Prospect Lists and the Musings of Joel Sherman

This is the time of year where all the prospect lists start to come out and two notable compilations were posted this week. MLB.com’s list compiled by Jon Mayo came out Tuesday and Keith Law has been rolling out his work at ESPN all week.

It’s no secret that I’m not really a fan of MLB.com’s prospect list which is put together by Jon Mayo who essentially just polls scouts. Last year Montero ranked #19 which a lot of people reacted rather poorly to. This year there was a similar clamor when after many graduations from the list, Montero only moved up to #9. Here are the Yankees that popped up on Mayo’s list:

#9- Jesus Montero

#32- Gary Sanchez

#35- Manuel Banuelos

#52- Dellin Betances

Betances was included in the “just missed” category.

I tend to rely on Keith Law’s list more than others because he actually scouts these players himself. He’s also willing to ask other scouts about certain players just to get a variety of opinions or angles on a prospect. 5 Yankees made his top 100. Only Tampa Bay, Toronto and Kansas City had more players in the top 100. Below I included Law’s 2010 list just for comparison sake. Overall ranking is in parenthesis.

[image title=”Law lists” size=”full” id=”24699″ align=”center” linkto=”full” ]

Law said that Austin Romine was a “just missed” guy as well and he noted there were several issues concerning his receiving skills. Personally I was pretty surprised by Banuelos at #12. Law does his rankings primarily on upside but I was still interested to see him ahead of names like Kyle Drabek and Jeremy Hellickson. McAllister’s awful year dropped him off the list completely and he’s not even on the top 10 Indians prospect list. I’ve never been a big fan of his so I was shocked by this. Stoneburner and Warren were both nice to see pop up. He also added this nugget in his Thursday chat:

[image title=”Klaw” size=”full” id=”24700″ align=”center” linkto=”full” ]

Obviously that’s a real nice thing to hear.

Also on the prospect front Joel Sherman chimes in with some info about where the Yankees expect their pitching prospects to open the year.

[image title=”Sherman minor rotations” size=”full” id=”24701″ align=”center” linkto=”full” ]

Nothing very surprising there. Sherman does bring up an interesting scenario though about the competition for the 5th starter spot in spring training. He wonders what will happen if Banuelos or Betances really stand out in March. Given their inning limits (125 apiece), could they actually make the team? Then he stirs the pot a bit by asking what would happen if Girardi thinks Banuelos or Betances give the Yankees the best chance to win in 2011? Could he go over Cashman’s head, a la the Soriano signing, to rush them up in order to help this year?

Sherman also says that Girardi was one of the big influences pushing for the Soriano signing against Cashman’s objections. Obviously, I don’t know anything about that. I do know that the Yankees like to handle their pitching prospects delicately and this is something I’m totally behind. I would rather be conservative and keep the risk of injury as low as possible. Baseball prospects have such an unpredictable nature that I think treating them cautiously can give them the greatest chance to succeed. So I would really hope that Betances or Banuelos are not pushed into roles above their heads this year.

17 thoughts on “Prospect Lists and the Musings of Joel Sherman

  1. I know people are still confused by the Culver pick but after seeing him play on SI I buy into him a bit. He can legit play shortstop, very nice range and a good arm and has very nice selection at the plate.

    His hit tool is a raw (not shocking really given where he’s coming from) but it’s there and I expect the Yankees have worked and will continue to work with him on that.

    He’s not a tool box or anything but he is a legit talent and if the hitting comes around and he stays healthy he’s an MLB player. These are giant ifs of course, but I can understand why the team went in this direction.

    • Yeah that’s a good call Leonora. These guys are really far away and its hard to tell what they’ll look like in 4 or 5 years. Its the same stuff with Heathcott for me. Certain places are giving him shit for his numbers as a 19 year old in Charleston.

      I mean, really? Can we give him a few years for his tools to develop? I was personally glad to see him in Klaw’s top 10, glad he hasn’t lost faith based on a debut year.

