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Prospect Profile: Mason Williams

Vitals: courtesy daily news

DOB 08//21/1991

Height: 6’1″ Weight: 165

Bats/Throws L/R

2010 4th Round, W Orange HS

Numbers:

Mason made a short debut back in the Gulf Coast League after being taken in the 4th round of the 2010 draft. He then moved on to Staten Island in 2011 where he hit for a .349/.395/.468/.863 quad slash, with 20 walks and 41 strikeouts in 269 AB’s. That works out to a .404 wOBA and 148 wRC+. He swiped 28 bags while getting caught a dozen times. 2012 found Mason in Charleston with several other of NY’s big prospects. Before getting promoted to Tampa Williams logged 276 AB’s, sporting a .304/.359/.489/.848 line, (.381 wOBA, 131 wRC+) with 21 walks and 33 K’s. His SB% fell a bit, getting caught 9 times while stealing 19 bases. His power started to come around though, going deep 8 times as opposed to only 3 in SI in a similar number of AB’s. His doubles power increased as well, from 11 in 2011 to 19. Mason, along with Sanchez and Austin earned himself a mid season promotion to High A Tampa. His stint in the FSL was short lived however, as Mason injured an already aggravated left shoulder and ended up having a torn labrum repaired, ending his 2012 campaign. He finished up in Tampa with 83 AB’s in which he hit .277/.302/.422/.724, a .331 wOBa and 104 wRC+. He suffered from a bit of a reverse platoon split in the second half, so those numbers and the smallish sample size, combined with him adjusting to a new level are likely a poor representation. In his roughly two years in the minors Williams was named to the SAL AS team, the MiL Org AS team, a Topps short season/rookie AS, BA short season AS, NYPL AS as well as a couple of player of the week awards.

Tools:

Mason’s hit tool is easily his best asset. Strong forearms and wrists, simple swing that can get a little long at times but generally consistent. To this point he’s shown an innate ability to make contact, which has cut into his walks some. He’ll be challenged more as he sees better and better pitching and guys start to tempt him out of the zone, so he’ll have to adjust. He has a smooth swing with plus bat speed that he can keep in the zone, but can take a nit to get there. He does on occasion get an uppercut path going, possibly selling out in attempts to go deep. He can sometimes get ahead of himself at the plate, pulling his head and front shoulder off the ball as well as well as getting a little aggressive early in counts and going after some ugly pitches, but his flaws are easily correctable. All in all he has a nice loose easy swing and a great ability to barrel up the ball. He can hit line drives to all fields, as well as lay down a bunt for an infield single. Can handle breaking and offspeed pitches as well the fastball.

Power has been the question when referring to Mason’s bat, but that appears to be becoming less of an issue these days. When he was first brought in to the system, he was a rail thin kid that didn’t have much projection in him in the slugging department. That’s changed over the last season and rolling in to 2013, as he’s reportedly added about 30 pounds over that time and could add a bit more muscle yet. Combine some added raw strength with his bat speed and contact ability and you can see those power numbers going up as he moves along. Ultimately his potential lies in him getting stronger and refining his pitch selection, and from what we hear that’s beginning to unfold. Evaluators have him pegged anywhere from a 10-15 HR guy, to one that could top 20+ every year. As far as center fielders go that would be a nice addition to the lineup.

Williams shows plus to plus-plus speed in the outfield and on the bases, although his instincts and ability to get good jumps need a bit of refinement. On some plays in the field he’ll look like he’s knocking on the door of a fielding bible award, but he’ll sprinkle in a blooper reel play as well. Mason has excellent range and the ability to track balls, but is hampered by some inconsistent routes and trouble with balls hit straight over him. He also tends to go all out on plays that can lead to either a visit to the highlight reel or unnecessary extra bases. Over time his decision making should sharpen up, but I can’t say I don’t like a guy that will lay out to make the big play, so long as he’s not completely reckless in doing it. His baserunning is under aggressive at times and he needs to work on his jumps, but with work he could see SB totals in the 25-30 range at the ML level. Of all his tools, his arm is the least impressive. It currently grades out as average, having a long release, a ball that doesn’t carry well and throwing from a lower arm slot that tends to impart a natural run on his throws. Accuracy is not an issue, and adding some strength and getting on top of the ball more will help to correct that and get him into the above average realm. As it is he’s got enough for to play center, anything more is just gravy. Both his base stealing and defense rely more on his raw speed right now than technique, but he shows the plus side and simply needs to be more consistent. He has the potential to become a plus plus defender at a premium position and the ability to steal 25+ bags a year. The arm could use some improvement, but it not detrimental to him staying in center.

Makeup:

While Mason is advanced for his level, he still has some maturing to do. In scouring various articles and reports on him I ran into an account of him being cocky. Being the only source this came from i’m not sure if I buy it. What I have seen repeated by various sources is Mason’s tendency to get down on himself when things aren’t going well. Wether it’s acting out over frustration or failing to run out a routine pop out behind the plate, it’s something he needs to address. Being his own worst critic is one thing, but if it causes any sort of distraction or derails his focus then it becomes an issue. Again, we’re talking about a 19-20 year old, but the sooner he gets his emotions under wraps the better. He worked hard to get back in line following his surgery last year and is supposedly ready to start the season on time in the FSL, so his work ethic isn’t in question. He certainly has a good group of prospects around him, and a few who he’s come up through the system with so there’s the whole camaraderie and familiarity element with his teammates and some friendly competition amongst the teams best prospects that doesn’t hurt either.

