The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

Monday, December 24, 2012

Minor League Ball: New York Yankees Top 20 Prospects for 2013

1) Gary Sanchez, C, Grade B+: Youngest of the top Yankee hitting prospects, and plays the most difficult position, showing enough defensive improvement to give decent hope that he can stick there.

2) Tyler Austin, OF, Grade B+: Tremendous instincts, solid tools, and hits for power and average. How did this guy last until the 13th round?

3) Mason Williams, OF, Grade B: Borderline B+: Tools are a notch ahead of Austin’s, but Tyler wins on current polish and makeup and they are the same age. It is also unclear how much power Williams will develop. Speed and defense should be very valuable.

4) Slade Heathcott, OF, Grade B: Oldest of the quartet at age 22 and injury history is discouraging, but he’s starting to tap his power and I was very impressed with him in the Arizona Fall League. An outfield of Heathcott in left, Williams in center, and Austin in right would be stellar defensively and highly-productive on offense if everyone maxes out their hitting skills.

5) Brett Marshall, RHP, Grade B-: Marshall is the best pitching prospect by default, thanks to the health problems of Banuelos and Campos, and the simple uncertainty regarding DePaula. Mid-rotation projection, should be a nice inning-eater.

Here’s the list of players that will be traded for a RH backup outfielder and pitchers with frayed labrums.  Thanks to NJASDJDH, who really could have just posted it himself.

Happy Festivus to all, or Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukah if that’s more your style.

--Posted at 8:41 am by SG / 34 Comments | - (0)


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Also, Kwanzaa.

SG, I didn’t bother attempting to post because I forgot the address for the internal site.

Thoughts on the list:
-Sanchez still scares me a bit because of the defense and the strikeouts. He seems to be improving on both, which is a good sign, but he hasn’t improved enough to the point that I would feel comfortable ranking him ahead of Austin and Williams who are the system’s top two (in some order) IMO. In a nutshell, I view the odds of Gary Sanchez never amounting to anything as being much higher than Austin or Williams.

-Austin, I absolutely love. He does just about everything really well and I think his prospect shine is hurt a bit by the fact that he is R/R COF and because he steals bases without being fast. With respect to the latter point, I wouldn’t assume that we should just ignore that part of his game. If he was just stealing bases at a high success rate, sure, but he’s stealing a good amount of bases a Troutian efficiency. Since he doesn’t have much in the way of a Speed tool I think that speaks well of his general baseball instincts/smarts and I think a player like that will be able to add noteworthy value in terms of baserunning given that his positional peers tend to suck at that aspect of the game. In some ways he reminds me of a righty Paul O’Neill in terms of the shape of his offense.

-Surprised to see Sickels ding Williams for the makeup stuff. It’s been a part of every ranking of Williams that I have seen this offseason, but I’m inclined to think it’s ridiculous/trumped up.

-Heathcott scares me.

-I really like Gumbs, think he could be the big mover amongst the postiion prospects next year in terms of gaining a bunch of prospect hype.

-Ramon Flores is underrated and I really thought Sickels would give him a B-. The only thing you can fault him on is whether or not he has enough power to fit the COF profile. He commands the strike zone, he hits for average, plays good defense. Reminds me of Melky in some ways. I think prospects who don’t fit a mold tend to be underrated.

-Corban Joseph’s ranking was the most shocking of all. Based on Sickels’ description of his letter grades, Joseph seems to be a textbook B- guy.

-Corban Joseph’s ranking was the most shocking of all. Based on Sickels’ description of his letter grades, Joseph seems to be a textbook B- guy.

Could his age be a slight hit on his overall grade?

I was pleasantly surprised by the number of high upside pitching prospects at the lower levels, namely Hensley, Turley, Black, and DePaula. Add them to Campos, Marshall, and Banuelos, and I’m almost optimistic that the farm will produce at least one decent starter over the next three years.

Someone mentioned in the last thread that Black was a reliever, but he’s only ever started in the minors. Is that how he’s being projected?

Sickels doesn’t think that any of Joseph, Adams, Mesa, Mustelier, Warren, Culver, or Betances will amount to much.

Could his age be a slight hit on his overall grade?

