Keith Law’s minor league organizational rankings are out, and the Yankees are 9th overall. After the Montero trade, this seems about right. The Yankees have a fairly deep, if bifurcated, farm system – solid guys like Austin Romine, David Phelps, and Adam Warren supporting high ceiling prospects like Dellin Betances up top, and tons of new faces at the bottom levels, but little in between. Keith Law makes a comment about this:
“I might be jumping the gun here, but I see a lot of star potential on their bottom few affiliates, including new acquisition Jose Campos from Seattle”
Full comment at the ESPN insider-only link here.
I find the bottom parts of the Yankee farm system very interesting. If we divide our top-8 low-level prospects into tiers, this is what you get:
- Tier 1: Gary Sanchez – Sanchez is clearly the better prospect of his peers, showing enormous power for his age, and the potential with some seasoning and hard work to stay at catcher. He’s probably a bit underrated by Yankee fans, judging by the comments I read.
- Tier 2: Jose Campos, Mason Williams, Dante Bichette – All three of these guys are, in my book, basically different versions of the same prospect. Each has two or so standout tools, a strong 2011 short-season performance under their belt, and tons of potential to improve. With some luck, they will track each other across the minor leagues straight up into New York. It’s not all that unlikely that all three make it to the majors. They each have a little bit of “the whole is better than the sum of their parts” element to them too.
- Tier 3: Ravel Santana, Tyler Austin, Angelo Gumbs, Cito Culver – I think right here is where the Yankees start to have some real depth. Unlike Tier 2, these guys are all very different. Cito Culver is a solid, defensively-oriented, fairly low ceiling prospect who is still a very solid guy to keep around. Angelo Gumbs, on the other hand, combines up-the-middle defense (though far from gold glove) with a high ceiling bat. Ravel Santana has the same story,but significantly out-tools the already-athletic Gumbs. Tyler Austin couldn’t be more different – he’s a slugging first baseman who hit the crap out of the ball in 2012. This group is better than you think.
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