2011 Preseason Not Top 30 Prospects

Estimating 2011 Innings Limits
The real Francisco Cervelli
Guess who. (AP Photo/Karen Vibert-Kennedy)

As I put together my list of the top 30 prospects in the Yankees’ organization every winter, some tough choices inevitably have to be made and a few players end up on the outside looking in. That doesn’t mean I don’t like them as prospects, it just means I like some other players better. This post looks at five such players, the five that I think have the best chance of jumping into next year’s top 30 list. I wouldn’t call it a list of sleepers (some of these guys were pretty high-profile pick-ups), perhaps a list of potential breakout players would be more accurate. Does that make sense? Yeah I think so.

Two 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 taking home High-A Florida State League MVP honors while all Sanchez had to do was show up camp ready to catch. Two other players, Jimmy Paredes and Jon Ortiz, are now with a different organization. Paredes went to the Astros in the Lance Berkman deal and was recently named Houston’s seventh best prospect by Baseball America, and Ortiz signed with the Athletics as a minor league free agent after the season. The fifth player, DeAngelo Mack, just didn’t do enough to make the top 30 this year.

An important thing to remember is that these are not prospects 31 through 35, it’s just a list of five players on the outside of this year’s top 30 with a chance to jump into next year’s by showing improvement. They’re listed alphabetically, so don’t bother reading into the order, and ages are as of Opening Day, or thereabouts. Fun starts after the jump.

(Photo Credit: milb.com)

Scottie Allen, RHSP, 19
Acquired from the Diamondbacks for the out-of-options Juan Miranda back in November, Allen was Arizona’s 11th round pick out of a Florida high school back in 2009. He opened last season in Extended Spring Training before jumping to Low-A South Bend in mid-May, making 16 starts with a 4.73 ERA the rest of the way. The ugly ERA masks stellar strikeout (9.1 K/9), walk (2.5 uIBB/9), and homerun (0.6 HR/9) rates, which added up to a 2.97 FIP. Allen throws four pitches, three of which grade out as average or better. His 6-foot-1, 170 lb. frame unleashes an 88-91 mph sinker plus a high-70’s slider that is a legit swing-and-miss pitch on its best days. A high-70’s changeup is his third offering, and he’s working on his curveball. Allen is interesting because he shows a tremendous feel for his craft at such a young age, which might be enough to earn him a trip to High-A Tampa as a teenager.

(Photo Credit: Robert Pimpsner)

Dan Burawa, RHRP, 22
Of the many college power arms the Yankees took in the 2010 draft, Burawa might have the best pure stuff. He signed out of St. John’s and made six mostly ugly relief appearances with Short Season Staten Island after turning pro (7 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 7 BB, 10 K), but that’s indicative of nothing. He makes the list because his stuff is electric: a 94-96 mph fastball that runs all over the place and tends to dive right out of the zone, plus an upper-70’s hammer curveball that gives him a second swing-and-miss offering. Burawa’s mechanics are unorthodox, featuring a really long arm action and a low slot (seen here), both of which hamper his command. It’s a quality late-inning relief package, one that should get him to the majors quickly despite the command issues. Burawa could probably jump to High-A in his first year as a pro and survive on raw stuff, but a trip to Low-A Charleston might be more a realistic.

(Photo Credit: DiarioLibre.com)

Rafael DePaula, RHSP, 20
After serving a 12-month suspension for lying about his age and identity, the Yankees landed DePaula for just $700,000 back in November. That’s about a $500,000 discount compared to what he was expected to receive a year ago. Long and lanky at 6-foot-3, 190 lbs., DePaula primarily works off a 91-93 mph fastball that has been clocked as high as 97 in the past. He has also shown a feel for spinning a breaking ball and commanding both the heater and bender, though like many pitchers his age he still needs to figure out a changeup. Though raw and inexperienced, DePaula’s delivery (seen here) is actually pretty sound and repeatable. Because he’s older than your typical international free agent, the Yankees might be a little aggressive with DePaula and assign him to Low-A Charleston to start the 2011 season. If not, a little Extended Spring Training won’t hurt. I consider him this year’s Gary Sanchez, meaning he’ll unquestionably jump into next year’s top 30 barring a complete catastrophe.

