John Sickels chimed in yesterday with his top 20 prospects list. It is an interesting list that I think is instructive on a number of levels, so here is the top 12:
1) Jesus Montero, C, Grade A: No one will care much about the glove in five years.
2) Gary Sanchez, C, Grade B+: Could be Montero with a better glove.
3) Dellin Betances, RHP, Grade B+: Want to see a full year in the high minors but his recovery was very impressive.
4) Manny Banuelos, LHP, Grade B: Smooth as silk delivery with plus stuff, might bump him up to B+.
5) Hector Noesi, RHP, Grade B: Love the control+velocity combo.
6) Andrew Brackman, RHP, Grade B-: Made a lot of progress, could end up as a Grade B by book time.
7) Ivan Nova, RHP, Grade B-: Looks like a competent fourth starter to me.
8) Austin Romine, C, Grade B-: He’s a good prospect but I don’t see him as a future star.
9) Slade Heathcott, OF, Grade B-: I respect the tools enough to go with this grade, but he needs a lot of polish.
10) Adam Warren, RHP, Grade B-: One of several interesting pitchers who could be good fourth starters.
11) Graham Stoneburner, RHP, Grade B-: I don’t understand why this guy doesn’t get more attention. Good stuff, good performance.
12) David Phelps, RHP, Grade B-: Another strike-thrower who should be able to eat innings.
Click through for an explanation of the grading system and the rest of the list.
The first thing I noticed is that much like BA, Sickels is very high on Gary Sanchez. It seems that he is picking up a lot of steam as a prospect, and there is a good chance that he tops this list for a while once Montero graduates to the majors.
Regarding the 3 B’s, I would flip Banuelos and Betances and give Manny a B+, but these are fairly minor quibbles. More interesting to me is that Sickels, much like our own EJ Fagan, is very high on Hector Noesi. The buzz on him is building a bit, with some believing he has a shot of becoming a #3 starter. He does not have much upside past that, but his high floor makes him an attractive prospect at this point.
Finally, it seems that Austin Romine and Slade Heathcott have lost a bit of their luster over the last few months, with a poor second half for Romine and high strikeout totals for Heathcott being the primary force behind their decline. That said, both are still B- prospects, which is encouraging to see from as tough a grader as Sickels.
Overall, the system is very healthy. Here is John’s summary:
This system has two excellent hitters at the top, but thins out quickly in position players with impact potential after that. The pitching is quite rich; I count eight guys with the ability to hold rotation spots at the major league level, including a couple of potential anchors, and there are more arms behind them.
The system has some toolsy outfielders and some interesting catchers past Montero and Sanchez, but could use additional depth. Overall, though, it is a system that has a lot going for it, and if some of the sleepers from the ’10 draft pan out it can look even better next year.
This is a top 12 system, which is a good sign considering that it looked to be in decline and generally weak entering the 2010 season. The Yankees now have some players on the horizon who can contribute at the big league level or be used in trades to acquire established players.
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