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Scouting Reports and Profiles: 2011 Edition
3 years ago  ::  Jan 06, 2011 - 7:43PM #31
MajorYankFan
Posts: 8,607

 


Yankees Prospect Review: Manny Banuelos


manny-Banuelos


Background


Manny Banuelos or Manuel  Banuelos, 19, is a 5’10″ 155 lbs. lefty who was born in Monterrey, Mexico. He was signed, along with Alfredo  Aceves out of Mexico in 2008 for $450,000.


Pro Career


After signing with the Yankees Banuelos  got his first taste of American pro action in the Gulf Coast League  (Rookie-Ball) playing for the Tampa Yankees. In 12 games that year, only  three as a starter, he was impressive putting together a 4-1 record  with a 2.57 ERA over 42 innings. His 7.9 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 were also  impressive.


The next year he was promoted to Low-A  Charleston where he cemented himself on the prospect map. In Charleston  he pitched in 26 games, 19 of them starting, putting together a 9-5  record with a 2.64 ERA over 108 innings. What was more impressive was  that both his strikeout and walk rates improved to 8.7 K/9 and a 2.3  BB/9. He was rewarded with a very brief promotion to High-A Tampa where  he threw just one perfect inning that included two strikeouts.


Last season he had a brief setback after  he had to undergo apendectomy surgery. Once he returned though he  picked up right where he left off. Starting only briefly in the GCL he  tossed two starts over five innings and allowed just one run. The bulk  of his season was spent in High-A Tampa where he dominated. Over 10  games and 44.1 innings he had a 2.23 ERA, a 12.6 K/9, and a 2.8 BB/9. He  was so good it earned him an unexpected promotion to Double-A Trenton,  not bad for a 19 year old. In Trenton he made three starts and at least  one more in the playoffs and did so so. His ERA was 3.52 and his K/9 was  10.0, but his BB/9 rate was sort of high at 4.7, but over 15.1 innings  it’s not too much to worry about.


Scouting Report


There is a lot to like about Banuelos.  Really the only knock on him was his small size, but the kid has great  stuff and knows how to pitch. Thanks to a great report by Frankie Piliere we have a great scouting report on him too.


Essentially Banuelos has strong command  and a consistent delivery. He throws a fastball in the 93-94 mph range  that can reach up to 97 mph. He also has a “true swing-and-miss”  curveball and a changeup that has “dead-fish drop”. His ceiling is that  of a true front of the rotation starter. He may very well be the best of  the Killer B’s.


2011 Outlook


Banuelos is likely to start the 2011  season in the Double-A Trenton rotation, but a trip to the Bronx is not  out of the question. Realistically though they will resist very hard the  urge to rush him especially considering he’s still only 20 years old.  He could be a September call-up at best. If he’s seen before that it’s  possible that the Yankees will call him up as a reliever in an effort to  limit his innings. If we don’t see him in the Bronx in 2011 it’ll be  very likely that he has a shot to win a job out of spring training 2012.

3 years ago  ::  Jan 09, 2011 - 12:18PM #32
MajorYankFan
Posts: 8,607

Dellin Betances















Bio:
An  eighth-rounder whom the Yankees rewarded with a $1 million signing  bonus way back in 2006, Betances is an imposing specimen. He stands  6-foot-8 and 245 pounds, and comes equipped with high-octane gas and  plus secondary stuff. He finished recovering from ligament reinforcement  surgery in the middle of 2010.




2010 season:
Better than anyone could have expected. Once he got back from his  surgery, in early June, Betances quickly made up for lost time. After  allowing a run in his opening start, he allowed just one more over his  next 30 frames. By the time he left Tampa for Trenton, he had gone 8-1  with a 1.77 ERA with 88 strikeouts in 71 innings.

He fanned 20  against three walks over three starts with Trenton, but he wasn't  terribly efficient while doing so. He lasted more than five innings just  once, but that was partly due to a stringent pitch count.

The  only really troubling part of Betances' game is his inability to hold  runners or field his position. I cannot stress enough how truly gruesome  his pickoff throws are, despite being charged with just three errors  all year.

What's Next: More than likely he'll open the year back with the Thunder. Depending on  how he performs and how the rest of the system advances, he has a real  shot of reaching the majors by the end of 2011.



