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Random Minor League Notes: 2011 Edition
9 years ago  ::  Oct 04, 2011 - 6:20PM #461
Posts: 32,868

TOP 20 PROSPECTS                                                              1. Bryce Harper, of, Harrisburg Senators (Nationals)
2. Travis D'Arnaud, c, New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays)
3. Anthony Gose, of, New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays)
4. Brad Peacock, rhp, Harrisburg Senators (Nationals)
5. Jacob Turner, rhp, Erie Seawolves (Tigers)
6. Manny Banuelos, lhp, Trenton Thunder (Yankees)
7. Starling Marte, of, Altoona Curve (Pirates)
8. Will Middlebrooks, 3b, Portland Seadogs (Red Sox)
9. Dellin Betances, rhp, Trenton Thunder (Yankees)
10. Henderson Alvarez, rhp, New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays)
11. Eric Surkamp, lhp, Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants)
12. Derek Norris, c, Harrisburg Senators (Nationals)
13. Jeurys Familia, rhp, Binghamton Mets
14. Francisco Peguero, of, Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants)
15. Ryan Lavarnway, c, Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox)
16. Francisco Martinez, 3b, Erie Seawolves (Tigers)
17. Austin Romine, c, Trenton Thunder (Yankees)
18. Chih-Hsien Chiang, of, Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox)
19. Adeiny Hechavarria, ss, New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays)
20. Kyle McPherson, rhp, Altoona Curve (Pirates)

9 years ago  ::  Oct 04, 2011 - 6:21PM #462
Posts: 32,868

Does Betances project as a future SP or RP to you?
John Manuel: Really tough question; easier answer is  always  reliever. I always thought Chamberlain and Hughes would be  starters,  and here are the Yankees starting AJ Burnett tonight after  using Freddy  Garcia in this series. I think Betances deserves a lot of  credit for  making adjustments as he's gone up the ladder and becoming  more of a  strike-thrower despite a tough delivery to repeat and such a  big body  to control. His walk rate was much higher this year as he faced  tougher  competition, and he's going to go to Triple-A next year to see  if he  can improve that and throw more strikes. With his stuff, he just  needs  solid control; he doesn't need fine command. The odds are against  him  being a starter long-term in that organization, but I admit I've  become  a bit of a Betances guy over the years. His stuff is just so  loud.


Has the shiny tool-box that is Melky Mesa finally lost enough of   his sheen that he can be considered a non-prospect unless he suddenly   learns some plate discipline over the winter?
John Manuel: Not a non-prospect yet but certainly has  lost some  sheen. You'd trade plate discipline for power with a guy like  that,  it's more likely that he regains some pop, he did have a back  injury  this year that seemed to affect that aspect of his game.

9 years ago  ::  Oct 04, 2011 - 6:28PM #463
Posts: 32,868

Banuelos, Betances, Romine among top Eastern League prospects

By                         in Minors. Tags: , , , ·  Comments             (15) ·

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Baseball America’s look at the top 20 prospects in each minor league continued with the Double-A Eastern League today, and three Yankees farmhands made the cut. Manny Banuelos ranked sixth, Dellin Betances was three spots behind him at number nine, and Austin Romine was a little further down at number 17. Bryce Harper and (personal fave) Travis d’Arnaud topped the list.

In the subscriber-only scouting reports,  John Manuel says Banuelos has “excellent velocity for a lefthander,  with his fastball sitting at 90-94 mph and touching 95 with regularity.”  His changeup has “sinking, screwball action when it’s on and was often  his best secondary pitches.” He can also get whiffs with a power curve.  Some managers in the league noted that Banuelos’ fastball command  suffered because he overthrew, but others think it was a release point  issue. “[Several] observers believed that his delivery will allow him to  throw more strikes as he matures,” added Manuel.

Betances is referred to as a “physical beast who uses his size to sit  at 91-95 mph and reach 97 with his fastball.” The report cites three  secondary pitches: a power curve, a high-80′s cutter/slider, and a  changeup that has “improved and is an above-average pitch at times.” The  problem continues to be command, obviously. Romine is said to have a  strong arm and “the hands, athletic ability and agility needed to be a  sound receiver.” He’s a streaky hitter, and his batting practice power  has yet to consistently show up in games.

The next and last top 20 list of interest to Yankees fans is the Triple-A International League, which will be posted Friday. Jesus Montero will certainly make an appearance somewhere high on the list, and a few  of the arms (David Phelps and Adam Warren in particular) could get some  love as well. Brandon Laird might even make an appearance.

9 years ago  ::  Oct 07, 2011 - 9:18PM #464
Posts: 32,868

I will not be updating for the next week: Vacation City.


