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Jan 122011

I just thought it would be fun to take a look at some old Baseball America Top 10 prospect lists, to put the current crop in some perspective. I’ll let you folks draw your own conclusions, but I for one am glad Brian Cashman took over control of Baseball Ops in 2005. That 04 list is scary bad, with the exception of a certain Yankee 2B. It’s no surprise that nobody with a good player wanted to trade with them at that time, except for the occasional Bobby Abreu salary dump or a ‘headache for headache’ Kevin Brown/Jeff Weaver type of deal. It’s also interesting how Chien Ming Wang never shows up on a top 10 list. He was a fast riser, having reinvented himself as a sinkerballer after showing mixed results previously with an expanded repertoire. It’s also worth noting that by far and away the best player on these lists (Cano) was ranked 6th the year before he was promoted, with players like Eric Duncan and Rudy Guillen ranked ahead of him, neither of whom spent a single day in the major leagues.

With all of that being said, here are the BA top 10 lists from 2004 to the present. I’d love to go back further, but unfortunately this is all I could find. BA only goes back to 2006 on their site, and I found the prior two with Google. It goes without saying that we have a better idea of how a player turned out the farther back we go, and the more recent lists are yet undefined. But the 04-06 prospect lists give us some idea of how well the Yanks have drafted,  and whether or not the players panned out. To give an idea of what each player has done in professional baseball, I’ll add career WAR next to each player’s name wherever it applies.  Do you know which player (not named Cano) has the highest career WAR on this list? No, it’s not one of those highly touted pitchers. It’s someone many fans included in every proposed deal the past few winters, who goes by the initials GGBG.

2004

1. Dionar Navarro, C (4.7)
2. Eric Duncan, 3b/1b (n/a)
3. Rudy Guillen, of
(n/a)
4. Joaquin Arias, ss (-0.4)
5. Ramon Ramirez, rhp (0.2)
6. Robinson Cano, 2b (18.7)
7. Ferdin Tejeda, ss (n/a)
8. Jorge DePaula, rhp (0.1)
9. Estee Harris, of (n/a)
10. Bronson Sardinha, 3b (0.0)

2005

1. Philip Hughes, rhp (6.4)
2. Eric Duncan, 3b/1b (n/a)
3. Jose Tabata, of (2.0)
4. C.J. Henry (n/a)
5. Austin Jackson, of (3.8)
6. Eduardo Nunez, ss (-0.1)
7. Marcos Vechionacci, 3b (n/a)
8. Christian Garcia, rhp (n/a)
9. Jeff Marquez, rhp (-0.1)
10. Tyler Clippard, rhp (1.1)

2006

1. Philip Hughes, rhp (6.4)
2. Jose Tabata, of (2.0)
3. Dellin Betances, rhp (n/a)
4. Joba Chamberlain, rhp (7.4)
5. Ian Kennedy, rhp (2.8)
6. Chris Garcia, rhp (n/a)
7. Tyler Clippard, rhp (1.1)
8. J. Brent Cox, rhp (n/a)
9. Mark Melancon, rhp (0.3)
10. Brett Gardner, of (8.6)

2007

1. Joba Chamberlain, rhp (7.4)
2. Austin Jackson, of (3.8)
3. Jose Tabata, of (2.0)
4. Ian Kennedy, rhp (2.8)
5. Alan Horne, rhp (n/a)
6. Jesus Montero, c (n/a)
7. Jeff Marquez, rhp (-0.1)
8. Brett Gardner, of (8.6)
9. Ross Ohlendorf, rhp (1.9)
10. Andrew Brackman, rhp (n/a)

2008

1. Austin Jackson, of (3.8)
2. Jesus Montero, c (n/a)
3. Andrew Brackman, rhp (n/a)
4. Austin Romine, c (n/a)
5. Dellin Betances, rhp (n/a)
6. Zach McAllister, rhp (n/a)
7. Alfredo Aceves, rhp (1.5)
8. Phil Coke, lhp (1.8)
9. Mark Melancon, rhp (0.3)
10. Bradley Suttle, 3b (n/a)

2009

1. Jesus Montero, c (n/a)
2. Austin Romine, c (n/a)
3. Arodys Vizcaino, rhp (n/a)
4. Slade Heathcott, of (n/a)
5. Zach McAllister, rhp (n/a)
6. Manny Banuelos, lhp (n/a)
7. Gary Sanchez, c (n/a)
8. J.R. Murphy, c (n/a)
9. Jeremy Bleich, lhp (n/a)
10. Andrew Brackman, rhp (n/a)

2010

1. Jesus Montero, c (n/a)
2. Gary Sanchez, c (n/a)
3. Dellin Betances, rhp (n/a)
4. Manny Banuelos, lhp (n/a)
5. Andrew Brackman, rhp (n/a)
6. Austin Romine, c (n/a)
7. Hector Noesi, rhp (n/a)
8. Eduardo Nunez, ss/3b (-0.1)
9. Slade Heathcott, of (n/a)
10. Brandon Laird, 3b (n/a)

5 Responses to “Yankee Top 10 Prospects 2004-2010”

  1. I’m going to be devil’s advocate and say that Damon Oppenheimer is overrated and possibly is given too much autonomy in draft selections. Look at the 2010 list where 5 of the 10 are IFA’s with 3 of the them in the top 4. You can make an argument for Noesi (IFA, also) being a top 5 prospect too.