Overview:

Impressive young player. His combination of athleticism and advanced skills at a young age profile well. The fact that he has certain drawbacks yet still performs at the level he does is a good thing as it leaves ample room for further projection. A natural contact hitter that uses the whole field, hits for average and decent power while fielding an award capable glove at a premium position is something any club would sign up for. While he has some mechanical and maturity issues to correct, all of them are attainable fixes. Something along the lines of hitting .290-.300 with 20 HR’s and 40 doubles seems fair. With impressive contact skills but a yet to realize walk rate he may not be a top of the order high OBP guy, but might profile as a #2 or #5 type when all is said and done.

Projection/ETA:

OK so any time anyone mentions comps it opens up the flood gates for scrutiny, but let’s go there anyway. At his best Mason could wind up being in Andrew McCutchen territory. If his body catches up to his physical skills it’s not insane to see him as that toolsy centerfield guy that can hit for average, has pop, can steal bases and play outstanding defense. On the low end you’re looking at a Brett Gardner type profile albeit with more power. Mason has a while to go, but has a pretty good chance to contribute to a major league ball club. His ceiling may fall a bit short of fellow CF’er Slade Heathcott, but his chances of achieving that potential are greater. If all goes well and Mason stays on the field, you could expect him to make a play for Trenton later this year, a cup of coffee in 2014, and a regular on the big club some time in 2015.

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Minor Night Cap: Mitchell gets Rocked, Tampa & Staten Island win big

Empire State Yankees L 11-6

Corban Joseph – 2R, 1H (double), 1RBI, 2K, .237

Kevin Russo – 3H, 3RBI, 1BB, .279

Pitching

D.J. Mitchell (L, 5-4) – 2.0IP, 7H, 6R, 6ER, 3BB, 2K, 1HR, 5.74

Trenton Thunder L 7-2

PTF Zoilo Almonte – 1RBI, 2K, .265

Jose Pirela – 1R, 1H, 4BB, .386

Pitching
Adam Miller (L, 0-2) – 3.1IP, 10H, 4R, 4ER, 2BB, 1K, 4.37era

Tampa Yankees W 9-4

PTF J.R. Murphy – 2R (Double) 1RBI, 1BB, 1K, .252

Ramon Flores – 3R, 3H, 3RBI, 1BB, .276

Rob Segedin – 2H, 2RBI, 1K, .297

Tyson Blasser – 2BB, 1K, .337

Neil Medchill – 1R, 2H, 1BB, .247

Pitching
David Phelps – 2.0IP, 3H, 1BB, 3K, 0.00era

Aaron Dott (W, 2-2) – 2.oIP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, 1K, 2.97era

Jose A. Ramirez – 2.1IP, 4H, 2K, 4.21era

Rigoberto Arrebato – 1.2IP, 2H, 3R, 3ER, 1BB, 2K, 1HR, 4.86

Kramer Sneed – 1.0IP, 2H, 1BB, 6.06era

Charleston River Dogs L 12-6

PTF Dante Bichette Jr. – 1R, 2H (Double), 1RBI, 1BB, .261

Mason Williams – 2R, 2H (solo homer), 1RBI, 1K, .301

Cito Culver – 1R, 1H (Triple), 1K, .215

Tyler Austin – 1H (Double), 2RBI, .335

Gary Sanchez – 1R, 1H (Double), .315

Angelo Gumbs – 1R, 1H (Double), .274

Pitching

William Oliver – 5.0IP, 6H, 4R, 3ER, 4BB, 4K, 1HR, 4.35era

Joel De La Cruz – 2.0IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 3K, 3.60era

Phillip Wetherell (BS, 1) (L, 2-2) – 0.1IP, 6H, 7R, 7ER, 1BB, 4.81era

John Brebbia – o.2IP, 1H, 1K, 4.58era

Staten Island W 8-1

Taylor Dugas – 3R, 2H, 2RBI, 2K, .571

Jose Rosario – 1R, 3H (Double), 1RBI, 1K, .250

Saxon Butler – 1R, 2H (2, Doubles), 3RBI, .300

Pitching

Andrew Benak – 2.0IP, 2H, 1BB, 2K, o.ooera (ND)

Gulf Coast League W 3-1


Kelvin Duran -  1H (Double), 2RBI, .143

Austin Jones -  1H, 1RBI, 1K, .417

PTF Slade Heathcott – 2BB, 2K, .231

Pitching

Jeremy Bleich – 2.0IP, 1BB, 2K, o.ooera

Giovanny Gallegos – 2.oIP, 2K, 0.00era

Dawerd Cruz – 1.oIP, 1BB, 1K, 0.00era

Rony Bautista (W, 1-0) – 3.oIP, 1BB, 4K, 0.00era

Edison Mejia (S, 2) – 1.oIP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 1K, 1HR, 5.40era

Minor Night Cap: Tampa not so good, Charleston wins

Empire State Yankees – PPD

Tampa Yankees L 10-5

PTF J.R. Murphy – 1H, 1RBI, 1BB, 1K, .240

Eduardo Sosa – 1H (triple), 1Rbi, 1K, .238

Ramon Flores – 1R, 1H, 1K, .248

Rob Segedin – 1R, 3H (double), .314

Neil Medchill – 1H (triple), 1RBI, 1K, .262

Kyle Higashioki – 1R, 1H (2 run homer), 2RBI, 1K, .200

Kyle Roller – 1H, 1K, .200

Garrison Lassiter – 2R, 2H (double), 1K, .154

Kelvin Castro – 1H, 1K, .195

Pitching
PTF Nik Turley (DNP)

Sean Black (L, 0-1) – 2.2IP, 8H, 6R, 5ER, 1BB, 2K, 5.59era

Dawerd Cruz – 2.1IP, 6H, 3R, 2ER, 1BB, 1K, 7.71era

Alex Smith – 3.0IP, 3H, 1BB, 1K, 0.00era

Matt Bashore – 1.0IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 1K, 9.00era

