Here is a good look at a Yankees Top 20 Prospect List which was put out by Camden Depot which is of course a Baltimore Orioles site. You can check it out at http://camdendepot.com. I think it is a good job by these guys, i haven't got my copy yet of the basball America prospects handbook but hope to do so soon and write a report on it.
Fall/Winter 2009: Minor League Review
Our Fall/Winter Minor League review will consist of three separate series. First we will step through each organization with a look at their Top 20 prospects. During the unveiling of our Top 20 Prospects lists, we'll count down the Top 30 prospects in the Baltimore Orioles system, with a scouting report provided for each player. Once our organizational examinations are completed, we'll round-up our offseason coverage with a cumulative ranking of the organizations, our Top 100 MiL Prospects list and our 1st and 2nd All-Prospect Teams. Kindly note that letter grades assigned to prospects are intended for comparative purposes within the CamdenDepot ranking universe, and are not intended as a means to compare players against other scouting services' rating systems. A "B+" or "C" rating assigned in our pieces is based on our own proprietary rating system and is not intended to be interchangeable with letter grades provided by other services. All listed ages are as of December 31, 2008. For more information on our methodology, pleace visit the About Us page. See All Top 20 Lists
Top 20 Prospects: New York Yankees (2/7/2009)
With Chamberlain, Hughes and Kennedy no longer prospect-eligible, and after failing to sign two of their top three selections in the 2008 Rule 4 Draft, the Yankees system has thinned-out a fair amount. The largest current "need" is quite simply high-ceiling talent. Currently, Jesus Montero, Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman hold the highest ceilings, and each have questions surrounding their game. Montero isn't a great fit behind the plate and his "best fit" position will be occupied by Mark Teixeira for the foreseeable future. Brackman and Betances both have front-end stuff but will likely continue to struggle to repeat their deliveries and release points due to size. One bright side is a young group of potential breakout candidates in Brett Marshall, Arodys Vizcaino, Eduardo Sosa and Jairo Heredia. With a solid team in place at the Major League level, the Yankees have Austin Jackson and a solid group of arms in the pen ready to step in and fill some holes as early as 2009/10. The organization will arguably be in a position to wait out this next crop of talented young players, but the Yankees would be well served to make good use of the international market as well as their only two picks in the first hundred or so (comp picks for failure to sign Gerrit Cole (R1) and Scott Bittle (R2)) of this year's Rule 4 -- the Yankees lost each of their first three picks for the 2009 Rule 4 Draft after signing Teixeira, Sabathia and Burnett this off-season.
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Top 20 Prospects 1. Austin Jackson Stats Depot Grade: B+6-1 / 185 Age - 21 OF B/T - R/R Drafted - 2005 (R8) Denton HS (TX)Floor: Below-AVG CF Ceiling: Above-AVG CF Projection: AVG CFNotes: The plus-defender continued to creep closer to the bigs in 2008, despite an August-to-forget in which he saw his strikeout-rate rise and his walk-rate drastically decrease. Because he has just average bat-speed, Jackson will need to continue to refine his pitch-ID and strikezone command in order to have continued success at AAA and above. In addition to making pitch-ID a tad more challenging, his average bat speed will likely prevent him from developing more than average power. While his offensive upside is somewhat limited at this point, Jackson has true game-changing potential in the field. He has solid range in center field and tracks the ball well to both gaps. More than capable of covering above-average ground, Jackson profiles as a plus-defender up-the-middle with the potential to be an average producer at the plate. He’ll likely start in AAA Scranton and could get a call as early as mid-season in 2009.
2. Jesus Montero Stats Depot Grade: B+6-4 / 225 Age - 19 C B/T - R/R Signed - 2006 VenezuelaFloor: Below-AVG 1B Ceiling: Above-AVG C Projection: Above-AVG 1BNotes: Montero projects to hit for average and for power, showing a solid approach for his age/level and flashing plus-power pole-to-pole. He can get a little too aggressive at times, a flaw that is amplified due to his still fringy pitch-ID. Still young for his level, these are holes that should be corrected in due time as the talented slugger has already shown an ability to adjust. After posting May and June lines of .248/.313/.381 and .271/.340/./341. Montero torched the Sally League the second time through to the tune of July and August lines of .341/.394/.527 and .373/.428/.595, respectively. While advanced offensively, defense is another story altogether. Montero is a fringy receiver with below-average catch-and-throw skills (throwing out just 25% of potential base-stealers). Combine this with his large frame and you get a catcher likely better suited for LF or 1B. With Teixeira in place at first for the foreseeable future, the Yankees will undoubtedly keep Montero at catcher as long as they can, where his bat would be elite.
