Via RAB, I stumbled across Frank Pilere’s Top 100 prospects and it got me thinking. In this dead time of the Hot Stove League, there isn’t much to think or write about. But this list gave me a bit of a spark: it reminded me of some of the “other” guys in the Yankees’ system that I’m excited to see progress this season.
Obviously, we’ll all be tracking the progresses of The Jesus Montero, Austin Romine, Andrew Brackman, and Zach McAllister because they’re the biggest names in the minor league system. Slade Heathcott and J.R. Murphy will also get a lot of attention as the team’s most recent high draft picks. Recent additions to the 40-man roster Kevin Russo, Ivan Nova, and Reegie Corona may even see Major League time this season.
There are four pitchers I’m particularly interested in watching this season.
First, there’s Adam Warren. Warren, from the University of North Carolina was drafted in ’08 by the Indians, but went back to school for 2009 and improved from a 36th round pick to a 4th round pick. He reported to Staten Island after the draft and appeared in 12 games, all starts. He pitched 56.2 innings to the tune of a stellar 1.43 ERA. His peripherals were just as good: his WHIP was 1.041, he only allowed 0.2 HR/9, walked fewer than two per nine, and had a K/BB of 5.00. To be quite blunt, Adam Warren absolutely crushed the New York Penn League. I’m excited to see Warren–who will probably start at High-A Tampa and it wouldn’t surprise me if he turned in the same results in Tampa (and Trenton and maybe even Scranton) as he did for Staten Island.
Next is young Mexican lefty Manny Banuelos. Though he’s only pitched in 38 games, 22 starts, and 151 innings, the results have been great. He’s got a 2.62 ERA and a 3.49 K/BB after pitching most of last season in Charleston. He pitched in one game at Tampa, just one inning with two strikeouts, so I assume he’ll start there with Adam Warren and will likely get a mid-season promotion to Tampa. Manny is still young–he’ll be 19 in March–so he’s got time. We may have to wait a little while for him, but in 2010, I’ll be paying close attention to him and how he progresses in the higher levels of the Yankees’ system.
Domincan righty Hector Noesi was recently added to the 40-Man as well, though he’s only reached Tampa. He pitched in only nine games there last season, so he could start there. If he has a good spring training, though, the Yankees could be more aggressive and put him in Trenton to face more mature hitters. Noesi has displayed excellent control across his 192.2 innings, walking only 1.6 per nine innings. He’s also got a 9.1 K/9 and a 5.76 K/BB. The numbers are definitely there, so it’s time to test Hector against the more mature hitters.
Like Adam Warren, college seasoned right hander Sean Black absolutely crushed the NYPL. His ERA was a video game-like 1.62 in 50 innings and he walked only 1.6 per nine with a 3.78 K/BB. Mature and polished like Warren, I’d expect Black to also do quite well in the minors and be a quick riser.
The Yankees have some great, high upside arms in their system, even if they’re rather far away. These guys have a boatload of potential and I’m very excited to watch them move up towards the Bronx. It’s always sad when we see guys leave the system–Jackson, Dunn, Kennedy, Vizcaino this off-season–but the good thing is that there are usually a handful of guys–like Noesi, Warren, Black, and Man-Ban–to whom we can shift our gazes.
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