Three Yankees on BA’s Top Minor League Tools Lists


Yesterday we talked about Baseball America’s lists of the top tools in the big leagues, and today they released their lists for Triple-A, Double-A, and Single-A (subs. req’d). Not too many Yankees farmhand made the cut, only Brandon Laird (best defensive 3B), Ramon Flores (best plate discipline), and Slade Heathcott (best defensive outfielder) took home honors at their respective levels. Jesus Montero got beat out by Ryan Lavarnway (Red Sox) for top power prospect, Dellin Betances by Henderson Alvarez (Blue Jays) for best fastball, Manny Banuelos by Eric Surkamp (Giants) for best changeup, and Gary Sanchez by Bryce Harper for best power prospect. Seems like the Yanks have a lot of guys that would rank second, third, or fourth in the various categories rather than first.

Categories : Asides, Minors


  1. Steve H says:

    Brandon Laird, best defensive 3B? Really?

  2. Thomas Cassidy says:

    Too bad they didn’t do the GCL.

    DBJ=God Award.

  3. The Fallen Phoenix says:

    Montero bested by Lavarnway? Seriously?

    • Jerome S. says:

      Lavarnway’s gotten a lot of good reports this year and I’m pissed.

      He’s the new “Casey Kelly”, ya know?

      Except, well, he’s actually pretty decent.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Tell me about it. He’s two years older than Montero, finally gets to AAA, has a three week hot streak, and now he’s god’s gift.

      • Pants Lendelton says:

        … To be fair , He’s been able to hit at every stop.

      • Will (the other one) says:

        Yeah, but we knew this was coming. It would be the same for any other prospect who has a chance to come up through the vaunted Academy of Baseball Greatness.

      • Charles says:

        Peter Gammons has raved about him whenever he discusses Red Sox prospects, so you know hes already a typical overblown Sox prospect.

      • Voice of Reason says:

        I wouldn’t necessarily agree with Lavarnway as the “best power prospect” given his profile, but this is a little silly. Have you actually looked at Lavarnway’s career numbers? He has done nothing but hit extremely well for his entire career while cruising through every level and he’s just murdering AAA pitching right now after showing a ton of power in AA. You make it sound like he’s Fernando Seguignol or something. He’s 2 years older than Montero (who isn’t?) but he’s been night-and-day better than him this year and there’s nothing remotely crazy about that pick. If he weren’t a Red Sox prospect I doubt you’d all be steaming over this.

        • The Fallen Phoenix says:

          How many of the coaches and scouts that were polled do you think would say that Lavarnway would have a better career as a hitter than Montero in the majors? I bet the answer would be fewer than those who said Lavarnway has a “better power tool” than Montero based on this last year.

        • Addison says:

          If Jesus Montero wasn’t a Yankee prospect, no one on this site would have ever heard of him.

          The Royals called up catcher Salvador Perez the other day, who moved through AA and AAA this year and who is seven months YOUNGER than Montero.

          Twelve years from now, after a half dozen cups of coffee in the big leagues and with fewer career homers than Gary Sanchez has All-Star appearances, everyone here will still be saying he’s a top prospect.

          Montero has 33 career AAA homers in almost 900 plate appearances; a 29 year old minor league journeyman with a ZERO percent chance of ever playing in a Yankee uniform has 27 homers in two thirds FEWER plate appearances.

          This year.

          The Yanks have a ton of cash invested in Montero and will give him every opportunity to fail, which he does every time he puts on his uniform.

          • Mike Axisa says:

            …will give him every opportunity to fail, which he does every time he puts on his uniform.

            This might be the single stupidest statement in the history of RAB, and that’s really saying something.

            • Addison says:

              Not even close, Mike.

              I mean, even you said last week Montero would be called up “by Wednesday.”

              Did you mean this year?

              • Mike Axisa says:

                Oh yeah, I was wrong about that. What’s your excuse for saying he’s failed “every time he puts on his uniform?”

                • Addison says:

                  Look, Mike, I understand you can’t be objective’re just like George King and Joel Sherman in the sense you have a Yankee site and can’t criticize the organization if you want to keep your press pass or sponsors.

                  The Yanks have needed a backup catcher for two years, they gave Montero the job in ST and he choked on it.

                  Backup catcher.

                  The Yankees sign guys the last couple years like Chad Moeller and Rene Rivera and Gustavo Molina not because they need them to backup Montero, but because they would need them in New York if Posada or Martin or Cervelli got hurt.

                  Matter of fact, all THREE of them HAVE gotten hurt; how many times did Montero get called up?

                  They’ve needed a righthanded “power” bat, they’ve signed Andruw Jones and Justin Maxwell and Austin Kearns.

                  Jeter’s been hurt. ARod’s been hurt.

                  Who gets called up?

                  Brandon Laird and Greg Golson.

                  I’ve been a Yankee fan longer than you’ve been alive and I remember Yankee prospect failures like Gordie Windhorn and Harry Bright and Ross Moschitto and Steve Whitaker and Tom Shopay and Shea Morenz and Brian Buchanan and Jackson Melian and Montero will be right up there with all of them.

                  It’s not his fault..he didn’t write anything written about him.

                  Written by people who wouldn’t know a prospect if he walked up and pissed on his shoes.

                  Mark Newman said Montero was “unathletic.”

                  He said it’s becoming a concern to the organization that Austin Romine is not yet in AAA.

                  The Yankees sent Romine to the Arizona Fall League last year and the Futures game this year.

                  Perhaps because he’s considered the future?

                  Brian Cashman said the Yankees catcher of the future is “not on the radar.”

                  Montero’s not the player the Yanks thought he would be.

                  In baseball, what people don’t say or do tells a much bigger story than what they do.

                  • Voice of Reason says:

                    A few good points in a sea of what I would hope is lazy trolling.

                  • RVNGUNNER says:

                    You forgot Fritzy Brickell, Charley Spikes, Mickey Klutz and Kevin Maas, a few of my favorites. I even has an autograph ball from Kevin.
                    This year it appears that Cashman has offered Montero in every decent deal, so doesn’t appear he views him long term any better than he did Austin Jackson. If they question his ability to catch at the major league level, why isn’t he working in right field, he’s got the arm? Can he be that bad. Also in my humble opinion you don’t call a kid a top prospect whose still playing A ball or below. Sanchez, Heathcott etc.

                  • Artie DeVanzo says:

                    you lost me at Addison

          • SDM says:

            ” Mr. Addison this is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

        • bottom line says:

          95 Ks in less than 400 ABs.

  4. Jorge says:

    For a second, I thought this was a very different kind of “tool” list and that Slade made it for his role in the brawl. :)

  5. bobtaco says:

    Montero bested by a catcher in the ATL system for best name: Jesus Sucre

    Sweet Jesus!

  6. JB says:

    was that from “Moonlighting”??

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