2011 Minor League Awards

Repeating Mistakes: The Pedro Feliciano Story
What's important in the final two weeks
(David Schofield/MiLB.com)

The 2011 season was almost guaranteed to be a disappointment after the near-flawless year the farm system put together in 2010. The breakout-heavy and injury-free season spoiled us rotted, but everything returned to normal this summer. There were some more injuries, some more players not making as much progress as we’d like, and a few less players breaking out. It’s disappointing after the success of 2010, but this was a pretty normal season for the farm system.

For at least the 29th consecutive year, the Yankees’ six domestic affiliates combined to an above-.500 record (352-342). Although none of the four full season affiliates qualified for the postseason (the first time that’s happened as a foursome in basically forever), both the Short Season Staten Island Yankees and the Rookie Level GCL Yankees won their league titles. Staten Island’s title was the franchise’s sixth in 13 years of existence, while the GCL Yanks took home their fourth title since 2004.

This post is not intended to be any sort of prospect ranking, it’s just a recognition of those who had great years regardless of their future potential. Sometimes we just have to step back and say damn, that guy was awesome without obsessing over the underlying data and wondering whether or not it’s sustainable. Here are my 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 awards posts. Just as a reminder, I disqualify the Player of the Year from the other major awards just to mix things up.

Minor League Player of the Year: Mason Williams, CF, SS
I’ve never given the PoY to a guy that didn’t play in a full season league and I don’t intend to make a habit of it, but Williams gets the nod in a year lacking an obvious candidate. The now-20-year-old center fielder demolished older competition in the New York-Penn League, hitting .349/.395/.468 with 28 steals in 68 regular season games. Williams let the league with 94 hits (by ten), and placed second in the circuit in batting average, triples (six), total bases (126), and steals. Only three players topped his .863 OPS, and all three are two years older than him. Williams, the Yankees fourth round pick in 2010, received the largest signing bonus they handed out that year, and now you know why. He excelled against college kids and helped his team to the best record in the league as well as a championship.

Minor League Pitcher of the Year: Brett Marshall, RHP, A+
Despite there being several deserving candidates, Marshall gets the nod because he not only showed no signs of fatigue less than two years after Tommy John surgery, he actually got better as the season went on. Marshall struck out 7.31 batters per nine innings while walking just 3.08 per nine overall, but he went from 54 strikeouts and 32 walks in 73.2 first half innings to 60 strikeouts and just 16 walks in 66.2 second half innings. His hard, boring fastball helped produce a strong 55% ground ball rate (2.10 GB/FB), a trait he demonstrated all season long. The 140.1 innings he threw were the fifth most in the system. It wasn’t that huge, breakout year we were expecting, but Marshall certainly did enough to be recognized as the top mound performer in the minors this year.
Honorable Mention: Adam Warren, RHP, AAA

Minor League Hitter of the Year: Kyle Roller, 1B, A-/A+
Surprised? Roller very quietly had a huge year split almost equally between Low-A Charleston and High-A Tampa. He hit .284/.371/.482 overall (~.387 wOBA), the highest OBP and second highest SLG among Yankees farmhands that came to the plate at least 300 times. His 31 doubles and 16 homers ranked third and fifth in the system, respectively, and his 18 hit-by-pitchers were far and away the most in the organization (he showed off that skill last year as well). The Yankees don’t have a ton of true power prospects, particularly from the left side of the plate, so Roller’s impressive season definitely improved his stock.
Honorable Mention: Jorge Vazquez, 1B, AAA

The Edwar Ramirez Award (Breakout Player of the Year): Zoilo Almonte, OF, A+/AA
It’s probably just me, but it feels like Almonte has been around forever. In reality, he started his professional career as a teammate of Jesus Montero’s in rookie ball back in 2007. The 22-year-old switch-hitter always had tools, but he started to fulfill some of that potential this season by hitting .276/.345/.459 overall (~.362 wOBA) with 15 homers and 18 steals between High-A Tampa and Double-A Charleston. Among Yankees farmhands, Almonte was the only player to rank in the top ten in both homers and steals this season (eighth for both). Now at Double-A, Zoilo’s put himself in a position to be a factor for the big league team in the near future.
Honorable Mention: Jose Quintana, LHP, A-

