A Look At Relief Prospect Branden Pinder

Over the last few years, the Yankees organization has emerged as one of the best system for producing relievers. David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, John Axford, Tyler Clippard, Mark Melancon, Alfredo Aceves, and a number of others have all been products of Yankee scouting and development. The big relief prospect at the moment is Mark Montgomery, who will probably see the Major Leagues by the end of 2013. There are a number of other relievers, such as Tom Kahnle and Nick Goody who could be fast movers, but Branden Pinder is one of the biggest names to watch this Spring Training.

The Yankees drafted the right-hander in the 16th round of the 2011 draft as a starting pitcher. In the move to the bullpen, Pinder’s velocity increased from low-90’s to mid-90’s, and he’s currently topping out at 97 mph. His slider also vastly improved during the 2011 season, and some scouts called it a major league ready pitch.… Click here to read the rest

Yankee Top Ten Relief Prospects (Part 2)

As I’ve said before, the Yankees have been the best organization at developing relief pitchers over the last decade. With all these top prospect lists heading our way, I rarely see much loving handed out to the relief pitchers, so I figured we could focus on an impressive group of guys that could become the team’s future. Who knows, one of these guys might be the next Mariano Rivera. While guys like Dellin Betances might ultimately become relievers, this list is for players that currently project out of the bullpen. While closeness to the majors was a factor, upside was primary, which pushed LOOGYs and many older AAA relievers off this list. Without further ado, the top 5 relief prospects.

Tommy Kahnle (J.S. Carras/The Record)

5. RHP- Thomas Kahnle (22)
The fifth round pick in the 2010 draft had a spectacular 16 innings in his debut season, sporting a 14.1 K/9, 1.7 H/9, and 2.8 BB/9 in low A. He maintained decent numbers with strikeouts and hits, 12.4 K/9, and a more realistic 7.7 H/9, but struggled with his command, 5.4 BB/9.… Click here to read the rest

The Forgotten Man

So Jesus Montero is gone and so Gary Sanchez had his ups and downs in 2011, so we start talking about the incredible Mason Williams. Listen, I love Williams and his athleticism makes me drool, but we’re forgetting someone. This player, the forgotten man, he’s the same age as Williams, he stole bases at a much better rate, he hit for far more power, had slightly better contact, and maintained the same sort of walk rate. He’s Tyler Austin and no one seems to love him.

Photo by Scott Tidlund

After a broken wrist in 2010, Austin split his 2011 season between the Gulf Coast League and Staten Island, where he put up a .354/.418/.579 triple slash with 6 homeruns and 18 stolen bases without a single caught stealing. The only difference I see between Austin and Williams’ numbers are the 89 plate appearances the third baseman had in rookie ball, still the majority of his season was spent on the same team as Mason where he put up arguably better numbers.… Click here to read the rest

BA Releases Top NY-Penn League Ranking, Williams, Culver Among Prospects Ranked

Baseball America released their Top-20 NY-Penn League ranking this week. The Yankees on the list:

1. Mason Williams, of, Staten Island Yankees
6. Cito Culver, ss, Staten Island Yankees
8. Tyler Austin, 3b, Staten Island Yankees
14. Angelo Gumbs, 2b, Staten Island Yankees
19. Branden Pinder, rhp, Staten Island Yankees

Everyone knew that Mason Williams was a no-brainer for the #1 spot. That was hardly news. However, Cito Culver’s relatively high #6 ranking is great news for Yankee fans. Culver didn’t put up eye-popping numbers last year, wasn’t lauded at the draft, and for the most part hasn’t made any news since the Yankees signed him. That makes his overall prospect status very difficult to judge. Aaron Fitt gets his information from calling around to scouts and coaches in the league and asking people for their opinion on players. His ranking reflects significant praise for Culver coming from people outside the Yankee organization.

We have a pretty good idea of what Cito Culver offers right now.… Click here to read the rest