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Prospect Profile: Slade Heathcott

Vitals: th-1

DOB: 09/28/1990
Height: 6′ 0″ Weight: 195
Bats/Throws: L/L
Signed 1st Round 2009 Draft

Numbers:

Slade made his very brief debut in the GCL for a handful of AB’s, and then moved on to SI in 2010 where he put up a .258/.359/.352/.712 quad slash over 298 AB’s, good for a .335 wOBA and 108 wRC+. He worked 42 walks, struck out 101 times and stole 15 bases in 25 attempts. He also assaulted a catcher after a HBP, a move that sparked the blogosphere to revisit his past. Slade injured his shoulder that year and underwent his first of two shoulder surgeries to repair the damage. He returned to Charleston in 2011 and hit .271/.342/.419/.761 (.346 wOBA, 110 wRC+) working 19 walks and striking out 57 times. His base stealing sunk even further, getting caught in 7 of 13 attempts. Slade saw a promotion to Tampa mid season, but played one game and ended up back under the knife for his shoulder. After two years of injury laden baseball, Slade broke out in 2012. After a delayed start to the season due to a cautious bout of rehab, Slade appeared in the FSL and hit .307/.378/.470/.848, a .389 wOBA and 142 wRC+. He worked 20 walks and struck out 66 times. His base stealing improved dramatically, stealing 17 of 21 bags. After an abbreviated stint in regular season ball the Yanks sent Slade to Arizona to play in the Fall Leagues. Slade went postal, putting up a .388/.494/.612/.1.106 quad slash, good for a .499 wOBA and 192 wRC+ over 67 AB’s. Not only did he tear the cover off the ball, but he put up a near 1:1 K/BB ratio (14/12) and stole 5 bags in 8 attempts. The performance got him ranked 6th best in the league, with at least one evaluator giving him top honors.

Tools:

Slade has quick strong hands and exceptional bat speed. He’s able to pull his hands in on inside pitches and hit them with authority. He can also extend on outside pitches, covering the outer half of the plate. Line drive hitter that can spray the ball to all fields. Has had a tendency to press in the batters box, possibly due to his lost time from injuries and tries to make up for it by rushing himself at the plate. He can also get overly aggressive making his swing longer than it needs to be. Pitch recognition needs work as well, and his K rate north of 22% indicates just that. His numbers in the AFL saw a bit of a turnaround in the patience department; Slade spoke about his altered approach in the fall leagues during a YES interview, and if he can keep it up it will mean a big step forward in his hitting.

Slade’s hitting all around has come around and that includes the power department. He has the strength to turn on the inside pitch and drive the ball, and what has been power to the gaps could lead to balls leaving the park. Some of that will depend on him being able to pick his pitch and let his swing do the rest. He shows power to all fields and the ability to get under the ball and get some lift to it. Being a left hander in Yankee Stadium never hurts either. Overall he grades out as above average power to all fields and some plus power to the pull side. Baseball America gives Slade a 60 potential on the 20-80 scale, putting him in the ~25+ range on the high end.

On defense Heathcott shines. Plus defender whose speed takes him gap to gap with ease. An aggressive all out style of play in the field, he foes back on the ball well and will charge hard on the plays in front of him laying out to make the big play. He shows some good instincts reading balls, gives max effort and his incredible athleticism carries him in spite of some loopy routes on certain plays. Despite a pair of shoulder surgeries, his arm is still a plus tool which will allow him to play any position in the OF. Accuracy an issue on occasion as he let’s the ball get away from him from time to time, but easily corrected through repetition. He’s shown some decent improvement in the short time he’s spent in the pro’s and could compete for a fielding award so long as he doesn’t run through the OF wall chasing down a fly ball. Slade’s plus speed has him launching out of the batters box and gives him a chance to steal 20-25 bases. His reads on the paths were worlds better after returning from his last surgery which should keep his SB% at an acceptable clip.

Makeup:

As many are aware, Heathcott had a bit of a rough upbringing; he bounced around a bit, lived in his car at one point and turned to alcohol as an escape/coping mechanism. This manifested while Slade was a new prospect and the Yankees nipped it in the bud, giving him a mentor that helped him get back on track. No one could ever accuse the kid of not giving it his all, and from what I can gather from various interviews, he’s focused on baseball and improving on his craft every day. His max effort approach to the sport will serve him well and take him far as long as his body holds up.

Overview:

An outstanding athlete; physically gifted with explosive athletic ability. Tools are incredible and the ones that aren’t there yet have the potential to be a plus grade. Has the tools to stay in center field in spite of the shoulder injuries. His defense is already enough for the position but is still improving. His hit tool has the potential to be a plus grade if he can get his patience at the plate under wraps. If what we saw in the AFL is for real, the hit tool has taken a big step forward. Plenty of pop to both gaps, and has the bat speed and enough projected power to play at a corner spot with plenty of glove to field it. There’s no lack of hustle to his game; Keith Law described him as “playing like his hair is on fire”. This could actually be a bit of a drawback for him, as he holds nothing back on the diamond which has led to his injuries and sending him to the DL. Toning it down by just a bit wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Projection/ETA:

It’s really up to him. He ended the year knocking on the door to Trenton and then tore up the AFL. With that said things could move even more quickly….he’ve heard comments from Mark Newman about how he might make his way up later this year, and Cashman just yesterday indicated that he could be in the Bronx shortly. His biggest obstacle is staying healthy, so if he can do just that we’ll be seeing him sooner than later. In summation, Slade is a balls to the wall do or die type of player that is full of tools and ambition. He’s the kind of guy that brings people to the ballpark. He has one of the highest ceilings in the entire system, but at the same time due to the aforementioned high risk profile, also has a pretty low floor. He could end up a perennial All Star, or broken down and out of baseball entirely. He’s the kind of guy you want to root for because he’s going to leave it all on the field trying to win.