Best Pro Debut: Dante Bichette Jr., 3B, Rk/SS
He may have been a questionable selection with the 51st overall pick, but there was no question about his performance. Bichette hit a whopping .342/.446/.505 (.438 wOBA) in 240 rookie ball plate appearances, taking home GCL MVP honors. He ranked in the league top three in AVG, OBP, hits, doubles, RBI, total bases, and walks, and placed fourth in OPS. Because that wasn’t enough, he played two games with Short Season Staten Island after a late season promotion, hitting a homer. Bichette also won not one, but two league championships. Not half bad.
Honorable Mention: Isaias Tejeda, C, Rk

Comeback Player of the Year: Abe Almonte, CF, A+
Shoulder problems limited Almonte to just 15 games and 63 plate appearances in 2010, but he returned this season to lead the system in plate appearances (598) while playing in all but seven of High-A Tampa’s 138 games. Although his first half performance left a lot to be desired (.218/.294/.280), Almonte rebounded to hit .314/.369/.475 in the second half, including a 34-game hitting streak. His 30 steals ranked second in the system, and he finished fourth in the organization in both walks (54) and total bases (205). Almonte has been somewhat injury-prone throughout his career, so hopefully he can build on this season going forward.

Bounceback Player of the Year (started slow, rebounded): Melky Mesa, OF, AA
Last year’s Edwar Ramirez Award winning didn’t find Double-A pitching to be nearly as kind as High-A pitching this year. He opened the season with ten hits and 29 strikeouts in 78 April at-bats, and limped into the All-Star break with a .211/.281/.368 batting line and more than one strikeout for every three trips to the plate. Something clicked during the mini midseason vacation, and Melky 2.0 returned to hit .297/.380/.445 after the break. He cut down on the strikeouts just a little bit (31%) while improving his walk rate (10.4% after 8.3%). Mesa still has a long way to go when it comes to offspeed pitches, and the goal next year is consistency.
Honorable Mention: Gary Sanchez, C, A-

Most Disappointing Player of the Year: Andrew Brackman, RHP, AAA
The roller coaster ride continued this year, after Brackman appeared ready to provide some return on his contract. The wheels came completely off during the big righty’s first attempt at Triple-A this season; he ended up walking exactly as many men he struck out (75) in 96 IP, a drop of 44.2 IP from last season. Things did improve following a move to the bullpen and some revamped mechanics, but by then it was too late to salvage his season. Ugly ugly ugly.
Dishonorable Mention: Scottie Allen, RHP, A+/A-

Individual Level Awards (click for larger)

All-Minor League Teams

Lifetime Achievement Award

This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner signed with the Yankees as an older (already 25 when he signed his first pro contract) player out of the Dominican Republic, a move designed to fill out a minor league roster rather than help the big league team down the road. The 2006 season saw him serve as Low-A Charleston’s nominal ace, posting a 3.01 ERA in 140.2 IP across 22 starts (and nine relief appearances). That was the end of his starting career. Our hero was bumped up to High-A Tampa to start the 2007 season (4.59 ERA in 68.2 IP), and he was again assigned there in 2008. After 48.1 IP with Tampa (2.61 ERA), a midseason promotion to Double-A Trenton came along.

That first half-season in Trenton was a disaster (5.93 ERA in 13.2 IP), but the 2009 season was much better (3.65 ERA in 61.2 IP). It went so well in fact, that the organization felt he was too important to the team and decided to keep him at Double-A another year. Another year, another 3.65 ERA in 61.2 IP. Seriously, he posted the exact same ERA in the exact same number of innings two years in a row. The 2011 season brought yet another assignment to Trenton (2.31 ERA in 35 IP), but a midseason callup to Triple-A Scranton finally got him out of Double-A. It was only one one appearance and two-thirds of an inning, but five years after signing and after three years in Trenton, he’d finally made it to the highest level of the minors. With a 3.45 ERA to go along with 9.0 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 430.1 career innings, our now-30-year-old honoree is still living the dream, knowing full well that lefties have more than nine lives. This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award goes to … (drumroll) … Wilkins Arias.