3 years ago  ::  Jan 09, 2011 - 12:19PM #33
MajorYankFan
Posts: 8,607

Andrew Brackman




















Why he's here:
He  only joined the team in June, but by the end of the season he was the  team's longest tenured starter. And after August, he was the team's ace.  From his first start in August until the season ended, Brackman went  his final seven starts without allowing more than three earned runs.

He  matured greatly throughout his tenure, from a guy who seemed to rattle  easily and appeared to not trust his excellent stuff, to an absolutely  dominant force who earned a call-up to the big leagues at the end of the  year.

This season, just his third full year as a pro, remember,  could be the divining rod for his career. If he succeeds, he may wear  the pinstripes for a long time. If he struggles with Triple-A hitters,  however, there's a pretty good chance he's a very expensive bust.
Outlook for 2011: More  than likely, he'll join D.J. Mitchell, Hector Noesi, David Phelps, and  perhaps Lance Pendleton or Ivan Nova in the Scranton rotation. There's  probably an outside shot of him making the big league bullpen if he  blows up the spot in Tampa.

3 years ago  ::  Jan 10, 2011 - 4:58PM #34
MajorYankFan
Posts: 8,607

Better Know a Prospect Countdown: 25 - 16


Over the coming week, I will be posting my top-twenty-five Yankees  prospects. The rankings are based on an inexact blend of the prospect's  ceiling, floor, ETA, and their likelihood of reaching their ceiling. I  tried to avoid the pitfalls of group think and the current roster  construction of the Yankees, but a consensus is usually arrived at for  good reason. There are certainly a few surprises and sleepers here, and I  do think the upper reaches of the list are different from several other  analysts - but the best way to learn about the Yankees prospects is to  devour as many of these lists as possible.


 


#25
Dan Burawa, RHP, 22
A - 7 IP, 8 H, 7 BB, 10, 7.71 ERA


While it may be difficult to be enthusiastic about Burawa's numbers at  face value, there is a great deal of intrigue here. A power reliever,  Burawa throws a mid-90s fastball with good sink (racking up a ton of  grounders), an average curveball, and the makings of a fringe-y  change-up - all of which point to him rocketing through the system.


#24
Eduardo Sosa, CF, 19
A - .256/.353/.394, 2 HR, 15 SB, 24 BB, 48 K


Would it be too much of a cop-out to say that Sosa is Brett Gardner 2.0?  Fantastic speed, terrific glovework, fine plate discipline, and not  much in the power department. The key difference may lie in Sosa's  pull-happy approach, which could end up hindering his progress if his  power doesn't develop as expected.


#23
Tommy Kahnle, RHP, 21
A - 16 IP, 3 H, 5 BB, 25 K, 0.56 ERA


Kahnle simply outclassed Single-A hitters in his professional debut, and  he seems poised to move quickly through the system. The burly righty  features a mid-90s fastball and a fine change-up, and his curveball  remains a work in progress (which may be a bit optimistic, as he simply  cannot control the pitch). Both Kahnle and Burawa profile as top-notch  relievers.


#22
Shaeffer Hall, LHP, 23
A/A+ - 137 IP, 133 H, 21 BB, 103 K, 2.89 ERA


I'm not quite sure why Hall has flown so far under the radar, but I  cannot help but think that that won't continue for much longer. A true  workhorse, Hall works with a high-80s two-seamer, a high-70s curve, and a  mid-70s change-up. He keeps the ball on the ground, walks very few  batters, and has garnered more swings and misses as he's progressed.  Mark Buehrle is a fine comparison.


#21
D.J. Mitchell, RHP, 23
AA/AAA - 150.2 IP, 147 H, 64 BB, 112 K, 4.00 ERA


Mitchell may be the most difficult prospect to rank. His overall numbers  are solid, yet he has struggled a great deal against left-handed  batters leading many to doubt his future as a starter. Mitchell's bread  and butter is his low-90s sinker, but his curveball has improved  dramatically over the past two seasons. More importantly, he has become  more comfortable with his change-up, which is the key to his ability to  handle lefties.