3. Dellin Betances Stats Depot Grade: B6-7 / 195 Age - 20 RHP B/T - R/R Drafted - 2006 (R8) New York Prep (NY)Floor: Middle-relief Ceiling: Front-end Starter Projection: #3 StarterNotes: After a slow start in 2008 Betances finished the summer on a roll, allowing just one homerun in his last 60.3 IP and posting a solid 71/19 SO/BB rate over the same two month span. The young righty relies primarily on a mid-90s fastball with plus-life. His curve flashes plus with hard, late, downer action and serves as a solid swing-and-miss pitch. His changeup comes with some fade, but it’s still fairly inconsistent. Betances struggles at times to repeat his motion and, as a result, can struggle to find a consistent release point particularly with his secondary stuff. At 6-7, it’s still a struggle to get all of the parts working together on a regular basis, but he showed solid improvement throughout the summer culminating in a terrific July and August. The Yankees will allow Bentances to take his time with hopes that he’ll develop into a legitimate homegrown front-end starter.
4. Andrew Brackman Stats - N/A Depot Grade: B6-10 / 270 Age - 23 RHP B/T - R/R Drafted - 2007 (R1) North Carolina State UniversityFloor: AAAA Ceiling: Front-end Starter Projection: #3 StarterNotes: After missing his entire first professional season due to Tommy John surgery, Brackman struggled a bit with his command in Hawaii Winter Baseball. Though he was far from his peak, Brackman still finished third in the league recording 36 strikeouts in 34 innings of work, teaming-up with fellow Top 20 prospect Jeremy Bleich in helping Waikiki to a title. At his best, Brackman throws with a sharp downward plane, sitting in the mid-90s with his fastball. His best offering is a fringe-plus-plus curveball with hard late break – a true swing-and-miss pitch he can use effectively both in and out of the zone. While he has legit front-end stuff, he has struggled to maintain his mechanics and his release point, leading to inconsistency in the shape of his curve as well as his command across the board. His size will always work against him in repeating his motion, but Brackman’s “ace” upside and solid athleticism should help him along. Even if he doesn’t reach his ceiling, Brackman is an excellent candidate to provide solid ML-value down the line.
5. Zach McAllister Stats Depot Grade: B-6-6 / 230 Age - 21 RHP B/T - R/R Drafted - 2006 (R3) Chillicothe HS (IL)Floor: Bullpen Ceiling: Mid-rotation Starter Projection: #4 Starter
Notes: McAllister sits in the low-90s with a heavy fastball (plus-boring action). His slider is a fringe-average pitch that’s still too inconsistent to be a legit threat, though he has worked to improve repeating his release point. His changeup has some depth and he throws it with good arm-speed. Working on a downward plane, his sinking fastball and changeup helped produce an impressive groundball percentage of 60% (LoA), dropping down to 50% in HiA. With solid command already, McAllister will focus on maintaining his stuff later into the game as he works to stay a starter. He’ll likely get a shot at AA at some point in 2009.
6. Mark Melancon Stats Depot Grade: B-6-2 / 215 Age - 23 RHP B/T - R/R Drafted - 2006 (R9) University of ArizonaFloor: Middle-relief Ceiling: Closer Projection: Late-inning ReliefNotes: Melancon drastically out-performed expectations in 2008, shooting through three levels while posting a cumulative WHIP of 0.92 and holding opponents to a BAA of .204. The former Arizona Wildcat throws an above-average power curveball with hard, tight break as his premier offering. His fastball isn’t far behind, sitting in the low- to mid-90s and effectively working both sides of the plate. Melancon has a true back-of-the-bullpen swagger on the mound and has the mental toughness and aggressiveness to pound hitters without fear. He should get a shot to carve-out a spot in the Yankees pen this spring and could be an impact arm right away.