(Photo Credit: Mike Ashmore)
Repeating Mistakes: The Pedro Feliciano Story
What's important in the final two weeks
  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    Lots of sideway steps from prospects in the system this year. But that’s to be expected after last seasons breakout of so many players.

    Overall the Yankees have an extremely solid system.

    I just hope Ravel Santana can come back as good as ever.

  • Eric

    Arias’s mechanics look a lot like the ghost of Damaso Marte

  • Will (the other one)

    Great stuff as always, Mike. Incidentally, that All-MiL first team is better than Baltimore’s major-league club.


  • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

    In the honorable mention part of the Minor League Pitcher of the year you had Adam Warren as a AA pitcher. He was in AAA, no?

    • IRF

      Its a minor mistake.

      (Sorry everyone)

      • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

        I never said it was a major one.

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

          It was IRF’s attempt at humor.

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

      I actually had AAAA in there at first, I caught that when I proofread it last night. Must have gotten a little backspace happy. Fixed now.

  • Donnies Mullet

    What can you tell us about Tejada and Custodio?

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

      Unfortunately, not very much right now.

      • Donnies Mullet

        Should they make a first team then? Just sayin’ but without many reports, their performances could be very flukey.

        • Ted Nelson

          “This post is not intended to be any sort of prospect ranking, it’s just a recognition of those who had great years regardless of their future potential. Sometimes we just have to step back and say damn, that guy was awesome without obsessing over the underlying data and wondering whether or not it’s sustainable.”

  • Donnies Mullet

    Seems like you’re trying too hard with the Marshall pick. Banuelos, at his age and levels, was excellent. Yes, the walks were high, but the Ks were too. Seems like he and Betances have better claims to the first team than Warren and Marshall. I’ll take more walks any day if it means more Ks. It’s not like the hit rates are all that different.

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      My guess as to why he had Marshall and Warren ahead was because they were more consistent. Betances and Banuelos certainly had their share of blowup starts this season.

    • Ted Nelson

      I wouldn’t have a problem with Betances over Marshall, necessarily. I can see disagreeing with Warren, though he did much better at the same level than Banuelos and Betances did in tiny AAA samples.

      Marshall had the best FIP of the group, so I am fine with him being #1. One could argue for ERA over FIP in terms of actual results for the team, I suppose, but if you’re going to talk about Ks justifying Betances or Banuelos I think you have to turn to FIP and give Marshall the nod.

      I disagree wholeheartedly with “I’ll take more walks any day if it means more Ks.” It’s a balance. If you walk 4 more per 9 and K one more… I won’t take you. It’s more subtle in this case, but Banuelos walked almost 2 more than Marshall and Ked only 1.5 more. His FIP was .75 higher than Marshall’s.

  • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

    So, will Andrew Brackman begin the 2012 AAA season as a starter or reliever?

    • MikeD

      I’d say he’s back in AAA as a starter, with the Yankees looking to see if his new mechanics and success he showed at the end of the season carries over to the rotation. Yet since 2012 is the last year the Yankees have to make a decision on Brackman, I can see them moving him back to the pen by mid-season if he doesn’t impress as a starter, and then calling him up in the second half to see how he looks on the MLB level.

      They don’t have much time left so they’ll do whatever they can to get some value from him, so I suppose it’s possible if he looks good in spring training that they take him north as a bullpen arm to serve the role Hector Noesi did this year. Overall, though, I’m thinking AAA for some more development and arm building before he joins the big club in the second half.

      • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

        I agree. I’d see how he’d do as a starter in AAA. If he sucks again move him to the ‘pen for good.

  • BigTimeBartolo

    glad to see Custodio getting some love in the 1st team all-MiL

  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    If Rob Lyerly, Luke Murton and Kyle Roller all merged into one player, would anyone notice?

