Monday, June 27, 2011

Lower Level Outfielders

There isn't much in AAA or AA in the Yankees system as far as OF go. Most are either organizational filler, 4th OF ceilings, or just don't have much of a future. Some may sniff the major leagues as a 4th OF or fill in for an injured player, like Golson, Brewer, but are unlikely to stick on any team. We have about 12 kids I'm excited about in the lower levels (High A to GCL). I'm going to list them in order and say why I'm excited and why I have each of them in this position.

1. Slade Heathcott- He's 20. obvious choice as our 1st round draft pick, but this season he has really performed well when not injured. He has shown some improvement with SB and power, but has struggled to stay healthy. He is definitely an outstanding defender, but the key is going to be keeping that shoulder healthy so he will still have a cannon if/when he reaches the major leagues. The Yankees drafted him as a project, someone who they knew would require a year or so of learning and practice before starting to pay dividends. We are starting to see a return on him, and hopefully he continues to improve.

2. Mason Williams-19 yo only in short season A with SI this year, but he's already making a splash with his speed and power. He was a signability guy in the 5th round last season, so we got him later than we should have, and we got a young player whom we can groove in whatever way we'd like. The speed and power are promising, as is his fielding. He is better sooner than Heathcott was, but Heathcott started his second season in Charleston, so it's a little different.

3. Ravel Santana- 19 yo I don't know much about him, but I know he's an international signing who lead the DSL in HR (10) and SB (22) last season. Apparently scouts say he has 80 power and 80 speed. That's one hell of a prospect if he can put it all together. That's a big if though and we've seen how guys like this can fail with Kelvin De Leon and Melky Mesa. He's in the GCL this season.

4. Ramon Flores- Another 19 yo. In Low A, he has shown an advanced approach at the plate. He has cooled down with his average and power, but continues to draw walks. This advanced approach could get him far, but he's going to need to keep improving his power numbers, and hit for a better average than he has so far this season... .254/.373/.399/.772

5. Zoilo Almonte- 22 yo. He's in high A, probably close to a AA promotion if his current hot streak continues. He had a similar hot streak at the same time last season, but it came to a halt when he was promoted to high A. This season, however, he has almost as many HR in less than 1/2 the games of last season. He also has stolen bases at a higher rate, and has similar OBP and avg tendencies, but is striking out at a lower rate for sure. He's OPSing at .869. 22 yo in High A is a red flag though.

6. Yeicok Calderon- 19 yo.He has solid power (8 HR in DSL last season), and hits for a solid avg, but it remains to be seen if these skills will transfer stateside. So far, so good .278/.350/.666/1.07 in very limited sample size, 2 HR and 2 SB as well.

7. Eduardo Sosa- Venezuela- 20 yo in low A with a lot of speed and an advanced approach at the plate. Strikes out too much but also draws a lot of walks and knows how to get on base. 10 SB in 11 attempts. Not much power.

8. Jorge Alcantara- 19 yo in GCL- showed an advanced approach in the DSL. Has showed some power and a good approach in the GCL so far. He'll likely see a lot of time in the OF since Bichette is the 3B there. Definitely a guy to watch. .433 OBP in the DSL last season.

9. Ben Gamel- 19 yo. have read a lot about his potential, it's not as high as some of the others but some project him as a solid OF. Enough to dream on a bit I suppose. Jury's still out.

10. Angelo Gumbs- still 18. Hasn't had much success so far, and has mostly played SS, but projects as a 2B/OF. We will see what this kid has to offer, he's a 2nd round pick so he could be good. Has shown a good amount of speed so far, hopefully getting some experience under his belt will help.

11. Shane Brown- 23 yo in SI. Realistically he shouldn't be on this list but he has started off really hot this season (1 HR, .375/.464/.542/1.006), so I put him on here as an outside chance, eg. a Neil Medchill/D'eangelo Mack type who are unlikely to pan out.

12. Henry Pena- 20 yo, GCL- almost didn't put him on the list, but I'll wait till he comes back to pass judgment. I've heard good things but haven't seen any come to fruition.

Long shots/honorable mention- Cody Grice (I liked this pick), Abe Almonte (has been hot lately, maybe his found it, doubt it), and Melky Mesa (severe regression this year)

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