guys might have off years, but maybe Jeter and Granderson will have better seasons to offset it. They should be in it and can maybe get a starting P or two before the deadline if they need to. Heck, best case, if they have Pettitte back and the others work out they may not even need another pitcher. They won 95 games with like a 2.5 quality starters last season…

      • camilo Gerardo

        however, last years was most likely an outlier for Pettitte. don’t know why no one else brings this up when people talk about pettitte being such a sure thing, either. Don’t mean to be so doom n gloom.

        • Mike Myers

          and outlier, but missed 1/3 of the season. Add that back in and we are back to norm. Im sure he will miss some time, but prob not as much. Jeter/Arod/Grandy/Tex will prob be better than last year while Gardy/Fransisco/Swish might be a bit worse. Still a playoff team. Life is good. If AJ can be turned around, life is real good.

          Nova will be better than Mosley im sure. ha.

  • #4 mel schneider

    why don’t the yankees do what the marlins do. bringing up all the young arms and see which ones stick. unlike the marlins the yanks dont’t have to trade them away after arbitration a nd free agency as they have the money to keep them. we do not need any more late 30 ballplayer free agents.

    • Plank

      Because most of them won’t stick. The Yankees don’t want to give away wins while they are seeing who is good or not.

      Also, who would you recommend doing this with? They tested Nova and Nunez last year and they both did well enough to probably be on the 25-man this year. Ditto Cervelli and Gardner a few years ago.

  • emac2

    So – Would you trade our entire top 10 for Felix Hernandez?