    • http://www.twitter.com/bgeary8 bgeary

      This is awesome.

  • CP

    Bichette also won not one, but two league championships. Not half bad.

    This man’s a winner! Call him up to the majors now so he can win a third!

  • Ted Nelson

    “He may have been a questionable selection with the 51st overall pick”

    Come on… still with this? He was questionable according to journalists, but apparently not according to Yankee scouts. Why are the journalists to be believed 100% over the Yankee brass? All you have to do is look back at past BA Top 200 lists to see how little value the “consensus” has when you get to around pick 51.

    By your logic it is literally impossible for a team to spot a diamond in the rough. To out-scout the “consensus.” If you break with the consensus, it is “questionable.” As I’ve said, the consensus is wrong more often than it’s right, especially outside the top 20 or so.

    It’s possible the Yankees made a “questionable” pick and just got lucky in his pro debut. It’s also possible they saw more talent in Bichette than others. Why do we have to make a definitive decision on the subject right away with very little evidence of the Yankees’ decision making process on the pick besides that they think he’s a hard worker?

    • http://www.twitter.com/bgeary8 bgeary

      I think you’ve taken this a little too far.

    • MikeD

      It’s questionable in that there was better talent available. Bichette may turn out to be a quality MLB player, and more productive than players rated higher by the prospect gurus, or he may not. There is no question, though, that better rated players were available. I doubt the Yankees thought they were taking the best player when they drafted Bichette.

      What I think they’re doing is building a draft strategy around a budget, and have decided that in absence of having a true high-end pick, say in the top thirty, or even the top fifteen (the types that have a high degree of success) that they’d rather direct a higher percentage of their draft budget toward international free agents, and in the amateur draft, more money toward player like Greg Bird and Mason Williams, etc.

      They may have looked at past drafts and decided they are getting more bang for the buck by targeting harder-to-sign players like Austin Jackson further down in the draft than they are by putting a higher percentage of their draft money on the more well-known names. They probably view Bichette as someone who perhaps might be a future top draft pick if some of his flaws can be fixed, so they’re taking a shot on him so they can direct more money elsewhere in the draft.

      If I’m correct on this, Damon Oppenheimer might be implementing a brilliant draft strategy based on a limited budet, yet that’s the catch and where I have a problem with this scenario I have, if indeed it’s true. The Yankees are not just any organization. They have the resources to have their cake and eat it too. If it means directly another three million dollars to the amateur draft, then that is exactly what they should be doing. This is not an area to cut corners and I think that’s exactly what they’re doing.

      We’ll never know because the Yankees will never tell us their strategy. The only thing I’m sure of is that there is an overall draft strategy, and part of that the last two years has been to pick lesser (and cheaper) prospects with their first pick, but perhaps prospects that possess great ability if their flaws can be fixed.

      • Ted Nelson

        Better talent according to…? That’s my entire point. The entire draft it’s always questionable whether there was better talent available. Different people have different opinions on who has what talent level, what work ethic to reach their ceiling, etc. That one scout likes one guy better doesn’t mean another does… especially since the other one might agree he’s a better player today and just think he’s not going to develop as well due to factors he’s historically influence development. You aren’t drafting the best HS player, but the guy you project to be better is several years.

        “There is no question, though, that better rated players were available.”

        Again… better rated according to who? There were better rated players in the same draft with Pujols… that doesn’t mean the “gurus” were right. In fact, they are wrong more than they are right outside the top 20 or so prospects. Are you really going to take the word of someone who is wrong more often than not as gospel? Why?

        “I doubt the Yankees thought they were taking the best player when they drafted Bichette.”

        Pure, unsubstantiated speculation. Could be. Could not be.

        “The Yankees are not just any organization. They have the resources to have their cake and eat it too.”

        You are making countless assumptions. The first, mentioned above, is that Bichette wasn’t the guy they wanted. They might be allocating their resources within the draft, but also have just thought Bichette was a beast and they were lucky to get him. That’s what they claim happened with Joey Votto, when they claim them and the Reds were literally the only teams scouting him seriously as a top prospect. Votto wasn’t hyped. They were still right that dude was/is a beast.