(Photo Credit: JGoodsOnline.com)

Angelo Gumbs, 2B/SS, 18
The second high school shortstop taken by the Yankees in the first two rounds of the 2010 draft, Gumbs’ professional debut with the rookie level Gulf Coast League team was short and generally unsweet: 5-for-26 with a double, a walk, three strikeouts and three steals in seven games. It’s just seven games though, who cares. Gumbs is a premium athlete with great speed, both of bat and foot. His 6-foot-0, 175 lb. frame could use some more muscle, but there’s plenty of time for that. Gumbs doesn’t have an obvious long-term position since his footwork leaves something to be desired at either of the two middle infield spots, but the Yankees will keep him there for now. It’s possible that he’ll end up in centerfield long-term, where he should be an asset defensively. Gumbs is definitely a long-term project, so he’ll start the season in Spring Training and could end up repeating the GCL in 2011.

(Photo Credit: Robert Pimpsner)

Chase Whitley, RHRP, 21
Whitley is another one of those college relievers the Yankees grabbed late in the 2010 draft, though he’s never been a full-time pitcher. He was a third baseman for two years at Southern Union Community College (Alabama) and during his lone season as Troy, though he doubled as each school’s closer as well. Now that he’s pitching full-time for the first time in his life, there’s a good chance his 88-92 mph fastball will climb into the low-90’s and sit there consistently. His best pitch is a changeup that sinks down and away from lefties, and it plays up because he throws with the same arm speed as his heater. The Yankees had him try out a slider during his dominant stint with Short Season Staten Island (2.03 FIP in 34.1 IP) and he took to it well. Whitley’s arm is fresher than a typical college reliever’s and his repertoire and command are strong enough that he could work as a starter in the low minors to accumulate innings and experience under his belt. Low-A Charleston would be logical destination as a starter, but if the team decides to keep him in relief, then an assignment to High-A Tampa with a mid-to-late season promotion to Double-A Trenton is possible.

* * *

Four pitchers and one position player a year after four positions players and one pitcher. Didn’t plan for it to happen that way, but it did. The full blown top 30 comes out tomorrow.

Estimating 2011 Innings Limits
The real Francisco Cervelli
  • Fair Weather Freddy


    Will DePaula get his Visa in time to report to ST with the rest of the minor leaguers?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      I sure hope so.

    • j

      The contract is contingent on him getting a visa – if he can’t get one we get our money back

      • http://www.retire21.org first name only male (formerly Mike R. – Retire 21)

        Are you sure? It is my understanding that guaranteed employment is a requirement to get a visa. If that’s the case it seems like a catch-22.

  • Not Todd Slimeball

    What???? Is going on here??? I don’t get it.

    • Esteban

      Not Top 30 Prospects= Five guys who just missed the cut to make Mike’s Top 30 Prospects list.

      • Ty

        “An important thing to remember is that these are not prospects 31 through 35, it’s just a list of five players on the outside of this year’s top 30 with a chance to jump into next year’s by showing improvement.”

        My thought is this is 5 players anywhere in the system that have the ability to rank top 30 next year given that they progress this year, they could even be guys you would rank 50+ as of right now, but looking at their raw talent, a progressive year brings them to top 30. thats my take.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          That’s it. Some of the guys I had 31-35 were fringy big leaguers, like Greg Golson. Not real breakout potential, but he’s got value because he’s big league ready.

          • Esteban

            My bad, I skimmed too quickly and missed that part.

  • Esteban

    Just a question about Rafael Depaula: Does age matter that much ($500k) if you’re basing it on his stuff (97 MPH) and not performance against peers? Given that they’ve verified his age, isn’t 20 (in March)still pretty young or are his command/control still pretty rough that teams didn’t value him more?

    (I don’t if I’m making sense today)

    • SamVa

      Just because he has touched 97 doesn’t mean his ‘stuff’ includes a 97 mph fastball…

      That doesn’t mean he won’t get there…. just that it’s unfair to say that that is in his repertoire.

