Friday, July 15, 2011

Keith Law's Midseason Top-50 Prospects

With the official halfway point of both Major League and Minor League Baseball having passed, ESPN prospect guru Keith Law revisited his pre-season top-hundred. His criteria for the revised rankings are as follows:
This list doesn't include players who've graduated to the majors (Mike Trout, Domonic Brown, Jeremy Hellickson, etc.), who have exhausted or are on pace to exhaust their rookie eligibility for 2012, and there are no 2011 draftees on this list because the draftees who might be good enough to make the list haven't signed yet.

As always, I emphasize upside and favor players with the potential to be stars at their positions or to pitch at the top of a rotation.
The following Yankees made the cut:

18. Manny Banuelos
He struggled with his command early after looking so good in the fall and spring. He has four walks against 24 strikeouts in his past four outings (19 2/3 IP), and that's a positive sign. Preseason Ranking: 12
21. Jesus Montero
His bat still hasn't really come around, although I have to believe the power and patience are all still in there. For a guy who projects as a first baseman or DH, though, .289/.346/.418 isn't an inspiring offensive performance given his history. Preseason Ranking: 4
34. Dellin Betances
Betances is a physical monster who doesn't repeat his delivery well because he's not that athletic but is missing bats this year on raw stuff. Preseason Ranking: 73
To be perfectly blunt, it's incredibly difficult to disagree with any of Law's observations - particularly with Montero. His performance has been very disheartening thus far, and the flashes of brilliance that we've grown accustomed to have been few and far between. Buster Olney suggested that Montero may feel somewhat unchallenged at Triple-A, but I'd much rather see a top prospect obliterate the competition than sulk their way through a season.

Despite his tumble in the rankings, I am pleased with Law's take on Banuelos - particularly as he seems to expect him to continue to improve. Betances' lack of athleticism is a bit disconcerting, but his mound presence and raw stuff could very well be enough for him to succeed (and most seem to agree with this stance).

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