#20
Melky Mesa, CF, 23
A+ - .260/.338/.475, 19 HR, 31 SB, 44 BB, 129 K


I struggled a great deal with this ranking, as Mesa may very well have  the best all-around skillset in the system. He's capable of consistently  knocking twenty to twenty-five home runs and stealing twenty to  twenty-five bases, while playing fine defense in center. At the same  time, he's also capable of batting .220 and striking out 160-plus times.  In the end, I think he could be another Mike Cameron, but he's still a  bit far away for a 23-year old.


#19
Brandon Laird, 3B, 23
AA/AAA - .281/.336/.482, 25 HR, 2 SB, 42 BB, 111 K


I'm very bearish with Laird. On one hand, Laird has a great deal of  power, a very strong arm, and could stick at third base if he maintains  his conditioning. On the other hand, he struggles to make contact at  times, doesn't work the count, and seems to have lost a bit of agility  with each passing season. Laird reminds me a bit of Xavier Nady, and I  wouldn't be surprised to see him develop into a similar player.


#18
Cito Culver, SS, 18
Rk/A - .251/.325/.330, 2 HR, 7 SB, 21 BB, 51 K


The ranking may not bear this out, but I'm very bullish on Culver. He  has the arm and athleticism to stick at short long-term, and I do think  that he's capable of hitting well for the position. His walk rate  against much older competition is impressive, as is his ability to hit  to all fields. In short, there really isn't much to dislike. The primary  reasoning for his placement is that he's several years away, and that  is the greatest obstacle for all prospects to overcome.


#17
Brett Marshall, RHP, 20
Rk/A/A+ - 84 IP, 63 H, 26 BB, 70 K, 2.57 ERA


Marshall thrived in 2010, less than a year removed from Tommy John  Surgery. His stuff appeared to be all the way back, to boot -  low-to-mid-90s four-seamer, low-90s two-seamer, and a knee-buckling  low-80s slider. His change-up remains a work in progress, but he's still  very young and relatively inexperienced, having been primarily a  shortstop in high school. Marshall's mechanics and injury history are  responsible for this low-ish ranking, but with a healthy 2011 I'd expect  him to jump ten-plus spots on this list.


#19
Brandon Laird, 3B, 23
AA/AAA - .281/.336/.482, 25 HR, 2 SB, 42 BB, 111 K


I'm very bearish with Laird. On one hand, Laird has a great deal of  power, a very strong arm, and could stick at third base if he maintains  his conditioning. On the other hand, he struggles to make contact at  times, doesn't work the count, and seems to have lost a bit of agility  with each passing season. Laird reminds me a bit of Xavier Nady, and I  wouldn't be surprised to see him develop into a similar player.


#18
Cito Culver, SS, 18
Rk/A - .251/.325/.330, 2 HR, 7 SB, 21 BB, 51 K


The ranking may not bear this out, but I'm very bullish on Culver. He  has the arm and athleticism to stick at short long-term, and I do think  that he's capable of hitting well for the position. His walk rate  against much older competition is impressive, as is his ability to hit  to all fields. In short, there really isn't much to dislike. The primary  reasoning for his placement is that he's several years away, and that  is the greatest obstacle for all prospects to overcome.


#17
Brett Marshall, RHP, 20
Rk/A/A+ - 84 IP, 63 H, 26 BB, 70 K, 2.57 ERA


Marshall thrived in 2010, less than a year removed from Tommy John  Surgery. His stuff appeared to be all the way back, to boot -  low-to-mid-90s four-seamer, low-90s two-seamer, and a knee-buckling  low-80s slider. His change-up remains a work in progress, but he's still  very young and relatively inexperienced, having been primarily a  shortstop in high school. Marshall's mechanics and injury history are  responsible for this low-ish ranking, but with a healthy 2011 I'd expect  him to jump ten-plus spots on this list.

3 years ago  ::  Jan 10, 2011 - 5:00PM #35
MajorYankFan
Posts: 8,607
#16
J.R. Murphy, C, 19
A - .255/.327/.376, 7 HR, 4 SB, 36 BB, 64 K


Murphy may very well be the most intriguing catching prospect that the  Yankees have. I would argue that he's the most athletic of the group and  that he boasts the strongest, most accurate arm. As a result, he's the  likeliest to stick behind the plate (though many believe he could shift  to third if necessary). Murphy has only been catching for about three  years now, but he's improved drastically from year to year, maintaining a  reputation as a very devoted student of the game. His offense improved  as 2010 progressed, with his walk rate and power increasing from month  to month. He's more of a line-drive hitter than a true home run threat,  but his flyball rate could be a sign of things to come. I may be overly  optimistic, but everything I've seen and read about Murphy reminds me of  Edgar Martinez.

