Heathcott, Neal, Or Mesa?

neal

Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports

We’re nearly two weeks away from opening day, and the Yankees haven’t designated a third or fourth outfielder yet. In recent days, Zoilo Almonte, Tyler Austin, and Ramon Flores have been optioned down, Adonis Garcia has suffered an injury, Matt Diaz has looked awful, and Ronnier Mustelier and Juan Rivera have been getting looks in the infield. The front office did acquire Ben Francisco earlier this week, but Cashman called him a bench option. Slade Heathcott, Thomas Neal, and Melky Mesa are all that remain.

On paper, Heathcott seems like an unlikely choice. He’s been in the Yankee system since 2009, but he has just 869 plate appearances thanks to a number of injuries. The highest level of the minor leagues he’s seen is High-A, where he hit very well this year, but would be in a rare position to jump from such a low level to the major leagues. Regardless, Brian Cashman called him a “dark horse candidate” for the outfield job.… Click here to read the rest

Cashman: Heathcott A Dark Horse Candidate

Lost in yesterday’s interview with Mike Francesa, Brian Cashman spoke meticulously about the the situation in left field. Unlike “accidentally” blurting out that the team offered Robinson Cano an extension, Cashman gave us a good long rundown of the outfield options. Melky Mesa, Zoilo Almonte, Matt Diaz, Juan Rivera, and a number of other young guys are in consideration before the team looks outside of the organization. But towards the end of the interview, Cashman could not stop raving about Slade Heathcott.

He called Heathcott a dark horse candidate. After talking up his tools and the way he plays the game, Cashman referred to 2005, when the Yankees called up the 20 year old Melky Cabrera from Double-A. In comparing Heathcott to Cabrera, he said that Melky had some additional experience at the time, but Heathcott’s tools are far better.

Anthony J. Causi

Melky Cabrera was certainly called up early in his career, but in July of 2005, Cabrera already had a handful of plate appearances in both Double-A and Triple-A.… Click here to read the rest

Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson

With Curtis Granderson down and out for ten weeks or so, the Yankees have a hole in left field. No injury can have an upside though there can be silver linings. “Luckily,” a lot of Granderson’s rehab time will be taken up by Spring Training and he’ll be back in early May. But on that not-so-lucky side, since it’s Spring Training, the market for outfielders is pretty thin and obviously, the timing isn’t great. There are, however, some internal options.

Though it should be obvious, let’s just cross of Slade Heathcott and Mason Williams. Ramon Flores, who’s on the 40-man roster and whose star seems to be rising, should be discounted because of the fact that he’s so young (he’ll turn 21 next month). That leaves us with Zoilo Almonte and Melky Mesa. For brief rundowns of those two, check out this post from Yanks Go Yard.

To add to it, the Yankees have expressed excitement about Almonte.… Click here to read the rest

Sickels ranks farm system 14th in MLB

Yesterday, John Sickels of Minor League Ball ranked the Yankees’ farm system 14th in Major League Baseball, up two spots from last year’s ranking of 16. Sickels comment on the Yankees was as follows:

14) New York Yankees (16): Strengths: quartet of young hitters at the top, with Gary Sanchez, Tyler Austin, Mason Williams, and Slade Heathcott all potential impact prospects, though all have some questions. Good depth in C+ types behind them. Weaknesses: impact pitching. I don’t count Manny Banuelos as an automatic Tommy John recovery. Wildcard: Rafael DePaula, who could vault up lists quickly once he pitches against people his own age.

So they’re not blowing the world away, but they’re not falling behind, either. The construction of the farm system–at least the top thereof–shows us how quickly things can change in a farm system. Just a few years ago, we were excited about the “Killer B’s,” pitchers Manny Banuelos, Andrew Brackman, and Dellin Betances.… Click here to read the rest

Don’t Count On Heathcott In The Bronx This Year

No need to rush the kid. Courtesy of MiLB.com

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

Prospect huggers everywhere were rejoicing last Friday when they got wind of scouting director Damon Oppenheimer’s latest comments on 2 of the Yankees’ hottest prospects.  Speaking to Jack Curry of YES, Oppenheimer had very high praise for both Mark Montgomery and Slade Heathcott, calling Montgomery’s slider “sick,” describing Heathcott as an “impact player,” and leaving the door open for both of them to be on the Yankee roster sometime in 2013.

This comes as no surprise to anybody who’s familiar with Montgomery’s body of work.  I’ve advocated for his call up to the show on multiple occasions, once before last year’s roster expansion date (which may have been a little hasty) and recently as part of the MiL group I think we will see in a Yankee uniform in 2013.  But Heathcott is a different story.  He’s 22 years old, but not nearly as polished as Montgomery, and with less high-level experience under his belt. … Click here to read the rest

Top-30 Prospects Preview: How Far Has Manuel Banuelos Fallen?

Manuel Banuelos was the no-doubt top Yankee prospect entering this season, and held down the #2 spot, behind Jesus Montero, for a year before that. A lot of people, myself included, expect him to spend time on the Yankee roster down the stretch in 2012, and move on to a bright major league career. Instead, Banuelos had pretty much the worst possible 2012 season: after months of trying to rehab an elbow injury, Banuelos was shut down on August 6th after pitching just 24 innings.

Banuelos was 21 years old entering this season, and impressive age for someone starting at Triple-A. After having his 2010 season cut short by an appendectomy and his 2011 season slowed by innings and pitch counts, it was supposed to be his time to stretch out and put some serious workload on his body. Instead, he’ll have to deal with another season of careful handling and strict limits. He’ll be only 22 years old, but the development time lost makes him start to feel older.… Click here to read the rest

Some Glimmers Of Light In The Injury-Filled Prospect Darkness

Don't sleep on this guy. Courtesy of Mike Ashmore

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

This has not been a good season for the Yankee farm system.  EJ Fagan made that perfectly clear yesterday in his evaluation of the Manny Banuelos shutdown story, which was much more level-headed than mine.  By my count, the Yankees have seen 4 of their top 5, 5 of their top 8, and 7 of their top 12 prospects miss time with injuries this season, and have had another handful of their top 20 have fantastically bad years (see: Betances, Dellin or Bichette, Jr., Dante).  I guess the one good thing about all of this is that at least Jesus Montero hasn’t gone over to Seattle and started becoming the next Miguel Cabrera, right?  But fear not, Yankee fans, because all hope is not lost.  The injured will return to full health at some point, and further down the prospect food chain there have been some strong performances in the Yankee system this year. … Click here to read the rest

Yankee Farm System Timing Looks Good

I want to step back and take a big-picture look at the Yankee organization for a second. The 2012 Yankee roster probably won’t need a lot of help from down on the farm this season, barring a very injury call-ups. They have plenty of guys – Ramiro Pena, Adam Warren, David Phelps, Brandon Laird – who can fill those roles, along with your higher ceiling prospects guys like Betances, Romine, and Banuelos sitting at Triple-A. But the Yankees have enough guys either in their prime (Sabathia, Granderson, Cano, Gardner, Swisher, Robertson) or close enough (Kuroda, Teixeira, Martin, Pineda) to contend in 2012, and probably 2013. After that, they’ll be faced with more and more aging players, and possibly one or two big-money contracts added to the system, but the team will probably overall be on the down slope. With $189 million looming on the horizon, the team could be quickly hungry for reinforcements.

Lucky for the Yankees, they are well positioned for the calvary to come riding in right about the time that their roster starts to look very, very old.… 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