        The second assumption is that they should spend more money on the draft. That they have this money and it would be better spent on the draft than whatever they’re doing with it.

        “The only thing I’m sure of is that there is an overall draft strategy, and part of that the last two years has been to pick lesser (and cheaper) prospects with their first pick, but perhaps prospects that possess great ability if their flaws can be fixed.”

        No. You are not sure that they’re strategy is to draft “lesser” talent. That is incorrect. Just wrong. You aren’t sure. You are sure those guys were rated lower by the BA’s of the world. You have no idea at all where they were on the Yankees’ board. Just like you probably had no idea where Joey Votto or Dellin Betances were on the Yankees’ board vs. BA’s. You are ASSUMING they took lesser talents. Don’t insult me and yourself by saying you know it as fact. That’s not true. Say you assume it.

        In terms of how they’ll develop… No one is drafting a prospect for how good they are at 18. That’s not what the draft is about. When we say “best talent” or “best pick” we’re talking about years down the line. If the Yankees feel those will be the best players years down the line… they feel they are the best talents.

        Personally, by the way, my shit against the wall is that it’s a mix. That they did feel Bichette was the best pick available, or they wouldn’t have made it. Part of being the best pick comes down to value… talent vs. cost. Perhaps they liked Bell better and didn’t want to pay him a ridiculous $6 mill bonus, but perhaps they didn’t like Bell better. I have no idea… so I’m not going to pretend I do as you and Mike and others are. I have no need to decide as fact what they thought of those two. Then, yes, I do think there might be some strategical component by which the Yankees target cheaper talents (not necessarily worse, but maybe) early when there is far more talent on the board so that they can spread their money further later when there is far less talent on the board.

        • Ted Nelson

          Another big part of my point is that any time a team deviates from the “consensus” or “gurus” (who are mostly journalists… by the way… they aren’t being paid for their scouting ability and information they gain from paid scouts could just as easily be mis-information as truth) it’s possible that they intentionally took the less talent (more so in baseball than other drafts… though in NBA or NFL it can be lesser talent out of positional need… so it still works), and it’s also possible they felt they had a better read on the guy’s prospects than the “consensus gurus.” It’s possible they are ultimately wrong and the gurus right, or the opposite. Not just with the Yankees, but I’ve seen it with teams I follow very closely recently with Jason Pierre-Paul for the Giants and Iman Shumpert of the Knicks in the past year and a half or so (not to mention tons more examples with those teams and others… just throwing some examples of other teams and even other sports out there).

          The baseball draft is probably less predictable than NFL or NBA, given that there are more players further from their ceilings who may or may not sign for an amount you have to negotiate with them to choose from. Why do Yankees fans feel the need to assume the Yankees went the cheap/less talent route, instead of seeing talent others didn’t? They may ultimately be right or wrong on that talent… but why assume they didn’t see it? I’m not assuming they did see it, just saying it’s a distinct possibility. And seeing as we know as fact they did draft them in the 1st round(s)… it’s pretty likely they were very high on their talent levels.

  • pat

    Most unfortunate injuries:

    Nik Turley,21 LHP- 8.7 k/9 2.2bb/9 in 89 innings before taking a liner off his pitching hand.

    Raven Santana,19 CF – .296/.361/.568 in 185 AB for the toolsy youngster before severely f*cking up his ankle sliding into 2nd.

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      Another reason to root for Turley is not only because of his injury, but he was drafted in the 50th round in 2008.

      Also, his birthday was just four days ago, so a happy belated birthday to him.

      • pat

        And his brother is a Navy SEAL. Badass.

    • Ted Nelson

      Slade as well, I’d say.

  • Reggie C.

    Would like to see Slade Heathcott make a big push at the plate and win next year’s Breakout POY. Gotta steer clear of getting put in headlocks. Just wasn’t the same after the fight.

  • YankeeGrunt

    No Kei Igawa for the lifetime achievement award? This is mercifully his last year on the Trenton to Scranton shuttle.

