Austin Romine, 22, is a catcher listed at 6’1″ and 195 lbs. Born in Lake Forest, California, he was drafted in the second round of the 2007 amateur draft out of El Toro High School.
Romine was named the Florida State League Player of the Year in 2009 and participated in the All-Star Futures Game in 2010. Entering the 2010 season Baseball America ranked Romine as the second best prospect in the Yankees system and 86th in the league overall.
Romine signed with the Yankees on August 15, 2007. Because he signed so late he got to play in just one game in the Gulf Coast League that season. Romine then went to instructs before reporting to spring training in January of 2008. That impressed the Yankees enough to get him an invite to the big league camp in his very first spring training.
He started his first full professional season at Low-A Charleston where he split time behind the plate with fellow catching prospect Jesus Montero. In 104 games at that level he hit .300 with a .781 OPS. His 10 home runs that year were slightly disappointing, but they all came in the second half that year so it left room for optimism that he might have just gotten off to a slow start. Following the season he played in the Hawiian Winter League.
It was another January start for Romine in 2009 and another go around in the big league camp as well. He broke camp that year with the High-A Tampa Yankees where he again split time with Montero behind the plate. This time it was only for half the season though as Montero was promoted to Double-A Trenton after just 48 games in Tampa.
Montero got the promotion because he was absolutely raking, but Romine’s numbers weren’t improving. Overall in 2009 his batting average and OPS both dropped to .276 and .763 respectively. Still, the FSL is a tough league and his numbers earned him Player of the Year honors. More than anything it appeared that catching everyday wore on him as he hit just .235 in August that year and .265 in the second half that year.
Romine went to the Arizona Fall League after 2009, but left early due to an injured finger.
In 2010 Romine once again got a taste of big league camp, but this time showed up with more bulk than ever before. The reasoning was so he could fight off some of the fatigue that he experienced the year before when he became the primary catcher for the first time. 2010 would be an even bigger test though as he would report to Double-A Trenton for the first time and was without Montero for the entire season.
Romine started out very well in Trenton hitting .325 in April and May. He earned a trip to the Futures Games and was named to the Eastern League All-Star team as well. But a full year behind the plate wore on him and he slumped through a lot of the second half of the season. By the end his average dropped to .268 with a .726 OPS.
Romine has potential to be a .300 hitter with 15-25 home run power. Certainly not at Montero’s level, but still very strong for a catcher. He is aggressive without being overly aggressive (swinging at everything) at the plate, but it does keep him from getting a lot of walks.
He has pretty good speed for a catcher, swiping 11 bags in 2009, but he’s young and a catcher so there is no reason to think that he won’t slow down a bit as time goes on. He stole just two bases in 2010.
The best thing about Romine is not just that he can hit, but that he is an excellent fielder too. He has excellent arm strength and a strong receiver. Over the past year he has focused primarily on calling a better game.
2011 is a big year for Romine. Still just 22-years-old, it isn’t a make or break year for him or anything, but he his average and OPS have dropped each year he’s been in the organization and he has lost his spot as the no. 2 prospect in the organization. In order to remain a top prospect he has to show that he can play at a high level for an entire year.
At this point it is hard to say where he starts the year, Double-A, Triple-A, or even the big leagues. It seemed like he was a lock to start the year in Triple-A, but then the Yankees added Russell Martin. Now it appears likely that he’ll start the year in Double-A with a chance of a promotion once Montero reaches the majors probably in late May.
It’s been a while since I posted anything prospect-related, so I figured this might not be a bad time to take a quick look at one of my favorite sleeper prospects: Ramon Flores. A 5’10″ lefty swinger who plays left field, Flores received a bonus around $775,000 when he signed with the Yankees out of Venezuela in 2008 at age 16. He made his debut in 2009 at age 17, raking for 11 games in the Dominican Summer League, before coming stateside and struggling, posting a .543 OPS. There’s not a lot of info out on Flores yet, but he’s definitely somebody whom I will be keeping an eye on during next season.
In 2010, at age 18, Flores made impressive work of the Gulf Coast League, posting a .329/.436/.481 line, good for a .917 OPS (despite only hitting 2 home runs). The most important statistic to me, however, was his walk rate. He walked 28 times in 43 GCL games, while striking out just 22 times. After 43 strong games, Flore was further challenged by a promotion to the low-A Sally league for 14 games (in which he posted a .607 OPS) and an 8-game stint in the high-A Florida State League (.500 OPS). Although he clearly struggled at the higher levels, these are much tougher levels of competition than any 18 year-old would be expected to face (especially one who’s not considered an elite prospect), and the fact that he was able to perform acceptably in low-A was encouraging.