Montero ranks fifth among top International League prospects

By Baseball America posted their final Yankees-relevant minor league top 20 today, placing Jesus Montero fifth among all Triple-A International League prospects.  Matt Moore, Julio Teheran, Devin Mesoraco, and Desmond Jennings were  the four players ahead of Montero. No other Yankees farmhands made the  list.

In the subscriber-only scouting report,  James Bailey says Montero “doesn’t have the prettiest swing but  compensates with exceptional strength and hand-eye coordination,” and he  “crushes balls to all fields and projects as a .300 hitter with 30  homers per year.” As always, the question is his defense behind the  plate. “He has arm strength but has a slow release and lacks accuracy on  his throws,” said Bailey. “He lacks athleticism and still has a ways to  go with his receiving and game-calling, and he loses focus too often.”  Montero’s bat is big league ready, we saw that in September, but the  Yankees will have to come up with a way to get him in the lineup for  600+ at-bats next year.

9 years ago  ::  Oct 14, 2011 - 6:38PM #465
Posts: 66,015

The Yankees don’t want the Yankees to be called the Yankees anymore


Via Paul Sokoloski,  the Yankees have informed their minor league affiliates in  Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Tampa, and Staten Island that they want them to  drop “Yankees” as their nickname. “There’s only one team they want as  the Yankees,” said Jim Timlin, chairman of the Lackawanna County Stadium  Authority board in Northeast Pennsylvania. “And they live in the  Bronx.”

“It was a recommendation,” added Timlin. “We don’t have to listen to  them. But it would be a good idea to go along with them. The Yankees,  when they come back [to Scranton] in 2013, may have a different name.  Scranton/Wilkes-Barre-something. The naming rights are up for grabs.”  The Triple-A Scranton franchise will play all of their 2012 home games on the road as PNC Field undergoes $40M worth of renovations.

There’s something fishy going on here, no? The Yankees just offloaded their stake in the Staten Island franchise, and now asked them to change their  name. Meanwhile, they’re purchasing the SWB franchise … and are still  asking them to change their name. I’m sure there’s some weird legal  reason behind it, but it just seems off from where I sit.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
9 years ago  ::  Oct 14, 2011 - 7:37PM #466
Posts: 32,868


Padres, Rays Post Most Top 20 Prospects

With all of Baseball America's League Top 20s now posted, let's  tally up the results. The League Top 20 lists can be a good indicator  of the strength of teams' systems. It isn't a perfect indicator because  it includes some players who have since graduated as prospects and does  not include this year's top draft picks that signed late.

The leagues aren't all equal, either. A player that narrowly missed  the Eastern League list, for example, could very well be more valuable  than a player that ranked in the second half of the Pioneer League Top  20. There are also rare instances when key players don't have enough  innings or at-bats to qualify for a minor league Top 20 list.

Also note that, for this study, players are only listed once (even if  they made two lists) and are listed with their current organizations.  With all that said, let's look at the results. First, the raw totals. . .



4: Athletics
5: White Sox, Brewers, Twins
6: Tigers, Mets
7: Orioles, Marlins, Nationals
8: Astros, Cubs, Cardinals
9: Diamondbacks, Indians, Angels, Phillies, Pirates
10: Giants
11: Braves, Red Sox, Dodgers
12: Reds, Royals
13: Mariners, Yankees
14: Rockies
16: Rangers, Blue Jays
18: Padres, Rays

But the raw tallies only tell part of the story. While they would  look even based on this list, a team would much rather have a group of  prospects in Triple-A and Double-A than a group of prospects at the  Rookie-level. Here is how the teams stack up when only given credit for  prospects in full-season leagues, not including players that graduated  from Prospect Handbook eligibility this year (surpassed 130 at-bats as a  hitter or 50 innings/30 appearances for a pitcher). . .


Graduates: 0
Full-season prospects: 5
Short-season/Rookie-level prospects: 8

• Jesus Montero (ranked 5th in International League)

• Manny Banuelos (ranked 6th in Eastern League)

• Dellin Betances (ranked 9th in Eastern League)

• Austin Romine (ranked 17th in Eastern League)

• Gary Sanchez (ranked 14th in South Atlantic League)

• Mason Williams (ranked 1st in New York-Penn League)

• Cito Culver (ranked 6th in New York-Penn League)

• Tyler Austin (ranked 8th in New York-Penn League)

• Angelo Gumbs (ranked 14th in New York-Penn League)

• Brandon Pinder (ranked 19th in New York-Penn League)

• Dante Bichette Jr. (ranked 1st in Gulf Coast League)

• Ravel Santana (ranked 2nd in Gulf Coast League)

• Claudio Custodio (ranked 9th in Gulf Coast League)

The Yankees had the fifth-best farm system last year, and the team's  top four prospects had productive seasons without graduating. New York  also got a breakout season from outfielder Mason Williams, a terrific  debut from Dante Bichette Jr. The organization's pitching herd took a  bit of a step back this season, but the system is still in good shape.

