Poll: The 2012 Prospect Watch

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2012 Season Preview: Tampa Bay Rays
The incumbent. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

If you’ve been reading RAB long enough, you’re well aware of our annual Prospect Watch. The idea is simple. We pick a prospect, and throughout the regular season we track his progress in the sidebar, specifically his most recent (i.e. last game) and overall season performance. Past Prospect Watch subjects include Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Andrew Brackman, Jesus Montero, and last year, Manny Banuelos. Needless to say, some years have been better than others.

Rather than just pick a prospect and run with it this year, we’re going to try to something new. For the first time ever, you folks will be able to pick our 2012 Prospect Watch candidate by voting in the poll at the end of the post. As you can tell from our previous watches, we’re looking for star power here. Solid and consistent is nice and all, but the Prospect Watch is all about holy crap performances. The occasional 4-for-5 with two doubles and a homer out of Montero made all the 0-for-4 with two strikeouts worth it.

I’ve taken the liberty of picking five candidates for this year’s prospect watch, all of whom are among the team’s seven best prospects. They’re all slated to spend the season in a full season league as well, which is key. With all due respect to Ravel Santana, no one feels like waiting until the NY-Penn League season kicks off in late-June for the Prospect Watch to go up. Here are those five candidates, listed alphabetically with a short little blurb…

Manny Banuelos, LHP
We’ve never had a two-time Prospect Watcher, but I’m not opposed to idea at all. That’s just the way things shook out in the past. Armed with a new cutter, Banuelos is scheduled to start the year with Triple-A Scranton and is poised to join Joba as the only player to go from RAB Prospect Watch to the big leagues in the same season.

Dante Bichette Jr., 3B
The Yankees first round pick just last season, Bichette took home Rookie Level Gulf Coast League MVP honors last year and will start his first full pro season with the Low-A Charleston River Dogs. He’s an all-around hitter with patience and power, capable of long hit streaks and long homers.

Jose Campos, RHP
Acquired from the Mariners as part of the Montero-Michael Pineda swap, Campos destroyed the Short Season Northwest League last year and will join Bichette in Charleston. His big fastball and surprisingly excellent command should lead to a ton of performances DIPS disciplines will love. That means lots of strikeouts and few walks.

Gary Sanchez, C
With Montero gone, Sanchez is now the best hitter in the organization. Last year with Charleston he hit the same number of homers (17) as Montero did at the same level in 2007, just in 226 fewer plate appearances. Sanchez could spend the first few weeks of the season back with the River Dogs, but a trip up to High-A Tampa seems inevitable at some point this summer.

Mason Williams, CF
Williams isn’t just another cog in what figures to be a dynamite Low-A lineup in 2012, he’s going to set the table and bat leadoff. His huge showing with Staten Island last season vaulted him up prospect lists, and now he’s the Yankees best all-around position player prospect.

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The minor league seasons begins next Thursday, the day before the Yankees open their 2012 regular season in Tampa. The poll will remain open through the weekend. Thanks in advance.

Who should be featured in the 2012 Prospect Watch?
View Results
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2012 Season Preview: Tampa Bay Rays
  • https://twitter.com/#!/joshfortunatus joshfortunatus

    Hitters have to be annoying to track. I like Manny since he’s so close to the majors.

    • Sayid J.

      The exact reason I don’t like him.

      • jsbrendog

        agreed sayid.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Agreed as well. Williams would me much more fun to me.

    • Paul VuvuZuvella

      I went with Manny for being on the doorstep as well.

  • Knoxvillain

    I kinda like Campos. I haven’t heard that much about him. I’m interested to see how he performs.

  • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

    Campos just to avoid doubling up.

    • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

      This. Plus it must be annoying to update everyday for hitters.

  • Sam

    I wish you guys could do a position player and a starter. Mike mentioned that, with Google docs, hitters are not as difficult to track on a daily basis as it was in the past. I think taking the top hitter and top pitcher each season would be cool.

