Yanks place four on Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects List

A.J. Burnett's Five Best Starts As A Yankee
It's official: Yankees sign Raul Ibanez
Changeup! (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The third of the big three top 100(-ish) prospects lists was published today, with Baseball America revealing their rankings of the game’s very best future big leaguers. The list is free for all, you don’t need a subscription. Bryce Harper claims the top spot, followed by Matt Moore and Mike Trout. Those three have consistently been ranked as baseball’s three best prospects this offseason, just not always in the same order. Number four is Yu Darvish, who I don’t consider a prospect given those 1,200+ innings he threw overseas.

Anyway, Manny Banuelos leads all Yankees’ farmhands at #29, which is right where Keith Law (#23) and Kevin Goldstein (#29) had him. Hooray for consensus. Dellin Betances is ranked #63, Gary Sanchez #81, and Mason Williams #85. Opinions on the club’s second, third, and fourth best prospects are pretty split, both in their rankings within the system and through the game. All four are considered legitimate top 100 guys though, and that’s better than most.

The Yankees were one of 13 teams with at least four players to make the top 100, but they were one of only three teams to originally sign six players on the list. Jesus Montero ranks #6 behind Harper, Moore, Trout, Darvish, and Julio Teheran while Arodys Vizcaino is a little further down at #40. The Cardinals and Rangers are the only other clubs to originally sign six top 100 prospects, but again they’re counting Darvish as a prospect. Former Yankees’ first round pick Gerrit Cole is #12.

Since we’re in prospect mode, I’m going to point you towards Jason Parks’ article about what could go wrong for each of the Yankees’ top five prospects. It’s part of his series taking a pessimistic look at each club’s best farmhands, a little dose of reality to temper expectations in prospect fantasyland. You do need a subscription to read the entire thing, but non-subscribers will still be able to read the Sanchez and Banuelos write-ups. Much to my surprise, he considers Angelo Gumbs the team’s fifth best prospect. “My eyes told me Gumbs had star potential, a future you don’t often envision when watching short-season baseball,” he wrote. “I’m probably a few years too early with this ranking, and I understand if people wish to question my sanity.”

While I don’t bother with a top 100 list, I did rank the Yankees’ top 30 prospects last Friday. So check that out, in case you missed it. Even if you didn’t, go read it again. If you’re yearning for more prospect knowledge, you can participate in BA’s free top 100 chat later this afternoon (2pm ET).

A.J. Burnett's Five Best Starts As A Yankee
It's official: Yankees sign Raul Ibanez
  • Naved

    If only Dellin can harness his control. Would be the best pitching prospect. His BAA and k/9 are just stupid. Here is too an awesome AAA season for him.

  • fin

    It seems that Banuelos has dropped in the prospect standings this year over last year. I’m guessing its due to his control issues from last year. I wonder if he actually has issues or if he was working on his curveball or something else. There was nothing in his past that says he should have had those issues.
    Lets hope Betences figures it out this year. You have to think that time is running out for him as a starter. Though its not impossible to think that if he doesnt quite figure it out as a starter in MiLB that he could in the majors working out of the pen for a year or 2, and being converted back to a starter.
    Hoping to see them both on the 2013 yankees.

    • Gonzo

      I think it was AA. That is a huge leap for prospects and it can make or break them.

      For example, there was nothing in Casey Kelly’s past that said he would have a 1.6+ WHIP, but there he was in his first year of AA struggling to keep hitters off base.

      • fin

        I certainly understand that. It just seems like Buenlos calling card was his control, and seems odd that he had such issues with it. It could very well be that he was afraid to challange hitters with the jump in level.

        • Gonzo

          Casey Kelly’s calling card was control too.

          • fin

            Btw, really not comaring apples to apples here. Kelly had a 2.9 BB/9, thats not really struggling. Manny had a 4.9. Manny’s contrl issues also started in AA and continued in AAA. I’m thinking hes working on something. I dont know alot about how to evaluate minor leaguers but from what I’ve read its more about the process for minor leaguers than the results.

            • Gonzo

              I agree they are not the same, but you are not using the right perspective when talking Kelly either.

              2.9 BB/9 was his second year in AA, and it means little without looking at his previous BB/9’s.

              For example, Kelly’s BB/9 in 95 inning prior to AA was 1.5. His first 95 inning in AA was 3.3 BB/9. That’s more than doubling of his BB/9.

              In terms of just BB/9, Manny suffered a similar % increase as Casey Kelly in AA.

              *Again, not saying they are the same or will have the same trajectory.

        • pat

          There were a lot of reports that he experienced a bump in velocity and was having trouble harnessing it.