9 years ago  ::  Oct 14, 2011 - 7:40PM #467
Posts: 32,868
9 years ago  ::  Oct 15, 2011 - 1:02PM #468
Posts: 32,868

The Yankees who are still playing

The big league Yankees are finished, but some of the minor league  guys are still playing ball out in the Arizona Fall League. At least one  of them could make an impact as early as next season, and the rest are  certainly worth keeping in the back of your mind.

Winter leagues haven’t started just yet, but the Yankees will have a  few more recognizable names playing in places like Venezuela and the  Dominican Republic once those leagues get going.

For now, these are the Yankees currently playing down in Arizona.

RHP David Phelps
This year: Had a 3.19 ERA as a Triple-A starter.
Next year: Should be in that mix to be the Yankees sixth starter/long reliever.
Of the seven Yankees in the Fall League, Phelps is probably the  closest to the big leagues. His season was cut short by injury, so he’s  getting a few more innings down in Arizona (a notorious hitters’  league). His first two starts lasted just three innings, but this is  more about getting work than getting results.

RHP Dan Burawa
This year: Had a 3.64 ERA between Low-A and High-A.
Next year: This was only his first full pro season, so a return to High-A might be out of the question.
The thing that stands out to me is the 2.24 groundout-to-flyout  ratio this season. He was a 2010 12th-round pick out of St. Johns, and  he’s one of several college pitchers from that draft moving quickly  through the Yankees system. He’s been a multi-inning guy for the  Yankees, and half of his first four Arizona appearances have been more  than an inning. Opponents are hitting .346 off him, though.

RHP Chase Whitley
This year: Had a 2.47 ERA with 77 strikeouts and 29 walks between High-A and Double-A.
Next year: The Yankees have been aggressive with  Whitley, but a return to Double-A seems entirely possible. It will be  only his second full season as a pro.
Hard to ignore this guy because the Yankees have been so aggressive  with him. Yet another college reliever from the 2010 draft, Whitley  skipped Charleston, opened this season in Tampa and got to Trenton  before the end of June. High-A hitters managed just a .233 average  against him, but Double-A batters hit .280. He regularly pitched  two-plus innings at a time this season, and through his first 4.1  scoreless innings in Arizona, he’s allowed only a .188 batting average.


RHP Preston Claiborne
This year: Had a 3.11 ERA and a .248 opponents batting average out of the Tampa bullpen.
Next year: Having skipped Low-A Charleston completely, he could push for a Double-A job.
His walk totals rose as he got deeper into the season, but overall,  the results were encouraging for Claiborne’s first full season as a  pro. He’s another of those college relievers moving quickly since the  2010 draft. He didn’t allow a home run in his last 11 regular season  appearances — averaging well over an inning per appearance — but he  coughed one up in his first Fall League outing.

RHP Chase Whitley
This year: Had a 2.47 ERA with 77 strikeouts and 29 walks between High-A and Double-A.
Next year: The Yankees have been aggressive with  Whitley, but a return to Double-A seems entirely possible. It will be  only his second full season as a pro.
Hard to ignore this guy because the Yankees have been so aggressive  with him. Yet another college reliever from the 2010 draft, Whitley  skipped Charleston, opened this season in Tampa and got to Trenton  before the end of June. High-A hitters managed just a .233 average  against him, but Double-A batters hit .280. He regularly pitched  two-plus innings at a time this season, and through his first 4.1  scoreless innings in Arizona, he’s allowed only a .188 batting average.

INF Corban Joseph
This year: A typical Joseph-type season in Double-A where he hit .277 with 38 doubles.
Next year: In line for a promotion to Triple-A and the possibility of serving a big league utility role in the near future.
Reminds me of Kevin Russo, maybe with a little more pop. Joseph can  play second and third, he could probably handle the outfield if  necessary, and my guess is he could play a passable shortstop in an  emergency. He’s never put up overwhelming numbers, but he’s a steady  hitter with a career .284/.363/.418 slash line (Russo hit .287/.348/.382  in the minors). Joseph might not be a star, but he could hit enough to  play a role, kind of like Russo did for a little while in 2010. He’s  started hitting again after a fairly slow start in Arizona.

UT Ronnier Mustelier
This year: Playing second, third and all three outfield spots while hitting .333/.378/.524 in High-A Tampa.
Next year: He’s already 27, so the Yankees could get aggressive and push Mustelier to Double-A after just 31 High-A games.
A Cuban defector, Mustelier primarily played the outfield corners,  but he showed plenty of defensive flexibility and an intriguing bat.  It’s easy to see why the Yankees sent him to Arizona. He’s really  something of a wild card in the organization. Kind of like when Juan  Miranda came over, Mustelier hasn’t played much the past two years.

