What To Expect When You’re Expecting

Prospects are like a high school flame…the anticipation of seeing them is almost too much to bear. Some will move away to be coveted by another, once in a while they will turn out to be all that you hoped they would be, and in the end most of them will break your heart. Yankee fans are no stranger to this, having loved and lost a pair of highly touted young players in the last couple of years, watching some fail to reach their potential, and a few that are the object of our new found affection.

Future Hero or Heartbreaker?

Future Hero or Heartbreaker?

What we need to keep in mind is that this isn’t exclusive to the New York Yankees; not every season is going to be like 2010 where there were few injuries and the big names all seemed to take leaps forward. This doesn’t mean that our farm system is without its flaws, its merely a reminder to take a little perspective when viewing our next crop of young players. I recently had a discussion with someone that was unhappy about NY’s first round picks the last ten years or so, which at first thought seemed reasonable. That was, until I pulled up some other teams who by and large are looked at as having great success drafting and developing. What I came up with was a bunch of lists fairly similar to what we’ve seen in the Bronx; aside from the “can’t miss” players that get taken in the first five to ten picks it was a mish mash of reasonable success, outright failures and a whole lot of “what should have beens” that failed to live up to their hype. Again, when taking a look at the big picture and not using Yankee tunnel vision I didn’t see a stark difference between the Yanks’ 1st rounders and the rest of baseball. It’s great to see a players ceiling and start projecting their stat lines their rookie year and beyond, but a ceiling is in now way a guarantee, and in most cases is not likely to be realized.

 One notion that seems to surface often when discussing the current state of our farm system is that it hasn’t produced like the one that fed the glorious dynasty years. There’s no doubt that the system headed by Gene Michael and company turned out some of the greatest Yankees of all time, namely Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera who will likely stroll into the Hall of Fame with much fanfare and little to no doubt that they belong there. Along with two first ballot players that system churned out some others that proved to be the backbone of those teams. Names like Williams, Posada and Pettitte may never see the likes of Cooperstown, but they have certainly made their mark in Yankee lore and cannot go unmentioned. You could argue that one of, if not all three have earned their ticket to the Hall, or maybe have their numbers retired, but that’s a discussion for another day. The point of all this is, while it was fantastic to grow up a Yankee fan watching all of these guys hit the scene and come together to march to victory so many times it has spoiled us a bit and heightened our expectations to unrealistic proportions.

 It comes to no surprise that this next round of prospects, some of which who are climbing the ranks of Baseball America’s top prospect sheets, will be subject to the same lofty and in some cases obscene standards that were set back in the 90’s. Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing better than witnessing the birth of so many illustrious careers, but a little levity needs to be exercised when projecting those same hopes and dreams on the upcoming group of players. With all that said, there are some similarities between the two groups. We have a power hitting offense-first catcher in Sanchez, a pair of lefties in Turley and Banuelos, the former of which has certain comps to Pettitte, a late inning closer with a devastating out pitch in Montgomery, some slick fielding outfielders in Williams and Heathcott and a bat first guy (Austin) that could end up manning a corner spot anywhere on the field. There’s even some serious potential a bit further back in Gumbs who has the potential to shore up another up the middle spot in Yankee Stadium.  

 Despite the lack of players chomping at the bit in Scranton the Yankee farm system has plenty of names to look forward to, but try to gauge your expectations and remember the one that broke your heart back in your grade school days, because it’s bound to happen again….and again, but will inevitably lead to another love affair. This is what makes following these players as they try and make their way to greatness so exciting, and what makes all the heartache worth it in the end.

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Posted on December 12, 2012, in No Category. Bookmark the permalink. 43 Comments.

  1. that is a great read Jimmy, thanks

  2. Yanks get a bad rap for not developing players well. They churn out their share of players it’s just that they have gone through periods where they fail to give their own young guys opportunities at the MLB level. They were notorious for this in the 80s and made many bad trades for veterans. In the early 90s when george was suspended from baseball, they refrained from trading people away and built the core that became the Dynasty of 94-2001.

