The recent retirement of Jorge Posada after a phenomenal 17-year career has led to many heartfelt tributes and retrospectives, analyzing what he has meant to the Yankees throughout his tenure. Yesterday, John Sickels over at Minor League Ball took a look at Posada’s progression through the minors, and how scouts and prospect evaluators looked at him. It’s a great read that is definitely worth checking out.
Jorge’s minor league trajectory was unusual because he was not considered a top prospect at any point in his minor league career. He was drafted in the 24th round out of high school in Puerto Rico, but ultimately signed as a draft-and-follow (in the pre-signing deadline era) after playing community college. He was drafted as a shortstop and spend the first season of his minor league career playing 2nd base. The next year, the Yankees decided to move him to catcher. The transition was rough, but he showed some promise at the position, and showed solid offensive production.
Posada was never a standout performer in the minors, but always showed decent power and plate discipline. These of course were skills that he also demonstrated throughout his major league career. The Yankees promoted Posada pretty aggressively through the minors, even having him skip from high-A to AAA in 1994 (for what reason, I don’t know). He then spent 2 years in AAA, stuck behind Mike Stanley and Joe Girardi at the major league level, before making his major league debut in 1996.
It is interesting that according to Sickels, at his best, Posada was never more than a C+ prospect in the minors. Considering he went on to become 5-time all star and a borderline hall of famer, it is hard to say that anyone could have predicted Posada becoming the kind of major league player that he did considering his undistinguished minor league career. Perhaps this speaks to the limitations of scouting when Posada was coming up, since his skills were not apparently well-recognized in the minors. It is also highly likely that Posada’s work ethic helped him to make the most of his skills, and he continued to make substantial improvements throughout his major league career. In any case, it is players like Jorge Posada that make following the minors so much fun. He wasn’t a top prospect that everybody saw coming, but he gives reason to follow players throughout the system, just in case one can defy the odds and become a future franchise icon.
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