    • Raf

      I second this

    • Max

      Third

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

      I could look into that, I need to play around with Google Docs this weekend just to see how easy it really is.

      • http://www.5846films.com Dave the wave

        If Google docs is simple, why not put together a prospect watch team.

        2B: David Adams
        SS: Cito Culver
        3B: Dante Bichette
        C: Gary Sanchez
        OF: Mason Williams
        OF: Ravel Santana
        OF:?

        Back up Catcher: J R Murphy
        MI: Angelo Gumbs

        SP: Man Bam
        SP: Baneulos
        SP: Jose Campos
        SP: Rafael DePaula

        RP:Mark Montgomery
        RP:Phil Wetherell
        RP: Zach Arneson
        RP: Caleb Cotham
        RP: Branden Pinder
        RP: Tommy Kahnle

        Im sure you’d put together a better list but you get the point.

        • Havok9120

          Wouldn’t such a page look an awful lot like….a Down on the Farm post?

        • Jd

          Great idea

    • vin

      Sure, it seems like more is always better, but I would only do the multiple player prospect watch if there were two equally awesome prospects that needed to be followed in the same year. If Mike wants to indulge us, then great, but I’ not convinced its necessary.

      • http://www.5846films.com Dave the wave

        Being able to look at an extensive overview of the “minor league depth chart” would be pretty freaking amazing. I understand its alot of work and just a pipe dream. But let me dream will ya?

  • Murderers’ Row Boat

    Campos, since it would be nice to know if he’s a starter in waiting or a big arm out of the pen. All I’ve heard about him is big arm, but with only two pitches.

  • pat

    I’m a prospect hipster, so all these guys are a little too mainstream. My vote goes to Tyler Austin.

    • A.D.

      We could only track Banuelos ironically

    • vin

      I was following Tyler Austin before it was cool.

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona

      I want the Charleston team total of AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS

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

      I like this new prospect named Rafael DePaula. You probably haven’t heard of him.

      • jsbrendog

        he’s so obscure…

      • Jimmy

        Dominican for Carmen Angelini.

        • Havok9120

          I laughed.

        • awy

          LOL

      • Fin

        Hey Mike, why no Betances on the list? I think its odd you left the second or third ranked Yankee prospect off the watch list. I would have enjoyed watching the progress or lack thereof that he makes with his control.

  • vin

    I voted for Mason Williams. All the other guys have either been starters, or the power hitting Montero. I think Mason will be a nice change of pace.

    Also, for the life of me, I can’t remember who was between Joba and Brackman (the 2008 season). Was it AJax?

    • vin

      Also, he’s pretty active on Twitter, so there’s that. He’s no Taylor Morton though.

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

      2008 was the ill-fated Tommy John rehab watch. Melancon, Humberto, Chris Garcia … and a fourth guy I’m forgetting.

      • the Other Steve S.

        Humberto, now there was a prospect. Pass the doughnuts.

      • vin

        Really… that’s an interesting idea actually.

        Poor Christian Garcia. :(

      • Damix

        JB Cox?

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

          There you go.

  • Naved

    No Dellin Betances?????? WHAT THE ****

  • Ghost

    Generally, the other past prospect watches focused on those prospects with relative close proximity to the majors. I stayed true to form and picked Banuelos.

  • http://www.nesn.com/2011/01/2011-red-sox-will-challenge-1927-yankees-for-title-of-greatest-team-in-major-league-history.html Denver fighting tebows

    come on, not manny again please

  • jsbrendog

    wow brackman was 3 yrs ago? jeez dude.

    well, i guess it is time…..

    Bo/Sal/Grant/Lanny……..you win. Bust.

    • JMK

      It’s a sad day when Bo/Sal/Grant/Lanny is deemed the winner. It breaks my heart.

      • jsbrendog

        seriously. that was one of the hardest things i’ve had to do. sadly, this does not validate his process but he thinks it will

  • dean

    Any of the 5 are fine with me…..Im happy we have 5 prospects this good to choose from.