    But for the last decade they’ve sort of gone back to their approach of the 80′s…..trading away youth for veterans. They wiped out a whole generation of young players that would be today’s young core. Right now they have several players that are ready to play right now but Management won’t have the patience to let them play. IMO, guys like Nunez, Adams & Joseph are players and need to be given a chance.

    The one position the team needs to improve in is development of starting pitchers. Joba, Hughes & Banuelos were all top 10 in MLB pitching prospects. Joba was jerked around and never taught proper mechanics. Hughes is still developing and he could be a moderate success as a mid-rotation starter – however, he was suppossed to be a top of the rotation Bulldog. The jury is entirely out on Banuelos and he has years and years to write his story. But his injury coupled with the collapses of the other Bs has people wondering.

    • fishjam…
      You hit the nail on the head concerning King George.
      Watson, Stick and Showalter and Sticks side kick Cashman made some very good decisions. While they had the chance thus….1996 and on, became more Yankee history.
      I have, as have many others, ask; why are we one of the only teams to never bring up guys until they are 24 or older?

    • It’s simple teams that are bad draft first, and should get better players. Teams like the Rays and Nats have good young players because of their position in the draft. Players like Price, are usually found in the first 10 picks. The Yanks make the playoffs every year so they don’t get those players. They have to obtain their players through trades, and free agency for the most part.

      • Doug, it’s not that simple. It’s true the yanks haven’t had access to top 10 picks but that is only one aspect. The Yanks have been able to outspend teams in acquiring International Amateurs from the Dominican Republic & Venezuela where a great deal of MLB talent comes from. So while they can’t get the best American amateurs they have had decades of essentially having top picks Internationally. They also outspent teams later in the draft on guys who are signability concerns. These “loopholes” that favored the Yanks have now been essentially closed with the new CBA.

        Everyone always talks about the Rays having a good Farm System because of their draft position. While it obviously helps, nearly their entire Pitching Staff (besides Price) are guys that were picked later in the draft. TB does a great job of scouting and development. Same with St.Louis who don’t usually have top picks either.

        • fishjam, all you said is true, but the Rays have never won the series and should have missed the playoffs the last 2 years. Teams are formed in different ways but none have made the playoffs or won as much as the Yanks.

    • Well Fish with the expulsion of some of the org guys and the hiring in from the A’s, who have undoubtedly had some nice success with their pitching it looks as if they’re moving in the right direction. If anything, that is the biggest flaw in their armor and hopefully this changes the direction of our young pitching. with so many guys on the verge of making a contribution i’m relieved to see some major pieces moved in and out.

      I really wanted to include a rant about the whole “Killer B’s” bullsh*t, but figured i would get carried away. Let’s face it…so far we got what they were touted as from the get go, aside from the ridiculously stupid hype and monickers that make me want to kick kittens, they are what they were supposed to be; a talented lefty whose size was a concern but chops and stuff were not, a big high ceiling guy that could be a front end starter but most likely a bullpen arm, and a long shot that you shouldn’t bet on with someone else’s money. Anyone that gets mad about the B’s is, IMO, choosing to ignore the facts in order to have something to complain about.

      Looking back, it probably would have been best to hang on to Ajax and maybe even the chosen one, if only to have cheap players to contribute. Had they known that not only would the “win now” move of trading Ajax for Grandy not reulted in a WS title, and that the new CBA would allow them a chance to get out of a ridiculous 50% Yankee tax, i would imagine they’d have held on and said no to Grandy and plugged in the youth. Who knows.

  3. jimmytoucan…..
    Very well done, the ups and downs of drat picks is exasperating that’s for sure! One thing you did, was to get me thinking…that is not always a good thing but, I came up with some draft numbers for the last 20 years.