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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: Gulf Coast Yankees win, Cust & Branyan homer for AAA

Empire State Yankees L 5-3

Ronnier Mustelier – 1R, 1H, 1BB, .316

Jack Cust – 1R, 1H (solor homer), 1RBI, 1BB, 1K, .268

Russell Branyan – 1R, 1H (2-Run homer), 2RBI, 1BB, .328

Pitching
PTF Dellin Betances – 4.2IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 7BB, 6K, 5.78era  (ND)

Trenton Thunder L 7-5 F/12

Zolio Almonte – 2R, 2H (Double), 2K, .273

Melky Mesa – 2R, 3H (Double), 1Rbi, 2K, .258

Addison Maruszak – 1R, 2H (2Run Homer), 2RBI, 2K, .256

Pitching

Vidal Nuno (ND) 6.oIP, 9H, 5R, 3ER, 4K, 1.08era

Tampa Yankees L 3-2

PTF J.R. Murphy – 1R, 1H (double), 2K, .248

Kyle Roller – 2H, (double), 1RBI, 1BB, .255

Jose Mojica – 2H, .262

Pitching

Shane Greene – 6.0IP, 3H, 2R, 1ER, 3BB, 6K, 3.86era (ND)

Staten Island Yankees L 7-2


Taylor Dugas – 1R, 2H (double), 1K, .500

Fu-Lin Kuo – 2H (double), 1RBI, .667

Pitching

Evan Rutckyj – 4.2IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, 4BB, 7K, 1HR, 5.79era

Gulf Coast Yankees W 5-0

PTF Slade Heathcott – 1R, 1H, 1RBI, .273

Jerison Lopez – 1R, 2H (double), .500

Austin Jones – 1R, 2H (double), 1RBI, .500

Pitching

Angel Rincon (W, 1-0) 5.0IP, 1H, 3K, 0.00era

Spanning the Yankee Blogs: Heathcott, Granderson, Pettitte, Swisher

I span the Yankee Blogs and give you the best from the past week.  Here we go….

* An A-blog for A-Rod has a piece about Slade Heathcott being out till May.   That’s sad.  We recently interviewed him you can click the interview tab above to find that.

* Bleeding Yankee Blue asks if Granderson has a long term fit with the Yankees.

* Bronx Baseball Daily has an article about what scouts have thought about Banuelos this spring.

* It’s about the Money Stupid asks what about Nick Swisher?

* Lady Loves Pinstripes has the 2012 preview of the Boston Red Sox.

* New York Baseball Digest lists the stacked rotation of Empire State Yankees (AAA team).

* Pinstripe Alley compares the second baseman in the AL East.

* River Ave Blues is sorting out the rotation.

* Sliding into Home has an article about the Yankee fan stereotype.

* The Captain’s Blog is figuring out what to do with Freddy Garcia.

* The Greedy Pinstripes says don’t trade anybody.

* The Yankee Analysts asks how good is Dante Bichette Jr.   We interviewed him as well.  Again click the interview tab above to read that.

* Yanks Go Yard mentions that Yankee fans will be represented in the fan cave.

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

Interview with Charleston Hitting Coach Greg Colbrunn

Charleston RiverDogs Hitting Coach Greg Colbrunn

I had a great opportunity to interview Greg Colbrunn yesterday and he provided a lot of feedback on the hitters in the Yankees organization.  Colbrunn played 13 seasons in the Major Leagues as a career .289/.336/.460 hitter and was part of the World Series Champion Arizona Diamondbacks team that beat the Yankees in Game 7 of the 2001 season.

He has been with the Yankees since 2007, serving as Hitting Coach of the Charleston RiverDogs every season except for 2010 when he stepped in as Manager.  This will be his 6th season with the team so he has worked with nearly every hitter in the Yankee system above the Rookie ball level.  With his knowledge and experience I thought he’d be a great resource to find out more about the hitters in the Yankee chain.  My questions are in BLUE.

How did you get into coaching for the Yankees and do you prefer Managing or coaching hitting?

I live here in Charleston, we moved her in 1999/2000 when I was still playing. I took a year off after I stopped playing but I knew I wanted to get into coaching. I met Gary Denbo (Yankee organization hitting coordinator), and we had some of the same beliefs about hitting. It seemed like a great fit and great opportunity to coach for the RiverDogs and the Yanks have been a very good organization.

I enjoyed Managing but I prefer Hitting Coach more. I have more impact on the kids and I really enjoy working in the cage. I relate well to hitters.

Between Kevin Long, Gary Denbo, Butch Wynegar, yourself, etc., a young hitter progressing through the system will work with different hitting coaches all the time. How much communication is there between you and the other hitting instructors talking about individual players, tendencies and areas to work on?

Its kind of the same philosophy. We have good communication. When one guy moves from one level to another, we talk about him and what type of drills he’s doing. When you have different coaches that are on the same page but may go about it in different ways , you can find out what works with certain hitters.

It seems the Yankees at the MLB-level, stress the importance of going deep into counts and wearing down pitchers. Is that an organizational philosophy they try to instill early on?

When kids are starting out you want to see what a kid can do first. See what they do well, see what they can and can’t hit so we can develop a program from there. The main thing we stress is to get a good pitch and hit it hard somewhere. Learn how to recognize a curve ball from a Fastball. We talk about the importance of OBP.

During their 1st or 2nd year, the kids are still developing so you don’t want to tell them they can’t hit a certain way or that’s not gonna work. When you watch the big leagues, you see a lot of different styles, different stances – hands up, hands down. There are a lot of different ways to hit. We kind of let them go and just put them in a good position where they can have some success and be able to repeat their swing. If we see something that’s getting in the way of having success I’ll make an adjustment. I might alter hand position or something like that. But for most part in the 1st or 2nd year, I kind of let them go and make some suggestions here and there. If they’re struggling I might step in and tell them what I think but as far as any big mechanical adjustments, I try to stay away from that for the most part.