Flores is kind of an odd prospect because he’s a bit of a tweener: not fast enough to play centerfield, but not powerful enough to be a prototypical corner outfielder. None of his tools particularly stand out as elite, but his walk rate in the GCL this season is indicative of an advanced approach at the plate, with good contact skills to match. Plate discipline is a skill that tends to remain as a hitter advances through the minors, which bodes well for Flores’ future. If he’s really 5’10″ 150 as his baseball reference page indicates, he probably has some room to add muscle and power, while not getting too big for the outfield. I’m not sure he’ll ever be a big power guy, but he could become a doubles machine who can get on base frequently.
If Flores can continue to maintain his polished hitting approach, he should be successful in his return to full season ball (he’ll likely start the season with Charleston in the Sally League), and if he performs well, the Yankees could be aggressive with him again. I wish there was more scouting info to go on, but from the numbers, I consider Flores to be an underrated prospect (he probably won’t be in many people’s top 30), who could shoot up the Yankee list with a strong season. Of course, the jump from the GCL to low-A is a big one, which will be a big test for the talented teenager, though having the more-hyped Gary Sanchez on the team could help take the pressure off.
Hector Noesi, 24-years-old in 10 days, is listed at 6-2 and 175-pounds. He was born in Esperanza, Dominican Republic and signed with the Yankees as an international free agent in 2004.
Noesi started where most Dominican players start, in the Dominican Summer League where he went 5-3 with a 1.60 ERA. He made his debut in America in 2006 in the Gulf Coast League where he had a 1.29 ERA in seven innings over five games.
That offseason he was suspended for using PED’s and was forced to serve a 50-game suspension. When he came back from suspension he was assigned to the Low-A Charleston Riverdogs. He only threw 20 innings there, where he put up a 4.50 ERA, before he needed Tommy John Surgery thanks to an elbow injury.
He came back in the second half of 2008 and pitched for both the GCL Yankees and the Shortseason-A Staten Island Yankees. At those two levels he combined for a 3.33 ERA over 48.2 innings and 14 games.
2009 was his first full season as a pro and it was an impressive one. He started at Low-A Charleston where he put up a 2.38 ERA, a 9.3 K/9, and a 1.3 BB/9. Those impressive numbers got him called up to High-A Tampa where he started in just nine games over 41.1 innings. His ERA in Tampa was 3.92, but his strikeout and walk ratios remained impressive at 8.7 and 0.9 respectively.
In 2010 Noesi started the season in High-A Tampa. His numbers were impressive there so he was moved up to Double-A Trenton before too long. His ERA jumped from 2.72 to 3.10 there and for the first time his K/9 dropped below 8.0 (it was 7.8).
By the end of the season, mostly out of necessity because of injury, he was promoted to Triple-A Scranton. There he struggled a bit, but it was just over three starts and 18.2 innings. There his ERA was 4.82, his K/9 fell to 6.8, and his BB/9, while still impressive, was the highest it had been since he was in Staten Island at 1.9.
Noesi also played in the All-Star Futures game in 2010.
I got a chance to see Noesi pitch while he was with the Staten Island Yankees and he never really stood out to me. He was good, but he didn’t exactly light up the radar gun as he sits in the 90-93 mph range and only occasionally hits 95-96. He also didn’t have a plus pitch that really stood out.
That’s pretty much where he is now. He sits 91-94 topping out at 96 at the highest. He also throws a fastball, curveball, and changeup. None of them have amazing break or anything. What Noesi does is he pitches with amazing command. His career BB/9 is 1.6 which is amazing for a young starter. His 8.9 K/9 without a very good plus pitch also speaks to his pitchablity. This guy knows how to pitch without Dellin Betances‘ curveball or Manuel Banuelos‘ changeup.
Noesi struggled a little more each time he jumped a level last season so he’s not quite ready for the majors yet. His innings also jumped from 117 in 2009 to 160 in 2010. If he was in the majors that would earn him a spot on Tom Verducci’s Year After Effect list, meaning the Yankees have to take it easy with this pitcher who has already had one Tommy John Surgery.
That said, if the Yankees need a pitcher, he’ll be on the short list as one of the first ones they would call up. It does depend on how quickly he adjusts to Triple-A. His struggles last season could have had more to do with how many innings he had thrown at the time rather than struggling to adjust to tougher hitters. If that turns out to be the case and he pitches well in Triple-A, the Yankees could call upon him sooner rather than later.
