Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Yankees Top Ten Prospects Announced

Baseball America released their list of the Yankees' top ten prospects today. Head over and give it a read; lots of good stuff there.

Some thoughts:
  • The Yankees top talent is at all the right places: on the mound and up the middle skill positions. The top ten is comprised of five pitchers, four catchers, and a center fielder. Don't get too hung up as to where there will be room for everyone. These are the types of players that are the most valuable trade chips.

  • There is 50% turnover from last year's top ten list. Alfredo Aceves, Phil Coke, and Mark Melancon all graduated to the Major League level, though I believe Melancon can still be considered a prospect due to not having accrued enough MLB service time. Austin Jackson was the key chip in the Curtis Granderson trade, and Bradley Suttle dropped off the list after missing all of last year due to shoulder injuries.

  • The list is a testament to how well the Yankees have rebuilt their system in recent years. Slade Heathcott and JR Murphy are the Yankees top two 2009 draft picks. Gary Sanchez was the organization's top 2009 international signee. Jeremy Bleich was the Yankees top signed pick from the 2008 draft; Manny Banuelos was an international free agent that year. Andrew Brackman and Austin Romine were the club's top two picks in 2007; Arodys Vizcaino was an international signing that year. Twenty year old Jesus Montero and twenty two year old Zach McAllister have been with the organization the longest, both since 2006.

  • This is a very green list. We know the Yankees are thin at the top levels of the system. None of the 10 players on the list played above AA last year, although McAllister did make a playoff start for AAA Scranton. Montero and Bleich both saw time at AA Trenton last year, but McAllister is the only one on the list to spend all of 2009 above A ball. While it's great to have that much young talent, such talent is also less projectable. There's less probability for prospects who have yet reach AA to pan out.

  • The Yankees top talent is also extremely, extremely young. At 24, Brackman is the oldest of the ten. Sanchez is the youngest at 16 and is one of five players on the list who is not yet twenty years old.

  • The list breaks down to six draft picks and four international signings.

The link also runs down the organization's top skills:
  • Montero of course is rated as both the best hitter and best hitter for power.

  • Mike Dunn, who will be in the mix as a second lefty option out of the bullpen, has the best slider.

  • Despite having four other catchers ranked ahead of him overall, Francisco Cervelli still grades out as the best defensive backstop.

  • Recent Rule 5 pick Jamie Hoffmann is listed as the best defensive outfielder.

  • Ramiro Pena is rated as the best defensive infielder; Eduardo Nunez has the best infield arm, and Reegie Corona was given the nod over Kevin Russo as having the best plate discipline. All four are on the 40 man roster and figure to compete for the utility infielder job in Spring Training.

  • Juan Miranda currently sits atop the DH depth chart but is not rated at all by Baseball America.

  • Melky Mesa, a single A outfielder who has less plate discipline than his namesake and is considered a non-prospect, rates as both the fastest baserunner, best athlete, and best outfield arm.

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