  • JohnC

    Too bad JR Murphy got hurt. He was having a great season and really improving defensively to where they ranked him ahead of Sanchez in the catchign Dept.

  • YankeeGrunt

    The question mark was whether he would have been available later. It’s tough to prove or disprove that, but the fact that such a player might be available later does speak to whether a pick is or is not a good one. If we could have had him in Round 2 and drafted Josh Bell, who ended up signing, in the sandwich round that would have been a pretty nice haul, no? Cito Culver may have a better career than guys drafted before and behind him (then again, maybe not) but we could have used that pick on a guy who wasn’t likely to last until our next selection and picked Culver later. I respect Oppenheimer, but the Yanks did pretty well for themselves when they drafted hyped guys (Hughes, Betances) and saved the diamond in the rough picks for later rounds.

    • JohnC

      Seems like they’e been gun shy with that ever since getting burned on the Gerrit Cole pick

    • http://www.yankeeanalysts.com Eric

      Betances was taken in the 8th round in 2006, the same year the Yankees got ripped for going conservative and taking Ian Kennedy in the 1st.

      • CP

        Stop letting the facts get in the way of a good argument.

        • Bryan

          BOOM….that just happened.

      • YankeeGrunt

        Sure, though Joba was highly regarded in the sandwich round (though the concerns were injury as well as signability IIRC). My point was that the Yanks have a decent track record with the hype guys (even though they have bust factors too, eg Angelini, potentially Brackman) and a number of the hype guys they’ve passed on the past few years have become very good prospects, as they were expected to be. It’s not reasonable to knock the Yankees on talent, but to say that we could probably have had Culver and Bichette later and Josh Bell or Ranaudo with those picks IS reasonable.

        • Ted Nelson

          They’ve also had good success with un-hyped guys like Gardner, Robertson, Melancon, IPK (hyped, but not that hyped)… I don’t think they should make their decisions based on whether they’ve had success with “consensus” guys so much as on the individual pick’s merits.

          “to say that we could probably have had Culver and Bichette later and Josh Bell or Ranaudo with those picks IS reasonable.”

          I don’t think it’s reasonable to say “probably.” I think “might have” is reasonable. You and I have no idea, though. Yankees scouts actually show up at games and see what other scouts are there… so they probably have a better feel than us for who might pick him. Not that they know, but I’d trust them more than the BA lists. Lots of teams take guys BA wasn’t as high on as them, not just the Yankees. Anecdotally… the Yankees claim they and the Reds were the only teams high on Votto, but since the Reds picked first they got Votto #44 and the Yankees took Weeden. Yankees knew Reds were showing up at his games. Reds took him. Yankees could do nothing to stop them. Similar factors might have been at play with Bichette and/or Culver, but the Yankees could influence the situation in those cases.

          • YankeeGrunt

            Nice post, and some very good points. The question is whether they were SO high on Bichette and Culver that they weren’t willing to take those chances, and maybe they were. But if you can’t speculate on whether so and so might have been a better pick, what’s the point of even following the draft other than saying “rah rah he’s our guy now?”

    • Januz

      Betances may have been a hyped guy, but he was not a first rounder (Similiar to Brett Marshall & Mason Williams). The Yankees have a terrible track record when it comes to first rounders David Parrish, Brien Taylor,etc). In fact, they have only drafted two great first round players since the draft came into existence (Munson & Jeter).
      The bigger question going forward is are the Yankees cutting back on or phasing out player development going forward? When I look at the limited budget in both the Draft & IFA, the selling of the Scranton & Staten Island franchises, and the smaller amount of scouts then other teams (Such as Toronto), that becomes a legitimate question. If so why?? Beyond that if this is the case, is it because they are gun shy because of errors like Cole? Is it because they believe the Draft/IFA market is essentially inefficient and you get more Ynoa or Brackman misfires than hits? Or is it something deeper such as the Yankee financial revenues are not what was projected with the New Stadium? It would be an interesting question for RAB to address deeper in depth in the offseason.

