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Scouting Reports and Profiles: 2011 Edition
8 years ago  ::  Dec 15, 2010 - 8:10PM #21
Posts: 27,951

New York Yankees Top 20 Prospects for 2011


The first thing I noticed is that much like BA, Sickels is very high  on Gary Sanchez. It seems that he is picking up a lot of steam as a  prospect, and there is a good chance that he tops this list for a while  once Montero graduates to the majors.

Regarding the 3 B’s, I would flip Banuelos and Betances and give  Manny a B+, but these are fairly minor quibbles. More interesting to me  is that Sickels, much like our own EJ Fagan, is very high on Hector  Noesi. The buzz on him is building a bit, with some believing he has a  shot of becoming a #3 starter. He does not have much upside past that,  but his high floor makes him an attractive prospect at this point.

Finally, it seems that Austin Romine and Slade Heathcott have lost a  bit of their luster over the last few months, with a poor second half  for Romine and high strikeout totals for Heathcott being the primary  force behind their decline. That said, both are still B- prospects,  which is encouraging to see from as tough a grader as Sickels.

Overall, the system is very healthy. Here is John’s summary:

This system has two excellent hitters at the top, but  thins out quickly in position players with impact potential after that.  The pitching is quite rich; I count eight guys with the ability to hold  rotation spots at the major league level, including a couple of  potential anchors, and there are more arms behind them.

The system has some toolsy outfielders and some interesting catchers  past Montero and Sanchez, but could use additional depth. Overall,  though, it is a system that has a lot going for it, and if some of the  sleepers from the ’10 draft pan out it can look even better next year.

This is a top 12 system, which is a good sign considering that it  looked to be in decline and generally weak entering the 2010 season. The  Yankees now have some players on the horizon who can contribute at the  big league level or be used in trades to acquire established players.


8 years ago  ::  Dec 16, 2010 - 7:37PM #22
Posts: 27,951

Discussion: Which Killer B Is Best?

The  high-ceiling trio of Dellin Betances, Manuel Banuelos, and Andrew  Brackman are all on the cusp of the major leagues. Although they  probably do not compare with Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and Ian  Kennedy in terms of value (the Big Three were way ahead in terms of  being better prospects), they do find themselves in a similarly  comparable position. Usually when we compare prospects, we’re comparing  apples an oranges. Who’s better, the above average-looking catcher in  Double-A or the 17 year-old potential all-star in rookie ball? So much  separates those players that there really isn’t much to argue. They all  started the season in A ball and finished it in Double-A, and are all  high-ceiling starting pitchers. I also think that there is an argument  out there for each one being the best.

So, who’s the best Killer B? Back in September when I ranked them, I listed Manuel Banuelos as #1, Andrew Brackman as  #2, and Dellin Betances as #3. I see no reason to change those rankings  now.

I believe that Manuel Banuelos is the best Killer B for a number of  reasons. First off, he does not carry the serious injury concerns of  Dellin Betances and to a lesser extent Andrew Brackman. He missed half a  season with a non-baseball related injury, but has received great  comments from several scouts about having a smooth, effortless delivery.  He may be small (a foot shorter than Brackman!), but that concerns more  more down the line, not immediately. Just a year ago he was considered a  top prospect because he threw great secondary pitches and was  universally recognized as having poise and pitchability beyond his  years. Take that, and realize that all of the sudden he’s not throwing  90-91, but 93-95 from the left side. He’s a safer prospect than people  realize (unlike the other two Killer Bs) yet has tons of upside.

I ranked Andrew Brackman second, and below several other Yankee  prospects, for a lot of reasons. First off, he’s getting to be a bit  old. While I don’t blame Brackman – he had an unorthodox path to the  majors – it does raise concerns about his upside. I’m not sure how much  more development we can expect out of him. That said, its not like  Brackman is lacking in physical tools. The man throws in the mid-90s on a  pretty nasty downward plane, and tops it off with one of the best  curveballs around. He’s 6’10″ and athletic, and even managed to flash  pretty good control last season. But he’s far from a safe product. While  he was pretty good in the second half of last season, he could very  well lapse into the funk that he could not get out of in 2009. Arm  surgery explains some of it, but not all of it. I guess I just have  trouble seeing Brackman consistently bring it in the majors, despite the  package he brings. He’s on track to definitely be some kind of major  league pitcher, but there is a lot of variance in how good he could end  up being.