Charleston River Dogs W 5-4

PTF Dante Bichette Jr. – 3K, .206

Mason Williams – 2R, 1H, 2BB, 2K, .327

Cito Culver – 1BB, 2K, .226

Gary Sanchez – 3H (double), 2RBI, 1K, .354

Tyler Austin – 1K, .314

Benjamin Gamel – 1H, 2K, .238

Angelo Gumbs – 1R, 2H (triple), 1K, .220

Casey Stevenson – 1R, 1H, 1RBI, 1BB, 1K, .410

Kelvin De Leon – 1H (double), 2K, .224

Pitching
PTF Bryan Mitchell (DNP)

Scottie Allen – 6.0IP, 3H, 1R, 0ER, 1BB, 6K, 3.77era

Wilton Rodriguez (BS, 1) 1.0IP, 5H, 3R, 2ER, 1BB, 1HR, 3.27era

Joel De La Cruz (W, 2-0) 2.0IP, 1BB, 2K, 0.00era

Morning Bits: Rotation, Mason Williams, Empire State Yankees, Pettitte, Mariano

Good morning all.  After a rained soaked weekend the Yankees will now start a series with the red hot bats of the Texas Rangers.  This should be a great series.

Let’s start the week off with some morning links….

Chad Jennings of Lohud writes that the Yankees struggling rotation faces tough spin vs. Rangers, Tigers.

The Times Tribune has the story of The Empire State Yankees come back to beat Norfolk.

Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York writes don’t mess with Texas.

Keith Law of ESPN says Mason Williams has moved passed Banuelos as the Yankees top prospect.

Buster Olney sat down with Mariano Rivera for the Sunday conversation.

Mike Bauman of MLB.com writes that Andy Pettitte is a necessity, not a luxury for the Yankees.

– The yankees expect Brett Gardner back after the 15 days on the DL writes Jason Mastrodonato of mlb.com.

 

Minor Night Cap: Tyler Austin, Dante Bichette Jr., Banuelos,

Empire State Yankees W 7-2

PTF Romine (DL) Notes: Kevin Russo had two hits.  Steve Pearce had a homerun.  Colin Curtis walked an impressive five times in the game.

Pitching
PTF Dellin Betances (N/A)

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Manny Banuelos 2.0 3 2 2 6 0 0 10.13
Pat Venditte 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 6.00
Manny Delcarmen (W, 1-1) 3.0 0 0 0 1 2 0 1.35
Cody Eppley 2.0 1 0 0 1 2 0 0.00
Kevin Whelan 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00

Trenton Thunder L 6-1

PTF Zolio Almonte – 3 AB’s 1BB 3 K’s.  Notes: Only 6 hits by 3 players (Ibarra, Mahoney, Mustelier).  Mesa had an outfield assist.

Pitching
PTF Brett Marshall – Not a good start for our player to follow.

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Brett Marshall (L, 1-1) 4.1 9 5 5 2 5 1 6.75
Michael Dubee 0.2 0 0 0 2 0 0 0.00
Lee Hyde 1.0 1 1 0 1 2 0 0.00
Kelvin Perez 2.0 0 0 0 2 3 0 0.00

Tampa Yankees W 5-4

PTF J.R. Murphy – 4 AB’s 2 Runs 3 hits (Double, Homer) 2 RBI’s.  Notes: Jose Mojica also had 3 hits. Roller and Sosa each had two hits.

Pitching
PTF Nik Turley (N/A)

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Shane Greene 4.1 4 4 3 2 1 0 3.86
Kramer Sneed 2.2 1 0 0 2 3 0 0.00
Manuel Barreda (W, 1-0) 1.0 0 0 0 2 0 0 18.00
Rigoberto Arrebato (S, 1) 1.0 0 0 0 2 2 0 2.70

Charleston River Dogs W 9-3

PTF Dante Bichette Jr. 4 AB’s 2 Runs 3 hits 1 Run 1BB.  Notes: Mason Williams had a stolen bases as well as 2 hits and an RBI.  The Star of the game was Tyler Austin who had 2 homers and 3 RBI’s.  If you aren’t following Austin you better start soon as he is starting off this season red hot.

Pitching
PTF Bryan Mitchell (Pitches tomorrow)

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Caleb Cotham (W, 1-0) 5.0 6 2 2 0 1 1 3.00
Wilton Rodriguez 3.0 1 1 0 0 4 0 0.00
Mariel Checo 1.0 1 0 0 1 2 0 3.00

Minor Night Cap: 4/5/12

Empire State Yankees L 3-0

Not a good start for the team with a new name.  Only one hit for the team by Raymond Kruml who hit a double.  Pena had an error on a throw.

Pitching Stats

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Manny Delcarmen (L, 0-1) 1.2 1 3 1 4 2 0 5.40
Craig Heyer 4.1 2 0 0 1 2 0 0.00
Juan Cedeno 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00
Jason Bulger 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00


Trenton Thunder L 5-3


Doubles: Mustelier (1, Hutchison), Almonte, A (1, Hutchison).  Rbi’s: Mustelier (1), Mesa 2 (2).   Zolio Almonte had 4 Strikeouts.  Ouch!

Pitching Stats

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Shaeffer Hall (L, 0-1) 4.0 7 4 3 2 3 0 6.75
Cory Arbiso 2.1 3 1 1 0 2 0 3.86
Preston Claiborne 1.2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00
Lee Hyde 1.0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0.00

Tampa Yankees L 8-5


Kelvin Castro had 2 hits in the game.  Players to have RBI’s were Castro, K (1), Mojica (1), Murphy, JR (1), Roller (1).

