In the latest offseason list, Kevin Goldstein of the excellent Baseball Prospectus has unveiled his top 20 Yankee prospects (only Subscribers can see the full content, alas, but anyone can see the list and a scouting report on Jesus Montero). I’m going to take a quick look at the list and share my thoughts on it, to see if he differs significantly from the developing consensus on the Yankee system. He grades the top 11 prospects, and then adds in 9 more to watch. It’s worthy of note that KG tends to be a bit of a “velocity whore”, and is not afraid to rank a prospect with little experience very highly if he gets a good vibe from them.
- Jesus Montero (5 star)
- Manny Banuelos (5 star)
- Gary Sanchez (5 star)
- Dellin Betances (5 star)
- Eduardo Nunez (3 star)
- Austin Romine (3 star)
- Andrew Brackman (3 star)
- Ivan Nova (3 star)
- Hector Noesi (3 star)
- Brett Marshall (3 star)
- Adam Warren (3 star)
- Graham Stoneburner
- Brandon Laird
- Slade Heathcott
- Cito Culver
- David Phelps
- Melky Mesa
- DJ Mitchell
- Colin Curtis
- Angelo Gumbs
At first glance, nothing jumps out at me as outrageous on this list. The top 4 pretty much match the consensus (though some would have Betances ahead of Sanchez). His analysis of these guys in the scouting reports is nothing new, but he continues to emphasize his belief that Montero has no shot to be a catcher long-term. He also expresses concerns about Gary Sanchez’s present catching abilities, but he expects that Gary will eventually be capable. Ranking Sanchez as a 5-star guy is aggressive, but in line with how he has been ranked so far this offseason.
Eduardo Nunez at #5 is the main surprise early on, and although I disagree, I understand KG’s logic. I think Nunez gets a bad rap in the Yankee blogosphere, and I believe that his consistently higher-than-expected rankings this season (in publications such as Baseball America) is reflective of positive scouting reports that we in the blogosphere aren’t necessarily exposed to. A consensus has developed among certain blogs that Nunez is terrible, but I think given the low standards of offense among shortstops who can play the position (and by most accounts, Nunez’s defense is pretty solid) he’s a decent prospect with a chance to be a major league starter (maybe not in New York, but still). KG seems pretty high on Nunez’s defense and speed, and thinks that he will hit enough to be a useful player.
David Phelps at 15 is perhaps a bit lower than I often see him ranked (given that he is pretty close to big league ready), but KG points to his fairly pedestrian repertoire being masked by his excellent command.
Colin Curtis has no place on this list in my opinion, and I would have greatly preferred to see a guy like Mason Williams (whom I am surprised to see behind Angelo Gumbs) who has the tools and upside to become an impact player, while Curtis doesn’t seem to be a future starter, and has pretty much reached his ceiling. KG often ranks big-bonus kids like Williams pretty highly, and I am curious why he didn’t make the list. Either he’s not high on Williams, or it speaks highly of the system’s depth.
Overall, KG’s impression of the Yankee system is pretty much in line with what other prospect raters have determined. It’s a strong system with some great top-end talent (evidenced by the 4 5-star rankings), most of which is in the upper minors (except for Gary Sanchez). There is strong pitching at every level of the minors, with a combination of guys with high ceilings (Betances, Brackman, Marshall) and guys who are good bets to be major leaguers (Banuelos, Noesi, Warren, etc.). There is excellent depth, with first-round picks from the last 2 years not even cracking the top 10. Overall, the state of the Yankee minor leagues is strong, and hopefully this depth and top-end talent will come in handy in 2011.
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