Campos ready for Spring Training

The last ten months or so have been downright brutal for the Yankees’ farm system in the pitching department, but perhaps they’re getting off to a good start in 2013. Via George King, Yankees’ player development chief Mark Newman confirms that Jose Campos has completed his throwing program and is ready to return to the field this spring. Campos, 20, got off to a scorching start with Charleston last April before being sidelined with a mysterious elbow injury. He went on to miss the rest of the season. I would imagine that he’s ticketed for a return to the Riverdogs this year, but the main goal will have to be keeping him healthy over a year of full season ball.

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Yankees 10th in Law’s organization rankings

The Yankees’ farm system isn’t quite as impressive at first blush as they were at this time last year, but they still have a lot of talent (albeit towards the bottom of the system), and they still stack up pretty well against the rest of the league. In fact, Keith Law thinks they have a top ten system, putting them in the tenth spot in his just released organizational rankings. That corresponds pretty closely with the rankings of Baseball America (11th) and John Sickels (14th), putting the Yankees squarely in the top half of the league. After trading away Jesus Montero and having Manny Banuelos and Jose Campos go down with injuries in 2012, that’s a real testament to the work Brian Cashman and the front office has done in investing in player development recently.

On a quick programming note: You should probably expect light blogging from me over the next two days. I have a small parade to attend tomorrow that will occupy most of my day, and as for today, well frankly I’m far too distracted/exhausted to find many interesting things about baseball.…

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Sanchez is Mayo’s third best catching prospect

It’s never a bad time for prospect hype, so here’s the latest such bit for the Yankees’ organization:’s Jonathan Mayo has ranked Gary Sanchez as the third best catching prospect in the game, behind the Mets’ Travis d’Arnaud and Seattle’s Mike Zunino. Those are a couple of stud prospects and the consensus top two prospects at the position, so in effect, Mayo is calling Sanchez the leader of the rest of the pack in the minor leagues, which is really something. That said, though I’m fairly bullish on Sanchez myself, I think Mayo might be a little bit overly optimistic in his evaluation of Sanchez, especially his defense. Sanchez has made gains there, but most of the people who give him better than average reviews for his defense still see him as an adequate at best backstop, while Mayo seems to be saying that he could be an asset behind the plate as well as in the batter’s box.…

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Austin gets invite to big league camp

I’m not sure if this already broke and I just missed it, but via this interview with, the Yankees have invited Tyler Austin to big league camp in Tampa. Austin, of course, had a breakout season last year and even got the direct attention of Brian Cashman, so the invitation is well deserved. He only topped out with a cup of coffee at Double-A, however, so don’t mistake this as him getting a serious chance to make the major league roster by any means (though there are worse way to address the current DH hole, amirite?), but more as a chance for the major league coaches to get a good look at him, and for Austin to learn from the big league coaches and players, and maybe even as a bit of an acknowledgement of the tremendous year he had in 2012. Most of all, it means there’s a good chance we’ll get to see Austin take at least a few at bats in the early schedule games, which I’m legitimately excited about.…

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Thames to become Tampa hitting coach

Former Yankee Marcus Thames is retiring from MLB to become the hitting coach for the Tampa Yankees, the club’s High-A affiliate. The team announced the move on their Twitter page. Thames was mostly known for his ability to hit left-handed pitching, and finishes his major league career with 115 home runs and a .246/.309/.485 slash line. He spent one season with the Yankees, 2010, a year in which he hit .288/.350/.491 with 12 home runs and served as a key part of the team’s bench as they advanced to the ALCS before losing to Texas. He also hit a memorable walk off home run against the Red Sox in May of that year for his defining moment in pinstripes. Congratulations to Thames on a very nice big league career, and good luck in his new job.

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Sickels’ top Yankees’ prospects

It doesn’t get the same amount of attention that the lists put out by Baseball America or Baseball Prospectus do, but John Sickels’ annual prospect rankings may well be the most unique of all of the prospect rankings that come out annually. That’s because, in addition to his own unique perspective and preferences on prospects, Sickels assigns a traditional letter grade to prospects, adding an additional level of depth and context above a simple stacked list of players. He put his list of the Yankees’ top twenty prospects out back before Christmas and, as always, it’s worth a once-over if you’re into the prospecting thing. The top of his list is fairly non-controversial, but there’s some interesting selections in the 8-15 range.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot: Sickels will be joining Stacey and I on On the Money tonight to talk about his rankings, as will our own minor league editor Tamar Chalker. The show goes live at 9:00 P.M. EST, and can be listened to here.

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Cashman: Romine likely to start season in minors

With Russell Martin on his way to Bradenton instead of Tampa this February and no major league reinforcements on the way, Austin Romine has emerged as both the catcher of the future and the designated object of hope for fans desperate for an alternative to Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart. Unfortunately for those people, Romine has lost a lot of development time to injury in the past year, and as such it appears as though he may be ticketed for Triple-A, at least to begin the year. Anthony McCarron reports that general manager Brian Cashman “believes” that’s exactly what will happen in April. “I expect Romine to go to Triple-A,” Cashman said. “I don’t expect him to be our everyday catcher out of the gate. He always has the possibility of taking it, but realistically, if I were in prediction mode, I’d say Triple-A.  But he has a chance to alter that.”

If performance is the key issue, it shouldn’t take much for Romine to earn himself a shot with the big league team.…

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Yankees considered moving Austin backed to third

Well this is interesting: Chad Jennings reports that the Yankees considered moving top prospect Tyler Austin back to third base in the wake of the Alex Rodriguez injury news.

This winter, the Yankees at least considered the idea of moving Austin back to third base, but they ultimately decided to keep him in right field for the time being.

“He’s a better defender in right,” vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman said. “But (putting him back at third) is something we’ve thought about. It’s a possibility.”

Austin played third base in 2011, his first full season in the Yankees’ system, but shifted to right field last year and took off on a tear that took him from Low-A Charleston on Opening Day to a cup of coffee with Double-A Trenton to end the season. He drew surprisingly positive reviews for his work in the outfield, certainly better than the scouting reports on his third base defense. He’s definitely a bat first player though, so the defense just needs to be passable so long as he keeps raking at the plate.…

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Yankees lose no one to Rule 5 draft

The Rule 5 draft just wrapped up in Nashville, and of the 42 players selected none came out of the Yankees’ organization. That’s probably not as noteworthy as it sounds though, if only because the Yankees have been super aggressive in protecting eligible players in recent years. That’s why they have guys like Zoilo Almonte, Melky Mesa, and Corban Jospeh on the 40 man roster even though they don’t have a ton of usefulness to the big league team at the moment. This year they even protected Nik Turley and Jose Ramirez, even though it seems highly unlikely that they’re ready to stick on a major league roster, and filling up the 40 man roster just means that you have to DFA someone anytime you need to make a move. I don’t really get it, but there you go.

On the other side of the ledger, the Yankees didn’t have an open 40 man roster spot, so they weren’t eligible to select anyone themselves.…

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