3 years ago  ::  Jan 12, 2011 - 6:37PM #36
MajorYankFan
Posts: 8,607

2011 Breakout Candidates


The  story of 2010 in the Yankee farm system was no doubt, “The Killer B’s  all break out.” It provided a huge dose of excitement for us Yankee fans  that had been missing (besides Jesus Montero talk) since Phil Hughes,  Joba Chamberlain, and Ian Kennedy were coming up. We probably shouldn’t  expect 2011 to go as well as 2010 did, but who will be the Killer Bs of  2011? After the them and Jesus Montero exit the farm system, who will   provide the excitement? Here are my three candidates.


The Favorite: Gary Sanchez – Gary Sanchez rightfully  earns a lot of comparisons to Jesus Montero. Montero is arguably the  top, or at least a top-5, prospect in all of baseball. He put up  a phenomenal .329/.393/.543 batting line in his 17 year-old, 47-game  debut. Some would call this a breakout, but I wouldn’t go so far. 47  games is a very short time, and Sanchez has a lot to work on (namely  strikeouts), even if he proved that the raw talent is definitely there  to a big time prospect. However, it is also worth remembering that  Sanchez is a bit of a different prospect than Montero. Jesus Montero had  a natural, raw talent for hitting that shone through even when he was  17 years old and not particularly blowing the ball out of the ballpark  yet, coupled with massive defensive questions. Sanchez, on the other  hand, is a much better overall athlete without (as far as we know, at  least) the natural affinity for hitting that Montero brings. We should  worry much less about his defensive abilities, but a little bit more  about his ability to adapt to more advanced pitching. Still, nothing to  worry about. Chances are he’ll be your top prospect a year from now.


The Underdog: Slade Heathcott – I get the sense that  Yankee fans are generally underwhelmed by Slade Heathcott. When they  drafted Heathcott, he was a super athlete project prospect with lots of  risk but lots of upside. He held his own in 2010, but struck out a whole  lot and didn’t show much power. He’s still risky and still a project,  but at the same time he still has the kind of latent potential that  Austin Jackson offered us not that long ago. Austin Jackson had a  similarly solid if unspectacular season (arguably worse) in Charleston  the year before he broke out. Heathcott in many ways resembles Jackson,  but has much more potential. Everyone who has commented on Heathcott has  said he has a great swing with some potential to hit for power, raising  his ceiling far above Jackson’s.


The Long Shot: Mason Williams - One of the bigger  strengths of the Yankee system is the number of guys who would fit into  this longshot category. The list is as long as Graham Stoneburner, Brett  Marshall, Jose Ramirez, Angelo Gumbs, and possibly Cito Culver.  However, I decided to pick Mason Williams. The Yankees paid a lot of  money for their 4th round pick, and they didn’t do it for a guy who  lacks talent. Williams garners comparisons to Brett Gardner, which  wouldn’t have been much of a compliment as much as a year ago, but I  think means quite a bit today. He’s never going to hit for a ton of  power (though he’ll hit for more than Gardner), but will bring tons of  speed and reportedly good baseball sense to the table. Like Gardner, he  could OPS .750 and be an enormously valuable player. However, he’s  certainly not equal to your normal $1.4 million bonus prospect, so we  need to see the performance before assessing his chances of contributing  in the majors. If the Yankees decide that he’s prepared for a  full-season league and he debuts, hits well, and earns praise, Mason  Williams could be the next great Yankee prospect.