3B/OF Rob Segedin
This year: In his first full season, hit .287 with seven home runs and 55 RBI between Low-A and High-A.
Next year: His slow second half suggests a return to Tampa at least to start the year.
Primarily a third baseman, Segedin has started to see time at the  outfield corners to increase his versatility. He raked in Low-A  Charleston, but hit just .245/.311/.309 after a midseason promotion to  High-A Tampa. He’s gotten off to a similarly slow start in Arizona  (.227/.346/.273 through his first six games, five of which were spent in  the outfield). He was a third-round pick in 2010, so he’s still fairly  new to pro ball, and obviously still fairly highly touted. He just hit  his first Arizona home run on Friday.

9 years ago  ::  Oct 17, 2011 - 5:47PM #469
Posts: 66,015

Baseball America’s Draft Report Card


Baseball America posted some Draft Report Cards today (subs. req’d), including the Yankees. It’s not a report card in  the sense that they hand out grades, instead they run through different  categories like Best Pure Hitter (Dante Bichette Jr.), Best Fastball  (Zach Arneson and Phil Wetherell), and Best Late-Round Pick (Dan  Camarena).

Mark Montgomery, this year’s 11th rounder, is said to have the Best  Secondary Pitch, “a slider that grades as major league plus already.” A  college reliever from Longwood University in Virginia, Montgomery struck  out 51 of the 124 batters he faced in his pro debut this summer (41.1%,  a 16.2 K/9), and even whiffed five in one inning at one point. The Yankees have done a really nice job of turning  double-digit picks into bullpen fodder in recent years, and Montgomery  looks to be the next in line. He needs to jump to Double-A relatively  soon though, you’re not going to learn anything about him against  Single-A kids with that slider.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
9 years ago  ::  Oct 18, 2011 - 4:47PM #470
Posts: 66,015

SI Yanks standout in MILB awards

As you probably know, during the offseason I like to focus on the  minor league system every now and then. Today I was looking through  milb.com’s end-of-the-season awards, searching for nominated Yankees.  There are only a handful, none of them coming from the upper levels, but  this small collection might put a few unfamiliar names on your radar.

If you’re interested, you can vote on these awards through Thursday. Go here to vote for the 2011 MiLBY Awards.

Mason Williams
Nominated: Best short-season hitter
Second in the New York-Penn League with a .349 average, Williams also  led the league with 29 stolen bases and finished top 10 in hits, runs,  total bases, triples and on-base percentage.  Williams was a  fourth-round pick in 2010, and he’s quickly emerging as one of the most  interesting players in the lower levels of the Yankees system. His  athleticism has never been questioned, and this season he turned that  talent into baseball results. With Slade Heathcott battling injuries and  Melky Mesa struggling after last year’s breakout season, Williams might  be developing into the Yankees top center field prospect. Maybe you  can’t rank him ahead of Heathcott just yet, but a bit year in  full-season ball could really solidify his status.

Ryan Flannery
Nominated: Best High-A reliever
Before a late-season promotion to Double-A, Flannery was a dominant  late-inning reliever for High-A Tampa. He had 19 saves, a 1.24 ERA and  only five walks through 43.2 innings. The numbers were similar to 2010,  when Flannery allowed a .207 opponents batting average in Low-A  Charleston. He was a 47th-round pick in 2008, so Flannery has never been  an elite prospect, but he has a 0.995 career WHIP with a ton of ground  balls and very few walks.

Branden Pinder
Nominated: Best short-season reliever
The past two seasons the Yankees have drafted quite a few college  relievers who seem poised to move quickly through the system. This year,  Pinder was a 16th-round pick out of Santa Ana, and he was overwhelming  in Staten Island. Through 31 innings he allowed just 16 hits — a .152  opponents average — with five walks and a 38 strikeouts. He was second  in the New York-Penn League with 14 saves. Full-season ball might be a  different challenge next year, but that’s an impressive debut.

Abe Almonte
Nominated: Best High-A game
More of an event than a game, Almonte was singled out for a hitting streak that reached 30 games on August 29. That day he went 2-for-3 with a single and a double. Almonte went on to extend the hitting  streak to 34 games before it ended in his next-to-last game of the  season. The streak raised his batting average from .235 to .266 and he  ended the season at .268 (he had three hits in the finale). The second  baseman-turned-center fielder has long been touted for his potential,  but he has yet to put up consistent results.

Staten Island Yankees
Nominated: Best short-season team
Made up mostly of players from the past two drafts — plus some  international guys and a few players coming back from injuries — the  Staten Island Yankees won the New York-Penn League. They were third in  the league in runs scored, second in batting average and first in  strikeouts (for the pitching staff). Williams was the star of the show,  but hitters like Tyler Austin, Ben Gamel and even Cito Culver — who led  the team in RBI despite batting just .250 — had nice seasons, and the  pitching staff showed some depth with Pinder in the bullpen and Matthew  Tracy serving multiple roles.


"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
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