Pitching Stats

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Nik Turley 5.0 4 2 1 2 9 0 1.80
Vidal Nuno (L, 0-1) 2.0 4 2 2 0 2 0 9.00
Manuel Barreda 1.0 4 4 4 1 0 0 36.00
Kramer Sneed 1.0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0.00

Charleston River Dogs was suspended because of rain

Mason Williams did lead off with a triple though.  Oh well.

Warren shuts down Red Sox but Sox climb back to tie Yankees game at 4

David Phelps was scheduled to make the start for the Yankees tonight, but Mother Nature had other plans. Phelp’s wife was giving birth which prompted Phelps to back out of his start. Adam Warren was squeezed in to make the emergency start and Warren did not disappoint whatsoever as he was able to shut down the Red Sox in his 4 innings of work.

The last time the Yankees and Red Sox met up with one another, the Red Sox defeated the Yankees 1-0. This time, the ending was completely different. The Yankees & Red Sox ended up in a tie after Joe Girardi called it off after 9 innings. For comedic relief, Bobby Valentine wanted to keep going and tire out the Yankees. Oh Bobby…it’s Spring Training. Let it go.

Warren only allowed 2 hits and no runs in his 4 innings of work while looking effectively sharp against the Red Sox everyday hitters. Dellin Betances pitched 3 innings without giving up any runs, but his Achilles heel tonight was walk. Betances gave up 4 walks in 3 innings. Cory Wade struggled in the 8th inning. ending the shutout by allowing 3 runs to the Red Sox. Juan Cedeno came in after Wade was only able to go 0.2 of an inning, getting the final batter in the 8th. George Kontos came in during the 9th but allowed the tying run for the Red Sox to score which resulted in the Yankees tie.

THE GOOD: Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner & Andruw Jones all had a hit in tonight’s game (Granderson a RBI triple, Gardner a hard clean single & Jones had a single). CC Sabathia started today vs. Double-A in an attempt to hide his pitches from the Red Sox. Sabathia allowed 1 run on 5 hits, gave up a walk and had 4 strikeouts. Girardi didn’t see Sabathia’s outing and joined Gardner & Granderson in Ft. Meyers but he jokingly said that this Sabathia kid has a shot of making the rotation. You know what Joe? I’ll go a step further. I say this Sabathia kid will be an ace.

THE BAD: Raul Ibanez went hit-less again, his average in the Spring being a dismal .054. Is it too late to try to persuade Jorge Posada to come out of retirement? Cory Wade also did not look sharp, allowing 3 runs in the Red Sox 8th inning and not being able to finish the inning. There were also some base blunders today as both Eric Chavez & Andruw Jones were picked off by Red Sox starter Aaron Cook. Guys, leave the stolen base attempts to Gardner & Granderson, okay?

WHAT’S NEXT: Tomorrow is a Split Squad game which means 2 games at once. Here is also some exciting news. Mason Williams will play in Tampa vs. the Twins while Yankees first round 2011 prospect Dante Bichette Jr. will head to Clearwater and join the other half of the Yankees for the game vs. the Phillies. The game vs. the Twins will broadcast on YES & MLB.TV while the game @ the Phillies will be only on MLB.TV.

Links Overflow: Mason Williams, Pettitte, David Cone

Hello all with no game tonight I figured I’d post some links.  Enjoy. Comment on any thoughts you have on them.

* Yankees prospect Mason Williams is opening some eyes.

* ESPN reports that Pettitte is not scared to fail.

* Listen to a podacast where David Cone shares his thoughts about Andy Pettitte’s return with the Yankees.

* Make sure to read this one from Lohud about all the latest about the minor league teams for the Yankees.

Enjoy this video of C.C. Sabthia talking about Pettitte’s return and more.

S2S 2012 Team Prospect Lists: New York Yankees

This article is being syndicated from our friends over at Seedlings to Stars.  I will provide some of the article and at the bottom just click the link to read the rest.  Enjoy!!

With the S2S 2012 Top 100 Prospects List now in the books, it’s time to take a closer look at the future of each team. And that means team prospect lists!

Most minor league sites will do top-10s, top-15s, top-20s, or some other ranking. Last year, to be a bit different, the FanSided team prospect lists (which were done at Call to the Pen, since S2S didn’t exist), instead listed a team’s top prospect at each position (C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, 3 OFs, 5 SPs, and 2 RPs). This year, we’re keeping that format, but also adding a “Best of the Rest” section that lists the top ten players beyond the positional rankings. That’s 25 players per system, if you’re counting.

New York Yankees

The Yankees system is undoubtedly somewhat down from where it was in years past. Their vaunted “Killer B” trio–Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, and Andrew Brackman–all ran into trouble in 2011, and Brackman ended up released while Betances looks like he may be headed for the bullpen. Jesus Montero was traded away to Seattle, further damaging the top talent, although New York did receive the Northwest League’s top prospect, Jose Campos, in that trade.

There’s still plenty to like here, though. This system has an abundance of two things: upper-minors arms and low-minors bats. Banuelos, Campos, and Gary Sanchez could be excellent contributors even by the lofty standards of Yankee fans.

Position Player Upside: B
Position Player Depth: B-
Pitching Upside: B+
Pitching Depth: B+
System Grade: B

Catcher: Gary Sanchez. You don’t come across a whole lot of 18-year-old catchers with ISOs of .229 in full-season ball. Sanchez also boasts a strong arm and a good eye at the plate, and has superstar potential. He has some major problems with blocking pitches, but at his age, that’s not cause for alarm just yet, and neither is his elevated strikeout rate. At some point, those are going to need to come around, but he’s got plenty of time, and his overall potential is enormous. Grade: A-

Read the rest of this entry

Morning Bits: Jeter, Mariano, Centerfield

Good Morning it’s Friday let’s get right to the links……

* From the Daily News the final two members of the core four are not thinking about hanging it up.