He is currently on the 40-man roster which makes it easier for the Yankees to call him up.
Background A semi-local kid, Segedin grew up a Yankees fan in Old Tappan, New Jersey. He attended Northern Valley Regional High School, where he lettered in baseball all four years. Segedin helped the Golden Knights to the county championship as a freshman, and the state sectional title as a junior while placing as the runner up as a sophomore and senior. As you can imagine, he racked up plenty of hardware, so let’s recap…
Owns the New Jersey state record with 181 career hits
All-League honors all four years
New Jersey Hitter of the Year as a junior and senior
First Team All-State as a junior and senior
First Team All-County as a junior and senior
Second Team All-County as a sophomore
Member of the National Honor Society
Segedin also played for the Bayside Yankees, a prestigious travel team whose alumni includes Jon Lester, Rocco Baldelli, Steve Karsay, Nick Hundley, John Lannan, and Pedro Alvarez. He helped them to the Premier National Baseball championship in 2006 and 2007, winning team MVP honors in ’06. Because that’s not enough, Segedin also served as his class vice president and graduated Magna **** Laude.
Despite all of his prep accomplishments, Segedin was not considered a major prospect for the 2007 draft and went unselected. That took him to Tulane, where he played in all 62 games as a freshman in 2008. He led the Greene Wave in hits (75), batting average (.322), doubles (18), and RBI (59) while placing second in on-base percentage (.414) and third in both slugging percentage (.485) and total bases (113) that season. Doubling as a reliever, Segedin also made 14 appearances on the mound, saving five games and striking out 21 batters in 19.1 innings pitched.
While playing with the Falmouth Commodores of the Cape Cod League after the season, Segedin suffered a lower back injury that limited him to just five games during his sophomore season. That combined with a shoulder issue led to him taking a medical redshirt. Segedin was healthy enough to play for the Bourne Braves on the cape that summer, hitting just .179/.214/.281 in eight games during the team’s championship run.
Picking up right where he left off as a freshman, Segedin led the Green Wave in batting average (.434), on-base percentage (.516), slugging percentage (.788), hits (92), doubles (29), homers (14), total bases (167), walks (33), hit by pitches (five), runs scored (55), and RBI (54) as a redshirt sophomore in 2010 while placing second in stolen bases (four) and triples (two). His triple-slash line was good for 9th/23rd/11th best in the country, respectively, and he was named to the All-Conference First Team.
That monster season led to Baseball America ranking Segedin as the 88th best prospect available in the 2010 draft, though he had some leverage as a draft-eligible (redshirt) sophomore. The Yankees grabbed him with their third round pick, the 112th overall selection, and signed him to an above-slot $377,500 signing bonus a few days before the signing deadline.
Pro Debut Segedin was initially signed to the rookie level Gulf Coast League squad for a two game tune-up (two-for-eight with a homer) before a promotion to the short season Staten Island Yankees. He finished the season there, posting a .329 wOBA in just 78 plate appearances.
Scouting Report Standing on a 6-foot-3, 220 lb. frame, Segedin has a powerful line drive swing from the right side that produces a ton of hard contact. He’s a polished hitter with the innate ability to get the barrel of the bat on the ball, rarely swinging and missing. An “aggressively patient” approach has him waiting for his pitch before launching an all-out assault on the baseball, but he’s more than happy to take a walk if he doesn’t see anything he likes. Segedin’s power is more towards the gaps than over the fence right now, but he puts backspin on the ball in batting practice and should take it into games soon enough.
The bat is very real, but so are the long-term questions about his position. Although he can handle third base at the moment, Segedin is not fluid there and could end up moving to the outfield down the road. His fastball ran as high as 95 when he pitched as a freshman, so he has enough arm for the hot corner or a corner outfield spot. He’s not a threat on the bases nor does he offer much speed. The back and shoulder issues are not a long-term concern, however they did rob him of a year of an important year of development at age 20.
You can see Segedin’s draft video here. YouTube offers up several clips as well, including a few of him on the mound.
2011 Outlook Vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman confirmed that Segedin will be assigned to Low-A Charleston to begin the 2011 season, where he’ll work mostly at third base but also mix in some rightfield. His bat is more than ready for the level, and it shouldn’t be much of an issue to find both he and Rob Lyerly playing time should Segedin be promoted to High-A Tampa at some point during the season.