    • vin

      That’s actually a good point. And it doesn’t even include Betances.

  • Mike HC

    All good choices. I went Banuelos just because all those other guys are so far away and there will be plenty of time to “watch” them in the next 2-3 years. If there was a star AA player, I would have went him, but there doesn’t seem to be one.

  • Mike

    Can we start picking a non-prospect to avoid a top prospect having a slump year?

  • JohnC

    Mike,

    I had inquired on twitter about greg Bird, but Josh Norris said he was hurt and not active. DO you know what injury he suffered?

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

      No idea.

  • Will

    How about doing one position player prospect watch and one pitcher prospect watch?

    • Chris

      Yes please.

  • Dan

    My vote is Sanchez. Bichette and Williams had breakout years they are unlikely to repeat, Campos has great upside but I don’t know he merits “prospect watch’ status yet, and ManBan was last year. Sanchez just seems to be tapping into his potential. I think he’s the bigger unknown and he’s who I would look for first in the box score anyway.

    +1 to dean… It’s great to finally have a system where Drew Henson and 4 buckets of baseballs aren’t our top 5 prospects… No disrespect to the buckets.

    • awy

      agreed

  • Guest

    I strongly support Campos. Those of us follow DoTF everyday have no live–uh, I mean are already pretty well aprised of each of the other four candidates. Jose Campos is, to us anyway, an international man of mystery.

    Also, Jose is the Spanish version of Joseph. Joseph was the father of Jesus.

    Shouldn’t we want to follow Montero’s father? You know, out of respect for the departed?

    • YanksFanInBeantown

      Montero’s father is our closer…

  • Betty Lizard

    Bichette of course. We’ll be watching Banuelos anyway. Let’s give unibrow junior some love!

  • neo

    I voted Mason Williams. It will be cool to follow him here and on twitter (@MjordanW9) at the same time.

  • Wow

    What about that Pettitte kid coming through the system? Let’s track him.

    • vin

      What’s his v-lo?

  • Ghost

    Generally, the other prospect watches focused on those prospects with relative close proximity to the majors. I stayed true to form and picked Banuelos. Sanchez and Williams will have ample time to be featured on it in the future.

  • ROBTEN

    I vote for Jack Hoffman. He’s older, but he’s gritty.

  • forensic

    I’m torn. I personally wouldn’t care much about the guys who are years and years away (and have plenty more time to be watched later if they actually develop into something worthwhile when actually within shouting distance of the majors), but banuelos was last year and I would prefer position players (or the one of each as mentioned above). If only they would get a position player closish, though I guess zoilo almonte is the most talked about by the org right now (and he could be intriguing to see if he’s developing closer to a post-swisher possibility). Anyway, I had to go for banuelos I guess.

  • jsbrendog

    no depaula huh? i def want to overfollow, overanalyze and over reactto everything he does this yr.

    no pressure, kid.

    hmm, this is hard. I’m going to have to take my time and think before I make my choice…there are good arguments for all of them..

  • nsalem

    Tim Norton and David Adams

  • CS Yankee

    I voted for ManBan but it was kinda a bummer last year to only see a walk-fest every 5-6 days, and a great performance every other week.

    If RAB had the premier bat and arm that would be the best. If so, I would go with the two highest rated guys…ManBan & Sanchez. It would be the three truest outcomes all day, every day…K, K, BB, K, K, HR, HR, BB, K, K, K…

  • neo

    the vote is so close.. we need a run off so the folks who voted for Bichette, Compos, Sanchez get a say now that they are out of it.

  • LiterallyFigurative

    Due to his being the best prospect, and being in AAA, it has to be ManBan.

    I know he was the prospect to watch last year, but his development may have big implications on the 2013 and 2014 team.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/philgalletto theyankeewarrior

    Please not Manny again. Mason or Sanchez. I went with Mason.

  • Naved

    So Betances doesn’t exist now or what?