      • YankeeGrunt

        Hughes was another overslot. And I guess Bird would qualify this year too as he was seven figures. We’re not going all Mets on the draft, I’m not suggesting that, and it may be reasonable to avoid putting all our eggs in one $2-$3 million dollar bonus basket (to me that is definitely true of IFA) but most of these guys are hyped for some other reason than because Keith Law stayed at a Holiday Inn Express before seeing them at a prospect showcase. I think the notion that we as fans can’t really evaluate HS talent is absolutely true, as we’re lucky to have a stray Youtube or two, but we can compare hype to performance and these guys who everyone is high on seem to have a higher succcess rate than the unheralded ones, even if it’s still pretty low.

      • kenthadley

        Watch what Cashman does after the season ends. If he bolts, you know that the Steinbros are ramping down to sell. Same trick used by Dan Topping and Del Webb in the early 60’s before they suckered CBS to swallow the team.

      • The Fallen Phoenix

        Brien Taylor’s career was ruined by an off-field incident; seems unfair to lump him in with later 1st round failures. Especially since you’re talking about completely different amateur drafting apparatuses; in fact, trying to compare pre-Hughes drafting with post-Hughes drafting is unfair given how Cashman overhauled the amateur scouting and drafting apparatus after negotiating his last contract.

        Also, it’s hard to hit big in the first round when you’re always drafting at the end of it, when you have first round picks at all.

        • Januz

          If you want to substitute Brackman (Or a few others) for Taylor, be my guest. The point is, they have had extremely limited success with the Draft (Although to be fair, successful drafts do not necessarily equate with Championships (See the Seattle Mariners who Drafted Griffey Jr & Arod and never won a Title as an example of this)). It is also fair to say that the MAJORITY of success that the Yankees have had down through the years is through trades. Arod, Maris, Lyle, Nettles, Chambliss, Brocius, Dent, Granderson, Randolph, Rivers, O’Neill, Tino, Pinella, Swisher & Cone are just some of the guys they acquired in trades down through the years (Guess why teams don’t like trading with them?). But the point still remains, they are not great when it comes to the Draft, and never have been.

          • The Fallen Phoenix

            No, you’re absolutely right. The fact that the Yankees have only procured Brett Gardner, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, and David Robertson from recent drafts demonstrates that the Yankees have had limited success with the draft.

            Nevermind players such as Nick Swisher (Jeff Marquez) and Curtis Granderson (Ian Kennedy and Austin Jackson) were also acquired through players the Yankees have drafted.

            What you said is completely divorced from reality, Januz. Completely.

          • Sweet Dick Willie

            But who did they trade for all those player? That’s right, players they drafted.

            So evidently, other teams value the Yanks draft picks or they wouldn’t give up quality players for them.

            Just off your list, they traded Charlie Spikes, a number one draft pick, for Graig Nettles, and they traded Ian Kennedy, another #1 pick, for Curtis Granderson.

            So your argument, that they’ve had extremely limited success when it comes to the draft, doesn’t hold up.

            Don’t get me wrong, I’m not arguing that Yanks have been fantastically successful in the draft;, I’m just pointing out they haven’t been nearly as inept as you suggest.

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        In fact, they have only drafted two great first round players since the draft came into existence (Munson & Jeter).

        So you’re saying unless a team picks a perennial all-star or future HOFer w/ their 1st round pick, it’s a bust? That’s ridiculous.

        First, the Yankees were picking high with both Munson (4th) and Jeter (6th), something they haven’t done recently because of their success on the field.

        Second, like all teams, some of their 1st round picks were busts, but some were also very serviceable ML players or were traded for quality MLers.

        Charlie Spikes was the centerpiece in the trade for Graig Nettles, and Eric Milton (who had a decent career of his own) netted Knoblauch.

        Additionally, Scott McGregor, Carl Everett and Mark Prior all went on to have varying degrees of success in MLB, albeit not with the Yanks.

        So to say “The Yankees have a terrible track record when it comes to first rounders” is just not a true statement.