To me, Dellin Betances is a no-brainer at last place. Its not for  lack of ability – I ranked Betances #1 ahead of both of them in my all-ceiling ranking.  Dellin came back from surgery to throw like the absolute monster he  could be – 95-96 with lots of movement and awesome secondary pitches.  He’s not just a tall guy, but a really strong, built man, and he has  finally matured into that body. The guy can chainsaw through hitters. A  lot of people have ranked him #2 in the system after Montero. But come  on! Dellin Betances is the Rich Harden of minor leaguers. He’s got a  terrible health record, having only stayed healthy for one full season  in his career. I’d give him more credit had his 2010 season been a 130+,  healthy season, but he didn’t even pitch a full season this year. I’ve  learned from being burned so many times by Betances over the years. I’m  not buying yet, though I acknowledge the big step forward he made in  2010 by finally putting it all together.

8 years ago  ::  Dec 17, 2010 - 5:49PM #23
Posts: 27,951

Marc (Lancaster, PA)

What does Banuelos need to work on to solidify himself as a top of the rotation pitcher?

Klaw (12:37 PM)

I don't see much left for him to do. Tighten the breaking ball? He's got  command. He's got present velocity. He's not projectable. The change is  plus. He's pretty damn good right now.


matt (ny) [via mobile]
Since the yankees will now win 70 games and are a disaster (that's what  sports radio says...): is Adam Warren a 3-4 starter? A 5? Or a bullpen  arm? Hits mid 90s with 2 plus pitches?
Klaw   (12:12 PM)
I like Warren but that's not an accurate description of him - might  touch mid-90s but won't pitch there as a starter and there's no plus  offspeed pitch. Probably a 4 because he commands the fastball, but I'm  concerned he won't miss enough bats to be more than that.


8 years ago  ::  Dec 17, 2010 - 9:34PM #24
Posts: 27,951

Shaeffer Hall

The  Yankees' 25th-round selection in 2009, Hall starred as a Kansas  Jayhawk. He, along with Stephen Strasburg (remember him?), is one of two  pitchers to throw a no-hitter against Air Force. He's an affable  left-hander who was also drafted in 2006 (Rangers) and 2008 (Indians).

2010 season: Hall started his first full year with the Charleston RiverDogs, with  whom he excelled over the first half. In 68 innings before his  promotion, he posted a 1.85 ERA, a WHIP of 0.93, and just one home run.  With Tampa, he went 9-5 with a 3.91 ERA over 69 innings. He also threw  five shutout innings in the T-Yanks' first playoff game.

What's Next: If Lance Pendleton gets kept by Houston (likely, I think), there's a  pretty good chance he starts the season in Trenton's rotation, along  with Graham Stoneburner, Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos and Cory  Arbiso.

8 years ago  ::  Dec 18, 2010 - 4:03PM #25
Posts: 27,951

David Phelps
Lance Pendleton














Why they're here: The two pitchers took shifts as the staff's workhorse, with Phelps handling the first  half of the season, and Pendleton taking over the role until early  August, when he was promoted to Triple-A Scranton.

Phelps was a  perfect 6-0 with the Thunder, and, with the exception of a blow-up in  New Hampshire, was solid to excellent in every start he made. Overall,  he accrued a 2.o4 ERA in over 88 1/3 innings, fanning 84 against 23  walks.

Speaking of walks, I don't think I've met a pitcher who more despised issuing free passes. If he were to turn in this start, he would more than likely be beside himself.

As  for Pendleton, who was expected to spend the year in the bullpen before  Christian Garcia's elbow broke down, he turned into the rock-solid arm  the Yankees expected when they plucked him out of Rice University.

He  strung together a 10-4 mark, a 3.43 ERA, 111 strikeouts in 120 1/3  innings, and a stellar .215 batting average against before getting the  call to Triple-A.

While those numbers are impressive, consider  this: Pendleton allowed just six earned runs over his final 31 1/3  innings with the Thunder, and struck out 30 hitters in that span.

Outlook for 2011: For  Phelps, barring a trade, he seems likely to spend most, if not all of,  2011 in Scranton. He could get a shot toward the end of the year,  especially if the Yankees fail to find a long-term solution for the  holes in the rotation.

