Minor Lg Profiles: Bichette, Williams, Gumbs, Santana, Culver
The Yankees have wrapped up their signings from their 2011 Draft class and it seems they had a clear goal going into this Draft/Signing period. On the pitching side, they continued their recent trend of going with high upside HS arms while also adding experienced college power bullpen arms. They appeared to focus on adding some good young High School hitting prospects, kids with good size & power upside but athletic ability that will limit them to corner IF/OF types. This is what many believe to be a weakness within the organization so guys like Dante Bichette, Jake Cave & Greg Bird are welcome additions.
Last year there was a clear focus on athletic, up the middle type position players in the Draft and many of those players are off to good starts in their professional careers. Now that the 2011 Draft class is complete, this is a good time to take a look at how some of the prospects added since last year’s Draft are progressing.
Williams is a wiry athlete with plus speed, a plus arm and a smooth left-handed stroke. He was a 4th-rd pick in 2010 but got the team’s highest signing bonus ($1.45M) and he is paying immediate dividends with a whopping .425 wOBA! Mason’s ripping up the NY-Penn Lg, leading the league in BA (.369), hits (75), Total Bases (105), Triples (6) and is in the top 5 in SB’s (20), OBP% (.414), SLG%(.517) & OPS(.932). Be prepared to see Williams in everybody’s Yankee Top 10 prospect lists this year and with his skill set he could rocket through the system. He’s shown the ability to make hard contact so it will be interesting to see how much power he can generate as he starts to add more strength and weight to his 6’0″ 150 lb frame.
Gumbs is another athletic, up the middle defender taken by the Yanks in the 2010 Draft. He got a $750,000 bonus as the 2nd -rd pick and has flashed all of the tools the team paid for. He has great bat speed which he’s used to post a solid .368 wOBA, .442 SLG% & .800 OPS. With 11 SBs & 4 triples he’s demonstrated his wheels
Bichette was the top pick for NY in the 2011 draft. He’s a strong 6’1 215 pound corner IF who is currently playing 3B but profiles as a probable corner OF down the road. This was another criticized pick but Dante signed quick and reported to the GCL immediately to try to prove the pundits wrong. Unfortunately he got off to a terrible 3 for 26 start but since July 1st he has hit everything that moves. He’s got a .446w OBA & 175 rc+.He’s shown a very advanced feel for the strike zone (14.5% walk rate) which is a great skill to have for a young power hitter and contributes to his gaudy .344-.458-.519-.976 line. I’m excited to see how he fares against more advanced pitching as he gets more strikes to hit.
Santana spent the last 3 years in the Dominican Lg and made his U.S. debut in the Gulf Coast Lg this summer with a bang. He’s a 6’2″ 160 athlete with speed and power. He showed both these tools with a .273 ISO, .425 wOBA and 9 HRs and 10 sbs in just 40 games. Unfortunately, his awesome season was cut short 2 days ago as he broke his ankle and tore ligaments sliding into 2nd base. Hopefully he will be 100% by next spring because he has that rare power/speed combo that is coveted in young players.
Culver got a lot of boos when the Yanks took him with their 1st pick in 2010. He wasn’t a sexy pick but he’s been exactly what we thought so far He’s exhibited a solid approach at the plate with solid walk (10.7%) and strikeout rates (17.4%) hitting .283 with a .358 OBP with glimpses of power potential when he gets stronger. Cito’s a raw switch-hitter with solid all-around ability but must cut down on his 14 errors.