      • bottom line

        Good post, Januz. For all their success, there are lots of disturbing indication Yanks are Yanks cutting back on draft and IFA budgets.

      • Don W

        The myth of the Yankees having vastly smaller scouting departments than their AL East rivals was put to rest by Frankie P. It surmised that some used the team media guides to count scouts and who and how people are listed caused the mis-conception.

      • Ted Nelson

        I believe they just BOUGHT Scranton… no?

        The Yankees’ farm has been getting deeper recently, and the initial results for their recent draft classes have been very promising (doesn’t mean too much, but it’s all we have right now). Spending less money doesn’t necessarily mean getting less talent.

        A couple of their million dollar IFA signings from last off-season weren’t able to come over (one voided, one pending I think).

    • Ted Nelson

      “The question mark was whether he would have been available later. It’s tough to prove or disprove that, but the fact that such a player might be available later does speak to whether a pick is or is not a good one.”

      Yeah, I think that’s legit.

      As you say, though… impossible to know. Absolutely could have slipped to the 2nd round pick. Absolutely could have been picked. If they did like Bichette more than Bell (who signed… but for top 3 sort of money), they might have missed him by dicking around. Or they might have gotten both.

      “Yanks did pretty well for themselves when they drafted hyped guys (Hughes, Betances) and saved the diamond in the rough picks for later rounds.”

      IIRC Oppenheimer made the Betances pick, and it was in the 8th round. Cashman is on record saying he wanted to make the pick much earlier but Opp kept telling to chill and Betances would be there later.

  • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

    Last four Most Disappointing players of the year:

    2007: Eric Duncan (Ivan Nova dishonorable metntion)
    2008: Mitch Hilligoss
    2009: JB Cox
    2010: Neil Medchill


  • Stan

    Links to your choices for 2007, 2008 and 2009 do not work.

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

      Working fine for me. Anyone else having trouble?

      • MikeD

        I just checked and only the 2010 comes up. 2007, 2008 and 2009 link to a page that says:

        Page Not Found

        We’re sorry, but the page you are looking for isn’t here.

        Try searching for the page you are looking for or using the navigation in the header or sidebar

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

          That’s weird. I fixed them, should be working now.

      • http://RAB Nuke LaDoosh

        clicked on 2007 and got “page not found”

  • Mike

    Is there someplace to look up minor league GB/FB numbers for pitchers and hitters?

    • Mike K

      Pitchers MiLB.com


    It is to bad Vazquez didnt get a shot to hit a monster shot into the consession stand in straight center at the stadium. The Yanks needed him last night. He would have got a big hit for them. He always comes up big! Just about every home run he hit this year tied the game up, or was a game winner.

    • https://twitter.com/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

      He would have gone 0-5, 5 K’s.

    • Rossdfarian

      I believe his production would have been akin to one Willy Mo Pena.

  • http://ablogforarod.blogspot.com/ The Captain

    Kei Igawa not getting the lifetime achievement award is a travesty.

  • Chris G.

    How does Justin Maxwell earn third team honors when he didn’t play a game?

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

      He played 48 games in Triple-A and absolutely killed the ball.


    Guys like you crack me up Jarome…. Everyone wants Montero, Montero, Montero, and everyone seems to think Vazquez will K every time up. It is so funny, or clueless. Yes Chato strikes out. SO what, it is just an out. In just about the same amount of ab’s Jorge had 32hr, 93rbi, .516slg%. Two guys that I guess are supposed to be better, Laird and Montero had 18/67/.467, and 16/69/.422. Who was MVP of Scranton…Chato, not Montero. Who came up with big hit over and over. Vazquez. He has hit ML pitchers already. One off the scoreboard off of Peavy. A walk off home run out of the stadium off of Kimbrel last year, two homers in a game off of Worley, HOmers off of Lidge, Lannan, Mike Minor, 1-2 Double and rbi against Chapman, 2-3 double and 2rbi against Volquez…It goes on and on. I am not saying he is the next Pujols, but compared to the 12 players brought up, he deserved a shot. He is twice the player of any of them.