* Lohud moves onto Centerfield with the organizational depth series.

 

Baseball America’s 2012 Top Yankee Prospects

Baseball America came out with their Top Prospects and of course they did one for the Yankees as well. The three lists include the top ten prospects, Best Tools (my favorite one to look at) and what the projected lineup will be in 2015 (pretty cool as well).  Below is all the information.  Enjoy and discuss what you agree and disagree with in the comments section.

TOP TEN PROSPECTS

1. Jesus Montero, c
2. Manny Banuelos, lhp
3. Dellin Betances, rhp
4. Gary Sanchez, c
5. Mason Williams, of
6. Dante Bichette, 3b
7. Ravel Santana, of
8. Austin Romine, c
9. J.R. Murphy, c/3b
10. Slade Heathcott, of

BEST TOOLS

Best Hitter for Average Jesus Montero
Best Power Hitter Jesus Montero
Best Strike Zone Discipline Ramon Flores
Fastest Baserunner Mason Williams
Best Athlete Mason Williams
Best Fastball Dellin Betances
Best Curveball Dellin Betances
Best Slider Mark Montgomery
Best Changup Manny Banuelos
Best Control Nik Turley
Best Defensive Catcher Austin Romine
Best Defensive Infielder Cito Culver
Best Infield Arm Cito Culver
Best Defensive OF Mason Williams
Best Outfield Arm Ravel Santana

PROJECTED 2015 LINEUP

Catcher Austin Romine
First Base Mark Teixeira
Second Base Robinson Cano
Third Base Alex Rodriguez
Shortstop Eduardo Nunez
Left Field Brett Gardner
Center Field Mason Williams
Right Field Curtis Granderson
Designated Hitter Jesus Montero
No. 1 Starter CC Sabathia
No. 2 Starter Manny Banuelos
No. 3 Starter Ivan Nova
No. 4 Starter Dellin Betances
No. 5 Starter Phil Hughes
Closer David Robertson

Spanning the Yankee Blogs: Posada, Hamels, HOF, Hughes

Lot’s of topics among the many Yankee blogs, so let’s get right into it…..

* An A-Blog for A-Rod has their take on Jorge Posada’s retirement.

* Bleeding Yankee Blue has their thoughts on why waiting for Hamels is the right move.

* New York Baseball Digest says it’s time to hold writers more accountable for their HOF vote.

* Pinstripe Alley talks about Manny Ramirez in pinstripes.

* River Ave Blues scouts Phil Hughes.

* Road to Yankee Stadium has Mason Williams as their #5 Top Prospect.

* The Yankee Analysts have their expectations for Montero in 2012.

* Yanks Go Yard predicts Sabathia’s 2012 season.

Top 100 Prospect Snubs: AL East

This article is being syndicated from Seedlings 2 Stars…..

Earlier this week, I concluded the writeups for our pre-2012 top 100 prospects. I hope you enjoyed the unveiling of the list over the past three months.

Of course, I’m sure some of you wished I would have changed some things around, and that’s fine–nobody gets it all right, and I already regret some of my decisions. It was tough to omit a number of players, and depending on how you see certain guys and what you’re emphasizing, you could justifiably do things very differently than I did.

In any case, I wanted to take some time to discuss the other players considered for the list but ultimately placed on the outside looking in. I’m going to do this by division, so today I’ll be covering the AL East “snubs.”

New York Yankees

Top 100 Prospects: C Gary Sanchez (#17), LHP Manny Banuelos (#26), C Jesus Montero (#42), RHP Dellin Betances (#88)

OF Mason WilliamsOne trend that really jumps out on my list is that very few short-season players get there. Williams had a very impressive season in the NYPL (.349/.395/.468 with 28 steals), but he didn’t overwhelm quite enough to push himself onto the top 100. He probably would’ve snuck into the back end of a top 125, though, which is great for a short-season guy given the way I ranked everyone this year. A definite top 100 candidate if he hits well in the SAL this year.

3B Dante Bichette, Jr.--Bichette was the 51st overall pick in the 2011 draft, and he hit .342/.446/.505 in the GCL as an 18-year-old while looking much better at third base than advertised. It does seem awfully quick to rush the 51st player in the draft into the top 100 prospects overall, though, and Bichette hit just four homers in 54 games, so that’s got to come up if he’s going to be an elite third base prospect. Like Williams, he could well be in with a big 2012 in Charleston.

LHP Nik TurleyI should emphasize something here–just because I considered a guy for the top 100 doesn’t mean he necessarily would rank above everyone I didn’t consider. Just because Turley is one of four Yankees I considered for the top 100 but snubbed doesn’t mean I’d call him a top-eight prospect in the system. In any case, though, the idea of a 6’7″ lefty with plus command and a solid three-pitch mix made me consider him for a few seconds. He put up a 2.51 ERA while striking out a batter per inning in Low-A as a 21-year-old, and I’ve always loved him as a sleeper, but he still has more to prove.

3B/1B Tyler AustinAustin was the third guy to make a ton of noise in the short-season leagues, hitting .354/.418/.579 and also stealing 18 bases without getting caught. He’s not a very good third baseman, though, and he showed neither huge power (6 HR in 47 games) or a great approach (39/15 K/BB). I do think he’s underrated as short-season prospects go, and don’t see a huge gap between Austin, Williams, and Bichette.