    1992 to 2012 we have had 17 1st round picks of which one was #6 and one was #13 the other15 picks were from 20+ to 32 (last). We have had 9 of our 1st picks as 2nd and 3rd round picks (33and up)!
    I looked up some of the other teams that had many, many bad years and received a lot of Yankee $$$$$$ because of the old cap. They have had very good minor league teams and this translates to a strong major league team.
    Until the Yankees can get things under control…as they are trying to do now (which I hate), there will be no 3 or 5 year sets of WS Rings in New York. I have been through the real bad years of the 60-70 (I think it was then), I don’t want to see them again….do YOU?

    Giving the kids a chance to have one more year on the farm isn’t all bad!

    • old yankee, keep in mind that none of these players are Price or Harper!

    • Wikipedia of all places, has it laid out really easily to check out who has taken whom in the first round…. a simple search of “(insert team name here) first round picks” brings the wiki entries near the top. after looking through some of those it became pretty clear that the whole first round thing is a bunch of hooey, aside from those first few, depending on the upper level strength of the draft of course. the rays for example have done well for themselves, but who would they be without price, longoria and upton these last few years? not taking credit away from them, as i’d love to steal some of their scouts and developmental guys away from their pitching department. their focus on guys having a killer changeup has given the Yankees fits for some time, and their initial scouting is pretty solid.

      with that said, i think they draft fairly well, aside from a couple of recent reaches (culver moreso than bichette) but both have been a little bit overstepped IMO.

      one thing we’ll have to remember moving forward is how the new CBA affects the draft, especially in the early rounds. aside from those first few picks, you can be sure that the first couple of rounds are going to be full of college seniors that have no choice but to sign once drafted, in spite of a deflated signing bonus. with teams able to (and forced to in a sense) save money for the later rounds we’re going to see a lot more “meh” type picks early on and a lot more of the impact players chosen later in the draft when the teams have amassed slot money to bring them home.

  4. Sometimes it’s the luck of the draw, the O’s could have had Cain, Linceum, and Barmgartner. Almost all MLB teams have missed out on players, but as a rule the players drafted in the first 10 picks are the best players. Yanks picked up first round picks in Swisher and A-Rod through free agency.

    • it is, by and large a crapshoot when it comes to drafting these kids once you get past the first few, and even those top picks aren’t guaranteed to make it. take for example Matt Moore, the #1 LHP prospect in baseball going in to 2012…. the Rays picked him up in the 8th round and was arguably one of their best picks that year, so that means they passed him over several times for guys that haven’t shown nearly as much potential at this point. are they straight up geniuses or is there a bit of luck there too?

      • jimmy, I totally agree, It cracks me up when I hear people trashing GMs for draft picks. Anyone can make a case again’st any GM for draft picks, it is an inperfect science. Teams that have a good minor league system usually pick first in the draft. That being said, we all know about players like Piazza and Moore who were pasted over by all teams many times.

  5. Great read Jimmy T!!!!! I am really looking forward to prospect watching more so than ever this year. This guys are mid way up the hill and almost at the peak.

    • I’m pretty excited to see what 2013 brings…. Austin, Gumbs and Heathcott along with Williams Flores and Sanchez on the position player side top my list, followed by some of the newer guys down in rookie/short season ball, and then a range of pitchers that are making their debut, turned a corner or are getting to the upper levels like DePaula, Ramirez, Turley, Campos, Henseley, Marshall, Monty, Kahnle etc… Hopefully we’ll get a year closer to 2010 than 2012; another strong season could catapult the Yanks farm to the upper ranks in all of baseball again and give us a solid base to build another winning team on.

      • jimmy, me too, I saw Monte and Heathcott in AFL, both looked good. The step to the big leagues is usually the hardest. Monte has a good slider, we will have to see if it’s good enough for the majors. Slade looks like a player, he has the basic tools, it will come down to whether he can hit big league pitching.