As a general point, yes. But, Sickels defines Grade B prospects as “prospects [that] have a good chance to enjoy successful careers. Some will develop into stars, some will not. Most end up spending several years in the majors, at the very least in a marginal role.” Joseph has already played a season at AAA and done really well their, especially when you look at his numbers vs. RHP. I think it’s a relatively safe bet that he will spend several years in the majors at the very least in a marginal role.

I’m almost optimistic that the farm will produce at least one decent starter over the next three years.

Let’s not get carried away.

Romine’s capsule description not overly encouraging for a guy who may be the main man behind the plate.

Also, Kwanzaa.

I believe the proper terminology is, “have a killer Kwanzaa.”

Killer Kwanzaa starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Pam Grier and a young Chris Rock in the forgotten classic.  Spoiler alert Curtis gets it in the 3rd reel.

Here’s the list of players that will be traded for a RH backup outfielder and pitchers with frayed labrums.

Is AJax in decline yet ? Or do we have to wait a few more years ?

Festivus involves a pole (a bat), feats of strength (hitting home runs except to the disgraceful porch in DNYS or over the green goblin) and airing grievances (nuff said) so it seems like it should be the official seasonal holiday.

[6] Thought the first two words would be followed by - “of his throwing shoulder is torn per the Post - he’ll be out until summer 2014 following surgery.”

I’m not much of a prospects-watcher.  I suppose trying Joseph at 3b has been discussed and dismissed?  Does he not have the arm or the first step for 3b?  I vaguely register that someone here suggested moving Cano to 3b, but you don’t move a mainstay out of position unless it’s for a can’t-miss player, right?  I mean, didn’t we already try that when we were the 1988 Tigers and we moved Lou Whitaker for Tory Lovullo?

[12] Cano has the arm for 3B, but he needs it at 2B to make up for his lackadasical non-hustle approach. I think he pretty much doesn’t like to break a sweat. #francissa’d

We don’t need any more outfielders. What we need is a new left side of the infield, preferably one where both players are under 250# and don’t spend any time in traction during the playing season.

Any word on Jeter’s progress ? Are the paparazzi staked out at Jenny Craig outlets all over the tri-state area ?

I think cheap outfielders are the best hope for supporting our 80 million dollar infield.

Merry Christmas everyone… yes even the Sox fan.

[16] There are many of us Mariners fans. Legal dope, Iguana, The Jesus, garlic fries.

Oh wait, did we decide not to abandon ship ? We’re still Spiders’ fans ?

[17] I thought our view was the ship had abandoned us.

We’d rather have the iceberg than the ship.

Through a haze of beer, and liquor (or my normal state of mind) I wish everyone a happy whatever the hell you celebrate. Mostly, appreciate your friends and family, have some high quality alcoholic beverages and food and enjoy the fact that we root for the Yankees and not the Astros.

[20] The Astros? Why must you mention our bitter division rivals?

Chinese food and a movie, terrific old noir The Big Combo, guess I’m more Jewish then I thought.

[18] I won’t officially know what our view is until SG posts it, with a pie chart and a pithy backhanded swipe at alskor or Heyman (assuming they’re not the same person).

Until then, I am steadfast in my devotion to the spiders, or whatever west coast franchise seems most convenient while I secretly root for the Yankees. But I’m flexible. And drunk. And suffering from excess roast beef, which limits my flexibility.

[21] Better than our bitter regional rivals, the Padres.

I’m dreading all those 10 pm start times..but between condensed games on, day games, and away series against the East and Central, this M’s thing could actually work.

[25] may be the first post on this site that had something good to say about

I recently got chewed out on Twitter by an acquaintance for poo-poohing the Youk signing as an unfortunate byproduct of necessity. Merry Christmas to the people who appreciate that mild complaining is nothing more than the amuse boche.

My father-in-law got me a plaque commemorating Jeter’s 3000th hit, with infield dirt from the day, certified authentic by Steiner Sports.  The kind of thing I never would have gotten for myself but pretty cool to have.  That was a hell of a day, wasn’t it?

A Merry Whatever to All, and to All a Good Morning from Petersburg.

[28] Gotta think Duchamp et Cie would get a kick out of framed dirt hanging on a wall.