      • Eric Schultz

        But why be patient? It’s so much easier and more fun to bitch and moan.

  2. AndrewYF

    Why are Betances and Banuelos mentioned instead of Brackman? I feel Brackman is much closer to the majors.

    • Brackman is closer but apparently from what Sherman has gleaned, the organization is higher on Banuelos and Betances. I think that makes sense also and apparently so does Keith Law and whatever scouts Jon Mayo straw polled.

      Sherman was also just throwing out a hypothetical situation. I think its more likely we’ll see Noesi/Phelps/Warren than Banuelos or Betances right away.

      • T.O. Chris

        I’m really hoping they leave Banuelos and Betances in the minors all year! They have barley pitched in double A at all and it just is a smart move as far as development goes to rush them to the bigs, the last time I recall we rushed a star in the making to the league just to ensure we made the playoffs (with little chance to win it all) we ended up ruining all the potential Joba had. I don’t feel like making the same mistake here, these two need to be allowed to grow and develop in the minors as Hughes had a chance to do even though Hughes was up and down for a while and probably would have stuck in the majors earlier if everything worked out as the Yanks wanted.

        • Chris, I agree 100%.

  3. Reggie C.

    Banuelos is generating some helium and he’s entering Phil Hughes-area of prospectdom. Banuelos’s debut is going to be much anticipated given the need to have a young LEFTY balance out the rotation for the next decade.

    I’m holding my cards close on Betances. The young man has the best swing-and-miss of any pitching prospect since Joba. That’s right. Since. Joba.

    • Haha those are strong words. I think he has a chance to develop into that, but I’m not gonna put that on him just yet.

      • T.O. Chris

        Betances has the heighest ceiling of any of the guys for sure, with his body size and explosive stuff he has a chance to be a killer starter or closer but I agree it’s really early in the game for him (despite his age) thanks to the injury he suffered, IF he can stay healthy though then I think we could see some great stuff out of him and I for one am really excited about his hopefully 2012 debut.

        I was shocked to se how highly ranked Banuelos was on this list, I mean expected him to be on it and maybe even higher than MLB.com but I never fathomed top 15 that is a really impressive compliment. I have heard he has put on some weight since before last year and no longer weights the 155 he did as an 18 year, it would really bold well if he could put on another inch or so to his frame but if he keeps developing as is I see him being one of the guys that pitches through that like a Pedro or Lincecum does.

        • Eric Schultz

          I was surprised to see Banuelos ahead of Hellickson, who is considered by many the #1 pitching prospect. I can’t say I’m totally surprised at how high Banuelos is because Law has been raving about him for a while now. Manny will have to repeat his performance of 2010 at the higher levels to reach Hughes status. We may forget because he hasn’t become an ace (yet?), but Hughes at his minor league peak was a legitimate top 5 prospect.

          • T.O. Chris

            I actually never saw Hughes as the kind of pitcher who would be an ace, my judgement on him has always been harsher than a lot here and I had him pegged as a 3 or 4 starter but he showed me enough last year to say that I believe he has the ceiling of a number 2 pitcher (I don’t think he is there yet) but I now no longer see his floor as a 4 but instead either a really solid 3 or good 2.

            Banuelos IMO with how advances his change up is and how easy and free his mechanics are has the upside of an ace and the only way I see him not sticking in the rotation is if they move him to the pen, as I stated though his mechanics are so easy and free looking coupled with 3 plus pitches (at least all 3 flash if not shine plus) that he should easily have the upside of a ace or number 2.

            Banuelos has a much more full repetoire than Hughes did at that point and I think Banuelos already has a better idea of how to be a pitcher than Hughes does maybe even now.

      • Steve S.

        If you saw my piece on the Cashman breakfast the other day, Brian said that Banuelos and Betances are front of the rotation prospects, both with “Phil Hughes or better ceilings”. So the GM is saying exactly that.

  4. Camilo Gerardo

    I am very excited about NYY future with Betances, Banuelos, Montero up top. Just stay Healthy boys

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