Poll: The 2013 Prospect Watch

Thoughts on a random Thursday
2013 Season Preview: The Walking Wounded
Last year's Prospect Watch. (Bergen Record)
Last year’s Prospect Watch. (Bergen Record)

I’ve decided to modify DotF (in an undetermined way) this year for the sake of saving time and my sanity, but one feature that will not be changed is the Prospect Watch. Well, the featured player may change, but the format will remain mostly the same.

Last year we tracked outfielder Mason Williams‘ progress through the summer, and he rewarded us by hitting .298/.346/.474 (~125 wRC+) with 11 homers and 20 steals in 397 plate appearances before separating his left shoulder diving for a ball in late-July. The Prospect Watch was unused after the injury. In prior years we’ve tracked Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Andrew Brackman, Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos, and a bunch of others I’m forgetting. It’s been a while.

We should have a healthy debate for this year’s watch subject because the Yankees have four pretty awesome position player prospects, all of whom are worthy of a spot in our sidebar. There’s not much on the pitcher side right now, but that’s alright. Position players are more fun because they play everyday anyway. Just as we did last year, let’s vote on the 2013 Prospect Watch. First, the candidates with their rank on my Preseason Top 30 Prospects List in parenthesis.

OF Tyler Austin (3)
I’m listing these guys alphabetically, but it’s also appropriate to start with Austin. The 21-year-old former catcher is the best statistical performer among the organization’s top prospects, hitting .322/.400/.559 (~163 wRC+) with 17 homers and 23 steals (in 25 attempts) in 472 plate appearances across four levels last summer. He’s expected to open the year with Double-A Trenton and has an outside chance of cracking the big league roster come September.

RHP Jose Campos (7)
I wanted to get at least one pitcher in the conversation, and the 20-year-old Campos was the obvious choice — Banuelos (#6 in my top 30) will miss the season due to Tommy John surgery while last year’s first rounder Ty Hensley (#8) could start the year back in Extended Spring Training and not even appear in an official game until June. Campos, who pitched to a 4.01 ERA and 3.24 FIP in five starts before a season-ending elbow injury last year, is healthy and ready to start the season back with Low-A Charleston. An assignment to High-A Tampa might even be in the cards, but that would be aggressive.

OF Slade Heathcott (4)
Heathcott, 22, is the old man of the group. He missed the first half with his second left shoulder surgery last year, then hit .307/.378/.470 (142 wRC+) in 265 plate appearances with High-A Tampa before destroying the Arizona Fall League (192 wRC+). Heathcott is healthy now (for the time being, anyway) and has the loudest package of tools in the organization. He’s slated to join Austin in the Double-A Trenton outfield.

C Gary Sanchez (1)
The team’s top prospect (in my opinion), the 20-year-old Sanchez hit .290/.344/.485 (~125 wRC+) in 474 plate appearances split between Low-A Charleston and High-A Tampa last summer. His 18 homers led all minor league catchers. Sanchez is expected to begin the season back with Tampa, but a midseason promotion to Double-A Trenton is well within reach.

OF Mason Williams (2)
We’ve never had a two-time Prospect Watch guy, but there’s no rule that says we can’t do it. Williams, 21, has recovered from his shoulder injury — an injury that required surgery — and will join Sanchez back with High-A Tampa to open the summer. Although I ranked him as the team’s second best prospect, Baseball America had Williams in the top spot.

* * *

A few times in the past the Prospect Watch choice was obvious, but that’s not really the case here. Some of these guys might put up gaudier stats than others, but they’re all quality prospects worth monitoring as the season progresses.

Who should be featured in the 2013 Prospect Watch?
Total Votes: 2537 Started: March 27, 2013 Back to Vote Screen
Thoughts on a random Thursday
2013 Season Preview: The Walking Wounded
  • Jim Is Bored

    Austin, because I think he’s likelier to be healthier than Heathcott and I am looking forward to seeing a bunch of huge box scores.

    • Caballo Sin Nombre

      That little box looks better with big numbers. So no points for great fielding or merely good hitting at a premium position. Finally, I’d rather glance at hitting stats than pitching stats– BA beats ERA, and HR beats SO, esthetically speaking.

  • trr

    Austin, he seems the closest to joining us this year, and by 2014 for a certainty

    • Mike Myers

      same reason I vote austin

    • Larch

      Gary Sanchez is clearly a better prospect, but I try not to get too excited before AA. For this year, I feel that the watch is more meaningful with Austin.

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    How about one pitcher and one position player?

    • The Real Me (Formerly Cris Pengiucci)

      I voted Campos, so there’s a pitcher nomination if we look at 2 players. Very anxious to see how he does. Cou;d be a major peice of the future puzzle (or be an indication that the organization needs to continue to look outside for pitching going forward).

  • JM

    Slade, this guy if he stays healhty (big if) will “WOW” with his numbers he will put up

    • The Real Me (Formerly Cris Pengiucci)

      I was thinking about him too, but the watch could be the “kiss of death” as far as an injury goes.