Hope everyone has been having a happy holidays.  Unless you’re a Giants fan like me, in which case your weekend was much diminished.  If anyone cares for my take on some of these prospects…

* I think as of right now, I’d put Sanchez 4th behind the other three, but probably keep them in their current order.  Sanchez I think still has the most upside of the crew, because if he improves just a bit on defense and gets the K’s under control, you’re talking Mike Piazza upside, maybe a little less offense and a little more defense.  However, until he’s showing he belongs behind the plate and can handle higher level pitching, I don’t think I’d put him first.

* I agree that Austin’s SB shouldn’t be completely dismissed.  I think from what I’ve read and the numbers he has excellent baserunning instincts, and though he probably won’t steal more than 6-8 bases a year, they’ll probably be well-timed.  There are still limits to what a non-fast runner can add for value though; he’ll probably consistently add 2-4 runs a year on bases.  Good, but I don’t think that moves the prospect needle much.

* I really like Heathcott.  I think this year is huge for him.  If he can stay healthy there’s a chance he passes everyone as the #1 prospect and is on the 2014 radar.  Or he could have another shoulder surgery and be looking at starting 2014 in AA…in the 2nd half, and be on the bottom of the top 20.

* I think I may be willing to bump Hensley all the way up to 5th, and just slide everyone else down a notch.  Marshall is holding his own but not really advancing and is starting to look like a #3, whereas Hensley still has #1 upside, though maybe a weak #1.  I think the shoulder problem is being overblown.

* I like where he ranks Turley, who if not for some freakish injuries (e.g. broken hand on a LD) may have been in the mix for a rotation spot this year.  I think I’ll definitely be seeing him in Scranton this summer, and he’s got a chance to be a big-time contributer in 2014.  I don’t agree with Snuggles that his future is in the pen.

* I think I might want to bump Murphy up to a B-, though that depends on just how much his defense has progressed.  Last year he had a 99 and 94 wRC+ at his two levels, but FanGraphs authors caution that they don’t have good park effects for minor league parks.  Trenton in particular is noted to hold back offense on top of the Eastern League being bad for offense, and he was also young for his league.

* Flores I think is held back by physique.  He’s only 5’10”, and isn’t a speedster.  Not necessarily saying that will prevent him from being successful, but I think from a scouting standpoint people dock him for that.

* I think the big thing with Joseph is his defense; Sickels makes no mention of it.  If he projects to be an average defender I agree this ranking is too low.  If he projects to be poor (say, -10), this ranking is probably about right.  Still, note that C+ is considered a good ranking.  That probably puts him as a future starter, but average or a little worse.

* Of the non-ranked players…I think Whitley is the most likely to contribute something positive to the Yankees (starting this year as a solid reliever).  I think Bird is the best bat, and if he converts to 1B well has a chance to replace Teixeira and be our best homegrown 1B since at least Mattingly, though isn’t a surefire bat so could also be…Andy Phillips w/o the defensive versatility.  Ravel Santana has the most talent, though tons of question marks.  And finally, I think Aune has the best chances to break the top-10 next year for guys not in top-20 now.

[12] Joseph almost certainly does *not* have the arm for 3rd.  He may be able to play there occasionally, like an emergency 3B.  But not regularly. 

I’ve advocated moving Cano to 3rd and using CoJo at 2nd.  Cano should be an above-average 3B defensively - he was actually drafted as a SS, and clearly has the arm.  Though I understand the hesitation for moving a star off the position, I think it has long-term value.  ARod can’t stay healthy, moving him to a less demanding position may help with that; and it’s easier to replace a DH.  Cano could handle 3rd for many years (if they resign him) and there’s a good chance Joseph could be a cheap answer at 2nd.  Also, moving to 3rd may very well extend Cano’s career by 3-5 years, and if they’re going to sign him to a long-term deal, we want to get some value at the back end.

And more generally, I think the Yankees need to be more open to moving established players off their natural position.  It’s better for the team, and can often be better for the player.

[33] I thank you mightily for the praise.  Not worthy of it for sure.  Assistant GM in charge of telling bloggers that not all is lost is probably the most I’m qualified for…

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