My Take I’m a fan, though I wish he was a left-handed hitter. That’s nothing more than nitpicking on my part. The questions about his ultimate position suck, but it’s not often that you can land a hitter of Segedin’s caliber in the third round and for less than $400,000, so it’s a tremendous value both in terms of pick slot and signing bonus. He should climb the ladder fairly quickly, meaning he could replace Brandon Laird as the team’s best upper level corner infielder/outfielder in short order should the Yankees decide to use Laird as trade bait in the next year. Segedin will be a fun prospect to follow because he should crush Single-A pitching, and he’s simply a rock solid prospect with a nice blend of upside and probability.
ZacharySlade Heathcott, 20, is a left handed centerfielder listed at 6-1 and 190-pounds. He was born in Texarkana, Arkansas on September 28, 1990. He was drafted in the first round, 29th overall, in the 2009 amateur draft.
At the time he was drafted there were whispers about character issues, but those appear to have been overblown and didn’t even involve him. Instead it was some issues surrounding his parents and their relationship problems. Since being drafted, Heathcott has been a model citizen and nothing at all has been reported on him being troublesome.
Heathcott signed late and was recovering from surgery he had in November of his senior year of high school, but he still managed to get into three games in the Gulf Coast League in 2009. He managed to go just 1-for-10 in those games, but between that and instructs he impressed many scouts and those within the Yankees.
His tools were all there, but the Yankees still held him back in extended spring training in 2010 probably due to his young age, 19, than anything else. The Yankees also believed he was still quite raw to start the season in a full season league. He did eventually get promoted to Low-A Charleston in the beginning of June.
Things didn’t exactly go great for Heathcott in Charleston, but considering his raw talent and age they could have gone worse. Things did pick up in July as he hit .282 with a .749 OPS that month. Over the full course of the season he hit .258 with a .712 OPS and 21 extra base hits over 298 at bats.
After the season ended Heathcott had labrum shoulder surgery. It was from an injury that he had played through during the season. He should be ready by spring training in 2011.
The reason why Heathcott ranks so highly on prospect lists is not because of the underwhelming numbers he’s put up during his short time in the minors. It’s because he is a guy who has four tools, with the ability to develop some power, who looks sure to stick in center field.
His has plus bat speed and swing mechanics. This gives scouts reason to believe he could be a .300 hitter eventually and is the reason they think he could develop power even though he as displayed little to this point.
He’s also a good defender who is said to have a strong first step. Couple that with a strong arm and he is expected to be a plus defensive outfielder who will have no problem sticking in center field.
He’s fast too. Not Brett Gardner fast, but he could be a guy who swipes 30 or more bags a year.
Heathcott will be in Single-A again in 2011 it’s just a question of whether he will be in Low-A Charleston or High-A Tampa. He’s still raw and he’s recovering from shoulder surgery still, but the Yankees have a few center field prospects behind him in Mason Williams and Angelo Gumbs that could push him into High-A Tampa, but that is still to be seen.
Just 20-years-old Heathcott is probably at least three years from the majors at best so 2011 is certainly not a make or break year for him. It will be interesting to see how big an impact, if any, his shoulder had on him last year.
His potential seems to be a .300 hitting outfielder, who has 20 home run power, a 30-40 stolen base threat, all with great defense at a prime position. Again, he’s probably three years away from the majors at best though so he’s one to watch.
David Adams, 23, is a second baseman listed at 6-2 and 190-pounds. He was born in Margate, Florida and went to college at the University of Virginia. Adams was drafted by the Tigers in the 21st round of the 2005 draft by the Tigers. He entered the draft again and was taken in the 3rd round by the Yankees.
Adams had a great bat in high school and expected to get selected high in the draft, but signability issues kept teams from drafting him until the 21st round. When the Tigers wouldn’t pay him what he wanted, he instead elected to go to college. In college he started playing second base and had a great first year. His second year he improved even more hitting .372 with a .976 OPS. Finally in his junior year he struggled bit time, but that may have helped the Yankees in a way as they were able to buy low on him in the 3rd round. His signing bonus was $333,000.
Adams went right to the Short Season A-Ball Staten Island Yankees after signing in 2008. Adams played 67 games there where he hit .257 with a .743 OPS. His defense there was rough, but because of his hustle there was room for improvement. Adams was very patient at the plate drawing 32 walks in just 297 plate appearances.
His season in Staten Island was not tremendously impressive, but it was solid and it earned him a promotion to Low-A Charleston. In 67 games in Charleston he showed a nice improvement as he hit .290 with a .779 OPS. That earned him a promotion to High-A Tampa where he continued his improvement. In 65 games with Tampa Adams hit .281, but showed a lot more power which raised his OPS to .858.