You’ve been in the organization sine 2007 and have worked with most of the highly thought of hitters. If I were to list some specific characteristics, tell me who comes to mind as the prospect in the organization that best epitomizes these skills/strengths. (NOTE: Greg hasn’t seen the hitters below the Charleston level yet)

Strike zone Recognition

Ramon Flores gets rave reviews from Colbrunn

Ramon Flores. It’s something we work on but for some reason he’s always had a real good sense. He picks up pitches as well as anyone I’ve seen come through here. He picks up pitches right out of the pitcher’s hands and has real good strike zone discipline and pitch recognition – and he recognizes it real early. The biggest thing with him was getting him to be more aggressive in counts where he could take advantage of it and let some of his natural ability take off more.

Pure bat speed

JR (Murphy) has some bat speed…….Kyle Roller, big 1B – he’s got some unbelievable bat speed coming through the zone and that’s something you cant really teach. Of course Montero.

Pull Power

Montero, Gary Sanchez. Melky Mesa hit some balls a long way when he was here but Montero had the most pure power.

Power to All Fields

Gary Sanchez, Kyle Roller had some tremendous power, he hit some balls that were unbelievable. Great all around power, oppo power. Gary, being only 18 is impressive and has ability to drive the ball the other way.

Hits for Average

Rob Segedin, he was 22 but he kind of dominated, he uses the whole field and I could see him hitting for a high average throughout the system as he gets acclimated and gets his feet on the ground. Also David Adams and Corban Joseph too.

Uses the Whole Field

Segedin, Corban Joseph. Gary (Sanchez) does a good job when we convince him to use the whole field. He’s still only 18 and gonna be real good.

Best Fastball Hitter

Brandon Laird. Romine was a good fastball hitter.

Best Breaking Ball Hitter

(Ramon)Flores does a real good job, Laird was good at hitting the hanging breaking balls, Montero, Sanchez

When I watched Slade Heathcott play this year, his physique and immense natural talent really stood out. What are his strengths as a hitter and how do you see his shoulder injuries effecting his development?

He’s got all the talent in the world. His first year here, he was 19 yrs old and we just let him go. This year he was able to make adjustments and apply them early on until his shoulder started bothering him. Hopefully the shoulder thing he can put it past him and go out there and get enough ABs so he can move up through the system. He has ability to adjust his swing, we call it “Adjustability” with his swing – he can be fooled and still get the bat head to the ball. He definitely has the power, has the bat speed, can run, put the ball in play, get on base…..so he has all the things you look for in a Major League player

Gary Sanchez has been getting some high praise as one of the best hitters in all of the Minors. Talk about Gary’s strengths and what you see for him down the road.

Gary Sanchez is the top hitter in the system

I see a bright future. He has a cannon for an arm, he’s got power, he’s got bat speed, uses the whole field, has good pitch recognition – all the things you look for in a good young hitter The praise is justifiable. He’s still learning how to play. This was the first year he played every day and was just getting the feel for it and it took him until the last 3 or 4 weeks of the season to really get going and put it all together before he got hurt. He just needs repetitions, getting games behind the plate and playing baseball.

JR Murphy looked like he was hitting everything hard with Charleston in 2011. Do you see him developing his gap to gap line drives into HRs as he progresses?

Yes, I do. He’s still 20/21. He swung the bat real well the first half of last year where he was hitting 3 or 4 balls hard per game. He ran into a little lull before he was promoted. In Charleston, the wind blows in 80% of the time, it’s not a big HR park, so power numbers might be down when you look at Charleston hitters. I think he’s gonna hit some HRs since he does hit the ball hard. As he gets bigger and stronger, when he learns to sit on pitches and take advantage of some pitches he can really handle the HRs will come.

Ramon Flores has a pretty swing for a 19-yr old. Do you see him developing enough power to be a Corner OF in the Bigs?

I do. He has one of the most natural swings we’ve had come through here. And he does have some power. Last year he took advantage, he hit 11 HRs which is pretty good for a 19 year old in Charleston. The difference between 2 years ago when I first saw him and last year when his body filled out and the strength he had was big and hopefully he’ll continue to make that progress. I’m looking forward to see him in the spring to see what kind of shape he comes in. He hit some balls well, has a great swing, a natural swing, and a real great feel. Definitely one of the best natural hitters I’ve seen come through here.

Austin Romine seems like his Catching skills will lead to a long MLB career. Do you see him being a good hitter once comfortable in the Majors?

Yes, especially for a catcher. He had a real high leg kick when he was here 3 years ago – kind of out of control with it. The time he spent here we calmed it down some, got it under control some. In the bigs, the more he gets accustomed to better pitching, he’ll hit. He has characteristics of a big league hitter – real good feel for the barrel, power, power to all fields and ability to use the whole field too. That’s something he did show as a young hitter. I think he will be an above-average hitter.

Corban Joseph and David Adams have shown ability to hit at every level. What is your opinion of them as hitters?

Colbrunn called David Adams a poor man's Jeff Kent

They are hitters. We’re fortunate that the Yanks do a great job in the amateur scouting department to bring in pure hitters. They are natural hitters. David went through some changes at Virginia (in college), when he came to us we simplified some things and he just took off, took right to it. He’s gonna hit wherever he goes, a line drive hitter who works hard. If there’s one guy I could compare him to probably a poor mans Jeff Kent, that type of hitter.

Corban is natural, gets bigger & stronger every year, ball comes off the bat a little crisper. He has an uncanny ability to get the barrel to the ball. He can be fooled, he can be beaten by a fastball and still be able to get the barrel to the ball. Great set of hands on him, he can go out and flick some things or jump on some things. Corban’s going to hit wherever he goes.

How does it feel to work with a kid, watch him progress up the ladder, then see him traded to another club right when he’s ready to make an impact in the Majors a la Montero?

