Jorge Posada as a prospect

The recent retirement of Jorge Posada after a phenomenal 17-year career has led to many heartfelt tributes and retrospectives, analyzing what he has meant to the Yankees throughout his tenure.  Yesterday, John Sickels over at Minor League Ball took a look at Posada’s progression through the minors, and how scouts and prospect evaluators looked at him.  It’s a great read that is definitely worth checking out.

Jorge’s minor league trajectory was unusual because he was not considered a top prospect at any point in his minor league career.  He was drafted in the 24th round out of high school in Puerto Rico, but ultimately signed as a draft-and-follow (in the pre-signing deadline era) after playing community college.  He was drafted as a shortstop and spend the first season of his minor league career playing 2nd base.  The next year, the Yankees decided to move him to catcher.  The transition was rough, but he showed some promise at the position, and showed solid offensive production.… Click here to read the rest

Our Friends Up North

“Red Sox, Yankees … Red Sox, Yankees … I don’t care about the Red Sox and Yankees. We have to take care of ourselves. This is the most important year in the four years I’ve been here. This is your chance, from right now, to decide what kind of team you want to be.”

General manager J.P. Ricciardi is addressing his troops in a classroom down a hallway from the main clubhouse. Like schoolkids the players fill the desks in the back of the room but leave most of the ones up front unoccupied. This is what is known as the annual orientation meeting, ostensibly to introduce the training, coaching and support staff — and this year one embedded reporter — but also for the manager and general manager to set the tone for the season.

The Blue Jays are a blank slate. After a surprise third-place finish with 86 wins in 2003, Toronto sank to the basement in the American League East last year, losing 94 games.

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With Montero Gone, the Banuelos Hype Machine Begins

On Wednesday, Jonathon Mayo of MLB.com released his 2012 Top 100 Prospects. The Yankees had four players land on the list, Manny Banuelos at 13, Dellin Betances at 41, Gary Sanchez at 53, and Mason Williams at 73. It was no guarantee that we’d see Sanchez or Williams on such a list, but what surprised me most is the aggressive Manny Banuelos ranking.

Courtesy of Christopher Pasatieri

With Montero out, Banuelos is clearly the best prospect in the Yankee farm system. A left handed 20 year old pitcher with low to mid 90’s heat, possible plus changeup and curveball, and with solid numbers in AA and AAA is nothing to scoff at. Despite this, there are a lot of factors that must go right for Banuelos to develop on the level he’s been hyped. Where scouts demand that he simply needs more consistency, they also say he needs to take steps forward with his breaking pitches and cutter, drastically improve the command, and add velocity to his fastball.… Click here to read the rest

Would You Trade The Farm For Andrew McCutchen?

Tuesday night, on MLB Network Radio, Pirates GM Neil Huntington said about trading Andrew McCutchen,

“Never say never. If someone wants to back up the truck and give us one of those organization-altering deals, it’s something that we’d have to listen to, but there are some players on our club that are extremely difficult to move. It would have to be a dramatic overpay on the part of the other club.”

Christian Petersen - Getty Images

Of course, this is the type of attitude all GM’s should have about their players. If the Pirates are serious about trading McCutchen, the Yankees should be prepared to make that dramatic overpay. With Nick Swisher coming off contract at the end of 2012 and Curtis Granderson at the end of 2013, with a lack of outfield depth in their farm system, and with a 2014 budget to fulfill, McCutchen fits perfectly into a long term plan.

Who is Andrew McCutchen? He’s a five-tool player who hit .259/.364/.456, with 23 homeruns, 23 stolen bases, and a 5.7 fWAR at the age of 24.… Click here to read the rest

Thinking about Cito Culver

The backlash against the selection of Cito Culver in the 1st round in the 2010 MLB draft was pretty severe, as he wasn’t on any mainstream prospect evaluator’s radar as a 1st round candidate.  The early scouting reports didn’t sound much like a 1st-round prospect, describing him as a future defense-first shortstop with his arm representing his only potential plus tool.  There were concerns about his ability to switch-hit in the future, as well as a lack of power projection.  If these scouting reports were to be believed, it wouldn’t sound like Culver had the ceiling that one would expect from a 1st-round high school prospect.  Since Culver is a shortstop, there was concern that the Yankees were drafting for need and going cheap rather than taking a big bonus baby with their pick.

For those of us who trust the Yankee front office, there is plenty of room for optimism.  First is the hope that the Yankees simply had a better read on a local (well, Rochester) kid that most scouts had not seen very much of prior to the draft, and that they obviously liked what they saw.  … Click here to read the rest