In the days leading up to the trade deadline, a lot of rumors are circulating involving Yankee prospects. We’ve heard a ton about the Yankees’ upper level prospects (Montero, Banuelos, Betances, etc), but this week there has been some great discussion of some of the lower level guys in the system to watch.
Dante Bichette Jr: Bichette is on a ridiculous hot streak right now, and made #3 on the Baseball America hot sheet after batting .737/.760/1.000 in the past week (not including today’s 2 for 6 with a home run and a double). The hot sheet had this to say about Bichette:
He has shown the advanced plate approach that one would expect from a player who grew up around the game and has had great amateur instruction. Bichette has played only third base, though his future as a fielder might lie in a corner-outfield position. His quickly-blooming power is a boon for Yankees system that doesn’t boast many others.
Keith Law was less impressed with the performance, calling it:
Totally meaningless. With most quality draftees not signing until August 15th, the caliber of play in the two complex leagues is atrocious right now. Bichette probably feels like he’s still playing HS ball.
Kevin Goldstein also weighed in during his chat today:
He can really hit, but nobody is sure what positions he will land at, as he’s a bat-first guy like his father.
Mason Williams has also been discussed a lot recently, given his strong performance in Staten Island. Kevin Goldstein spoke highly of Williams, saying:
I’m a big Mason Williams fan, he certainly has CF tools, but they’re good more than elite.
Even the notoriously tough-to-please Keith Law spoke glowingly about Williams, as he said:
I think Williams has a chance to be … actually, the player I think Colby Rasmus will be. Hits for average, runs well, plays good D in CF, hits maybe 20-25 HR.
Gary Sanchez has had a lot of discussion this season in the wake of his up-and-down performance in Charleston and his purported attitude problem. Law addressed these issues, saying:
Suspended twice for attitude issues and awful on defense this year according to multiple scouts. He wasn’t in my preseason top 50 either, though, so he would have had to improve to get into it.
Goldstein was less critical when asked about Sanchez, saying that Sanchez’s young age (18 in low-A) is the biggest explanation for his fluctuating performance, and that it’s too early to give up on him.
Angelo Gumbs has also been the topic of some debate. Law spoke to a scout who “raved about Gumbs’ bat speed although it’s his only real tool.”
BP’s Jason Parks wrote a great post (subscriber only, sorry) on going to see the SI Yankees in action, and said this about Gumbs:
I have already convinced myself that Angelo Gumbs is a better prospect than Cito Culver, and it’s only the third inning. Neither player has produced a remarkable result thus far, but the overwhelming feeling brewing in my gut tells me that Gumbs is the player to watch on the field. I shouldn’t listen to my gut; I should focus on the shortstop. Shortstops with true defensive skills are valuable commodities. But Gumbs could be a very good center fielder. He’s currently playing second base, but he could be playing center field. At present, the position is occupied by Mason Williams, who is equally promising (if not more so), but Gumbs could handle the defensive assignment, given his plus-plus athleticism, a strong arm, and instincts.
Overall, these are pretty nice assessments of some of the Yankees’ lower level prospects. Law and Parks are still somewhat down on Culver even though he is holding his own, though in Law’s case he probably hasn’t had any new information on Cito in a while. Sanchez has obviously been a bit of a disappointment given the high expectations, but he is coming around of late at the plate, and is young enough to work out the defensive kinks. While some of the guys at the upper levels have not performed to expectations, it is evident that the farm depth is strong, and some of these lower level guys have the potential to shoot up the various rankings.
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