I’m happy for him. I’m glad he’s going to get the chance. When I came up through the Montreal system, that was one thing they always told us – there are 27 (now 29) other teams out there. Working for the Yankees you want to see a young player come up and play for the Yankees but you have to be realistic. We try to get them better whether they are gonna help us out or help another team out.

Twitter Interview with Yankee Prospect Slade Heathcott

Slade Heathcott who was drafted by the Yankees in the 1st round in 2009 was kind enough to give me some time to answer some questions on twitter. The questions come from me and fishjam25.  Slade is one of the jewels in the Yankee system.   Thanks again to Slade for his time. If you would like to follow Slade on twitter his name is @SladeHeathcott

Baseball Reference has all his stats to date click the link to see what he has done so far as a Yankee prospect

1) How is your shoulder? What have you been doing for rehab and will you be 100 percent when Spring Training starts?

It’s feeling good, just taking it slow. I plan on being in games around May.

2) Do you work out in Tampa at Yanks facility in Winter or home (if home where do you currently reside?)

I pretty much live in Tampa now, I work out at complex and also with Speed Source in Tampa at powerhouse gym.

3) Critique yourself as a ballplayer…what are your strengths and weaknesses?

That’s a tough one I have a lot of weaknesses…a lot of things I need to mature on as a player.

4) Has the team told you if you will start in Extended Spring Training this year or right to playing for the Tampa Yankees?

It just depends on how the shoulder rehab goes, I’m not sure where I’ll start yet.

5) You have blinding speed and use it to play a great CF. What do you need to do to become more of a successful base stealer?

I’m not that fast I get good reads and good first steps which makes it seem like I’m faster, I need to work on my reaction.

6) When I saw you play in person, my first impression of you was (Brett Gardner with muscles). Do you think you are similar to Brett and what Major Leaguers do you pattern yourself after?

I don’t know if I can say I pattern myself after any big leaguers, Brett Gardner is a hell of a player.

He plays hard as hell every single day and that should be very respected.

7) Do you feel any pressure to produce to prove to people you are as good as any CF/OF in the organization?

No I don’t really feel pressure from the organization, more of my family and wanting to make them proud.

The Yankees know I’ll do everything possible and work hard to do everything possible. I also trust in my path.

8) I’m really excited to see what you can accomplish with a full year of 100% health – what are your goals for this season?

Just to stay healthy and have my ups and downs because thus what they are and not because of injures..

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

Yankees Mailbag: Garza, Joba & Nunez

Betances would likely have to go for Garza

Have 3 questions today. If you would like your question to be answered in the mailbag, email Mike at yankeesfansunited@gmail.com. Here we go:

@willpanagiotis asks:

Q) What do you think a fair/realistic deal is for Matt Garza? Would Hughes, Phelps, CoJo and Heathcott work?

The Cubs want young pitching in exchange for Garza and its been reported that they have asked for both Banuelos and Betances.  In my mind that is ridiculous.  Theo Epstein is using the recent Gio Gonzalez trade as a guideline where Oakland received 2 highly regarded pitching prospects in A.J. Cole & Brad Peacock, plus 2 C-level prospects.  However, this is not a perfect comparison.

Although Gonzalez and Garza have similar value as pitchers, Gonzalez is 2 years younger and under team control for 4 years at a very modest current salary.  Garza has only 2 more seasons before Free Agency and will be making somewhere around $21M combined in 2012 & 2013.  So for Epstein to expect the same type of package is unreasonable.  In addition, most experts rate BOTH  Banuelos & Betances higher than Cole & Peacock in recent prospect rankings.  Scout.com had Banuelos as the #4 ranked pitcher in the minors, Betances #16, Cole #36 & Peacock #44.

A fair market value deal for Garza would start with ONE of Banuelos or Betances with the second pitcher coming from the David Phelps, Adam Warren, Hector Noesi group.  The 3rd piece would be a solid position player prospect like Curtis Joseph, David Adams, Heathcott or JR Murphy and the 4th player a lower rated prospect.

Epstein will eventually come off his Banuelos & Betances asking price and realize he’ll only get one.  The tough fight will be to get him to accept Betances instead of Banuelos. In my opinion, I would not deal Banuelos for 2 yeara of Garza but I would trade Betances. I think an offer of  Betances, Noesi, Joseph & maybe a lower level pitcher like Jose Ramirez is fair for 2 years of Garza.  The Cubs could plug Noesi into the rotation this yr and Betances could be ready by mid-season.

I don’t think the Cubs would be interested in a Hughes-headlined deal.  Although Hughes is a young MLB starter, he only has 2 yrs of team control like Garza.

@JFABBY23 asks:

Q) How is Joba doing with his rehab sessions? 

Joba’s rehab from Tommy John Surgery is right on schedule.  He also had 2 other surgeries imediately after his elbow surgery – one for a ruptured appendix and the other for an abscessed infection.  All 3 occured in a 4 week span in early summer.

He has been giving updates via Twitter and has said throughout recent months that the elbow feels great.  His last update was on Christmas Eve when he said he felt great and that he’d been throwing flat ground bullpen sessions for a couple weeks.  His plan was to shut it down for 2 weeks and begin throwing again right around now.  Once he resumes workouts, he plans to head back to Yankee facilities in Tampa to workout up until Spring training.

It’s encouraging to hear that he’s progressing but  to keep things in perspective, he will likely start the season in Extended Spring Training.  Depending on his recovery, he could be available to join the team in June or July.  However, although pitchers have come back to pitch in 12 months, it often takes a full 18 months for them to regain full strength and feel comfortable with their command.  Expectations will be low for Joba this yr with the hope he’ll gain strength and maybe be feeling close to normal by the Sept/October post-season push.

@Team_Punk asks:

Q) Do you think trading Nunez is an option? what kinda starter could we get?