7. Phil Coke Stats Depot Grade: B-6-1 / 210 Age - 26 LHP B/T - L/L Drafted - 2002 (R26) San Joaquin Delta College (CA)Floor: Middle-relief Ceiling: Mid-rotation Starter Projection: Late-inning ReliefNotes: Coke took a nice step forward in 2008, showing solid command across the board with his four offerings (fastball/slider/changeup/splitter). His stuff played-up in relief, where his fastball topped-out in the mid-90s and his slider in the mid-80s. While he gets average bite on his slider, it plays-up due to the fact that it’s a late-breaker that can miss some bats. He uses both his straight change and his splitter as change-of-pace pitches and does a solid job commanding both down in the zone. The Yankees could keep Coke in the pen as a lefty ultimately capable of working the late innings or they could start him back in AAA to continue to develop as a starter with a mid-rotation ceiling.
8. Arodys Vizcaino Stats Depot Grade: B-6-0 / 190 Age - 18 RHP B/T - R/R Signed - 2007 Dominican RepublicFloor: AAAA Ceiling: Mid-rotation Starter Projection: Late-inning ReliefNotes: As a seventeen-year old in the Gulf Coast League, Vizcaino more than held his own off the strength of a two-pitch mix that’s already above-average. His fastball is a mid-90s offering that he throws with easy arm action and a seemingly effortless delivery. His curve is an upper-70s power-pitch that flashes plus-late break. He’s learning to add a changeup into his repertoire, though it would be a stretch to even call it a “show me” pitch at this point. Provided he can develop the offering, Vizcaino projects to a mid-rotation ceiling. If he struggles to command a viable third pitch he could be a big arm at the back of a bullpen.
9. Brett Marshall Stats Depot Grade: B-6-0 / 195 Age - 18 RHP B/T - R/R Drafted - 2008 (R6) Sterling HS (TX)Floor: Non-prospect Ceiling: Mid-rotation Starter Projection: Late-inning ReliefNotes: Marshall was selected in the sixth round of this year’s Rule 4 Draft and could prove to be a terrific bargain. While his stuff was generally inconsistent throughout his senior year at Sterling HS, there is lots to like about his power arsenal. Through the 2007 summer circuit and his senior year, Marshall saw his fastball velocity fluctuate from the low- to upper-90s, making it difficult for scouts to get a solid read. Part of this may be due to a high-effort delivery that produces inconsistent mechanics. The Yankees will work to improve his repeatability and maintain the velocity he flashes in the summer of ‘07. His slider is a second potential plus-pitch, sitting in the mid-80s and flashing solid spin. His changeup is still raw. Marshall may ultimately fit best in the pen with his max-effort delivery and power-mix, but he has mid-rotation upside. He should get a shot at Short-season Staten Island in ’09.
10. Austin Romine Stats Depot Grade: C+6-1 / 195 Age - 20 C B/T - R/R Drafted - 2007 (R2) El Toro HS (CA)Floor: AAAA Ceiling: AVG C Projection: Below-AVG CNotes: Splitting time behind the plate with fellow Top 10er Jesus Montero, Romine is the purer receiver of the two and stands a much better chance of providing defensive value down the line. He shows a good transfer and release, though his accuracy is lacking at times (possibly due to inconsistent footwork). At the plate, Romine had a solid showing in the Sally League, capping a decent season with an impressive August (.359/.414/.521 over 117 ABs). While raking his way through the end of the season, Romine sported a BABIP of .396, noticeably higher than his average over the rest of the season (and not accompanied by a significant increase in LD%). If he can keep is momentum going through 2009, as well as show that his August success is sustainable, he could bump up the organizational prospect ranks quickly. For now, his bat still lacks noticeably behind platoon-mate Jesus Montero, likely keeping him second fiddle behind the plate at HiA Tampa in 2009.
11. Christian Garcia Stats Depot Grade: C+6-5 / 205 Age - 23 RHP B/T - R/R Drafted - 2004 (R3) Gulliver Prep HS (FL)Floor: Middle-relief Ceiling: Mid-rotation Starter Projection: #4 StarterNotes: Garcia took a nice step forward in 2008, showing three potential above-average offerings, the best of them being a hard, low-80s downer curveball (among the best breaking balls in the system). His fastball sits in the low-90s with lots of late life, giving him two solid swing and miss pitches. His changeup is solid-average, flashing occasional depth (though he can get a little inconsistent with his arm-speed and slot). Though he generally shows solid command, his secondary stuff is still inconsistent, particularly in the zone. When he isn’t spotting his curve, Garcia can be very hittable. There’s decent mid-rotation upside but he’s still a ways away, at this point.