  • Geo

    I hate that DotF is going away but I know it is a huge task. That said, I would like all the top prospects covered in the prospect watch. It will be less time consuming than DotF and give you a chance to give more commentary if you want.

    • jsbrendog

      RAB should hire an intern to compile DoTF. maybe a journalism student who can get partial college credit?

      • JCK

        Or maybe the YES Network can loan one of their interns for it? (I’m not sure how deep that partnership goes, but they probably have plenty of research interns.)

  • Urban Idiot

    Austin, the most ready and advance hitter in the Yankee system as of now!

  • mac

    Austin. He’s the closest to the bigs and it looks like he’s going to be a good offensive player.

  • SteveB

    DotF is one of this best things about this site – please don’t modify too much. If you ask me, a link to each of the boxscores would be plenty for me. You could then just add bullet points with important notes, etc.

    • jjyank

      I’d be cool with that. Mike usually puts a comment or two for each team in italics after a players line if something noteworthy happened. A link to each box score and a couple bullet points under it to comment on anything bizarre/cool/bad happens. I usually just skim DotF’s for the names I recognize anyway, so I would be cool with that format if it saves Mike some time and sanity.

      • Jim Is Bored


        • vicki


          • Matt

            fisted err a fifth ded, sorry mind is elsewhere

  • Mary Worth

    I’m sure you can find a volunteer(s)to do the DotF. It’s a valuable part of the blog for most of your readers. Especially as you’ve intimated the major league season’s going to suck.

  • Gonzo

    Where’s the Carlos Rodon watch?!?!?!

  • baseballnation

    So does this mean we can start production plans for the “save Dotf” t-shirts….Something similar to what we had a couple of years ago with the big three?

    I voted Sanchez by the way, although I’m totally fine with Austin leading as their both great young hitters. I was just praying it wouldn’t be Heathcott because the prospect watch would lack any kind of excitement when Heathcott eventually injures himself waking out of his bed and is on the shelf for 2 months.

    • Gonzo

      I kinda went with Slade because he could have the most amazing season of them all, IMO.

  • jjyank

    I went with Sanchez. Austin was a close second to me, but I just like catchers I suppose. Heathcott is too injury prone to bank on a full year of a prospect watch again. Mason is my personal favorite prospect, but there’s no harm in shaking things up.

  • Sweet Dick Willie

    I voted for Austin because of Slade’s injury history, and because it appears he is closer to The Show than Sanchez.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Slade, although a multiple-headed monster would be my true choice.

  • Gonzo

    Would it be easier to just do the top 30/20/10 prospects? Maybe throw in a bone about a surging prospect now and then?

  • BeanTooth

    With Slade there’s risk he may muss a chunk of the season, but there’s also a chance he could completely dominate a couple levels this summer. Gammons quotes an anonymous executive putting him with a few other minor leaguers for having the potential to have an impact in the bigs next year. If that could be the case, it would be fun to track the minor league season leading up to that.

  • Cool Lester Smooth

    Sanchez, because I love him.

    Also, DotF is literally the reason I started reading this site regularly. Please don’t get rid of it.

  • Dillon

    Why not put three guys on the list? or 4 or 5? I would like to know what everyone is doing

    • jjyank

      That’s what the DotF is for, assuming Mike doesn’t get rid of it entirely. I like putting the spotlight on one guy.

  • Cesar “Stairs” Cabral


  • ClusterAustinDuck

    Interesting. I was thinking that Tyler Austin was the one who doesn’t get any respect… and here he’s leading the vote.

  • Guns

    It’s gotta be Sanchez. He’s the most important prospect for the Yankees. Catchers with that kind of bat who can stick behind the plate are hard to find.

  • Kosmo

    What´s the story with Preston Claiborne (the 3rd ?). He´s pitched well this ST. I wonder if there is a scouting report on him ? Anyone ?

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

      Pretty much a one-pitch (fastball) guy. Luckily he throws hard.

      • Kosmo

        Thanks Mike !

  • TheOneWhoKnocks

    I voted Austin.
    Didn’t want to repeat Williams
    Heathcott is too risky
    Sanchez is too far from the majors. Will almost definitely be the prospect we will all want to watch next year.

  • Reggie C.

    Gary Sanchez.

    And i really think its an easy decision. Sanchez represents the best chance this team has to producing a power hitter from a valued position. By most accounts, this young man actually SHOULD be able to man the catching position through his prime. That projection already makes Sanchez more valuable long-term than Jesus Montero was at a similar age.

    Sanchez will hit. It’ll be hella fun to watch him coast to a .290/.350/.500 campaign. Sanchez is in Double A by end of season.

    The other candidates:
    Heathcott – too much of an injury risk to follow
    Tyler Austin – might rope 50 doubles, but Sanchez might hit 25-30 homers
    Mason Williams – been there.
    Campos – the guy to follow in 2014 when he too might be in Double A & a top 50 ML prospect. Right now, lets just see how well he’s healed.

  • Rob

    Some random scouting reports from BP. Wasn’t sure where to put them, figured this was a good spot.