 

3 years ago  ::  Jan 12, 2011 - 6:45PM #37
MajorYankFan
Posts: 8,607

Better Know a Prospect Countdown: 15 - 6


#15
Jose Ramirez, RHP, 20
A - 115 IP, 106 H, 42 BB, 105 K, 3.60 ERA


I  may be a bit optimistic with this projection, as many believe that  Ramirez is destined to be a reliever. While that argument is not without  merit, I cannot help but feel that he could be a tremendous closer at  that, which could justify this ranking as well (think pre-injury Eric  Gagne). Ramirez is primarily a fastball and change-up pitcher. His  fastball sits around 94 MPH with great movement, and his change-up is  even better - it's a high-70s offering with the same arm action as his  fastball and cutter-like movement. The issue here is his curveball,  which remains a work in progress and is erratic at best. With even an  average curve, however, he could be a number two starter - he's  certainly young enough to improve.


#14
Corban Joseph, 2B, 22
A+/AA - .283/.362/.415, 6 HR, 6 SB, 58 BB, 107 K


In  his time with the Yankees organization, Joseph has garnered a  reputation for being a video junkie. He spends hours in the video room,  breaking down his at-bats and swing mechanics in working to improve his  approach at the plate. This has worked quite well to-date, as Joseph is a  tremendous line-drive hitter with fine plate discipline and good bat  control. To many, Joseph is quite similar to Michael Young in this  regard - and therein lies the rub. Like Young, Joseph may not have a  true position. He has the athleticism and arm strength for second or  third, but his reaction time and first step have been routinely  questioned. Should he move over to the hot corner, his value would  assuredly take a hit due to his middling power. I'm confident that his  work ethic will aid him in becoming at least a passable second baseman,  though not enough so to rank him much higher.


#13b
Ivan Nova, RHP, 23
AAA - 145 IP, 135 H, 48 BB, 115 K, 2.86 ERA
MLB - 42 IP, 44 H, 17 BB, 26 K, 4.50 ERA


Nova  is something of a known quantity at this point, but I would be doing  our readers a disservice by not discussing him a bit. His repertoire  includes a solid-average fastball (between 90 and 92 MPH), change-up,  and curve, all of which have shown flashes of improvement. The main  concern here is that there's simply no deception in Nova's delivery, so  when his stuff isn't at its best, hitters will be able to tee-off on his  fastball. There's time for him to tinker with his delivery, but I'm not  sure that his stuff could take him much higher than a fourth starter -  he actually reminds me of Javier Vazquez, but reaching that level would  take a bit more than a refashioned delivery.


#13a
Eduardo Nunez, SS, 23
AAA - .289/.340/.381, 4 HR, 23 SB, 32 BB, 60 K
MLB - .280/.321/.360, 1 HR, 5 SB, 3 BB, 2 K


This  ranking involves my giving Baseball America the benefit of the doubt.  Over the fall, BA rated Nunez as the best defensive shortstop in the  International League, and credited him with the best infield arm, to  boot. They project Nunez as an above-average Major League shortstop,  which could make him a fine regular for any team. He's a very good  base-runner, makes a great deal of contact, and he's developed more  plate discipline as he's progressed through the system - his Triple-A  line, I think, could be a reasonable expectation for Nunez. The caveat  here is that many scouts and analysts are not as fond of Nunez's  defense, rating him anywhere from poor to mediocre to average, and  rarely much better. His glove will carry him to whatever heights he may  reach, and his legs will keep him on the Yankees roster.


 


#12
David Adams, 2B, 23
AA - .309/.393/.507, 3 HR, 5 SB, 18 BB, 31 K


It  is very difficult to differentiate between Adams and Joseph. Both are  underwhelming fielders. Both have a gap-to-gap line-drive stroke. Both  have solid walk and strikeout rates. Neither hits for much power. The  reason I rank Adams a bit higher is that I believe that he's closer to  the Majors (despite his season-ending ankle injury) and have a bit more  faith in his glove. Where Joseph will need to work to become a passable  second baseman, Adams is already at that undistinguished level - and  prior to the injury, many felt that Adams had improved a great deal in  2010. If he's fully recovered from his injury, Adams could move quickly  this season.


#11
David Phelps, RHP, 24
AA/AAA - 158.2 IP, 139 H, 36 BB, 141 K, 2.50 ERA


Like  Nova, Phelps does not currently have a true swing-and-miss pitch.  Unlike Nova, Phelps has terrific mechanics and a power fastball. The  Notre Dame product has a fastball that sits around 94 MPH, a low-90s  two-seamer, a borderline-plus curve in the upper 70s, and a fledgling  change-up and slider. He excellent control of all of his pitches and  generates ground balls at a fine rate, as well. I've heard comparisons  to Mike Mussina and Roy Oswalt, in terms of delivery and approach, but  I'm not sure that his curve has that sort of potential - though, I  wouldn't mind seventy-five percent of Mussina.


