‘Tis the season for prospect lists, and yesterday Baseball America posted their top 10 list of Yankee farmhands. Subscribers can also see scouting reports of the top 10 prospects, which gives some great info on the strengths and weaknesses of these players, and is definitely worth checking out. John Manuel put together the Yankee list, as he has for the last few years, which gives some nice continuity. The top 10 contains no major surprises, and includes (in order): Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Gary Sanchez, Mason Williams, Dante Bichette Jr., Ravel Santana, Austin Romine, JR Murphy, and Slade Heathcott.
Many of the top guys in the system have been profiled extensively, so there was not much new information on Montero, Banuelos, and Betances, for instance. Manuel and his sources were very high on Gary Sanchez, mentioning that he had similar raw power to Jesus Montero, with a better swing and more patience. Mason Williams was described as having 80 speed, which would put him in the Brett Gardner category (I didn’t realize he was quite that fast). Bichette’s report raved about his makeup and work ethic, which we heard a lot about come draft time, but is nice to hear that he continued to work hard after being a high pick. Heathcott’s report describes a lot of question marks regarding makeup and recovery from shoulder surgery, but also recognition of his athleticism and power potential.
Manuel’s list is very similar to that of John Sickels, which EJ wrote about a few days ago (though Sickels went 30 deep). Sickels tends to be a little more stat-focused, while Manuel seems a little more scouting-oriented, and these philosophical differences are evident in the differences in the lists. Sickels had Sanchez ahead of Banuelos and Betances, likely downgrading the latter two because of control problems while being impressed with Sanchez’s power. I’d probably split the difference here, putting Banuelos ahead of Sanchez, but keeping Sanchez in front of Betances.
7 of the top 8 players on both lists were the same, with Austin Romine and David Phelps as the exceptions. Phelps, whom Sickels had at #7, but did not make the BA list. Sickels was likely impressed with the strong AAA performance and high floor, while Manuel presumably did not see a ton of upside to justify a top-10 ranking. Manuel had Romine at 8 while Sickels had him at 11 (since his list went to 30), not a substantial difference, but also potentially the result of placing different emphasis on stats. Sickels also had more stathead friendly choices at 9 and 10 in Tyler Austin and Adam Warren, while Manuel went with ceiling in Murphy and Heathcott.
It is always fun to read the different ranking lists and see where they differ, but we can see that there seems to be an industry consensus developing about the Yankee system. As I discussed on Tuesday, the system is strongest in position players. There is a lot of boom/bust potential with this group, however, as many of the highly ranked guys are at lower levels.
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