To read the rest of snubs for the other AL East Teams CLICK HERE.

Yankees Top 40 Prospects for 2012

Could Mason Williams be #1 on this list next year?

Based on their recent actions and remarks, it seems the Yankees are serious about sticking to a smaller payroll now and at least through the 2014 season in an attempt to get under the $189 Million Luxury Tax threshold.  In order to do so, the club will need to look  to fill important positions from within and develop both impact and role players.

The Yankees system became known in recent years as being deep in Pitchers and Catchers but lacking in strong position prospects.  This was definitely a weakness identified by Mark Newman & Damon Oppenheimer and they addressed it by adding several solid up the middle athletes and corner players who can rake in the last 2 years.  Now, the system is more well-rounded although there is definitely a lack of upper-echelon hitters in the higher levels of the organization.

The system is still strong in upper level pitching. Even with Nova & Noesi graduating to NY, they still have 5 potential MLB starters in AAA (Banuelos, Betances, Warren, Phelps, DJ Mitchell).  The next level of pitching is led by Brett Marshall and several guys that need to take a step forward in 2012.  Oppenheimer has a history of drafting good college relievers and there are many strong-armed righties in the pipeline who could advance quickly.

Today, I will list the Top 40 with a quick blurb, then will follow-up with more in-depth on the Top 20 or so players in the coming weeks.  Each player has their position, Opening Day 2012 Age & expected level to start season.

1) Jesus Montero - C/DH, 22 – MLB

Has an elite bat that will make him a middle of the order MLB hitter for the next decade+. Rare blend of natural power to all fields with ability to make adjustments and take what pitcher gives him.   Only question is whether he will be anything more than a DH but a .300 hitter with 30 HR power will always find a spot even if he’s eventually a full-time DH.

2) Manny Banuelos- LHSP, 21 – AAA

Manny Banuelos

Had control issues in AA/AAA but most believe it’s just a matter of trying to be too fine as he has solid mechanics and repeats his delivery well.  Threw a career-high 130 innings so will be in line for 150-160 this year and could be ready to pitch for NY in 2nd half.

3) Gary Sanchez - C, 19 – HiA

Has big-time raw power and still growing into his 6’2″ frame.  His defense has been poor but I think he has the athleticism to convert to corner OF or 1B down the line and his bat is definitely strong enough to support such a switch.

4) Dellin Betances - RHSP, 24 - AAA

This is a big year for Betances. At 24, he needs to have a good year in AAA to prove he can pitch in a MLB rotation. Has plus, swing-and-miss stuff but most improve his control to cut down his pitch counts.

5) Mason Williams – CF, 20 – LoA

Dynamic player with plus-plus MLB speed and defense already. He put on a show in rookie ball and if he shows his offensive skills are for real this year in full-season ball, he may vault to #1 on this list next year.

6)  Dante Bichette, Jr. - 3B, 19 – LoA

Drafted for his plus power, he’s shown better defense than was thought. He’s really impressed the organization with his intangibles & makeup - namely his work ethic, advanced approach, knowledge of the game & leadership. Baseball America named him top prospect in Gulf Coast League and VP of baseball operations Mark Newman calls him “a special player and person.”

7) Austin Romine- C, 23 – AAA

His defense behind the plate is MLB-ready now.  His bat isn’t special but will be good enough for him to have a long career as a starting catcher in the bigs.

Phelps is a winner.

8) David Phelps - RHSP, 25 – AAA

Phelps is a winner who knows how to pitch. He’s 38-15 with a 2.61 ERA in his 4 years in the organization. He’s maintained the same solid numbers at every level including a 7.4 K/9 & 2.0 BB/9. Reminds me a little of Ian Kennedy. Missed time with shoulder issue but came back strong in August and was solid in AFL also.

9) Ravel Santana – OF, 19 – LoA

Tremendous physical skill set with power & speed. BA rated the wiry 6’2″ 160 pounder  right behind Bichette as best in the Gulf Coast League after he put up a .425 wOBA. Will have to overcome the broken ankle & torn ligaments he suffered last season so will likely start in extended ST this year.

10) Tyler Austin- 3B, 20 – LoA

Tyler Austin can hit for average and power.

I seem to be in the minority but I  really like this guy. He made his debut in the Gulf Coast and smashed to a .517 wOBA in 20 games, then followed up with .448 wOBA  in Staten Island. Has power to all fields and an advanced approach that helps him drive off-speed pitches. How many 20-year olds can you say that about? BA ranked him 8th best prospect in NY Penn League. Only question mark is his defense at 3B but he’s athletic enough to play the OF if need be. He even stole 18 of 18 bases in just 47 games which tells me he has good instincts and a feel for the game.

11) J.R. Murphy - C/3B, 20 – HiA

Improved his game offensively & defensively before ending season early with leg injury. Rips line drives to all fields and scouts now believe he has the ability to remain as a catcher while also showing the athleticism to play 3B and OF. Could become a very versatile asset in the Majors.

12) Slade Heathcott - CF, 21 – HiA

He’s Gardner-like in the OF right now and has more offensive potential. However, I’m a little concerned with his constant injuries and questionable makeup. To have his speed and get thrown out stealing 17 times in 38 attempts is baffling. But, if he matures and stays healthy, he could be special.

13) Brett Marshall- RHSP, 22 – AA

Brett Marshall

Now fully recovered from his 2009 Tommy John Surgery, he threw career high 140 IP with 3.24 FIP. Has good low 90s sinker and makings of a plus slider. Has flashed mid 90s velocity at times and will be interesting how he does in AA this year.