#10
Austin Romine, C, 22
AA - .268/.324/.402, 10 HR, 2 SB, 37 BB, 94 K


Ranking  Romine here may be a bit of an overreaction to his struggles from June  through the Arizona Fall League, though I would prefer to say that it's  more a reflection of my confidence in the players to follow. Thus far,  Romine has shown flashes of the athleticism, agility, and arm strength  necessary to be an excellent defensive catcher, yet he has been plagued  with bouts of inconsistency behind the plate. Perhaps it is simply a  matter of the wear and tear taking its toll, but Romine performed poorly  with the bat and the glove for the better part of 2010 - that's  difficult to overlook entirely. I believe that his potential has been  undersold a bit, likely due to his sharing duties with Montero for a  time, and he has all the tools necessary to be a fine everyday catcher  with an above-average bat and a bit of pop. Put simply, however, he has  some work to do.


#9
Hector Noesi, RHP, 23
A+/AA/AAA - 160.1 IP, 148 H, 28 BB, 153 K, 3.20 ERA


That  Noesi strikes me as the most Major League ready of the Yankees  prospects - and yes, that includes Ivan Nova. Noesi throws a mid-90s  fastball with fantastic movement and a low-80s change-up to both sides  of the plate. On top of that, he combines a minuscule walk rate with  fine ground ball numbers. Further, he profiles as a workhorse and, after  throwing so many innings last season, could likely handle a full  workload as early as this year. The knock against Noesi is that he  doesn't have much beyond his fastball and change-up, as his slider and  curve are inconsistent and somewhat wild. I've read a comparison to Ian  Kennedy, but that doesn't really make sense - Kennedy is more of a  flyball pitcher, and his fastball isn't terribly close in raw power. Dan  Haren makes a bit more sense, but Noesi's curve has a great deal of  growth to do.


#8
Slade Heathcott, CF, 20
A - .258/.359/.352, 3 HR, 15 SB, 42 BB, 101 K


In  addition to having the second coolest name in the system (behind a  pitcher yet to come), Heathcott may have the most raw talent of any  prospect in the system. A true center fielder, Heathcott has blazing  speed and a cannon arm. He has a patient approach at the plate, a  line-drove stroke, and the frame that suggests that he'll develop decent  power. His strikeouts are a bit of a concern, though he did remove a  few wrinkles from his swing as the season progressed, making better  contact as the season wore on. To be honest, I had the urge to rank  Heathcott within the top-three due to all of those factors - but he's  simply too unrefined to do so. This time next year, however...


#7
Graham Stoneburner, RHP, 23
A/A+ - 142 IP, 107 H, 34 BB, 137 K, 2.41 ERA


And  we've arrived at the best name in the system. I could have swapped  Stoneburner and the following pitcher, as I see both with similar floors  and ceilings (though the next pitcher is more advanced), but I couldn't  resist the opportunity to have Slade Heathcott and Graham Stoneburner  back-to-back. Stoneburner features a running fastball that sits around  94 MPH and an average slider and change-up. He has fine control  horizontally, but he does have a tendency to let the ball drift up in  the zone which could lead to some longball issues. That could be  mitigated, however, if his change continues to show improvement. As it  stands, Stoneburner limits walks, strikes out a terrific amount of  batters, and limits his walks - there's not much else one could ask for.


#6
Adam Warren, RHP, 23
A+/AA - 135.1 IP, 121 H, 33 BB, 126 K, 2.59 ERA


I  highly doubt that you'll find another source with Warren rated this  highly, but I'm not quite sure why. He may not have the ceiling of an  ace, like those to be ranked ahead of him, but he certainly has the  highest floor of any pitcher in the system. Warren showcases fantastic  command of all of his pitches, an arsenal which includes a mid-90s  fastball, a low-90s cutter, a low-90s two-seamer, and a low-80s change.  His curve is a substandard pitch at this juncture, but I'm not quite  sure that that matters terribly. The most comparable pitcher is  Chien-Ming Wang, and I feel that Warren's baseline is somewhere around  Wang's career numbers. Warren isn't likely to set the world on fire, but  he's equally unlikely to crash and burn.

