One Last Moncada Analysis: Why He’s Worth the First Nine-Figure Prospect Signing

A Yoan Moncada signing may be imminent, with Hank Steinbrenner attending Moncada’s notable third private workout with the Yankees just days ago, so I’ll take this last chance to weigh in on whether he’s worth the small fortune he’ll cost. My first thought was: No way is a 19 year-old amateur worth the $80-$100m we hear he may get. My second thought was: Come to think of it, I have no idea what a top draft pick is really worth to a team. Team owners prevent American amateurs from earning their true value by agreeing to sign them only in a “draft” — i.e., a cartel agreement that each player will get an offer from only one employer, not from multiple employers bidding for his services. I’ll leave for another day my tirade about how badly baseball owners violate free-market economics and morality by being tied with OPEC as the top billionaires-for-cartelization club. But the point is that the several million it takes to sign a top draft pick is his cartel-depressed price, not his value to his team.…

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Moncada Updates: Decision By 2/23, The $100 Million Man?

Haven’t talked about Yoan Moncada lately, so let’s catch up on the newest news on that front.

The biggest news came about a day ago, when in a story by Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, Moncada’s representative said the plan is for Moncada to make his signing decision by Monday, February 23rd.  David Hastings, Moncada’s rep, said they have a more private workouts scheduled for next week, including a handful of “look backs” by teams who have already held a private workout, and that they want to make the decision after those workouts are completed.

This morning, Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the expected price tag for Moncada has risen to the $40-50 million range, making it a $100 million investment with the tax.  That’s a huge chunk of change for a 19-year-old player who won’t be playing at the MLB level for a few years, so that should tell you something about how good Moncada is and can be and how well baseball is doing financially when teams can take that kind of financial risk.…

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Judge, Severino Make Baseball Prospectus’ 2015 Top 101 Prospects List

The offseason of accolades and resume building continues for Aaron Judge and Luis Severino.  Yesterday they were once again the only 2 Yankee representatives on a national top prospects list, this one the 2015 edition of the Baseball Prospectus Top 101.  Judge came in 49th on the list with Severino right behind him at 51.

If this series of prospect rankings has taught us anything, it’s that these 2 are the clear top 2 in the Yankee farm system.  No disrespect to the Birds and Sanchezes and Clarkins of the world, but Judge and Severino are clearly on another level as prospects and 2015 is going to be a big year for both of them in terms of setting up a realistic target date for their MLB debuts.  Ideally, I’d like to see them both perform well and stay healthy in split seasons between Double-A and Triple-A.  That would line Severino up to compete for a spot in the 2016 rotation and Judge for a call up sometime in the early part of next season.…

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Quick Hit: John Sickels Releases His Top 20 Yankee Prospects List

Prospect ranking season isn’t quite over yet.  John Sickels released the 2015 edition of his top 20 Yankees prospect rankings earlier today over at Minor League Ball, and I have to say I think it’s quite good.

It’s got all the usual suspects at or near the spots they’ve held on most of the other notable lists.  Luis Severino gets the #1 spot over Aaron Judge here, Jacob Lindgren is up at 6, Miguel Andujar at 9, and the older contingent of guys like Tyler Austin, Jose Ramirez, and Bryan Mitchell are still regarded as valuable as 11-15 players.

The biggest surprise on Sickels’ list might be Angel Aguilar coming in 17th.  That’s the highest I can remember seeing him on any list other than EJ’s, so maybe Aguilar is somebody I need to start paying closer attention to this year.

The whole list is free and comes with little write-ups on each player, so it’s definitely worth checking out.…

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Ten Years Later: The Yankees Top-10 Prospects of 2005

Much has been made of the Yankees inability to develop top flight talent over the last ten to fifteen years or so. In the eyes of many, the team’s post Core Four development record amounts to Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner, David Robertson, and a slew of disappointments and busts. That is not wholly inaccurate, I suppose, as expectations for prospects – any team’s prospects – are generally sky high. Optimism abounds, making disappointment an inevitability in most circumstances. For every Mike Trout that the Angels develop, for example, they suffer dozens of folk like Brandon Wood and Dallas McPherson (hold onto that thought). Our memories are geared to remember the extremes of most any scenario, hence our insistence on clinging to the booms and the busts, and not focusing on those prospects that simply worked out.