    • Ted Nelson

      He “was” 17 when speculation was $1 mill+ and was “actually” 19. That’s like a HS junior/senior vs. a college freshman/sophomore. Generally if a HS senior and a college sophomore have the same results under the same circumstances (whether it’s just “stuff/tools” or performance against the same comp) that’s going to reflect better on the HS kid than the college kid. You expect someone to get better between 17 and 19.

      There’s also how much development happened between 2009 and 2010: even without the age thing his perceived value could have changed from 2009 to 2010.

      Plus lying could at least raise questions about his character.

      And while it’s quite a difference % wise, both figures are right around $1 mill bonus. He didn’t become a nobody because he was a couple years older than expected.

      • Mister Delaware

        “Plus lying could at least raise questions about his character.”

        Very much disagree.

        • fire levine

          you do? I think it’s a valid point

        • Ted Nelson

          “At least raise questions about” is a pretty nebulous way to put it. Not sure how you can “very much disagree” that falsifying your age raises some questions. I’m not saying that necessarily hurt him, but it may lead teams to dig deeper, one or two bidders to pull out, etc.

  • http://www.facebook.com%e:mt_mop=2:1284065564|4:1270508852 Andy In Sunny Daytona

    That picture of DePaula make him look like anything but lanky. Looks pretty stout to me.

    • Thomas

      It must the way his shirt hangs off him in the picture, because he looks very lanky in the video.

  • Dream of Electric Sheeps

    Gump looks like a fucking athlete!

  • pete

    I looooove Gumbs’s left-handed swing:


    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      He hasn’t switch-hit in games though, hit only right-handed last year in high school and in the pros.

      • pete

        odd, the LH swing looks better on film, but I don’t really know anything

    • MannyGee

      His LH swing looks an awful lot like Ryan Howards’… you know, as long as its not a breaking pitch or anything…

      • Chris

        As long as Howard only has to face RHP, then his swing is fine.

  • Henry

    Sorry if I sound retarded, and I know I know this player but my mind isn’t functioning properly this morning, but who’s the guy in the top picture with the broken bat?

  • Dream of Electric Sheeps

    Why is Juan Rivera’s pic in this post? I assume it’s him.

    • Henry

      Yea that’s who I thought but then I was like, hmmmmm couldn’t be…

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      It’s him, and no particular reason. I like throwing pictures of old Yankees prospects in these posts.

      • Dream of Electric Sheeps

        I wish they had kept him. he turned out to be very useful 4th/starting OF and had a couple solid years.

    • steve (different one)

      I think you mean Ruben Rivera.

      /michael kay

      • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

        and that was the worst baserunning in the history of the game!

  • Reggie C.

    That depaula lies outside the top thirty for mike is one of the better indicators as to how deep this system has become.

    • Thomas

      I think it more has to do with Mike never puts IFAs in the top 30 before they reach the states. As he states he didn’t do so with Sanchez last year.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        Bingo. I want to see the kid show up in a box score first.

  • Jake H

    There is still a big if Depaula gets his visa.

  • Rick in Boston

    I’m very excited for Allen this year. Do you think he’ll peak as a mid-rotation guy, but more likely be a setup guy who could close if necessary?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Mid-rotation. If he’s got three good pitches plus a fourth, he should start.

  • http://www.phoulballz.com Jay B

    I adore the name ROBERT PIMPSNER (photog).

    Looking forward to where some of the best young players are ranked in tomorrow’s list.

  • http://www.secdigitalnetwork.com Eric SanInocencio

    Dan Burawa = A Raw Mark Melancon ?

    Just a comp I got while reading about his stuff and that picture of his delivery kind of reminds you a bit of Melancon’s. Albeit he’s behind in terms of development at that age, but in the bullpen you can move fast.

    • Monteroisdinero

      Actually his face reminds me of Melancon but his delivery/slot is way lower than Melancon’s who is more over the top.

  • A.D.

    Interesting that a top pick from a year ago didn’t make it into the top 30, good sign for the system.

    • Rick in Boston

      Agreed – a couple of years ago, you could reasonably take any Yankee top two or three pick and shove them into the Top Ten because they had nothing else.

  • Ted Nelson

    Great stuff

  • jim

    whatever happened to dangelo mack from last years 5