3 years ago  ::  Jan 12, 2011 - 6:52PM #38
MajorYankFan
Posts: 8,607

Manny Banuelos


Bio: Signed out of Mexico in  2008 by Lee Sigman, Banuelos has quickly gained both velocity and hype.  He went from the high-80s/low-90s to the mid-to-upper-90s in the span of  just three seasons, and has quickly established himself as one of the  system's premiere arms. He stands 5-foot-10 and, after spending a few  weeks around Cory Arbiso, seemed to take to wearing all black.





2010 season:
After an emergency appendectomy just before he was due to start  Tampa's opener, chances seemed slim that he'd see Waterfront Park in  2010. Still, as he and his magnificent change-up dominated the Florida  State League, it grew increasingly clear that he was well above his  competition.

So, after Zach McAllister -- 2009's Trenton ace --  was swapped to the Indians, word came quickly that he and Dellin  Betances were moving up to Trenton, and Hector Noesi and D.J. Mitchell  were heading to Triple-A.

Banuelos made three starts with the  Thunder in the regular season, none terribly impressive, results-wise.  The plus stuff certainly was there, though. Then came the postseason,  when it all came together in the Eastern League Division Series.

He  dominated the Fisher Cats in the clincher, and was flashing as high as  97 miles per hour with his fastball. Things didn't go as well in the  ELCS, when he allowed four runs on five hits in just 4 2/3 innings  before exiting after a line drive caught him in the neck.

Still,  the game in New Hampshire showed he has exactly the kind of potential  the Yankees were hoping for when they brought him into the fold.

What's Next: More than likely he'll open the year back with the Thunder. Depending  on  how he performs and how the rest of the system advances, he should  see Scranton by year's end.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_feCeAensGmM/TP6flxngyfI/AAAAAAAAARg/4MSctSK41Mk/s1600/Banuelos.jpg

3 years ago  ::  Jan 12, 2011 - 6:55PM #39
MajorYankFan
Posts: 8,607

Brandon Laird


Why he's here: Put  simply, Laird had the most dominant season of any player in the Tony  Franklin era. Before leaving after August 1, he put up the following  numbers: .291/.355/.878, 22 2Bs, 23 HRs, 90 RBIs. Those 23 bombs came in  just 409 at-bats, meaning he left the yard once every 17.8 ABs, which  is pretty darn impressive.

He also earned the Thunder's first  Player of the Month honor since 1999, when David Eckstein took home the  award. Laird was also a Player of the Week, a mid-season All-Star, a  postseason All-Star, the league's MVP and Rookie of the Year, and was  named to the Arizona Fall League's Rising Stars game. He also was the  starting third baseman at Metro Bank Park for the EL All-Star Game.

Laird  also put together two of the more memorable afternoons this year. One  came when he had seven RBIs in the span of two innings against the  Binghamton Mets. The other, which I said was the fifth-best game of year,  saw Laird hit a walk-off home run to complete the cycle, something  that, at that point, hadn't been done in the MLB in 26 years.
Outlook for 2011: Laird  has switched to left field for now, to make his bat more attractive and  to make him a more viable option in the Bronx. There seems to be a  rather expensive roadblock standing in his way at the hot corner. He'll  polish up in Triple-A in 2011.


http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_feCeAensGmM/TSyGABdMNiI/AAAAAAAAAVg/SGL-15ufJaQ/s1600/Laird.jpg





3 years ago  ::  Jan 14, 2011 - 6:04PM #40
MajorYankFan
Posts: 8,607
#5
Gary Sanchez, C, 18
Rk/A - .329/.393/.543, 8 HR, 2 SB, 14 BB, 44 K


This  is a very ambitious ranking, though you'll find that most publications  are similarly optimistic. Sanchez displayed an incredibly advanced  approach at the plate in his professional debut, and simply clobbered  the competition in Rookie Ball. From there, he earned an aggressive push  to Single-A and held his own against much older competition - all at  age-17. Several scouts have labeled his potential ceiling as "Montero  with a better glove," and he does appear at least as developed as  Montero at a similar age, and his glove is certainly better. That being  said, I don't quite see the same power potential, nor do I think such  grand opinions can be drawn from such a small sample. I'm incredibly  bullish with Sanchez, as one can glean from this ranking, but I cannot  push him much higher than this, nor would I deal Montero due to his  presence as some fans and analysts have suggested. I liken Sanchez to  Geovany Soto, and I would be extremely happy with such a development.