For Pendleton, his career may have just  gotten a second life. Stuck behind a cadre of other, more valued  prospects, he was selected by Houston in the recent Rule 5 Draft. If he  sticks, he'll could be the Astros' fifth starter. If not, the Yankees  may let him stay.

8 years ago  ::  Dec 21, 2010 - 6:04PM #26
Posts: 27,951

Austin Romine

 Why he's here: More than his numbers, which were solid at the very least, Romine was  important for the way he handled the staff. Throughout the season, while  a plethora of talented, high-ceiling arms marched through Waterfront  Park, Romine was a rock behind the dish.

In  the final game of the Eastern League Division Series, he guided Manny  Banuelos, whom he had caught just three times in 2010, to easily the  best start of the career. To a man, each and every Thunder hurler  credited Romine, in part, for their success.

As  for the individual numbers, they weren't bad, especially for a guy who  -- although he won't admit it -- was gassed after catching his first  full load as a professional.

He  put up a .268/.324/.726 slash line, with 31 doubles, 10 longballs and  69 RBIs. He even swiped a pair of bases in as many tries.

He  did show weaknesses behind the dish, but they weren't close to fatal  flaws. He caught just 23 percent of runners and permitted six passed  balls. Every scout I've spoken to loves him defensively -- one threw out  a Brad Ausmus (with a better bat) comp -- and sees him as a major  league regular.

Outlook for 2011: This  is where it gets tricky. With the Yankees signing Russell Martin to be  the starting catcher, Jesus Montero, who was presumed to get a good  chunk of the reps this year, may get pushed back to Scranton for more  seasoning, especially with the glove.

If  that happens, expect Romine to begin the year back in Trenton, where he  belongs. He should see Triple-A at some point in 2011, though.
8 years ago  ::  Dec 22, 2010 - 12:19PM #27
Posts: 65,659

Prospect Profile: David Phelps

By                         Mike Axisa 


David Phelps | RHP

Raised in the St. Louis suburb of Hazelwood, Phelps attended Hazelwood  West High School and starred both on the baseball field and on the  basketball court. He was named to the All-Conference Team as both an  outfielder and pitcher as a sophomore, and was then named  All-Conference, All-Metro Performer, and team captain as a junior and  senior. His career with the Wildcats featured a 2.96 ERA with 172  strikeouts in 109.2 innings pitched, and he also set a school record  with a 30 inning scoreless streak as a senior. He was also a member of  the National Honor Society.

Committed to Notre Dame, Phelps was ranked as the sixth best prospect  in Missouri prior to the 2005 draft, though he went undrafted due to  the strong college commitment. His older brother Mike was drafted out of  Central Missouri State in the 11th round that year by the Cubs. Phelps  was a sparsely used reliever in his first season with the Irish (though  he did make three mid-week starts), striking out 23 and walking ten in  just 26.2 innings (7.09 ERA). After the season he joined the Mat-Su  Miners of the Alaska League, striking out 36 with 23 walks in 47.3  innings.

Phelps slid into Notre Dame’s rotation as a sophomore and  establishing himself as the staff ace with one of the best pitching  seasons in school history. He made 15 starts and threw five complete  games, striking out 102 batters and walking just 30 in 110 innings (1.88  ERA). He became just the second pitcher in school history to record  100+ strikeouts with a sub-2.00 ERA in a single season, joining Aaron  Heilman. As a reward, Phelps was named to the All-Conference First Team  and received Academic All-District and Academic All-American honors. He  joined the Falmouth Commodores of the Cape Cod League after the season,  but shut himself down to rest his arm after making just a pair of  starts.

Expected to anchor the rotation again as a junior, Phelps was unable  to match the success he had a sophomore, striking out 75 and walking 28  in 93 innings (4.65 ERA). Baseball America ranked him the fifth best  prospect in the state of Indiana before the 2008 draft, expecting him to  be drafted within the first eight rounds. The Yankees were able to  select him in the 14th round with the 440th overall pick, later signing  him for a $150,000 bonus, the maximum allowed after the fifth round  without MLB’s approval.