          • Gonzo

            I swear I am not trolling, but Casey Kelly also had a bump in velocity when he hit AA.

            *I am not saying they are the same or face the same trajectory.

    • Ted Nelson

      Even with the control issues I’m still pretty confident in Dellin as an MLB starter if he can go every 5th day and get to at least around 5 IP/GS. Not reach his ceiling and maybe be maddeningly inconsistent… but guys like Jonathan Sanchez, Gio Gonzalez, Jhoulys Chacin, Zambrano, Morrow, Jorge de la Rosa… manage to remain MLB starters (some of them pretty good starters) with BB/9 in the 4s. So an improvement over his AAA #s, but not necessarily a big improvement.

      Maybe not on the Yankees with their new-found pitching depth and general willingness to stick struggling SP prospects in the pen.

      • fin

        I dont know, Dellins control issues are pretty serious. Just under 5 in AA last year. Small sample size applies, but certainly his 4 starts in AAA did nothing to give hope on the control front, 6.5 bb/9.

        • Bo Knows

          That’s misleading considering before that 3 inning 9 walk monstrosity his bb/9 was very good in AAA, and the same can be said about his AA time. His command isn’t just bad all the time, it’ll be there for several starts in a row and then disappear for a start or two, then come back for several…and so on and so forth.

          • fin

            Lol thats a monstorsity all right. Not sure if it makes his walk rate any better, than if it was spread out. If he does that in the majors, he most likely costs the yankees a win and stresses the Bp, as he would have been taken out in the first or second inning.

        • Ted Nelson

          Besides start to start volatility (I haven’t looked at Dellin’s gamelogs), it’s also one part of one year in AAA. A small sample. For the season he was right about at 5 BB/9. It’s possible the tougher competition in AAA increased the BB rate, but it could be random chance in that small a sample. Even if it’s not random chance, he might adjust to the competition a little in 2012 while still having too high a BB-rate.

          If he keeps it in the 4s he’s in some respectable company, along with a lot of guys who just stink or are relievers. The SPs who stand out among the 4+ BB/9 crown seem to me to be the guys who K a lot of people and have low BA against. Which is Dellin in MiLB.

          • fin

            He only pitched 21 innings over 4 games in AAA, too small of a sample size to really judge anything. It just didnt breed alot of confidence when u see that 6.4 bb/9 on his baseball stat sheet.

    • Ed

      I’m guessing its due to his control issues from last year. I wonder if he actually has issues or if he was working on his curveball or something else. There was nothing in his past that says he should have had those issues.

      Hasn’t control always been his issue? It looks like the only times he didn’t walk a lot of guys were his 23 innings in rookie ball back in 2006 and the 2010 season.

      • fin

        Banuelos had pretty good control through A ball, but since hitting AA his control issues seem to be about the same as Bentences. I’m guessing the difference is Manny’s age compared to the competition. Manny was only 20 last year and made it AAA. Whereas, Dellin was 23 when he made it to AAA. So where as Dellin has trouble repeating his motion, maybe Manny is working on developing a certain pitch.

  • Joltin’ Joe

    I’m not sure the author knows what nitpicking is… I want to have a son and name him Gary isn’t exactly a harsh criticism.

    • I Live In My Mom’s Basement

      His charter was to emphasize each player’s weaknesses. Once you get past the facts that Sanchez can’t catch and he’s somewhat immature, there really aren’t any.

      • Joltin’ Joe

        I know, I was just pointing out that even his cons on Sanchez were slight, as they should be. It’s always nice to hear it from someone outside of the org. and without a rooting interest

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Or he’s just bullish on Sanchez. At the end of the day, the guy hasn’t reached AA yet. All you can do is point out the shrtcomings that could be exposed mre as time goes on. No need to draw blood here.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    It’s easy to forget that Dellin Betances is, indeed, a top 100 prospect with the negativity you tend to often hear.

    I really want the kid to find his control. A homegrown kid like that reaching his lofty ceiling? Dellinsanity.

    • FIPster Doofus


    • Ted Nelson

      The interesting thing to me is that even if he still struggles with control (not to the extent of his AAA struggles, but more like his career MiLB struggles) he can still be a pretty effective starter.

      The general consensus seems to be control or BP… but if he can maintain a high K rate and low BA-against in MLB he might still make a good mid-to-back-rotation starter even with the BB problems.

      • fin

        I think the issue is, that Dellin has a way to go before he can be counted on to even have a BB/9 in the 4’s, on the ML level.