  • The Moral Majority is Neither

    Given the buzz he got in camp, Banuelos might work because he’ll dominate and that makes for an uplifting prospect watch.

  • Jesse

    I’m torn between Banuelos and Campos. I’m going to try and be nice and not vote for a position player so Mike doesn’t have to update the sidebar everyday (you’re welcome). Banuelos is closer to the big leagues, but Campos is the new guy and we’ve heard a lot of positive reviews from scouts, though he’s further away from the bigs.

    • Jesse

      Picked Campos, but it probably doesn’t matter as it’s a close race between Banuelos and Williams.

    • Jesse

      Well, reading the thread… Evidently it’s easier to do a position player with Google docs.

  • Mike HC

    Great race going on between Banuelos and Williams. Seems like the votes are equal enough to warrant the one pitcher and one hitter idea commented on above.

  • vinny-b

    Gary Sanchez is not winning this? Sad.

    • Reggie C.

      That’s who I voted for the Prospect Watch.

      Even if Gary Sanchez returns to Charleston for the first couple months, he’d be in advantageous position to start with a big boom and carry that over to Tampa.

      Overly optimistic Prediction: Sanchez goes yard 30 times!

  • jjyank

    I went with Mason. Yankee Centerfielders have a special place in both Yankee lore (Dimaggio, Mantle) and in my heart (Bernie was my favorite player growing up). It would be beyond amazing if the Yanks could have another homegrown star CF. I get the arguments that he can have his time on the Prospect Watch in the future since he’s so far away, but he seems like a fun player to follow.

    Manny is a solid choice too of course, and I would have voted for him if he wasn’t the guy last year. Let’s mix it up a bit! Mason 2012!

    But lets be real here. Anyone who takes the time to comment on this thread will likely be reading DotF every day anyway. Because Manny is in AAA, you’d see his line at the top of the DotF posts, whereas you’d have to scroll down to find Mason’s line. Nitpicking, I know, but this is also a small reason I went for Mason.

    • Jesse

      “But lets be real here. Anyone who takes the time to comment on this thread will likely be reading DotF every day anyway.”

      You’re probably right. I for one am one of those people as I like to read DotF right before I go to bed.

      • vinny-b

        what is DotF ?

        • Mike HC

          It stands for “Down on the Farm.” Basically, its a nightly article where Mike gives the box scores for all of the Yanks minor league games.

          • vinny-b

            i get you. Thanks Mike

    • Mike HC

      Thats actually a decent point about not clicking to read the entire thread. I will usually just look at the AAA game that is on the main page and never click.

      Anyway, lets be honest, you can follow anyone you want on baseballreference or a site like that. The RAB prospect watch is just a fun, community type deal, so any player will do really.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/Paddock9652 Stratman9652

    Jose Campos. Then just rename the prospect watch to the “who’s winning the trade tracker” because that would essentially be the reaction.

    • TCMiller30

      Good point..

      Because in all the years doing it, ONE has been traded..

  • jjyank

    By the way, great idea letting us readers vote for the Prospect this year. I think it’ll make Prospect Watch more special, as it will be the consensus pick among all of us, therefore we’d be more excited about following that prospect.

    Not that you guys have done a bad job of selecting one in the past, but I like the direction you’re going in.

  • Plank

    I like Williams instead of Banuelos. Williams is more of a wild card. Was last year for real or was it a fluke? Did the off-season bulking up help? He’s the most exciting player in the minors for me to follow next season. Other than Melvin Croussett.

  • yanksrbest

    I think Santana is going to surprise you guys and end up at Charleston.

  • MikedJones

    How about Pineda?

  • MikedJones

    How about Pineda? He’ll be in the minors.

    • YanksFanInBeantown

      He’ll be on the DL, not in the minors.

  • Tyrone Sharpton

    Gud to see a brutha be representin

  • JJSmom

    Williams is the star to watch. He is a natural athlete who is going to shine. My money is on him.