  6. oldYankee7…forgive me, but what is wrong with you?
    Someone asked you about your health today, and later addressed you as ‘youngYankee7.’
    And, you remain silent. I don’t understand this.
    If you want to throw Twasp under the bus, fine. He is trying.
    That said,… I can point you to a site, where someone you once defended……is really ripping you. Now!
    Choose your friends, wisely………..patrick.

    • Patrick….
      I have a few here on this site that dislike me, but they don’t say anything about it. Mostly, they ignore me, which is fine. It keeps things clean around here. Yes, I know who they are but, who cares…not I! I let one get under my skin for a while…this blogging put restrictions on me I had never had before…it won’t happen again!
      Bottom line is, life is to short to worry about the small stuff! Let it all go Patrick, I have! Yes, I do read other blogs so don’t worry about it! Go fishing! :)

  7. Kenny…NO time for fishing. It can’t pay the bills. Don’t know why, but I keep trying with you, and Twasp.
    I know he has put some effort into it.
    Did you buy flowers for your wife yet?

  8. CODY ROSS. Is it me, or the Irish dream thing again? I keep banging the drum…but..
    Perhaps Ross is not on the radar? Funny, some people, up the food chain, want Nunez to play third base.

    • Patrick…
      If I remember right, I think Cody Ross is not with the Yankees any more, in fact I think he has a real job somewhere. Nunez at 3rd, ain’t good guys, I think most of his errors were made at 3rd base. His job is to prove he can play SS, he is very athletic but not a true athlete…if he were an athlete, he would pick up on the things he needs to work on to be a good SS…like arm angle, knowing what to do before he get’s the ball and FOOT WORK. His footwork is ridiculous.
      And no, no flowers, I got her a car for her Birthday, last week! Ooops! sorry about that, I know many of the great unwashed (dat mean me) out there are hard pressed to get and keep jobs. With our benevolent dictator in charge of things it won’t get any better, until 2014!
      Good hunting and keep the faith.

  9. Rumors that Hamilton is going to the Angels.

  10. and everyone’s favorite Ramiro Pena signs with the Braves.

  11. Angels say they keeping Trumbo–I would be in for a push for him (Hughes)

    • I would trade Grandy to the Rangers for either Profar, Olt, or Perez.

      • works for me, young infielder for grandy—-young outfielder for hughes

      • Doug …..why bother trading Grandy? The Yankee team has a good chance of making the playoffs with him or with a similar skilled replacement. And once they’re in the playoffs , success is all based on outlier performances of random players…..the playoffs do not result with the best team winning……it’s designed to make money. All this talk of who to trade and who to acquire is, in the end, irrelevant and complete BOLLOCKS.

        • twasp, by trading Grandy the Yanks will still make the playoffs this year and can pick up some youth for the team going forward. Do you really believe the best team wins? I don’t! Life is totally out of your control, but that doesn’t mean you are irrelevent or complete Bollocks.

  12. doug & john…keep the faith, my brothers. Like your ideas.
    Plenty of time to deliver, the blockbuster. Brian, may have the target, in the crosshairs….as we
    speak. I am sill in a positive mode.

    • patrick, yes there is plenty of time,it’s only December. This year it looks like their is alot of movement in the trading market, Cashman just needs to find the right partners.

  13. Hello everyone!!! many of you might remember me from i-yankees! its good to see you all are posting still!! sorry i haven’t been, for like, a year. but I’m back!!! just one question, is twasp around? also thanks to pat for referring me over here!!

  14. Firm believer we can make trades AND compete in 2013!!! As well as position this team to be younger and cheaper for beyond. Their are young established guys out their who can make us better.

    Grandy for ????
    Hughes for ????

    Anyone that makes this team younger and better!!!!

    Realistically we have A-Rod, Teix, CC, Jeter—-the rest i would move to improve.

    Would NOT pay Cano a long expensive deal so MOVE him.

    Do not let Grandy walk for a pick, same for Hughes though no pick there as no QO.

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