Trading Nunez is a little less likely now that they didn’t sign Japanese SS Nakajima.  The only other SS option they have behind Jeter would be Ramiro Pena but Pena’s offensive value is nil.  With injury-prone ARod at 3B and aging Jeter at SS, they need a solid backup who could handle starting for a month or more if one of the vets lands on the DL.

That said, I wouldn’t mind seeing a veteran Utilityman signed and Nunez traded if the right deal presented itself.  Nunez is a very talented player with excellent speed, a strong arm and solid hitting skills.  I think he could be an above average starting 2B or SS in MLB.  However, I don’t think he’ll flourish in his current back-up role because he needs to play everyday and get comfortable in order to improve defensively.

Nunez alone, would not be enough to bring in a front-line starter.  However he could be packaged with other players to attract such a pitcher.  Pairing Nunez with Betances would be an attractive package to get a #2 starter but with the Cubs already having a great young SS in Starlin Castro, it remains to be seen if they’d have interest in Nunez as a 2B or 3B.

We know Seattle wanted him last yr as part of the Cliff Lee proposal and that the Braves were asking about him last yr and again this Winter.  With Atlanta trying to deal pitcher Jair Jurrjens, its been mentioned that Nunez could be used to get him.  Jurjens would not be a good fit for the Yanks though, because I don’t think he’d be more than a #3 or 4 starter in the AL and his knee injuries have me very hesitant.

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

Minor League Recap – High A Tampa Yankees

As with many A – ball teams, the Tampa Yankees saw a lot of turnover on their roster throughout the season.  Despite all the changes they finished 74-64 in the 12-team Florida State League.  They were led by an offense that finished 3rd in Runs scored & 2nd in Batting Average.  Tampa’s pitching staff finished 10th with a 3.98 team ERA.

The team went through a lot of changes during June. It’s three top hitters, 3B Robert Lyerly, OF Deangelo Mack and CF Zoilo Almonte were promoted to AA Trenton and were eventually replaced by Kyle Roller, Rob Segedin, Slade Heathcott & JR Murphy from Low A Charleston.  Unfortunately, Slade & Murph had there seasons cut short by injury and Roller and Segedin had some trouble adapting to the more advanced pitchers.

HITTERS

Abe Almonte had a 30-game hitting streak

Abraham Almonte - CF, 22, 5’9″ 205

Almonte is a well-built switch-hitter who finished the season on fire with a 30-game hitting streak. He was hitting a pathetic .218/.294/.280 with 12 XBH at the midpoint of the season but was .314/.369/.475 with 30XBH in the 2nd half to finish at .268 with 30 sbs.  Almonte has a plus glove and great speed and shows flashes of being a dynamic offensive player but he’s been wildly inconsistent throughout his career so it remains to be seen if he can build on his huge 2nd half.

Kyle Roller – 1B, 23, 6’1″ 235

Roller’s a big lefty hitter drafted in the 8th rd in 2010 because he can stroke and he did just that in 2011. He was roping in Charleston to start the season with a .925 OPS that got him promoted after 50 games. He held his own against better pitching to finish the season at .284/.371//482/.854 with 31 doubles & 16 HRs in 110 games.

Rob Segedin

Rob Segedin - 3B, 22, 6’3″ 220

Like Roller, Segedin was drafted in the 3rd rd of 2010 for his stick.  He began mashing in CHS with an .878 OPS but he did not hit in Tampa after his promotion with a .245/.311/.309 slash in 52 games.  It doesn’t damper his upside as a productive hitting corner IF or OF. His season total was a respectable .287/.358/.403.

Deangelo Mack – LF, 24, 5’10″ 190

Mack had a solid year for Charleston and even played 40 games for Trenton from May to July when Melky Mesa was injured. He hit .248/.357/.388 for Trenton but was a .300 hitter in his 59 games for CHS. Overall, he hit .280/.361/.436 with 8 HRs among his 31 xtra base hits. Mack has a good feel for the strike zone and a nice lefty stroke but doesn’t have good power or speed for a corner OF which may hurt his future value.

Walter Ibarra - 2B, 23, 5’11″ 180

Ibarra is in his 6th season in the organization and he repeated the FSL despite hitting .301 last yr.  This yr he had his best season hitting .297-.333-.421 with 10 sbs and 33 xbh. The Yanks have a lot of talented 2B in the system rated higher than Ibarra so his future may be as a utility player.

PITCHERS

Marshall is now fully recovered from Tommy John Surgery

Brett Marshall – RHP, 21, 6’0″ 195

Marshall was given an $850,000 signing bonus as a 6th rounder in 2008 but underwent Tommy John Surgery in July 2009. He came back to throw 84 innings last yr and looked good. He got off to a poor start in April this season but rebounded to have a great yr as he got stronger in his 2nd year from TJ surgery. Since May1, he went 8-4 2.87 with 100 Ks in 119 IP and saw a big uptick in his stuff and Ks in the 2nd half.

Brett threw a career high 140.1 IP this season which is big having never thrown more than 87. He proved his arm is healthy.  Overall, he was 9-7 with a 3.78 ERA , 3.24 FIP, 7.3 K/9 & 3.1 BB/9.  He has a good 2-seam fastball he used to post a 1.88 GO/AO ratio. His FB is in the low 90s with ability to throw in the mid 90s and he also features the makings of a plus slider. The organization has to be pleased with his season and they will likely have him begin in AA Trenton next yr.  Look for Marshall to be a highly rated prospect in upcoming rankings.

Jairo Heredia – RHP, 21, 6’1″ 190

Heredia has been a highly ranked prospect for years but is terribly injury prone. Many had given up on him but he returned this season and showed the talent by going 8-2 3.29 with 9.0 k/9 & 2.1 bb/9 through June. However, he was then placed on the DL never to return.  He’s still only 21 and has excellent command to go along with a plus Curveball and low 90s fastball with movement but he has not shown any durability.