In 2010 Adams continued his improvement. In his first 39 games he hit .309 with a .900 OPS. Unfortunately his season was cut short though with what they thought was a ankle sprain, but what turned out to be a broken ankle ending his season. That doesn’t change the fact that he had an amazing start to that season and that did not go unrecognized. Despite the injury the Seattle Mariners insisted that Adams be included in any deal for pitcher Cliff Lee. Eventually the Mariners panicked and at the last minute backed out of the deal.
In most scouting reports Adams is praised for having extremely good fundamentals at the plate and for his ability to take a walk if he doesn’t get the pitches he wants. He doesn’t seem to have home run power, but could be a 40-doubles hitter.
He is an average runner and certainly not a huge stolen base threat, but he is extremely smart base runner and very aggressive too. Adams has improved his defense since becoming a pro. He is prone to botching some plays defensively, but has quick hands and can turn the double-play well. His arm strength is solid as well.
He’ll likely start the season in Double-A, but because of the success he had there last year and the fact that he’ll be 24-years-old in May could mean that a promotion won’t take long. Of course a lot of that has to do with how well he plays and if there is a need at the higher levels.
Adams seems destined to make the majors at this point, but his role is uncertain. Between his solid defense the possibility that he could become a .300 hitter makes him pretty special, but he still has a lot to prove. The problem of position could come up because he’s blocked at second base because of Robinson Cano. He doesn’t have enough power for a corner outfield spot and not enough range for shortstop. Third base could be a possibility because he does have the arm to do it.
This makes me wonder if the Yankees will try him out at third base at all this year. It probably won’t happen at first. First they’ll just let him get comfortable and establish that he is past his ankle injury. The closer he gets to the majors the more likely they’ll consider a position switch. He could be like Brandon Laird where the Yankees try a position switch with him after the season in the Arizona Fall League.
With Andy Pettitte not yet committed to returning for a 17th season and A.J. Burnett erratic as ever, the 24-year-old Nova may be the Yankees third most trusted starter behind CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes. Nova was brilliant in flashes last year, showcasing a mid-90s fastball and a devastating change in starts against Toronto, Chicago, Tampa Bay and Boston.
The big question is Nova's stamina. He habitually cruised into the fifth and sixth innings before breaking down:
Overall, the 187 innings (major and minor league) he pitched last year were a huge jump, almost 40 more than he threw in 2009 and nearly 50 more than his previous single-season high in professional ball. If he can learn to go deeper into games without faltering, he could lessen the impact of New York's failure to sign innings-eating star Cliff Lee this offseason.
David Phelps, 24, is a right handed pitcher listed at 6-3 and 190-pounds. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri and attended Hazelwood West High School and later went to the University of Notre Dame. He was drafted by the Yankees in the 14th round of the amateur draft and signed for a signing bonus of $150,000.
In his first year at Notre Dame, Phelps was primarily a reliever and had a 7.09 ERA. It was his sophomore year that turned out to be very big for him. In 15 starts that year he had a 1.88 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 110 innings. His junior year was a pretty big let down though as his strikeout rate dropped and his ERA ballooned to 4.65.
Phelps expected to get drafted much earlier in the draft and was disappointed to fall to the 14th round. It was likely his poor junior season that caused him to fall that low, but the Yankees were lucky enough to realize his potential after his sophomore year.
After signing with the Yankees Phelps started his career with the Short Season A-Ball Staten Island Yankees in 2008. He wasn’t exactly overpowering, but steadily became the ace of the Staten Island staff with a 2.72 ERA and just 18 walks over 72.2 innings(2.2 BB/9).
His solid season earned him a promotion to Low-A Charleston in 2009. There he pitched 112.2 innings over 19 games putting up an impressive 2.80 ERA. His walk ratio improved to 2.0. He was very impressive in Low-A so he got a late season promotion to High-A Tampa where he pitched better than at any other point in his career. Over just seven games he had a 1.17 ERA with a 1.4 BB/9.
It was just a small sample size in High-A, but he pitched so well that he started 2010 in Double-A. In Trenton he continued his hot ways putting up a 2.04 ERA over 88.1 innings and 14 games. For the first time his WHIP dropped below 1.00 to 0.974 even though his walk rate was the highest of his career at 2.3.
By the end of the year the Yankees promoted him to Triple-A where he pitched in 12 games over 70.1 innings. His ERA was a bit on the high side relative to the other levels at 3.07, but he was promoted fairly quickly and dealing with the toughest competition he had faced yet.
