Thursday, May 28, 2009

Checking in on the Prospects

It's almost June, so I thought we'd see how things are going down on the farm:
Charleston (A-) - Charleston doesn't have much in the way of position player prospects but they have some pitchers to keep an eye on:
  • Andrew Brackman: Most of us have heard of Brackman by now. The 2007 first round pick out of NC State is a TJ survivor, and stands at 6'10" with 100 mph potential. He hasn't gotten back to triple digits yet, but he has been solid in Charleston. 7.8 K/9 is decent, 4.7 BB/9 not so much. He's been a groundball machine though, inducing a grounder 63% of the time. However the important thing is that he's healthy. He put a nice little run together until his last start, in which he walked 10 batters.
  • David Phelps: Phelps was a 14th round pick out of Notre Dame last year, and he has pitched very well in his brief pro career. He's got a 3.44 ERA in 52.1 IP, as well as 7.1 K/p and 1.4 BB/9.
  • Brett Marshall: Marshall was a 6th round selection out of high school last year. This was a highly regarded pick, but he has yet to live up to expectations with a 4.93 ERA, 5.4 K/9, and 4.5 BB/9. However, he is young for the league, most guys his age would be in Extended Spring Training right now.
  • Manuel Banuelos: The fact that Banuelos is pitching in Charleston as an 18-year-old is impressive enough. Even more impressive is that in 37.1 IP this season he has a 3.38 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP, 9.2 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9. Look for Banuelos to be climbing the prospect lists next season.
Tampa (A+) - Tampa is probably the most loaded of the Yankee farm teams, with plenty of position and pitching prospects:
  • Jesus Montero: Everyone knows about Jesus. Questions about his future behind the plate, but his bat will play anywhere, and he's just 19. He has a .910 OPS, and is very young for the Sally league. His walks are up this year, while strikeouts remain the same. He hits a line drive 1 out of 5 at bats and has shown improved power this year as well. Oh, and he has a .288 wOBA. Praise Jesus.
  • Austin Romine: Jesus' catching partner has not adjusted as well to the SAL. His power is a little up, but so are his walks and strikeouts. He's ahead of Montero defensively, but his .743 OPS and .318 wOBA don't quite measure up.
  • Jeremy Bleich: The 2008 sandwich pick has been solid this year: 3.83 ERA, 6.1 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 1.30 WHIP.
  • Dellin Betances: The 6'8" Staten Island product has been inconsistent this year. 8.9 K/9 (good), 5.3 BB/9 (bad). However he hasn't gotten much help from his defense. He has a .353 BABIP, resulting in a big difference between his ERA (4.87) and his FIP (3.73). However, he recently landed on the DL.
Trenton (AA) - Trenton's roster has been kind of inconsistent this year due to promotions and demotions:
  • The 21 year-old sinkerballer has been great so far in Trenton. In 47 IP he has a 1.91 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP to go along with a 52% groundball rate. His 6.1 K/9 doesn't give him the ceiling of Brackman or Betances, but he also has a much higher floor. Z-Mac is one of my favorite prospects and I think he will have a very successful, if unspectacular, big league career.
  • Wilkins De La Rosa: WDLR lit up the minors last year, and pitched very well in Tampa before being promoted to Trenton this year, where he has had a tough time adjusting. He currently has a 4.57 ERA, but he is averaging more than a strikeout per inning. He probably profiles as a reliever, but Wilkins is still new to pitching, so he has plenty of time to improve.
  • Ivan Nova: Nova is a guy with great stuff who had never really harnessed it until this year. The Padres took him in the Rule 5 draft but returned him, and he has posted a 3.26 ERA in 47 IP.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (AAA):
  • Austin Jackson: A-Jax, the Yankees #1 prospect and centerfielder of the future is having a successful season as a 22 year-old in AAA. His .899 OPS and .399 wOBA are very impressive, but he still has plenty of work to do before he's big league ready. He has a sold walk rate (10.6%), but he really needs to cut down and strikeouts (24%). He also has an IsoP of just .097. The explanation the Yankees have for this is that he's working on shortening his swing to cut down on strikeouts, and once he gets the new swing down, the power should come. Given his athleticism I'd say this is a decent explanation, but he has to get that done before he can assume the centerfield role in the Bronx.
  • George Kontos: Kontos has thrown 28 IP to a 2.25 ERA for the Scrankees, and has a 7.7 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9.
  • Mark Melancon: 16.2 IP, 2.16 ERA, 11.3 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 6.5 H/9, 0.96 WHIP, 62% GB rate. Why is he still in Scranton? He's got nothing left to prove in the minors.
There it is, consider yourself updated on the most important Yankees' prospects.