Ryan Flannery – RHP, 25, 6’4 245

Dominating yr as the team’s closer going 3-1 with 19 saves and a 1.24 ERA. Had a 7 to 1 K to BB rate and 2.30 Ground Out to Air Out ratio but at 25, he’s very old for this league and needs to prove himself at AA where he didn’t fare well allowing  16 baserunners in 5 IP.

Jose Quintana is a deceptive lefty

Jose Quintana – LHP, 22, 6’0″ 170

Quintana began the season as a reliever and did so well they made him a starter in July. Overall, he finished with a 10-2 record, 2.91 ERA, 2.96 FIP, 7.8 k/9, 2.5 bb/9 and 1.16 GO/AO rate. His strikeout ad groundball numbers were better as a reliever but that is true for most pitchers. Jose is a bit of an unknown not getting a lot of coverage prior to this season.  He sits n the 89-91 range and throws a curve & change.

Michael O’Brien – RHP, 21, 5’11″ 185

O’Brien pitched well in Low A so was brought up in late June and continued his success in Tampa. Combined he finished 7-7 with a 3.16 ERA with 99 Ks in 119 IP. He saw a big drop in his Ks after his promotion and was shut down for the season in mid-August

Minor Lg. Season in Review: Class A – Charleston Riverdogs

The Class A Charleston Riverdogs went through a season of constant flux.  They started the season with an extremely talented starting lineup consisting of 5 of the organizations top 15 position players.  Expectations were high, however due to promotions and injuries, the team that finished the season looked entirely different.  the team had little continuity and that led to a disappointing 55-85 record.

The team’s top two hitters were promoted to Tampa in June. 3B Rob Segedin & 1B Kyle Roller finished the season in the Florida State League so I will go into more detail on them in the Tampa season review.  Segedin was hitting .323/.396/.482 and Roller was at .305/.379/.545 at the time of their promotions, so their bats were sorely missed.

Overall the team finished in the middle of the pack or worse in most offensive categories in the 14 team South Atlantic Lg.  They were 10th in runs, 8th in HRS,  batting avg (.259) &  OBP (.330).

HITTERS

Slade Heathcott – CF,  20, 6’1″ 190

Another shoulder injury for Slade

Slade is anything but boring.  The 2009 1st round pick (#29) got off to a blazing start hitting .370/.457/.630 through the teams first 20 games in April.  However on May 13th, he was hit by a pitch leading off a game and ignited a brawl by attacking the catcher.  Slade’s numbers declined after that amazing April but he was promoted to Tampa on June 29th.  He celebrated by going 3 for 5 with a HR in his 1st game.  Unfortunately, this was his only game as he missed the remainder of the season with a left shoulder injury.

Heathcott finished with a .279/.347/.437/.784 line in 53 games.  He showed some increased power at the plate this year as he continues to get stronger.  He already is a plus-plus defender in CF and was voted the  best defensive outfielder in Class A by Baseball America. Slade is also as fast as anyone in the minors although this has not turned into success in stealing bases yet.  He was an unacceptable 6 of 13 in SBs this yr after going 15 for 25 in 2010.  This player has all the tools needed to be a starter in MLB but there are questions about his character, attitude & durability that will ned to be answered in the years to come.

JR Murphy – C/3B, 20, 6’0″ 190

Murphy was a 2009 2nd rd pick who raised his stock by having improving in almost every category this year.  He hit .297/.343/.457 with 6 hrs and 23 doubles in 277 PAs with Charleston.  He showed ability to rip line drives all over the field which led to an improved ISO from .121 in 2010 to .160 in 2011.  JR also cut down his strikeouts whiffing only 13.7% of the time.  Murphy also erased a lot of concerns about his ability to catch as he drew rave reviews from several scouts for the improvement in his receiving & throwing skills.  His play earned him a promotion to Tampa but he only played 23 games before being lost for the season on July 21 with a foot injury. He hit only .259/.270/.365 in 85 abs.

Gary Sanchez caught fire at the end of the season

Gary Sanchez – C,  18, 6’2″ 220

Sanchez got a huge $3 Million Bonus to sign in 2009 and was in everyone’s Top 5 Yankee prospects entering this yr.  MLB.com had him #32 in all of baseball.  However, he got off to a poor start this yr offensively and defensively. Through July 31st he was a disappointing .236 with 10 hrs but something clicked in August as he hit .433 with 7 hrs in the first 9 games. But his season full of slumps, streaks, suspensions & injuries came to a halt due to a hand injury just as he was catching fire.

For the yr Sanchez finished .256/.335/.485 with 17 hrs in 301 abs which is respectable when you remember he is only 18 yrs old and playing his first yr of full-season pro ball. He must cut down on his huge 27.1 K% at the plate and improve on his defense behind the plate. Scouts criticized his defense this yr mostly for his lack of focus and poor form.  He has the tools to remain at Catcher but he’ll have to prove he has the work ethic and concentration.  He was sent back to Extended Spring training in May for a poor attitude after a few incidents.  Hopefully, he learned from this and it can be written off as an 18 yr old dealing with struggling for the first time in his career.

Ramon Flores – OF/1B, 19, 5’10″ 150

Flores is one of the few players to play a full season for Charleston. The strong armed OF has a sweet left handed stroke and hit .265/.353./.400 with 11 hrs & 13 sbs.  He has a good idea of the strike zone and had a solid 11.4% Walk rate. Flores does a lot of things well and it will be interesting to see how he develops as a hitter as he gets bigger and stronger.

Shane Brown – OF, 23, 5’11″ 197

Brown was considered nothing more than an organizational player coming into the season. As a 23rd round pick, he hit just .234 in Staten Island last yr so he repeated the level this yr.  However, in 22 games he tore up the NY Penn Lg hitting .446/.544/.635 to earn the promotion. In 35 games in Charleston, he hit .321 for a combined .366/.465/.473 line in 205 abs with 11% Walk rate and 7.8% K rate.  He doesn’t have speed or power but he has shown great ability to get on base.