14) Adam Warren- RHSP,  24 – AAA

Warren is next in a succession of Yankee right handers, behind Nova and Noesi, ready to advance to the majors. He threw 152 IP in AAA with a 3.60 ERA and on a lesser team without depth, he’d have a great chance to make the rotation.

15) Corban Joseph - 2B, 23 – AAA

Has patient approach and nice lefty stroke that generates hard line drives but there are concerns about his defense at 2B and 3B. He had .346 wOBA in Trenton with 38 doubles and 8 triples but doesn’t get the lift and backspin to hit HRs.

16) Zoilo Almonte – OF, 22 – AA

Solid all-around skills. Good defense, speed and power that has improved the last 2 years. Yanks added the switch-hitter to their 40-man to protect him from Rule 5 draft and he could be a candidate to make the team in 2013.

17) Graham Stoneburner - RHSP, 24 – AA

Season was marred by a neck injury that kept him out 2 months and he was never quite effective as excellent debut in 2010. But he still has a great sinking fastball that gets tons of grounders.

18) David Adams - 2B, 24 – AA

The ankle injury he suffered in 2010 lingered all season and the Yankees were very careful with Adams. He played sparingly in only 29 games.  If he’s finally healthy this season he could progress quickly as he has an excellent bat that rips line drives to all fields.

19) Angelo Gumbs- 2B, 19 – LoA

Great up the middle athlete shows lightning quick bat speed and raw power to go with strong arm and nice speed. BA rated him 14th best prospect in NY Penn League where he had .341 wOBA, 4 triples & 11 SB in 220 PAs.

Nik Turley has that Andy Pettitte look down pat.

20) Nik Turley - LHSP. 22 – HiA

6’7″ lefty reminds me a litle of Andy Pettitte.  Took a step forward with 2.51 ERA and 8.9 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 82 IP in Charleston til a broken hand ended his season after being promoted to Tampa.

21) DJ Mitchell - RHSP, 24 – AAA

Similar to David Phelps, Mitchell is someone who just keeps pitching well and winning. Sinker/slider pitcher with solid change-up could be another back end starter/long-relief candidate.

22) Mark Montgomery - RHRP, 21 – HiA

Overwhelmed hitters with low-mid 90s Fastball and an unhittable slider leading to a 16.4 K/9 and 1.91 ERA as closer in Charleston.  His slider is just unfair to young hitters and he needs to be tested against more advanced hitters to see how quick he can advance.

23) Brandon Laird - 3B, 24 – AAA

Strong defensive 3B with good power but he doesn’t take many walks or hit for much average.  Has also played some 1B & LF so could be a backup candidate in NY.

24) Cito Culver- SS, 19 – LoA

Showed strong arm with smoothness in the field and compact swing from both sides of the plate. BA rated him 6th best prospect in NYPenn League where he hit .250/.323/.337.  He’s a project that will take time to develop his offensive game.

25) Ramon Flores - OF, 20 – HiA

Sweet lefty stroke and patient approach at plate, had .350 wOBA in Charleston. Good OF with strong arm and solid all-around tools. Only 5’10″ 160 so should get stronger and develop some pop.

26) George Kontos - RHRP, 26 – MLB

Standard FB/Slider reliever, held RH hitters to a .182 BAA in AAA.  Averages about a strikeout per inning but is a fly-ball pitcher who is prone to HRs.

27) Claudio Custodio - 2B, 21 – LoA

Talented 2B/SS with very good speed.  Hit ball well in GCL and  showed willingness to take a walk.  Hit .325 with .433 OBP and 26 SB in 28 attempts.

28) Tommy Kahnle - RHRP, 22 – HiA

Power reliever had 2.45 FIP in 81 IP with 12.4 K/9 but also 5.4 BB/9. Sits around 93-95 and can dial it up to 96-97 with a developing slider.  Needs to improve his command and secondary pitches.

29) Isias Tejada – C, 20 – LoA

Next in line of promising Yankee catcher prospects, Tejada showed his ability to make good, hard contact with a .971 OPS in the GCL with only a 12% strike out rate.

30) Brandon Pinder - RHRP, 23 – LoA

Dominated mostly younger hitters as closer in Staten Island with 11.0 K/9, 1.4 BB/9 and 1.16 ERA.  Has great command of 94-95 mph Fastball but has no quality secondary pitch yet.

31) Bryan MitchellRHSP, 20 – LoA

Plus stuff but still very raw. Put things together by end of year and shows strikeout (8.6 K/9) and ground-ball stuff (2.19 GO/AO rate)

32) Jose Rosario- SS/2B, 20 – LoA

Hit just as well as teammate Bichette with .331 average and .529 SLG%.  He’s a hacker with a 3.2% Walk rate but he’s caught the attention of the organization and earned a late season promotion to Charleston. Mark Newman stated, “He can run (11 SB in 43 games) and throw. He hit 6 HRs, so he has some ability to impact the ball.  By diligence, he’s turning himself into a quality prospect.”

33) Taylor Morton - RHSP, 20 – LoA

Made impressive debut in GCL. The 6’3″ righty should get stronger and he already possesses a plus change, low 90′s FB and good command.

34) Rob Segedin - 3B, 23 – HiA

Big 3B/OF with strong hitting skills. Earned promotion with .395wOBA at Charleston but struggled some in Tampa. Yanks put him in AFL this Fall where he went .250/.367/.407.

35) Daniel Lopez – CF, 20 – LoA

Another emerging all-around athlete with good speed. Showed power potential this year hitting .327/.413/.490 with 27 SB in 61 games across 3 levels.

36) Jose Ramirez - RHSP, 22 – HiA

Promising arm took a step back this year but still notched strong K rates so stuff is still there.