#4
Andrew Brackman, RHP, 25
A+/AA - 140.2 IP, 144 H, 39 BB, 126 K, 3.90 ERA


I've  said it before and I'll say it again (and again, and possibly again) -  Andrew Brackman is the definitive high-risk, high-reward pick. The 6'10"  righty was drafted with the knowledge that TJS was necessary, as the  Yankees looked past that towards the overwhelming potential. Armed with a  mid-to-high 90s fastball, a knee-buckling curveball, and the length to  deceive hitters, Brackman was simply too good to pass up. He struggled  in his professional debut, as most post-TJS pitchers do, raising plenty  of doubts and concerns. This past season silenced many of the naysayers,  and returned Brackman to the forefront of the Yankees system. He  demonstrated excellent control, kept the ball on the ground (over 50% of  balls in play were grounders), limited home runs, and remained healthy,  which may be the most important factor of all. In just one year,  Brackman went from a tremendous question mark to a solid year away from  the Majors - more than anyone could have ever hoped for. Here's hoping  the trend continues.


#3
Dellin Betances, RHP, 22
A+/AA - 85.1 IP, 53 H, 22 BB, 108 K, 2.11 ERA


In  terms of past, present, and future, the best comparison for Betances is  likely Andrew Brackman. Both were drafted with an eye to the future,  with an awareness of injury issues and the likelihood of slow-and-steady  development. Like Brackman, Betances works with a mid-to-high 90s  fastball and a big breaking ball, though Brackman's change-up is a bit  more advanced. What distinguishes Betances is his age (he's three years  younger) and his more extensive resume. Betances did quite well in 2007  and 2008, with his injury-marred 2009 being his first real roadblock -  I'm simply not sure what to expect from Brackman, whereas Betances  showed flashes prior to this season. In the end, I'm quite happy to have  both pitchers in the system - both remind me of Josh Johnson, in terms  of size and stuff.


#2
Manny Banuelos, LHP, 19
Rk/A+/AA - 64.2 IP, 54 H, 25 BB, 85 K, 2.51 ERA


Perhaps  this is some sort of Yankees prospect persecution complex, but I cannot  help but feel that Banuelos would be at the top of many lists were he  6'3" instead of 5'10". While it is true that smaller pitchers have  struggled to maintain their stuff and stay healthy, it's far from a  rule, or even a minor commonality. Banuelos features a 91 to 94 MPH  fastball that tops out around 96 MPH, a low-80s circle-change, and a  mid-80s curve - all of which he commands wonderfully. His mechanics are  clean and repeatable, his delivery deceptive, and his resume to-date is  fantastic (particularly when you consider that he's been among the  youngest pitchers at every level thus far). Like Johan Santana,  Banuelos' change-up dives down and in towards righties, which should  allow him to maintain an insignificant platoon split. In fact, Banuelos'  stuff and poise on the mound are reminiscent of Santana, and I do think  that Banuelos' best seasons could be Cy Young-worthy.


 


#1
Jesus Montero, C, 21
AAA - .289/.353/.517, 21 HR, 0 SB, 46 BB, 91 K


What  can I say about Montero that hasn't been said already? Not much.  Montero has power to all fields and somehow manages to spray line drive  after line drive, despite swinging at some fairly questionable pitches.  That isn't to say that he's undisciplined at the plate - rather, that he  has confidence in his ability to hit anything and everything, and the  results seem to dignify that mindset (not unlike Miguel Cabrera). In my  mind, Montero's early struggles at Triple-A don't mean much of anything,  as he was young for the level and adapting to the rigors of catching  everyday; that he held in there and absolutely dominated the  International League from June forward tells us much more about his  potential. To many, the glaring issue is whether or not Montero will  stick at catcher, and that may not be without merit. To me, however, few  will care where he stands in the field once he steps into the batter's  box.

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