Tuesday, August 10, 2010

John Sickels Revisits Yankees Top-20 Prospects

The following is from John Sickels wonderful blog Minor League Ball, which I consider required reading for anyone with even the slightest interest in prospects. The rankings and ratings themselves are from his pre-season list (written on December 31, 2009), so keep in mind that these are not new or updated in anyway. Rather, this is Sickels' evaluation of his rankings.
1) Jesus Montero, C, Grade A: .277/.353/.472 overall in Triple-A, including .375/.446/.694 in his last 21 games. Still an elite bat. Defense remains rough, 14 passed balls in 84 games, thrown out 24%.

2) Austin Romine, C, Grade B: .270/.338/.401 in Double-A, fairly stout platoon splits at .880 OPS vs. lefties, .694 against right-handers. Defense needs help, has thrown out just 18% of runners.

3) Manny Banuelos, LHP, Grade B-: Pitching time limited but results impressive: 1.88 ERA, 55/15 K/BB in 38 innings, 30 hits allowed between 10 starts for High-A Tampa and two rehab outings in the GCL.

4) Zach McAllister, RHP, Grade B-: 4.81 ERA, 76/35 K/BB in 122 innings for Triple-A Scranton, 148 hits. Hitters seem to have finally caught up with his control artist.

5) Slade Heathcott, OF, Grade B-: .264/.361/.325 for Charleston in the Sally League, 11 steals. Tools type strikes out too much (61 in 50 games), but draws some walks. No power yet.

6) Mark Melancon, RHP, Grade B-: 3.41 ERA, 60/32 K/BB in 61 Triple-A innings, 68 hits, 2.67 GO/AO. Traded to Astros, I expect he will settle in as a solid reliever assuming his command improves a bit more.

7) Gary Sanchez, C, Grade C+: Tearing up the GCL, .357/.425/.602 so far in 26 games. Striking out in 26% of at-bats but his potential is obvious.

8) John "J.R." Murphy, C, Grade C+: .253/.307/.358 in 69 games for Charleston. Not showing much with bat yet. Defense needs work, has thrown out 24% of runners but made 11 errors and eight passed balls in 38 games behind the plate.

9) Kelvin De Leon, OF, Grade C+: .250/.304/.387 in 42 games for the Staten Island Yankees. Unimpressive, plate discipline is shaky, good tools.

10) D.J. Mitchell, RHP, Grade C+: 4.33 ERA for Trenton, 84/53 K/BB in 121 innings, 120 hits, 2.05 GO/AO. Not horrible, not good either, still has some potential to improve.

11) Wilkin De La Rosa, LHP, Grade C+: 5.52 ERA, 44/33 K/BB in 60 innings, 70 hits, 0.57 GO/AO. Everything has gone backwards this year.

12) David Adams, 2B, Grade C+: Great start at Trenton, .309/.393/.507 in 39 games, out with severe ankle/foot injury.

13) Corban Joseph, 2B-3B, Grade C+: .302/.378/.436 for Tampa. Just promoted to Trenton, is 6-for-24 so far. Solid year.

14) Adam Warren, RHP, Grade C+: 2.22 ERA with 67/17 K/BB in 81 innings for Tampa, 3.76 ERA with 24/9 K/BB in 26 innings for Trenton. Nothing to complain about there, a very nice season.

15) Neil Medchill, Of, Grade C+: .178/.260/.267 in 51 games for Tampa, .262/.354/.440 in 40 games for Charleston. Strikeouts a big problem, 112 in 321 at-bats.

16) David Phelps, RHP, Grade C+: 2.42 ERA, 117/30 K/BB in 127 innings between Trenton and Scranton, 109 hits allowed. Breakthrough campaign.

17) Andrew Brackman, RHP, Grade C: 5.10 ERA with 56/9 K/BB in 60 innings for Tampa, 4.53 ERA with 47/23 K/BB in 48 innings for Trenton. Has made progress with his command this year.

18) Jose Ramirez, RHP, Grade C: 3.12 ERA, 96/37 K/BB in 107 innings for Charleston, 91 hits. An impressive full-season debut.

19) Jeremy Bleich, LHP, Grade C. Torn labrum.

20) Bryan Mitchell, RHP, Grade C: 4.05 ERA, 27/18 K/BB in 33 innings for GCL Yankees, 24 hits. Unimpressive so far.
In my mind, Sickels is spot on with his analysis of each player listed. I expect a few players to make the leap onto his 2011 edition - namely Graham Stoneburner (whom he mentions in the article), Melky Mesa, Eduardo Nunez, and Dellin Betances - and a few to fall off of this list (McAllister, De La Rosa, Medchill, and Mitchell in particular).

I, for one, am curious to see how he'll view Montero, Banuelos, Heathcott, and Sanchez at the end of the year, as they appear to have the most promise (in terms of ceiling) in the system.

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