PITCHERS

Shane Greene – RHP, 22, 6’4″ 210

Greene has a good pitcher’s frame and some promising stuff so was a lot of people’s pick this ST to take a leap forward.  He did show some signs but was still too inconsistent. He finished 5-14, 4.37 era but had a 3.89 fip, 8.4 K/9 and 1.53 Ground Out ratio. So he shows ability to get strikeouts and ground balls but must improve on his .265 opposing BA and 4.4 bb/9.

Nik Turley – LHP, 22, 6’7″ 230

Nik Turley had a breakout season

Turley was one of the systems breakout pitchers this season. He doesn’t light up the radar gun (sits around 90) but has a nice slurve and makings of a solid change, all of which he throws for strikes.  Nik posted a  2.81 era with 87 Ks in 89ip and only 22 walks.  Turley was a project taken in the 50th round of the 2008 draft who has grown 3 inches & 30 lbs since and finally busted out this yr.Looking at some of the pictures and video, this kid has mechanics and mannerisms like Andy Pettitte. Nik earned a promotion to Hi-A Tampa but his season was cut short after just 2 appearances with a broken hand. This big lefty will be someone to watch closely in 2012.

Zachary Nuding – RHP, 21, 6’4″ 250

I got a chance to see Nuding pitch in May and he threw 6 shutout innings. He’s a big strong guy who sits around 89-91 but gets it up to 93-94 at times. He steps to the 3rd base side with his front foot and throws across his body kind of like Jered Weaver does. Zach finished 7-6, 4.48 era/4.36 fip, 7.5 k/9, 4.0 bb/9, 0.64 GO/AO, 1.0 HR/9.  He had a good .232 opposing BA but he needs to improve his command, generate more ground balls & refine his off-speed pitches so he can strike out more batters.

Jose Ramirez – RHP, 21, 6’1″ 155

Ramirez began the season in Tampa with high expectations but got smacked around with a 8.14 ERA in 6 starts leading to a demotion to Charleston.  He pitched better in CHS finishing  with a 4.78 ERA / 4.17 FiP.  His 21.0% K rate and 9.2% walk rate were almost identical to his successful 2010 season.  The difference was his GO to AirOut ratio fell from 1.16 to 0.82 which lead to a big increase in Batting Avg Against (.239 to .292) and HR/9 (from 0.23 to 1.06). Ramirez gets good low to mid 90s velocity from his wiry frame and has the makings of a nice change-up. His breaking ball isn’t good at this point but he has time to develop it.

Vidal Nuno – LHP, 24, 5’11″ 195

The Yankees purchased Nuno from an independent league and he started the season in Staten Island. Pitching out of the pen he was 5-0 0.72 era with 29 ks in 25 ip. He was promoted to Charleston and started 7 games where he was just as dominant with a 37 to 2 SO to walk ratio in 40 ip!  Overall for the season, he was 7-1 with a 1.38 era and 66 Ks & just 5 walks in 65ip.  At 24, he’s older than many in the league but a 66 to 5 SO to walk rate cannot be ignored.

Thomas Kahnle – RHP, 22, 6’1″ 220

Kahnle was a 5th rd pick in 2010 who was used as a 1-3 ip reliever in CHS this yr.  He had an impressive 12.4 K/9 and .223 opposition BA but a far too high 5.4 BB/9.  His 4.22 ERA wasn’t indicative of how well he pitched since he had a 2.45 FIP and miniscule 0.11 HR/9 rate.  He sits in the 93-94 range and can pump it up to the 96 with a slider that shows potential. Kahnle definitely has a future as a reliever, how well depends on how his command and  secondary pitches progress

Mark Montgomery – RHP, 21, 5’11″ 205

Mark Montgomery had a 16.4 K/9 and fanned 5 in 1 IP!

Montgomery signed as an 11th rd pick in June and after a 4 game cameo in Staten Island came to CHS. He wasted no time making an impression by breaking a professional record by striking out 5 batters in 1 inning in his first game! Mark dominated hitters with a low-mid 90s fastball and a nasty slider that he uses to rack up strikeouts.  Overall, he had an amazing 16.4 K/9 with 51Ks and 13 BB in 28.1 ip. He saved 15 games with a 1.91 ERA.  He has the moxie to be a closer and I’m anxious to see how his slider plays against more advanced hitters.

Get to know some of the Minor Guys.

I’m starting a new series that I will do either once a month or every three weeks.  I’m going to spotlights 4 guys in the minors (this time suggest by our very own Dan) and give you as much information as I can find about them.  Hope you enjoy this piece.

1. Zachary Slade Heathcott (OF)

Bats: Left, Throws: Left
Height: 6′ 1″, Weight:190 lb.

Born: September 28, 1990 in Texarkana, Arkansas, US (Age 20)

Drafted by the New York Yankees in the 1st round (29th) of the 2009 MLB June Amateur Draft.

Heathcott attended Texas High School. In high school, he was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, suffered a knee injury playing for the football team, got kicked off the baseball team for academic reasons

Current Stats

Year Age* Tm G AB H 2B 3B HR RBI R SB CS BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
2009 18 GCL 3 10 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .100 .182 .100 .282
2010 19 Cha 76 298 77 16 3 2 30 48 15 10 42 101 .258 .359 .352 .711
2011 20 Tam 1 5 3 0 0 1 1 2 0 0 0 1 .600 .600 1.200 1.800
2011 20 Cha 52 210 57 11 4 4 16 36 6 7 19 57 .271 .342 .419 .761

2. John R. (JR) Murphy (C)

Bats: Right, Throws: Right
Height: 6′ 0″, Weight:190 lb.

Born: May 13, 1991 in Bradenton, Florida, US (Age 20)

Drafted by the New York Yankees in the 2nd round of the 2009 MLB June Amateur Draft.