37) Evan Rutckyj- LHSP, 20 – LoA

Big strong 6’5″ lefty got stronger as the season progressed and generates a lot of ground-balls.

38) Cesar Cabral - LHRP, 23 – MLB

Rule 5 pick from Red Sox system, he’ll have chance to make team in ST as second lefty in pen. Gets a lot of Ks with good Fastball and plus Changeup.

39) Pat Venditte SWRP, 26 – AAA

Doesn’t have dominating stuff but continues to post good overall numbers and solid K rates at every level.  Biggest drawback is he’s a heavy flyball pitcher.

40) Abe Almonte – OF, 22 – AA

Plus defender and baserunner but wildly inconsistent at the plate. Switch-hitter had huge 2nd half, riding a 30-game hitting streak and showing off good extra base hit power.  Needs to prove 2nd half surge was real at AA this year.

Other NotablesWalter Ibarra, Kyle Roller, Zach Nuding, Dan Burawa, Chase Whitley, Ronnie Mustlier, Yeicock Calderon, Robert Lyerly, Melky Mesa, Dan Brewer, Brad Suttle, Jorge Vazquez, Ben Gamel, Gabe  Encinas, Matt Tracy, Zach Wilson, Evan DeLuca, Mikey O’Brien

New Additions to Watch in 2012: Greg Bird, Jake Cave, Matt Duran, Jordan Cote, Justin James, Dan Camarena, Hayden Sharp, Rookie Davis, Miquel Andujar

Mason Williams more defensively dynamic than Gardner?

Mason Williams more defensively dynamic than Gardner?

by Mike D.

Via Josh Norris, the Trentonian’s Thunder beat writer, a scout greatly praised the defense of Yankees outfield prospect Mason Williams. He said that the 20 year old’s glove-work is the best part of his game, and that as of now, Williams could be an above-average MLB center-fielder. Norris went on to include the scout’s comparison of Williams to Brett Gardner saying, “Defensively, I think Mason’s probably a little more dynamic.” That’s saying a lot considering Gardner is one of the top outfielders in the game. If you don’t know much about this exciting prospect, definitely give Sweeny Murti of WFAN’s article on him a read.

Yankees Winter Meetings Recap

The 2011 MLB Winter Meeting have come and gone without much noise from the New York Yankees.  Instead, the Miami Marlins and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim made all the noise in this years very active Winter Meetings.  What would George Steinbrenner think about all of this if he were alive? The Yankees have so far refused to overpay for anybody, or give up any top prospects.  The only thing they did was win the rights to sign Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima. There were some interesting rumors out there for starting pitchers that maybe will develop down the road this offseason.

First let’s start off with the only concrete thing that happened with the Yankees winning the Nakajima bid. It sounds like the Yankees really did not expect to win the bid and that Nakajima probably will not sign with the Yankees. He probably does not want to come to the Yankees in a backup role when he can be an MLB free agent next offseason. If Nakajima did sign with the Yankees he has good power and would be able to help the Yankees give their middle infielders and A-Rod a breather.  There was the idea that they could sign Nakajima and then dangle Eduardo Nunez in a trade, but I do not see that to be the case.

The major trade rumors involving the Yankees were about Oakland A’s pitcher Gio Gonzalez. One trade that was rumored by Mike Silva of New York Baseball Digest was the Yankees getting Gonzalez, the Royals getting David Phelps and Michael Taylor, and the A’s getting Brett Gardner and Clint Robinson. Also, Silva said the Yankees were the front runners for Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespesdes. I believe this would be an absolute steal and a no brainier for the Yankees. They would only have to give up Gardner and Phelps in this scenario. Gardner is a nice player and great on defense. However, he is replaceable especially by Cespesdes, who offers a similar kind of speed and defense. Doing that trade would be the much better alternative to what Bob Klapisch reported the A’s wanted, which was Jesus Montero, one of Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances, and new stud prospect outfielder Mason Williams. That is obviously an asinine offer but I would be inclined to do a trade package around Montero for Gonzalez. The Yankees have a huge need for a number two pitcher and there is no way around it. Gonzalez I think would fit that bill well. Gonzalez is only 26 and is not a free agent until after the 2014 season year. He had an outstanding year last season going 16-12, with a 3.12 ERA, 197 strikeouts, and a 1.31 WHIP. His one negative is that he issued 91 walks last year. Scouts told New York Daily News writer John Harper, that they believe he was pitching too carefully due to lack of run support in  Oakland, and that it would change in New York. I tend to agree with that theory.  I think Gonzalez is the most talented pitcher on the trade market and has a very nice contract. The Yankees should be trying hard to land him.

The other relevant Yankees information that came out of the Winter Meetings is that Yu Darvish will be posted. As I said with Gonzalez, if the Yankees feel Darvish is a number two caliber starter the Yankees need to win the bid on him. It is currently all question marks behind CC Sabathia in the rotation. Will Ivan Nova have a sophomore slump? Can Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett be trusted? Can Freddy Garcia repeat his 2011 year? Can Hector Noesi come in and live up to the potential the Yankees think he has? Do not relate Darvish to other Japanese pitchers like Dice- K or Kei Igawa, as he has much better stuff. Cashman has been lukewarm in the media regarding whether or not they will bid highly on him, although Yankee scouts are said to love Darvish.

Cashman has done a nice job of protecting his assets so far and not doing anything regrettable. However, one has to wonder with the Angels gaining a ton of talent in Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson, if he will get more aggressive.  The strategy paid off for Cashman last year, but he may be hedging his bet if he goes with the same starting rotation as he did last year. It will be very interesting to see how the rest of the offseason plays out.


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