Lots of Backup Catcher Options

Last season, the Yankees catchers position was among the worst in all of MLB. Collectively Yankee catchers hit .213/.287/.298/.585 with a 61 wRC+ and a .266 wOBA.

The Yankees solved that problem for this season by signing Brian McCann. McCann is one of the best all around catchers in MLB and should be able to take advantage of the short porch in right field. Also, he should be a good leader going forward in a time when the Yankees will be looking for new leaders.

McCann will be a huge upgrade over Chris Stewart and as long as he stays healthy he will be a key cog in the middle of the order. Austin Romine, J.R. Murphy and Francisco Cervelli are three intriguing options to backup McCann. This will be one of the key battles to watch in spring training.

Cervelli is the only one of the three without minor league options, so if he loses the job he becomes trade bait.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees Still Generating Plenty Of Catching Depth

J.R. Murphy

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

There was a time not too long ago when the Yankees looked like they were going to be set at catcher for a long time to come.  They had Russell Martin as the immediate replacement for Jorge Posada, top prospects Jesus Montero and Austin Romine waiting in the wings at the upper levels of their farm system, and an 18-year-old kid named Gary Sanchez raking down in A-ball.

Fast forward to the present day and the catcher position is basically a wasteland.  Lifelong backup Francisco Cervelli is on the DL with a broken hand, which cruelly befell him just as he finally seemed to be nailing down the starting job.  His backup Chris Stewart is who we thought he was and who he’s always been as an all field/no hit player whose defensive reputation always seems to outweigh what he actually does on the field.  And Romine, now forced into the backup role for Stewart, has looked awful in his real Major League debut, posting a .151 wOBA and -17 wRC+ and striking out 17 times in 61 PA.… Click here to read the rest

TYA Roundtable: Moving propsects

In our daily email chain, the writers of TYA and I had a hard time deciding what to call this. After all, we did a similar thread the other day about sleeper prospects. But this is a bit different. For that thread, we were talking about prospects we thought might fly under the radar and make some noise without a lot of pre-existing fanfare. This one is a little more focused. After the jump, we’ll be discussing prospects we had on our top 20 lists we think can move up those rankings by way of a strong season in 2012. … Click here to read the rest

A Talented Charleston Roster Struggles To Find Playing Time For Prospects

One of the pleasant surprises early in the 2011 season is the Low-A Charleston Riverdogs’ roster. They have the most talented group of hitters that we’ve seen in Charleston in a long time (at least dating back to the summer when Montero, Romine, Brandon Laird, and Bradley Suttle were all playing together in 2008, but I’d argue this group is better) – both in quality of prospects and quantity. Here’s where they’ve been playing so in Charleston’s first 7 games:

1 OF/C/DH has to sit every game, although two have sat in games while Segedin plays the outfield and Roller plays 1st. So far, they’re rotating who sits, although Sosa has drawn the short straw 3 times.

Now, you see a lot of Casey Stengel-like minor league rosters out there. Players tend to move around the field more than at the major league level. But you rarely see it with real prospects – they usually have a lineup spot and position reserved for them.… Click here to read the rest

KLaw Chats Montero, Yankee Prospects

Keith Law held his weekly chat this Thursday, and had some nice things to say about Jesus Montero:

Q: Which current hitter would you compare Jesus Montero to? If he goes to a different team any chance he stays behind the plate?
Klaw: Physically and in his swing, he reminds me of Frank Thomas. And I know that’s an insane comp to put on a guy, but I don’t think that’s out of the question as an optimistic long-term projection.

Now, KLaw was talking about his swing, so I doubt he was suggesting that Montero would replicate Frank’s otherworldly OBP skills. That said, if Frank Thomas is not out of the question as a projection for Jesus, I think the Yankees could find a way to get him at-bats regardless of position. As I have stated since Montero established himself as an elite hitting prospect, trading him is a bad idea.

Q: KLAW, Yankee prospects to keep an eye on besides Montero.

Click here to read the rest

PP – Top 20 Yankee Prospects Averaged List

Sean over at Pending Pinstripes did what I was thinking about doing but too lazy to pull the trigger on: he averaged the top-20 prospect lists of every major prospect pundit out there, including my list, and merged it in to one list. Austin Jackson and Arodys Vizcaino were eliminated the the lists were adjusted.

Here is my list, and here is the averaged list, with ratings on a 1-240 scale:

1. Jesus Montero – 240
2. Austin Romine – 216
3. Zach McAllister – 207
4. Manny Banuelos – 205
5. Slade Heathcott – 187
6. JR Murphy – 125
7. Andrew Brackman – 100
8. Mark Melancon- 98
9. Jeremey Bleich- 91
10. Ivan Nova- 78
11. Jairo Heredia-77
12. Kelvin De Leon- 76
13. DJ Mitchell- 72
14. Gary Sanchez- 59
15. Wilkens De La Rosa- 48
16. Corban Joseph- 48
17. David Adams- 35
18. Adam Warren- 30
19. Dellin Betances- 28
20. Jose Ramirez – 22

There is a good deal of variation after the top-5.… Click here to read the rest

Callis On The Yankee Catching Depth

Jim Callis answered a number of questions regarding Yankee catching prospects in his ESPN chat today, and made some interesting points. Let’s break them down by player:

Jesus Montero:

I like the Piazza comp. That’s a lot to put on Montero, but he has that potential impact bat and that lackluster defense behind the plate. But the bat may be enough to not worry about his defensive inadequacies.

Callis gets more specific on this point later in the chat:

First base (Teixeira) and DH (a slew of older players) are locked up for a while, so catcher is still going to be the best fit. I think the Yankees are going to try to make that work, and if they have to sacrifice defense for offense, they may just do that.

This course of action makes the most sense for the Yankees, as it allows them to extract the most value possible from Montero. What I found interesting was that Callis did not dismiss this course of action as entirely ridiculous or unworkable.… Click here to read the rest

King: Heathcott and Murphy Have Agreed To Terms

From George King:

The only hurdle left for outfielder Slade Heathcott and catcher John Murphy, the Yankees’ first- and second-round picks in the June MLB Draft is to pass their physicals.

The high-schoolers have agreed to terms and if they pass the physicals, they will choose the Yankees over LSU and the University of Miami, respectively. Both have to be signed by midnight tomorrow.

Both players likely agreed to terms weeks ago, but teams that go over the slot recommendations provided by MLB tend to announce those deals as close to the deadline as possible. It is good to see the Yankees ink these players after losing out on Gerrit Cole and Scott Bittle last season. Furthermore, with the pitching depth that the Yankees have in the minors, it is encouraging to see them add some high ceiling bats to the minor league system, with these two players and Gary Sanchez beefing up a fairly weak portion of the organization.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees Confident at Draft

Draft week is always my favorite week of the year. I picked this week to go camping before realizing what I was interfering with. After a week of monitoring the draft on my tiny little cell phone, I’ve got a lot to get out.

Slade Healthcott was a pick from confidence. They could very easily have picked up Brett Jackson, another athletic centerfielder who had big-program college experience. But Jackson was a lower-ceiling safeish bet compared to Heathcott. A lot of teams passed on his all-star potential because of his family and ACL issues. The Yankees decided to tackle these concerns head on and go for the guy who could be a real star. At the same time, Heathcott doesn’t look like another C.J. Henry or even Austin Jackson. He has a lot of baseball experience and success to go along with the athleticism.

Even with their confidence, it is important to remember that the Yankees are still building organizational knowledge and expertise.… Click here to read the rest