      • Bo Knows

        he had one bad (understatment) game in AAA that skews the entire bb/9 for that level

        • fin

          I think Ted’s right though, if he can maintain a BB/9 in the 4s there is no reason he cant be a good MLB starting pitcher. He doesnt give up hits and strikes people out like Drob. THe issue will be if Mo retires and they need a Bp arm, when will the Yankees patience run out.
          Again though, maybe he spends a year or 2 in the BP and if he finds control the Yankees convert him back to a starter. That seems to be becoming a common thing in MLB these days.
          I dont think the Joba comparsions really work here, as I dont think Joba was given the time in the minors to build up his arm strength or learn how to pitch. Joba was given 88 innings of minor lague pitching. I think more than anything that it what doomed Joba.

    • Paul VuvuZuvella

      Will be a Deluge of these puns.

  • viridiana

    A little disappointing that Campos didn’t make list.

    • Will

      My thoughts exactly! I guess that there were just too many awesome prospects out there. A little bummed that Mason Williams and Sanchez weren’t ranked higher. And where is Bichette? Also I miss having a super prospect! Montero :(

      • viridiana

        Campos in TOp 110. From BA Chat:

        Jay (Illinois): Can you give us 10 names that just missed the top 100? Thanks!

        Jim Callis: Giants C Tommy Joseph was No. 100 until Yoenis Cespedes signed. Others who just missed, in no particular order: Cardinals RHP Lance Lynn, Astros SS Jonathan Villar, Rangers RHP Neil Ramirez, Marlins OF Marcell Ozuna, Royals RHP Kelvin Herrera, Nationals RHP Alex Meyer, Padres C Austin Hedges, Yankees RHP Jose Campos, Pirates RHP Luis Heredia.

  • Gonzo

    What’s Dellin’s deal in terms of how much longer can he spend in the the minors?

    Does he have to stick in the majors by when?

  • gageagainstthemachine

    Someone help me here: Isn’t that a “circle changeup” in the picture and how is the grip different than a “standard changeup” (likewise, how is the actual pitch different than a “standard change”)? Or is it just a bunch of semantics and a “changeup” IS a “circle changeup”? I’m not a pitching aficionado and am curious on the difference/lack of difference. Thanks!

    • j

      Circle changeup has more fade. Regular changeup is pretty much all vertical drop, circle change has some horizontal movement towards the throwing hand side.

    • j

      They differ in terms of placement of the index finger. On a circle changeup the index is curled inwards to make a circle with the thumb and index finger. Which allows you to get some horizontal spin on the ball. A regular changeup the index finger is straighter. Its kind of hard to describe.

    • CS Yankee

      Three grips on the Changeup that I know of, they are;
      1) “Circle” (see Dellin pic above)
      2) “Regular” Changeup uses 3 (some use all 4) fingers on top.
      3) “Box” Changeup uses the two big fingers on top & the index and pinkie on the side.

      #1 has more friction and therefore leaves the hand slower, it can sweep a bit depending on how more pressure is supplied and the hands finish on the ball (more snap equals greater fade).
      #2 & #3 leave the hand quicker and therefore the batter will tend to think fastball, but with little/no finish on the ball (with the fingers or hand) will make it top-spin and run out of energy (due to air friction) and drop at a faster rate after 50 (or so) feet.

      Both can be great, the circle is easier to learn because you can have a similar release of the FB and most think that the pick-up of the speed changes by the batter can be met with the added fade or having a batter that is more sitting (or juiced) on a FB that they don’t pickup the difference; as timing is believed to be sensed within the first 5-7 feet of release point in order for the brain to react.

  • G

    I find it odd that people are saying Manny dropped in the rankings. This may not be as drastic of an ascension as we expected after his Spring Training showcase, but he went from 41st to 29th, which at the age of 20, going on 21, is quite impressive.

    • CS Yankee

      Good point.

      I recall how some were upset (or concerned) that Montero had two straight top 10 rankings but had others pass him up. Anyone in the top 100 is a stud and I wouldn’t be surprised that a older #40 will have a better and quicker peak than a #10. In the end, its a crapshoot.

      • Plank

        I don’t agree that everyone in the top 100 is a stud. There are players with deep flaws on the list. There aren’t 100 studs in the minors at any given time.

        • CS Yankee

          Really, in five (or so) levels of ball, you don’t they contain 3 (or so) studs for each team?

          I call it a crapshoot as some won’t develop power, or be able to hit a slider, or learn that third/fourth pitch while maintaining the same release point. However in about 150 minor league teams, (plus Int’l kids) containing around 4,000 players you don’t see 100 studs…really?

          • Plank

            I can tell this could quickly turn into a discussion of what a stud is and isnt, but no i dont think so. Last year Brackman and Romine were on these lists.