Pro Career
Assigned to the Short Season Staten Island Yankees shortly after  signing, Phelps made 15 starts for the Baby Bombers, making the All Star  team after walking 18 batters and striking out 52 in 72.2 innings (3.27  FIP,  2.72 ERA). The Yanks were a tad conservative with Phelps in 2009,  sending him to Low-A Charleston to start the season. After he pitched to  a 3.41 FIP (2.80 ERA, 90 K, 25 BB) in 112.2 innings with the River Dogs  he was promoted to High-A Tampa, where he struck out 32 batters and  walked just six in 38.1 innings (2.34 FIP, 1.17 ERA). Phelps led all  Yankee farmhands with 151 IP in 2009.

After just seven starts with Tampa to finish off the ’09 season, the  Yankees sent Phelps to Double-A Trenton to begin 2010 and he just kept  on pitching well. In 88.1 innings with the Thunder, he struck out 84 and  walked just 23, good for a 2.44 FIP (2.04 ERA). He was promoted to  Triple-A Scranton at midseason and again performed well, striking out 57  and walking 13 in 70.1 innings (2.92 FIP, 3.07 ERA). Phelps finished  second in system with 158.2 innings this time around. His minor league  career features a 7.4 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 0.5 HR/9, and a 2.96 FIP (2.50 ERA)  in 382.1 innings.

Scouting Report
Phelps has come a long way since high school. Once a scrawny kid that  would sit in the low-90′s on a good day, Phelps has filled out his  6-foot-3 frame (190 lbs.) and now throws his fastball at 93-95 mph  consistently. Minor league pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras made  some minor adjustments soon after Phelps signed, leading to the improved  velocity. He also throws a two-seam fastball right around 90 mph, a  good curveball, and both a below average slider and changeup. The curve  is the closest thing Phelps has to a strikeout pitch, but it still needs  some more improvement. At the moment he’s a ground ball pitcher, but  that can change if one of the offspeed pitches takes that step forward.

Although his secondary stuff is good but not great, it all plays up  because Phelps has very strong control and pounds the bottom of the  zone. His delivery is very simply and easily repeated, which bodes well  for future command and health. He’s already demonstrated the ability to  be a workhorse, logging no fewer than 151 innings in each of the last  three seasons. Here’s a brief clip of Phelp’ delivery courtesy of Mike Ashmore, and you can see a few more on his YouTube channel.

2011 Outlook
Phelps will start the season back with Triple-A Scranton and should be  among the first call-ups when the Yankees inevitably need a pitcher.  He’s at a slight disadvantage because he’s not on the 40-man after the  moment, though he’ll have to be added after the 2011 season to avoid  exposure to the Rule 5 Draft. If the Yankees don’t sign a pitcher and  both Sergio Mitre and Ivan Nova have unimpressive Spring Trainings, Phelps has an outside chance at  opening the season with the big league team. Very unlikely though.

My Take
Scouting director Damon Oppenheimer has proven to be very skilled at  finding undervalued pitchers in the middle-to-late rounds of the draft,  and Phelps is just another example of that. He was an absolute steal  both in terms of draft round and bonus money, and climbing the ladder  that quickly with so many other quality arms around him is pretty  impressive. Phelps has already exceeded all possible expectations, and  although I remain nothing more than cautiously optimistic because of his  lack of a knockout offspeed pitch, he’s a quality pitching prospect  that could contribute to the big league club either on the mound or as a  piece of trade bait very, very soon.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
8 years ago  ::  Dec 29, 2010 - 7:06PM #28
Posts: 27,951

Melky Mesa

Signed  out of the Dominican Republic by the Yankees seven seasons ago as a  16-year-old, Mesa started his career in 2006, and didn't move stateside  until 2008, when he excelled with the Staten Island Yankees.

2010 season: He hit .260/.338/.813 with Tampa, including 19 home runs, 74 RBIs and  31 stolen bases against just nine times caught. That the 23-year-old  Mesa fanned 129 times against just 44 walks, however, doesn't portend  well for his future at the upper levels.  He also doubled 21 times and  legged out nine triples.

What's Next: Mesa's future lies in the Thunder outfield for 2011, most likely in  center field. If he is able to build on his exceptional tool set, he  could be a dynamic and exciting force in the upper third of the Trenton  lineup.

8 years ago  ::  Jan 04, 2011 - 5:48PM #29
Posts: 27,951
8 years ago  ::  Jan 05, 2011 - 5:41PM #30
Posts: 27,951
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