With this in mind, I began perusing old Yankees prospect lists to see how their best talent on the farm has shaken out over the last decade.…

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Report: Yoan Moncada Officially Declared A Free Agent By MLB

Via Jeff Passan, top Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada was officially declared a free agent by MLB today.  He is now eligible to sign with any team.

According to Passan’s report, MLB will require all players wishing to come over to sign with teams to provide a sworn affidavit stating that they have established residency in another country, have no intention of going back to Cuba, and are not Cuban government officials.  This will allow them to receive the general unblocking license from the US government that was the apparent holdup previously.  Funny how that first story came out last week about MLB dragging its feet on the licences and now we have a resolution this week.

With MLB’s shenanigans in the rearview, the Yankees move right to the front of the line of favorites to sign Moncada.  They have until June 15th of this year to make him any offer they want plus a 100% penalty tax on the deal.  …

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Yanks Put 3 In Scout.com’s Top 100 Prospects

There’s another top 100 prospects list out, and the Yankees did a little better on this one.  Scout.com posted their top 100 yesterday afternoon, and while the Yanks did not put anybody in their top 50, they did have 3 representatives in the 51-100 section.  Luis Severino was 51st, Aaron Judge was 57th, and Greg Bird was 96th.

Severino’s inclusion and team-high ranking on this list goes to show how widely spread the opinions on him are, and once again exemplifies the high level of subjectivity and personal bias that goes into each and every one of these rankings.  Everybody has their own thoughts, their own criteria, and that’s what makes this type of stuff fun and interesting to follow if nothing else.

For the sake of comparison to Law’s list, Scout.com’s top 5 was Bryant, Correa, Buxton, Lucas Giolito, and Francisco Lindor.  Addison Russell was 8th.

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Quick Hit: Yanks Put Judge And Bird In Keith Law’s Top 100 Prospects List

The Keith Law prospect extravaganza rolls on today as he unveiled his top 100 MLB prospects list a little while ago.  The Yankees were represented by 2 players on the list: Aaron Judge at #23 and Greg Bird at #80.

The full write-up and list is Insider-only (of course), but here’s what Law had to say about Judge:

“He showed outstanding plate discipline and ability to make contact in his first full year in pro ball while giving glimpses of the huge raw power you’d expect from someone of his build…

… He’s an above-average defender in right, faster than you’d expect, with the arm to profile there and the potential to post strong triple-slash numbers if he can make that one big adjustment.”

And on the Birdman:

“Bird’s swing is very short to the ball, and he accelerates his hands quickly for hard contact to all fields, rarely putting the ball on the ground because he squares it up so frequently.

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Keith Law Ranks Yankee Farm System 20th In MLB

This is super late, but Keith Law of ESPN released his organizational farm system rankings yesterday.  He had the Yankees 20th out of 30 teams, which may seem a bit low to us Yankee fans.  The full article is Inisder-only, but this is what Law had to say about the NYY farm:

“The Yankees’ system still has more talent than production, as several key prospects continued to have trouble staying on the field, but a very strong 2013 draft class and a blowout year on the international front have the system trending up again.”

If you recall, 20th is exactly where Law had the Yankees last year.  I’d argue that a system that got a tremendous full season from Aaron Judge, monster years from guys like Luis Severino, Greg Bird, and Rob Refsnyder, a bounce back year from Tyler Austin, American pro debuts from high-upside young players like Mateo, Molina, and Palma, and has more pitching depth than people might give it credit for is already trending up and deserving of a higher rank than 20th.  …

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