Phelps has a fastball that sits in the 93-95 mph range that he shows excellent command with. He also throws a two-seam fastball occasionally that comes in at 90 mph. Phelps used 2009 to improve his slider into a good pitch and learned a curveball in 2010 that has real potential to be a good pitch. He also throw a changeup.
Phelps works fast and works in the zone. None of his pitches are really of the plus-plus variety, but he has put up great numbers by constantly throwing strikes. His stuff has improved in each of the past two seasons so there is reason to believe that he can still improve.
At this point he seems like he has good middle of the rotation capability even in the AL East, but could easily become a key member of the Yankees bullpen at some point as well.
Phelps will almost definitely start the 2011 season in Triple-A, but with the Yankees rotation in flux it is not impossible that he could get called up to the Bronx rather quickly. He’s been healthy and pitched at least 150 innings each of the past three years including college so if he continues to improve his stuff he has nothing more to prove.
Most of you probably know by now that the closest pitching prospects the Yankees have to the majors are David Phelps and Hector Noesi. No, they’re not projected as top of the rotation starters. Back end of the rotation starters are still valuable though which should be evident if you’ve checked out the 2011 rotation for the Yankees at this point. So while they don’t have the upside of Banuelos or Betances, I figured we could take a look at two guys who could wind up contributing in 2011.
Both Phelps and Noesi are something close to control specialists. They both throw in the low to mid 90s. Phelps has a good two-seam fastball as well as a curve while Noesi has a good changeup and solid curveball. Both pitchers throw sliders but neither does with much success.
For most of his career, Phelps managed to fly under the radar. Drafted in 2008 out of Notre Dame, Phelps hit the ground running and has never really slowed down. In 3 minor league seasons across 5 levels Phelps has never posted a FIP higher than 3.41 or walked more than 2.3 batters per 9 innings. He’s been without a major injury, probably because his delivery has always been smooth. He’s been cruising since his professional debut.
Hector Noesi has had a bit of a longer path. Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2005, Noesi missed a good portion of 2007 with Tommy John surgery and a banned substances suspension. After rehabbing in 2008, Noesi found success in 2009 posting a 2.25 FIP across 2 levels and carried that into 2010.
Phelps and Noesi both spent a majority of their 2010 seasons in AA Trenton. While Noesi popped up on a lot of national radars entering the season, Phelps was largely ignored. This is pretty understandable since scouts pay more attention to what a pitcher throws and how hard rather than the results in the minors. Still though, the 2010 numbers were pretty rosy for both Phelps and Noesi. I used Baseball America’s list of their top Eastern League prospects to highlight just how well they did. If you’re under the impression I’m comparing either of their potentials to the likes of Kyle Drabek or Zach Britton, please work on your reading comprehension and/or kill yourself.
Click to enlarge the chart.
David Phelps was not included in this list but I added him in here anyhow. The list is sorted by tRA+, which is adjusted for park, defense and league adjusted like OPS+ or ERA+. Anything over 100 is above average and anything under 100 is below average. All the pitchers on this list had at least 50 IP in the Eastern league which is a small sample, but it’s the minors, guys move around a bit. Obviously Phelps benefited from a pretty good BABIP but these results aren’t wildly divergent from his career numbers. Trenton is a pretty good pitchers park, even for the friendly Eastern League and that’s probably a big part of the difference between the FIPs and tRAs for Brackman, Phelps and Noesi. Another thing to observe is Phelps low HR/9. He does have that nice two-seam fastball to keep the ball on the ground but his GB% was actually down from last year and he had a fluky low HR/BIA rate (Home runs per ball in air). Hector Noesi on the other hand has always been a fly ball pitcher (fun times ahead in New Yankee Stadium!) and his batted ball distribution isn’t very different from his career rates.
Phelps and Noesi obviously benefited from their control quite a bit in 2010 and the results were nice. However in the big picture, this doesn’t mean very much. Noesi and Phelps don’t have the upside of these other prospects (for the 6,000th time). Back end of the rotation starters are pretty valuable though and if thinking of Sergio Mitre taking the mound in the bottom of the first makes you cry at night, well these are your in house alternatives. I’m sure both will be looked at pretty closely in spring training. Noesi and Phelps both saw some time in AAA last year but it would probably behoove them to return there in order to keep working. Minor league results are nice but will good fastball command and soft secondary offerings cut it in the AL East? Probably not. Hopefully both pitchers will continue to improve and we’ll be seeing them in the Bronx sometime soon.