    Dante Bichette Jr., 3B: Raw power; well below-average runner; swing has holes. Bichette will repeat Low-A Charleston in 2013.

    Gregory Bird, 1B: Long frame; crouched stance; leveraged swing; gets really long at times; natural raw power; well below-average runner; first base only. Bird will enter full-season ball at Low-A Charleston.

    Jose Campos, RHP: Big frame; smooth arm action; fastball 89-92; good plane; could easily reach back for more; spotted on both sides of plate; slider 76-80; tight spin gets depth on break; changeup 85-86; thrown too firmly. Campos’ fastball is likely his only plus pitch, and he will start 2013 back at Low-A Charleston.

    Cito Culver, SS: Major hitch in his swing; below-average runner; not going to be able to stick at shortstop. Yankees fans are not going to be happy when Culver is completely off prospect radars after 2013. He’ll start the season back in Low-A Charleston.

    Angelo Gumbs, 2B: Quick bat; natural strength; can spray to all fields; loud contact; improving plate discipline; makes the plays in the field. I expect Gumbs to have a big 2013. He will start the season at High-A Tampa and has the ability to jump into the Top 101 list in 2014.

    Slade Heathcott, CF: Improving plate discipline; 70-grade runner; plus overall defensive profile; super high energy; constantly injured. I saw Heathcott in limited at-bats, and I’d have to see more to make a definitive statement. I liked what I saw of his plate discipline, but I question what the hit tool will eventually be. Heathcott is a player I will get many more looks at during the 2013 season, which he’ll start with Double-A Trenton.

    Mark Montgomery, RHP: High effort; fastball 85-88; poor command; slider 79-81; much more of a spinner; changeup 80-82, his most effective pitch, with some fade and potential. Montgomery has raised major red flags here this spring. One scout saw him in his first big-league game and said that he was shutting hitters down with his patented 70-grade slider. The same scout also told me that he has not seen him throw a quality inning since his first outing. The stuff has become depressed at a rate that screams injury; I noticed him flexing his hand. I am not a doctor, nor do I have any inside information, but this is alarming. Montgomery is slated to start the 2013 season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

    Rafael De Paula, RHP: Smooth mechanics; easy velocity; confidence on the mound; fastball 91-94; late armside run into the hands; curveball 78-81; tight downward spin; falls off the table as it enters the zone; change 83-85; good fade with depth; both secondary pitches are 6-plus; will trust fastball to a fault; can get underneath breaking ball. De Paula will start the 2013 season with Low-A Charleston and could move up the organizational ladder relatively quickly.

    Austin Romine, C: Low energy; high leg kick with big load; behind velocity; defensive ability plays down because of lack of #want. Romine struggles from prospect fatigue but he does himself no favors showing #slack. Profile has diminished to a backup-catcher ceiling. Romine will return to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2013.

    Gary Sanchez, C: Massive frame; leg kick; big wrist **** in load; destroys middle-in; middle-of-the-lineup talent; well below-average runner; plus-plus arm strength; needs to stay behind the plate. Sanchez was the designated hitter in every game I saw him in this spring. In warm-ups, he looks the part, showing plenty of arm, but the athleticism and #want will decide whether he can stick as a catcher. He will start the 2013 season with High-A Tampa.

    Mason Williams, CF: Quick, strong hands; trouble with changeup; opens up early; makeup still a large question mark. He has the ability to get to the big leagues and be a solid major leaguer, but he still has some maturing to do in the minors. Williams will start the 2013 season in High-A Tampa.

  • MickeyP

    Heathcott. For no other reason than he’s the most exciting to me.

  • Gonzo

    Hey Mike, can’t you get an intern to DoTF? You’re big time now!

  • emac2

    I think it would be cool if there was some sort of awesomeness chart that listed the top 5 or 10 prospects in the system. Maybe even just have a poll rating the Yankee prospects every day in a mini dotf and use the results to populate a graph on the front page showing who’s most popular.

    Another option might be to community source the dot f in sections. People could send in mini game write ups using your preferred format and you could choose from what you get and fill in here and there. A link to the box and community write up would be great.


    I feel like my world is crumbling around me.

  • Deathstroke Heathcott


    • Gonzo

      How about Sladestroke Deathcott as a nickname?

  • Reuben Sierra’s Chains

    Slade he is a PIMP.

    But Austin will be fine too. Looks like he is running away with it.

  • Kvothe

    I’m sorry, but can’t we just have an Eduardo Nunez Lost Helmet watch instead of a prospect watch this year? I’m almost certain that he’ll have more lost helmets than hits.

  • Caballo Sin Nombre

    Also, I love DOTF, but I wouldn’t mind some modification. Too often the comments just repeat what you could read in a box score; and frankly, the box score is easier to read. So I would prefer a box score with fewer, but more meaningful, comments.

  • Scout

    Running a site is a lot of work, so no one should complain if Mike doesn’t want to sink every waking hour into it to feed our addiction. You might switch to a “prospect of the week” approach, perhaps with an “off the radar” second choice to highlight someone we don’t usually notice.