The Yankees have signed RHP Brian Anderson and LHP Andy Sisco to minor league deals with invitations to big league camp.
Anderson is a really interesting addition. You might remember him as a center field prospect with the White Sox about five years ago. He could play the field, but the bat never developed. He has 799 big league at-bats, with a .227 average to show for it. Last year, the Royals let Anderson move to the mound and the results were pretty encouraging for a guy who hadn’t pitched in nearly a decade: 17.1 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 17 K.
Funny thing is, Anderson played high school baseball with Shelley Duncan. It was an insanely good team, and Shelley always told me that Anderson could really throw. He’s far from a sure thing but might be worth watching. An interesting story at the very least.
As for Sisco, he was a second-round draft pick in 2001 and twice ranked among Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects in all of baseball. He has some big league time, but last year was his first full season since 2007. He’s had Tommy John surgery, and Rosenthal says he’s been throwing 95 mph in winter ball.
These are not exactly prospects, but they’re the kind of guys who still have a best-case scenarios that could get them to New York.
Just a few small notes from around the minor league system.
• Baseball American pegged Manny Banuelos as the No. 6 prospect in the Arizona Fall League this season. “He worked on mixing his pitches better while in Arizona,” the magazine wrote. “He also improved his ability to pitch inside to hitters.” Bryce Harper, obviously, topped the list. He hit .343/.410/.629 in Arizona.
• Speaking of Baseball America: They have a list of all the 40-man additions in preparation for the Rule 5 draft. Some of the recognizable names: Zach McAllister with the Indians, Jimmy Paredes with the Astros and Jamie Hoffmann with the Dodgers. If he hadn’t been traded in the Lance Berkman deal, it’s hard for me to believe Paredes would have been protected by the Yankees.
• Keeping with tradition in Scranton, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees schedule was announce on Thanksgiving. Check out August. Twenty-two home games that month, including an 11-day home stand. Some guys might sign minor league deals with the Yankees just for that.
Vechionacci, 23, was once a pretty big prospect for the Yankees. In 2004 he had an .844 OPS while playing in Rookie-Ball and Short Season-A-Ball. He was very young then and at 18 he was promoted to Low-A Charleston. Then despite struggling there the Yankees continued to promote him and he never fulfilled his early promise.
Vech was a minor league free agent so the Yankees got no monetary return like they did with Albaladejo. Albie was still under Yankees control and they were given $1.2 million to release him. He later signed for $900,000, probably at least half a million more than he would have received with the Yankees.
No word on how much Vechionacci signed for, but he received the equivalent of a minor league contract.
James - .285/.348/.519, .376 wOBA, 21 HR, 39 BB, 75 K, 442 PA CAIRO - .261/.326/.446, .337 wOBA, 18 HR, 41 BB, 85 K, 467 PA
As much as I like Bill James' projection, I do find it to be a bit optimistic, as it essentially has Montero replicating his Triple-A numbers with the Yankees. SG's CAIRO projection appears to be fairly pragmatic, yet palatable at the same time. I could certainly see Montero struggling in the early stages of the season, improving slowly yet surely, and ending up with something quite similar to that.
However, it may be most reasonable to temper expectations severely. About two years ago, fans, scouts, and analysts were touting the merits of uber-prospect Matt Wieters, expecting the young catcher to set the world on fire. Wieters destroyed pitching at every level of the minors, and made his debut in May of 2009. That year, Wieters hit a solid .288/.340/.412 with a .330 wOBA and 9 home runs in 385 plate appearances. While that may not be stellar, it's a fine rookie season nonetheless. Paul Konerko, the player to whom Montero's baseline is most often compared, batted .214/.275/.326 with a .267 wOBA and 7 home runs in his first 247 plate appearances.
It is from there, however, that these two comps differentiate. In Wieters' second season, he showed a bit more plate discipline, yet made weaker contact and saw his bottom line plummet. Konerko, on the other hand, batted .294/.352/.511 with a .372 wOBA and 24 home runs, which is essentially his career norm. Of course, there are plenty of examples of prospect performing admirably, such as Jason Heyward and Buster Posey - but that's the exception, not the rule.
In the end, I'm really not quite sure what to expect. I do think that the CAIRO projection is reasonable, but I don't think that that anything less should be considered a disappointment.
The Twins signed 17-year-old shortstop Javier Pimentel to a $575K deal, according to the Dominican Prospect League. In his July 2nd prospect rankings, Blake Bentley placed Pimentel in a tenth-place tie, calling him "a wide-shouldered shortstop with a solid bat and plenty of room for improvement."
In other news from the league, the Mets inked 17-year-old shortstop Alfredo Reyes for $200K.
I know there have been lists posted about the top 25 under 25 right now. It’s tough to agree on and there is no right answer, it’s just a compilation of names of players that are really good. If you do this at the start of the year and at the end of the year, players will have risen and fallen. Some will be added, some will be removed but most of the same players will be included. This is what I have right now.
Jesus Montero, C/1B, NYY Where he came from: Montero was signed out of Venezuela in 2006 for $1.65 million. Why he’s here: Montero has great contact ability and great power. He started slowly this year but still hit 21 HR's as a 20 Year old in AAA. He had a slash line of .289/.353/.517 and that would be stunning, even for the Pacific Coast League. Where he’s headed: Montero is a future 1B or DH in the long run and will debut in 2011. He will be one of the best hitters in the majors for years to come. He could hit .320 and hit 40 HR's at his peak.
Gary Sanchez is blowing up. He first caught my eye early in the summer. By then people were already saying he was the next Jesus Montero, "but with good defense." I immediately wanted him. In fantasy, I figured I'd grab him up in the third round of my our next American League minor league draft. I went back to Baseball America. They said that at 17 his raw power already checked in at "least a 60 on the 20 to 80 scale." They lauded his natural hitting ability, his defense, and his arm. How had I missed him?
As the season went on, Sanchez turned the scouting reports (and his $3 million contract) into production. In 119 minor league at bats he hit .353/.419./.597. Then, as 17 year old In low A ball, he held his own hitting a respectable .278/.333/.426 in 56 at-bats. For comparison, at 17, Montero was busy hitting .280/.366/.421 in 107 exclusively rookie-ball at bats. Advantage Sanchez?
Sanchez got more press as his season continued. He was referenced more and more as one of the Yankees' notable prospects. He replaced Austin Romine as the Yankees "catcher-of-the-future." He got positive press on this site.
In a half tongue-and-cheek post on October 4, I marked him for the Hall of Fame. Then Goldenblack made a bold move by putting Sanchez number 13 on his top 100. Blam! Then the bomb dropped. Gary Sanchez vaulted past Betances, Banuelos, and to a lesser degree Brackman to land at #2 on BA's Yankees top 10. In the process he held off Jeter's so-called replacement, Eduardo Nunez, and 2009 first-rounder, Slade Heatchcott.
Now I worry that with the 8th pick, I won't be able to nab Sanchez in the 1st round. He's competing with the likes of Machado, Kipnis, Franklin, Lamb, Duffy, Sale, Pomeranz, Ranaudo, Pineda, Wimmers, and White, not to mention his Yankee cohorts.
Am I jumping the gun here, or is Gary Sanchez the next big thing?
Also, Miguel Sano is good.
Further also, I'll take Harper over Trout all the way.
Manny Banuelos, LHP, Yankees: The main thing I noticed about him was how smooth and easy his delivery is; he puts a lot less physical effort into it than Montgomery or Duffy yet generates very quality stuff. I am now a huge Banuelos fan.