12. Kanekoa Texeira Stats Depot Grade: C+6-0 / 210 Age - 20 RHP B/T - R/R Drafted - 2006 (R22) Saddleback College (CA)Floor: Bullpen Ceiling: Closer Projection: Late-inning ReliefNotes: Texeira sits in the low-90s with his fastball, flashing solid sink. His slider has average tilt and he commands it well down in the zone, along with his fastball, helping to produce consistent groundballs. His changeup is still just a “show me” pitch, though he doesn’t need to rely on it much. He misses bats and commands his fastball well to the quadrants, setting up his slider well. His upside is that of a solid Major League stopper in the back of a pen.
13. Jeremy Bleich Stats Depot Grade: C+6-2 / 195 Age - 21 LHP B/T - L/L Drafted - 2008 (R1s) Stanford UniversityFloor: AAAA Ceiling: Mid-rotation Starter Projection: #4 StarterNotes: Bleich was dominant against an overmatched Hawaii Winter Baseball League, earning All-League honors and posting an ERA of 1.77 and a WHIP of 1.15 over 35.7 IP while striking out 32. Bleich sits right around 90 mph with his fastball, though he can bump it up to 93 when he reaches back. His best secondary offering is an above-average straight change that plays-up due to his ability to throw it with above-average arm-speed out of the same slot as his fastball. His curve can be an average pitch, though he gets inconsistent shape and depth. He commands all of his pitches well though none of them have much room for projection. Bleich scores highly on the pitchability scale and could move quickly through the system towards an ultimate mid-rotation ceiling.
14. Eduardo Sosa Stats Depot Grade: C+5-11 / 155 Age - 17 OF B/T - L/L Signed - 2007 VenezuelaFloor: AAAA Ceiling: Above-AVG CF Projection: 4th OFNotes: Sosa spent 2008 flashing some of his upside in the Dominican Summer League as a seventeen-year old. Despite a smallish frame, Sosa shows surprising pop when he squares-up. His strikezone command is solid for his age and experience, though like most teenagers he will need to work on his pitch-ID. In the field, Sosa has speed and range to spare, tracking the ball well and already taking solid routes. His arm is just average but should be able to play in center. Sosa should be an interesting player to follow, particularly as he adds some strength to his frame. Because he’s aggressive at the plate, it will be important for him to develop his pitch-ID and focus on hitting his pitch more frequently.
15. Jairo Heredia Stats Depot Grade: C+6-1 / 170 Age - 19 RHP B/T - R/R Signed - 2008 Dominican RepublicFloor: AAAA Ceiling: Mid-rotation Starter Projection: #4 StarterNotes: Heredia, another teenager with breakout potential, managed nearly a strikeout per inning as an eighteen-year old in the Sally League. His best offering is probably his low-90s fastball with plus-life. He mixes-in a 12/6 curveball that generally sits in the mid- to upper-70s and serves as a change-of-pace offering. The pitch flashes plus-potential and can change the eye-level of the hitter when he’s on. His changeup is still a below-average pitch though he shows enough feel and fade for it to project as a third above-average offering down the line. Heredia faded a bit down the stretch, losing some of his command. Still, it was a promising season in which the youngster showed a feel for his secondary pitches not generally seen at such a young age. He’ll need to continue to build-up endurance and arm-strength, and adding some strength to his frame could help assuage some fears as to his future durability.
16. David Phelps Stats Depot Grade: C+6-3 / 180 Age - 22 RHP B/T - R/R Drafted - 2008 (R14) University of Notre DameFloor: AAAA Ceiling: Mid-rotation Starter Projection: #4 StarterNotes: The Golden Domer saw a dramatic fall-off in production from his sophomore season, though he flashed some of his old stuff in the NY/Penn League. His fastball is generally an upper-80s offering, though he has sat in the low-90s in the past. His curve flashes hard, late break and could be a plus-offering if he can get more consistent spin (perhaps by more effectively repeating his release point). He shows a solid feel for his changeup and an understanding of how to use it, particularly against right-handed hitters. The Yankees will focus on refining his delivery and working on its repeatability. After a promising showing in almost 75 IP with Staten Island, Phelps will get a chance to prove he’s back on the right track in LoA Charleston in 2009.
