1. Montero- If you are on this blog, you've probably heard enough about this guy to know about his potential.
2. Betances- I have him as the first of the killer bees. Most say that slots 2-4 on this list are interchangeable between the killer bees, I disagree. Rumor has it Betances starts in AAA this season (according to comments made by Rothschild). If this is the case, the Yankees brass obviously thinks very highly of him. His stuff is the real deal if scouts are telling the truth, just has to stay healthy.
3. Banuelos- I haven't read anything about his status for this season, but I'm assuming AA. He will still be 20 this season, and it would probably be best to move him along slowly and build up his innings limit. Not far behind Betances, if at all, plus he's a lefty, so that's an added bonus.
4. Sanchize- Could be the total package. He might be a Montero type bat with better defense. The key words here are could/might. He has a lot to prove, but as much, possibly more potential than anyone else on this list.
5. Austin Romine- I have him higher than he is on some other lists. Here's my reason. I think 2011 will be a good year for Austin. He caught more games last year than he ever had before, and I think this took it's toll late in the season. I'd be surprised if his offensive production doesn't take a big step forward this season. His defense is a new concern, but again this could have been due to the fatigue of never catching so many games last season.
6. Andrew Brackman- This is a pretty low ranking for Brackman. My issues are his age and his contract. If he's not in the majors by 2012 we no longer control him. That means a lot rides on this season. It's very close to make or break time with him, and an injury could really complicate the issue. He still has great potential, and Rothschild seems confident that Brackman can repeat his delivery early on in 2011. Definitely a positive sign on a guy with an extremely high ceiling.
7. Hector Noesi- Noesi is a very polished player. His ceiling isn't as high as some of the guys on this list, but according to all accounts, his floor is actually much higher than others on the list. Ceiling- 3rd starter, floor- 5th starter/long relief. Great control, pretty good stuff. His time at the major league level is coming soon.
8. Slade Heathcott- Still a work in progress. Last season maintained the status quo by performing just well enough. He hasn't become the first round draft pick we had hoped for yet, but he also hasn't decreased his value. It feels like it's only a matter of time before a guy with his tools breaks out, especially as he has held his own at a young age at this level.
9. David Phelps- This guy never gets the credit he deserves. He has done nothing but pitch extremely well since coming to the minors. He has had one bad season ever, in college, against metal bats. This is a big year for David, as he will likely see a call up. It may be make or break for him, as guys like him don't have the longest leash at the major league level. A couple of good starts or relief appearances and he's this years Ivan Nova.
10. Adam Warren- Last season his 15 k, 7 inning performance at AA was one of the most exciting things to happen in the minors. I love this guys grit and toughness. He seems like a real winner by all accounts. Great stats, great attitude, very good skills.
11. Jose Ramirez- Higher on my list than some others. I think this guy has great potential. He is still very young and he has the stuff to take him all the way up the ladder. People were disappointed with last season, but he still held his own, and IMO held his prospect status much the same as Heathcott did.
12. Graham Stoneburner- Lower on my list than some others, but not because I don't like him. He has been a great revelation in our system. He throws hard, and has good stuff. Looks like they still want him to develop another pitch, but I'd say his floor is a solid reliever at this point.
13. Brandon Laird- Really displayed his power this season. AAA will be a big test for him, as he struggled last season at this level. He smoked AA pitching though, and he has recently expanded his utility by shifting to OF in the offseason. Now he can play all of the corners, and could break in as a utility guy.
14. David Adams/Corban Joseph- Can I just mold these two into one guy? Honestly, I think one of them will make an impact, and the other won't. I'm not sure which will be the case but right now my money is on David Adams. These guys are pretty solid 2b hitters and fielders, and it will be interesting to see what they can do this season.
15. Brett Marshall- Here is another pitcher in the Yankees system who had a coming out party this season. He really pitched will in single A and A+ towards the end of the season. He could really make some noise this season and increase his standing.
16. Cito Culver- Scouts absolutely loved him in the GCL this season. He didn't fare so well at Staten Island, but he is very young for that level yet. His defensive skills are ++ and his hitting in the GCL was +, but in SI was probably a minus. He'll probably start in SI this year. Look for big things to come from him.
17. Rafael Depaula- Don't know much about this guy, but I do know that many feel he will replace our first round draft pick this season which we lost by signing the other Rafael. It's enough to get me excited.
18. Mason Williams- Another guy who I don't know much about except for what I've read. Apparently he has the tools to be another Brett Gardner with less speed but more power. I'll take that any day.
19. Rob Segedin- This guy fell into our laps in this draft because of injuries. Apparently he can really mash.
20. DJ Mitchell- Flew under the radar this season with a mediocre season but REALLY came on late, when not too many people were watching. He is way down on the list from last season, but he pitched really well in AAA while he was there. Look at his 2nd half numbers, and you may be much more intrigued than you were before.
Dark Horse candidates- guys who can really increase their standing with a strong performance this season:
Sean Black- Another guy who had a spectacular 2nd half. He has had a similar course as David Phelps so far, although slower in developing. He is my breakout candidate for next season, with his 2nd half last season as my justification.
Pat Venditte- Has a lot to prove this season at AA. This is his year to show that he is not just a sideshow.
Bryan Mitchell- I've read a lot of good things about his stuff. Another guy who could break out this season and put himself on the prospect map.
Kyle Roller- The next Brandon Laird? Great hitter, poor fielder. Common occurrence in this system right now.
JR Murphy- Disappointing with the bat so far. Apparently increased his versatility in the field this offseason, and now can play some 1b and OF too. Can't hurt his value, but he really needs to start hitting if he wants to be taken seriously. One good hitting season turns his value around completely.
Bradley Suttle- I could see a Brandon Laird-esque breakout for him this season.
Angelo Gumbs- the other SS we drafted besides Cito Culver. After the draft, scouts speculated that at least one of these two guys would work out for us, and I agree. Culver seems like the likely candidate so far, but don't count Gumbs out.
Sad to lose in rule 5: Lance Pendleton, George Kontos. Both may be back.
Gained in rule 5: Robert Fish and Daniel Turpen
Note: This was originally made on 2/4/11