Keith Law’s top ten Yankees prospects list

Keith Law published his list of baseball’s top 110 prospects yesterday, and he followed up today by releasing individual top ten prospects lists for each American League club (subs. req’d). The top five prospects are the same guys from the top 110 yesterday (in the same order), and numbers six through ten are RHP Ty Hensley, LHP Manny Banuelos, RHP Jose Campos, RHP Mark Montgomery, and 2B Angelo Gumbs.

Within the write-up, Law notes the system is top-heavy with high-end guys, and their only real impact prospects for 2013 are Montgomery and RHP Dellin Betances if he takes to the bullpen. He lists Hensley as the organization’s sleeper, saying the shoulder abnormality hasn’t stopped him from running his fastball up to 98, and “if he can just show that kind of stuff and last for a 120-140 inning season in 2013, he’s a likely top-100 guy.” Interestingly enough, he notes the Yankees love OF Ben Gamel, and they expect him to show more power this summer after bulking up thanks to his offseason conditioning program.

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Baseball America’s Top Ten Yankees Prospects

Heathcott. (Jordan Megenhardt/MLB.com)

Baseball America published their list of the top ten Yankees prospects today, and the list is free for all. The scouting reports, however, are not. You need a subscription for them. The four names atop the list shouldn’t be a surprise (the order might), but things do get a little wacky after that. Let’s break it down…

  1. OF Mason Williams
  2. OF Slade Heathcott
  3. C Gary Sanchez
  4. OF Tyler Austin
  5. RHP Jose Campos
  6. RHP Brett Marshall
  7. 2B Angelo Gumbs
  8. LHP Manny Banuelos
  9. RHP Ty Hensley
  10. RHP Rafael DePaula

Two things stand out about the list. First, the Yankees are suddenly very top heavy with position player prospects, particularly outfielders. Outside of Jesus Montero, their recent top tens were mostly dominated by upper level arms. The Yankees are going to need that infusion of young bats and relatively soon, but Heathcott is only position player on the list who I think will open next year at Double-A. Austin has a chance, but it would surprise me a bit.

Williams. (NY Daily News)

Secondly, everyone’s hurt. Five of those ten guys missed significant time this season due to injury, and that doesn’t include Hensley’s shoulder “abnormality” or the month Austin missed with a mild concussion. Heathcott (shoulder) obviously came back healthy and Gumbs (elbow) has as well (based on the fact that he’s playing winter ball), plus Williams (shoulder) was just cleared to resume workouts. Banuelos will miss all of next season with Tommy John surgery though, and a club official said Campos (elbow) will “hopefully” be ready for Spring Training in the subscriber-only write-up. That doesn’t sound promising, but what can you do.

The write-ups include scouting grades (on the 20-80 scale) for each team’s top prospect and the grades for Williams are just insane — 60 hit, 60 power, 70 speed, 70 defense, 50 arm. That’s four above-average tools and one average one. Those are future grades and not present — they think he’ll grow into a 60 hitter, not that he is one today — but they still seem a little optimistic, particularly the power. A 60/60 bat is a .290-.300 hitter with 25 or so homers. Add the 70 speed and 70 defense and you’ve got 30+ steals and near Gold Glove defense. That’s a star player, it’s Grady Sizemore in his prime, but again the grades strike me as optimistic based on everything we’ve heard about Williams to this point.

Elsewhere in the write-up they note that Heathcott offers “explosive tools” — yesterday Keith Law said Heathcott has louder tools than Williams, though Mason is more refined — and that while Sanchez doesn’t stack up to Montero offensively, he has a much better chance of sticking behind the plate. Campos was “electric” before getting hurt while Banuelos was still struggling to command his fastball. They call DePaula the biggest x-factor in the system and say his “ceiling is as high as any Yankees minor league pitcher.” He’ll make the big jump to High-A Tampa next year.

With Banuelos essentially out for the season, the only top ten prospect who figures to spend significant time at Triple-A next year will be Marshall. The Yankees will have Adam Warren and maybe a veteran signing or two ahead of him on the call-up depth chart, possibly even Dellin Betances if things break right. The talent gap that has been slowly climbing the ladder in recent years has hit Triple-A, meaning the Bombers will have to make sure they bring in some depth pieces via free agency to shore up potential holes on the big league roster. The team’s top prospects just aren’t in a position to help next year, and maybe not in 2014 as well.

Prospect Profile: Ty Hensley

(Photo via BaseballLife365.com)

Ty Hensley | RHP

Background
Raised in the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond, Hensley was a two-sport star at Sante Fe High School before giving up his quarterback gig to focus on baseball as a senior. He pitched to a 1.52 ERA with 111 strikeouts in 55.1 innings with the Wolves this spring, earning him Gatorade Oklahoma Player of the Year honors and several other awards. His father Mike was a second round pick who was a long-time college pitching coach after injuries derailed his playing career.

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Kiley McDaniel scouts Ty Hensley

In an Insider-only piece at ESPN, former Yankees intern Kiley McDaniel provided an extended scouting report on first rounder Ty Hensley from his first pro outing. He said the right-hander looked completely healthy despite the shoulder “abnormality” that led to a below-slot signing bonus, while also noting that he still looked “like an 19-year-old power arm learning to harness his stuff.”

McDaniel clocked Hensley at 90-93 and said he was “hitting 95 mph with two-seam life.” His mid-70s curveball “flashed plus” and the report on his changeup was surprisingly positive. “Hensley also threw an 80-82 mph changeup that has a chance to be above-average — better than many of the top prep arms from his class that I scouted this year,” wrote McDaniel. “That may be the most encouraging thing, as Hensley’s challenge will be channeling pure power into a mix of power and finesse, and feel for a changeup at this age is a good indicator that he’ll be able to accomplish that. The Yankees will work with him to clean up his delivery, as he’s a heel-lander with a little noise in his motion, but the elements are here for a frontline starter if Hensley can make the necessary adjustments.”

Also check out McDaniel’s reports on OF Tyler Austin, OF Slade Heathcott, OF Mason Williams, C Gary Sanchez, and others in case you missed them. Hensley pitched for the Rookie Level GCL Yankees this afternoon, allowing three unearned runs on one hit and two hit batsmen in 2.2 innings. He struck out a pair and got four other outs on the ground.

Hensley debuts with GCL Yankees

Making his professional debut after signing a below-slot $1.2M deal due to an “abnormality” in his shoulder, first rounder Ty Hensley allowed three runs in two innings for the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League Yankees this afternoon. The first inning was rough, going double, homer, line out, strikeout, walk, walk, ground ball. Hensley allowed two singles to open the second before getting a ground ball double play (run scored) and another grounder to escape the jam. All told, he allowed the three runs on four hits and two walks in two innings.

ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel was in attendance and clocked Hensley at 90-93 with some 95s, saying he threw three pitches (presumably fastball, curve, changeup) and was rusty with his command and delivery. After a two or three month layoff from game action, that’s understandable. The 95s are an indication that the shoulder abnormality is nothing serious, at least in theory.