The title of this post is pretty self-explanatory. Here are the guys that we think are flying under the radar a bit: E.J. Fagan: Sleeper: Jairo Heredia: I’m digging very deep here, but I think there’s some latent potential in RHP Jairo Heredia. He was the right-handed Manuel Banuelos before there was Manuel Banuelos. Heredia [...]
We can pretend there is a competition going on for the Yankees’ No. 5 starter spot, but that is what it is. Pretend. The WWE stages more realistic battles.
But understand this: The competition is rigged. If it is close, Hughes wins. If it is advantage Garcia, but only slightly, Hughes wins. Hughes can only lose this by doing what he did last spring, having his fastball go on a mysterious hiatus.
That sounds about right, though I think Sherman is overstating his case a little bit. I very much doubt that there’s ever a real competition in any camp, and that teams generally have an idea of what they’re going to decide going in unless the situation forces them to change course. To that end, the question isn’t whether the competition should be an open one, but whether the Yankees are right to consider Hughes the preliminary favorite. That seems like a no-brainer to me.
Put simply; the Yankees have invested far too much, and Hughes still has too much upside, to essentially throw in the towel on his development as a starter now, especially for a trivial gain from the fifth starter position. It would be one thing if he was just inexplicably awful last season but, for whatever reason, he was hurt at the beginning of the year and lost the season’s first three months as a result. And with Hughes eligible for after the 2013 season, the Yankees have to figure out what, if anything, he can give them in the long run now. Considering that the stakes are so relatively low (how many fifth starters around the league would you prefer to have over Hughes?), and that Garcia will be in the fold to step in should Hughes not work out this time around, there’s not really any good reason for the Yankees to send Hughes to the bullpen unless he forces them to.
It’s been an interesting winter for the Yankees’ farm system. The team traded away Jesus Montero, who’s been the organization’s top prospect for what seems like forever, yet still ranks amongst the top top echelon of organizations according to most evaluators, thanks in large part to the emergence of young talents like Mason Williams, Dante Bichette Jr., and Ravel Santana. All in all, the Yankees had four prospects make each of the big three top 100 lists that are published each year even after Montero was traded. That’s impressive depth anyway you slice it.
So on that note, I’m happy to present to you my first attempt at ranking the top 30 prospects in the Yankees’ system. These aren’t necessarily hard-and-fast ranks, by any means. There’s a number of places where there’s not a lot separating any five or six players, and even at the top I think there’s a lot of room for debate, and not a lot of daylight between numbers one and four, in my opinion. Ultimately it comes down to what you put value on and a fair amount of guess work about which each player can become. Usually I’m the kind of person who favors players who are closer to the big leagues over those in the lower minors because it’s much easier to guess at what they’re capable of in the show, but in putting these rankings together I found myself really prizing upside over security when it came down to it. Why? I have no idea, really. Maybe that’s just the way the system shakes out right now, with so many talented youngsters populating the lower levels of the system. Maybe it’s because of the new rules for acquiring amateur players, which will make it harder for teams like the Yankees to stock up a large number of those high ceiling kind of players. Or maybe that’s just the way I was feeling on the day I sat down and put the rankings together. Whatever the case, just keep that in mind when you’re reading the list, and adjust accordingly if you have different preferences.
So with that said, here’s the list:
1. Gary Sanchez C/DH:
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Via Bryan Hoch, Joe Girardi has announced the starting rotation for the first week of Spring Training contests.
Friday March 2nd vs. Southern Florida: Adam Warren
Saturday March 3rd at Phillies: Ivan Nova
Sunday March 4th vs. Phillies: Freddy Garcia
Monday March 5th at Phillies: Michael Pineda
Tuesday March 6th at Pirates: C.C. Sabathia and Phil Hughes
Wednesday March 7th vs. Rays: Hiroki Kuroda
All games will start at 1:05 P.M. EST, with the Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday games broadcast on YES and MLB Network.
(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog). Add Ryan Zimmerman to the list of young superstars who have opted for long-term security over free agency. The 27-year old third baseman recently signed a $100 million, six-year extension that will take effect in 2014, keeping Zimmerman in the nation’s capital until at least the end of the decade. [...]
Who are the top Yankee prospects in the farm system? Normally, I would provide a spring re-ranking around this time of the year. But let’s be honest: there’s not going to be much difference from my fall list. So, to keep things interesting, we here at TYA decided to do what we do best and [...]
Mason Williams raised a lot of eyebrows last year with his performance with the Staten Island Yankees, and he’s rocketed up the prospect rankings this winter, appearing on all three major top 100 lists, and being ranked in the top 40 by ESPN’s Keith Law. That’s high praise for a youngster like Williams, but it certainly seems merited, as Williams displays solid hit and defense tools along with an above average arm and plus-plus speed. In fact, the only tool that appears to be in question in Williams’ arsenal is his power, and the Yankees’ prized outfield prospect is intent on making sure that isn’t a problem.
“They told us not to even bring gloves, bats, or cleats,” Williams said of the offseason training regimen he participated in at the Yankees’ complex in Tampa. “After six weeks I had probably gained 10 to 15 pounds.” Williams says he currently weighs about 185 pounds which, as Mark Feinsand notes, is a big increase from the 160 pounds he tipped the scales at last spring.
I ranked Williams third in my top 30 prospect list, which was mostly a function of his age/level and questions about his ability to hit for power. If, however, Williams puts on the muscle and develops the sort of power that makes ~20 home runs a realistic big league ceiling for him, there’s not much keeping him away from the top spot on the list, and the potential for bona fide superstardom in the big leagues.