17. Alfredo Aceves Stats Depot Grade: C+5-10 / 175 Age - 26 RHP B/T - R/R Signed - 2008 MexicoFloor: Middle-relief Ceiling: Back-end Starter Projection: Middle-reliefNotes: The name of Aceves’s game is “pitchability”. The former Mexican Leaguer utilizes plus-plus-command to help his average offerings play-up. His fastball is a low-90s offering with minimal movement, but Aceves commands it well to all quadrants. His curveball and cutter have average movement, while his changeup flashes some tumble at times. Without a dominant pitch, it’s unclear where Aceves will provide the most value. He could fill several roles, including a back-end starter, swingman/spot-starter, multiple-inning arm or situational righty in the pen (his arsenal tends to play better against righties as he lacks a true out pitch against lefties). He’s a bit undersized, perhaps making the pen the most logical destination. He’ll have to spot his stuff to be successful, but Aceves has the tools to be a valuable piece of a Major League staff in the near future.
18. Corban Joseph Stats Depot Grade: C+6-0 / 170 Age - 20 SS B/T - L/R Drafted - 2008 (R4) Franklin HS (TN)Floor: AAAA Ceiling: Above-AVG SS Projection: Below-AVG SSNotes: Corban was the fourth draftee selected by the Yankees in this past season’s Rule 4 Draft and jumped right into the mix with the Gulf Coast Yankees, posting a solid line of .277/.359/.434 in 159 ABs. Joseph keeps a short path to the ball and combines a compact swing with above-average bat speed to produce above-average power to all fields. He’s already demonstrating solid pitch-ID and works the count well, showing above-average plate discipline for his league. He handles shortstop well, showing average range to both sides and adequate hands. As he adds some size it’s possible he may have to shift over to third where his bat may be fringy. For now, the Yankees will keep him at the six-spot until he forces them to do otherwise.
19. Wilkins de la Rosa Stats Depot Grade: C+6-0 / 165 Age - 23 LHP B/T - L/L Signed - 2001 Dominican RepublicFloor: AAAA Ceiling: Mid-rotation Starter Projection: Middle-reliefNotes: De la Rosa, though not young for the Florida State League (he’s a converted OF), showed flashes of above-average power stuff. His fastball is a low- to mid-90s offering, while his power slider sits in the low- to mid-80s. The big drawback on his slider is the lack of consistency in its spin, though it has the makings of a solid above-average pitch. He shows some feel for a changeup with fade, but his command needs improvement across the board. While he over-powered LoA hitters off the strength of his FB/SL, De la Rosa will need to improve the consistency of his secondary offerings in order to remain a starter. If not, he could provide solid value as a lefty in the pen.
20. David Adams Stats Depot Grade: C+6-2 / 190 Age - 21 2B B/T - R/R Drafted - 2008 (R3) University of Virginia Floor: AAAA Ceiling: AVG 2B Projection: Below-AVG 2BNotes: The former UVA Cavalier saw his stock slip in last year’s Rule 4 Draft after suffering through a difficult junior season in which he underperformed to the tune of a BA over 100 points lighter than 2007. The Yankees looked past his ’08 struggles, instead focusing on his solid approach at the plate, good hand/eye coordination and ability to square-up. He has a hitchy load that leads to inconsistent swing plane that may be problematic at the upper-levels (while he has succeeded in the past with wood, it was against like talent rather than top pro arms). If New York can clean-up his mechanics a bit, he could prove to be a steal in the third round. Defensively, Adams is solid around the bag and should be adequate at second as a pro.
10 More Prospects to Watch Kyle Higashioka,Manuel Banuelos,Brad Suttle,DJ Mitchell,Cory Arbiso,George Kontos,Chris Smith,Michael O'Brien,Humberto Sanchez,David Robertson
#2 Jesus Montero
Organizational Leaders:Hitting – Jesus MonteroPower – Jesus MonteroDefense – Austin JacksonRHSP – Dellin BetancesLHSP – Jeremy BleichFuture RP – Mark Melancon2009 Breakout Candidates:Pitcher – Jairo HerediaHitter – Eduardo SosaBounce-back Candidate:Humberto Sanchez