John Sickels released his top 20 Yankee prospects list today. Here are his top 10 guys, as well as his general comments on the system:
1) Jesus Montero, C, Grade A: I know that his position is up in the air, but I love this bat so much that I’m going to give him a straight Grade A. This is a Mike Piazza/Manny Ramirez type bat.
2) Austin Romine, C, Grade B: Not in Montero’s class as a hitter, but he’s not bad, should improve further, and is much better defensively.
3) Manny Banuelos, LHP, Grade B-: Borderline Grade B. Intriguing young lefty, undersized but has a very good arm and has performed quite well thus far.
4) Zach McAllister, RHP, Grade B-: Strike-throwing-ground-ball-generating-inning-gobbler with advanced pitching feel. A fifth starter, long reliever, or trade bait in New York.
5) Slade Heathcott, OF, Grade B-: Excellent tools, will have to see how his skills develop, and if he overcomes concerns about his makeup from high school.
6) Mark Melancon, RHP, Grade B-: Borderline C+. Relief prospects are hard to grade, especially if they aren’t going to get a chance to close, but I really like Melancon. Great stats in the minors, with very good stuff.
7) Gary Sanchez, C, Grade C+: Scouting reports point to enormous offensive potential, but would like to see him in game action before ranking higher.
John Murphy, C, Grade C+: Scouts like the bat a lot, but raw defensively. As with Sanchez, need to see what balance he finds between tools and skills.
9) Kelvin De Leon, OF, Grade C+: Broken record: great tools, lots of power potential, questions about plate discipline, need more data from higher levels.
10) D.J. Mitchell, RHP, Grade C+: Picks up tons of grounders, throws strikes, very athletic, needs better secondary pitches to reach his full potential.
The Yankees system is interesting to study. They have one of the best prospects in baseball in Jesus Montero, who has the offensive potential to be a superstar but no clear position. I’m confident enough in his bat to give him a straight Grade A even without a place for him to play. After Montero, things thin out quickly, but there are still a lot of interesting players here…..
Overall, this system has a lot of questions after Montero, but a large amount of upside as well. 2010 should be a fascinating campaign for Yankee farm system fans to follow.
It sounds like Sickels sees the system as a middle of the pack group with the potential to get a lot better over the next year or two. With most of the Yankees’ high ceilinged prospects in the lower levels, this seems like a fair characterization. I am a bit higher on McCallister, Heredia, and Bleich, and not yet ready to buy in on Murphy, Sanchez, and Medchill as high as John has them, but this looks like a pretty reasonable list.
What do you think about the list? Who is too high? Too low?