Year Age Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2009 18 Rk 9 37 33 4 11 2 0 1 7 0 0 3 8 .333 .405 .485 .890
2010 19 A 87 374 330 46 84 15 2 7 54 4 5 36 64 .255 .327 .376 .703
2011 20 A-A+ 73 318 293 34 84 25 0 6 38 2 0 21 42 .287 .330 .433 .764
2011 20 A 63 277 256 31 76 23 0 6 32 2 0 19 38 .297 .343 .457 .800
2011 20 A+ 10 41 37 3 8 2 0 0 6 0 0 2 4 .216 .244 .270 .514

3. Mason Williams (OF)

Bats: Left, Throws: Right
Height: 6′ 0″, Weight:150 lb.

Born: August 21, 1991 in Winter Garden, Florida, US (Age 19)

Drafted by the New York Yankees in the 4th round of the 2010 MLB June Amateur Draft.

 

 

Year Age Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2009 18 Rk 9 37 33 4 11 2 0 1 7 0 0 3 8 .333 .405 .485 .890
2010 19 A 87 374 330 46 84 15 2 7 54 4 5 36 64 .255 .327 .376 .703
2011 20 A-A+ 73 318 293 34 84 25 0 6 38 2 0 21 42 .287 .330 .433 .764
2011 20 A 63 277 256 31 76 23 0 6 32 2 0 19 38 .297 .343 .457 .800
2011 20 A+ 10 41 37 3 8 2 0 0 6 0 0 2 4 .216 .244 .270 .514

4. Christopher “Cito” S. Culver (SS)

Bats: Both, Throws: Right
Height: 6′ 0″, Weight:185 lb.

Born: August 26, 1992 in Rochester, New York, US (Age 18)

Drafted by the New York Yankees in the 1st round (32nd) of the 2010 MLB June Amateur Draft.

While he had already committed to play baseball for the University of Maryland,[7] he has passed on his commitment and instead signed a contract reportedly worth $954K with the Yankees.[8] Culver stands 6 feet tall and weighs 172 lbs. He is a switch-hitter who can also play in the outfield.[9] Culver is just the second high school shortstop drafted by the Yankees (also C. J. Henry in 2005) in the first round since the club selected Derek Jeter with the sixth overall pick in the 1992 First-Year Player Draft.

Year Age Tm Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2010 17 2 Teams Rk-A- 56 233 203 23 51 8 1 2 18 7 21 51 .251 .325 .330 .655
2010 17 Yankees Rk 41 179 160 21 43 7 1 2 18 6 13 41 .269 .320 .363 .683
2010 17 Staten Island A- 15 54 43 2 8 1 0 0 0 1 8 10 .186 .340 .209 .549
2011 18 Staten Island A- 17 81 73 7 21 5 0 0 14 1 7 17 .288 .346 .356 .702

 

A look at the Yankee’s Top Ten Prospects

#1 Jesus Montero

Jesus Montero   21 | C
Status: Active
MLB Parent Club: NY Yankees
Stats
AVG:

.289

HR:

4

RBI:

22

SB:

0

Full Name: Jesus Alejandro Montero
Born: 11/28/1989
Birthplace: Guacara, Venezuela
Height: 6′ 3″
Weight: 235
Bats: R
Throws: R
2011 Season
Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
SWB INT .289 50 201 19 58 10 1 4 22 82 12 50 0 0 .333 .408 .741
Minors .289 50 201 19 58 10 1 4 22 82 12 50 0 0 .333 .408 .741

#2 Gary Sanchez

Gary Sanchez   35 | C
Status: Active
MLB Parent Club: NY Yankees
Stats
AVG:

.237

HR:

4

RBI:

22

SB:

1

Full Name: Gary Sanchez
Born: 12/02/1992
Birthplace: Dominican Republic
Height: 6′ 2″
Weight: 220
Bats: R
Throws: R
2011 Season
Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
CSC SAL .237 37 139 22 33 9 0 4 22 54 19 40 1 0 .325 .388 .713
Minors .237 37 139 22 33 9 0 4 22 54 19 40 1 0 .325 .388 .713

#3 Manny Banuelos

Manny Banuelos   13 | P
Status: Active
MLB Parent Club: NY Yankees
Stats
ERA:

2.88

W-L:

2-0

SV:

0

SO:

53

Full Name: Manuel Banuelos
Born: 03/13/1991
Birthplace: Monterrey, Mexico
Height: 5′ 11″
Weight: 155
Bats: L
Throws: L
2011 Season
Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
TRN EAS 2 0 2.88 12 12 0 0 0 56.1 50 21 18 3 32 53 1.06 .245
Minors 2 0 2.88 12 12 0 0 0 56.1 50 21 18 3 32 53 1.06 .245

#4 Dellin Betances

Dellin Betances   50 | P
Status: Active
MLB Parent Club: NY Yankees
Stats
ERA:

1.75

W-L:

3-1

SV:

0

SO:

58

Full Name: Dellin Betances
Born: 03/23/1988
Birthplace: New York, NY
Height: 6′ 8″
Weight: 260
Bats: R
Throws: R
2011 Season
Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
TRN EAS 3 1 1.75 10 10 0 0 0 51.1 34 15 10 3 23 58 1.38 .178
Minors 3 1 1.75 10 10 0 0 0 51.1 34 15 10 3 23 58 1.38 .178

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Minor Night-Cap 5/30/11

SWB L 8-5

Player Pos AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG
Krum LF 5 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 .211
Pena, R SS 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 .259
Montero DH 4 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 .306
Vazquez 1B 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .289
Maxwell, J CF 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .260
Laird 3B 4 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 .250
Russo 2B 4 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 .258
Brewer RF 4 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 .284
Molina C 4 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 .214

Pitching

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Warren 6.0 9 4 4 2 4 0 3.81
Texeira (BS, 1)(L, 0-1) 1.0 4 4 2 0 1 0 13.50
Kontos 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2.13

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