New York Yankees PRE-SEASON Top 20 Prospects in Review
1) Eric Duncan, 3B
Hit .235/.326/.408 for Double-A Trenton, very disappointing. But he hit the stitches out of the ball in the Arizona Fall League and is still just 21. Needs good start in '06 to reestablish value as trade bait.
2) Phil Hughes, RHP
Combined to go 9-1, 2.19 in 16 starts between Class A Charleston and Class A Tampa, 93/20 K/BB in 86 innings. Only health can hold him back, an excellent prospect.
3) Marcos Vechionacci, INF
Hit .252/.314/.348 with 16 steals in 128 games for Charleston. Was getting a lot of press as a hot prospect last winter and did not live up to expectations. Hits the ball on the ground a lot.
4) Steven White, RHP
13 starts between Tampa and Double-A Trenton, going 2-7, 5.81 in 62 innings. Ugh. Hitters slugged .534 against him in Double-A.
5) Chien-Ming Wang, RHP
8-5, 4.02 in 17 starts for the Yankees. Strikeout rate is quite low, but he held his own in a tough situation.
6) Melky Cabrera, OF
Hit .275/.322/.411 in 106 games for Trenton. Hit 13 homers between Trenton and Columbus, and is just 21, but more than one team turned Cabrera down during mid-summer trade talks with the Yankees, convinced that he would not hit well in the long run.
7) Robinson Cano, 2B
Hit .297/.320/.458 in 132 games for the Yankees. His major league numbers were better than his minor league career totals, but he is young enough that the improvement is probably real. Plate discipline is an issue, but low strikeout rate helps.
8) Bronson Sardinha, OF
Hit .258/.338/.398 for Trenton. Defensive problems have shifted him to the outfield, but he doesn't hit well enough to be an attractive prospect out there.
9) Christian Garcia, RHP
5-6, 3.91 in 20 starts for Charleston, 105/53 K/BB in 106 innings. Throws hard, control still needs work, promising but should not be rushed.
10) Tyler Clippard, RHP
10-9, 3.18 in 25 starts for Tampa, 169/34 K/BB in 147 innings. Excellent K/BB, K/IP, and H/IP ratios mark him as a prospect to watch. Will make Double-A transition in '06, and will vault up the lists if he does well.
11) Abel Gomez, LHP
3.79 ERA in 13 starts for Tampa, but a poor 69/51 K/BB in 81 innings. Command and health are issues. He is a long way from the majors.
12) Brett Smith, RHP
Combined 7-9, 4.67 in 24 starts between Tampa and Charleston. 95/31 K/BB in 141 innings. Good control but not an overpowering guy. Faces potentially difficult Double-A transition in '06.
13) Eric Abreu, RHP
Out all year with injury.
14) Jesse Hoover, RHP
Out all year with back injury.
15) Erold Andrus, OF
Toolsy, hit .241/.311/.334 in 125 games for Tampa. Toolsy or not, he was ineffective.
16) Colter Bean, RHP
Another trip around the sun, another good Triple-A year from Colter Bean, a successful minor league reliever that scouts love to hate. No reason at all that he can't be an effective middle man, but he has to get the chance. Holds career K/BB ratio of 471/151 in 371 innings..
17) Alex Graman, LHP
Traded to Cincinnati, splitting his season between Columbus and Louisville. Went 7-7, 3.16 in 28 games, 115/48 K/BB in 120 innings. Now has four Triple-A years under his belt, with gradually improving numbers. Possible fifth starter for someone?.
18) Rudy Guillen, OF
Tools guy. Hit .257/.289/.330 after promotion to Double-A. Numbers in Class A were similar. No future unless he shows more offensive development.
19) Ramon Ramirez, RHP
Traded to Colorado. Good arm, but no track record of consistent success. Might surprise us at some point but there is no evidence this will happen soon.
20) Jeff Marquez RHP
9-13, 3.42 in 27 starts for Charleston, 107/61 K/BB in 140 innings. Extreme ground ball pitcher.
The Yankees farm system is hardly in good condition, but it's not as bad as it has been in recent years, and shows signs of turning around. Graduating Cano and Wang was good, and I like Hughes and Clippard.