    Betances who is possibly our best pitching prospect was highly touted as a high school pitcher as a junior in Brooklyn. I remember reading he had the potential to be a top 10 selection in the 2006 draft. He professed his desire to be a Yankee and only a Yankee and hinted he would sign with them if he was drafted. But Oppenheimer in his infinite wisdom risked another team picking him and waited til the 8th round to select him with other notables like Tim Norton & Mitch Hilligoss coming off first. Betances is training at Sports U in Fairfield, NJ where a friend of mine works. If you think you’re a Yankee fan just talk to this guy, he has always lived and breathed Yankees. It would be a travesty if they traded him.

    The IFA scouting dept has saved this franchise not Oppenheimer, and don’t tell me that the Yanks pick late. There are 50 rounds in the draft with quite a few diamonds in the rough, which we never seem to uncover. And I don’t want to hear about David Robertson who is slightly better than mediocre.

    The list of IFA’s, both past and present, is impressive for the Yanks with guys like Cano, Wang, Nunez, Melky. Recent trade chips like Vizcaino and Tabata were valuable too.

    Due diligence on Gerrit Cole would have been nice in 2008, don’t you think, especially with the great Casey Kelley being the next selection in the draft. Maybe I am being too critical but I think Oppenheimer is overrated and possibly less competent than we think.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Eric Reply:

    I understand your frustration about the draft results, but honestly, I that that speaks more to the unpredictable nature of the draft process than it does about Oppenheimer’s competence (or the lack thereof). I agree that the Yankees’ success in international free agency is a major reason for the farm being as strong as it is (possibly top 6 this year). The lack of high picks excuse is valid for me to an extent, but more important to building a strong farm system through the draft is having a lot of early picks. Since the Yankees usually sign a type A free agent and rarely offer arbitration, they don’t end up having the huge number of 1st-rounders and sandwich picks that a team like Boston always seems to amass (hence their frequent assessment of monster drafts). I agree that the Yankees could always do better with shelling out more money in the late rounds to guys who drop, but they do pretty well in that area already. Are the Yankees the best drafting team in the league? That honor would probably go to KC at present, with their ridiculous farm, but it usually takes many years to determine that a draft was actually good.

    Even if you’re not that impressed with David Robertson, to get a useful setup man that late in the draft is a great find. Opp should also get credit for Brett Gardner, who has been an incredibly valuable player despite not being a highly touted draftee.

    I’m a little confused by the Betances point though. Shouldn’t Oppenheimer get some credit for doing due diligence and realizing that he wouldn’t need to use a 1st-rounder on Betances, and could get him with a later pick. Who would you rather have had: Betances in the 1st and another player available in the 8th round, or Ian Kennedy in the 1st and Betances in the 8th? For me, it’s an easy choice.

    The Cole situation was frustrating, but considering the information available at the time of the draft, it was rumored that Cole was willing to sign. Given that he’s in consideration for #1 overall this year, I think it was worth the risk, and it is unfortunate that Cole ultimately decided he wanted to go to UCLA.

    I agree that Oppenheimer is not perfect, and may be worthy of second-guessing at times, but I think he deserves more credit than you are giving him.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Steve S. Reply:

    I’d like to echo these sentiments, and just add that Cole was a Boras client. Scott will squeeze you for every dime he can get, but it’s pretty rare for one of his clients to walk away altogether. Even the choice of Boras as an agent leads one to believe the kid is serious about turning pro for a variety of reasons. But apparently Cole had a change of heart. It happens. Not sure what the Yanks could have done differently there.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Don W Reply:

    FYI: Boras was Cole’s “advisor”. You can’t hire an agent and then go back to college. Had he signed a contract he would have miraculously become his agent. :)

    Boras was as perplexed as the Yankees were with the Cole’s decision. There was every indication Gerrit would sign for the right money. For the life of me I can’t understand why the Cole’s didn’t have their family talk BEFORE the draft. After they made their choice they asked the Yanks to not even make an offer.

    I’m not sure what Oppenheimer and Cashman could’ve done differently. When they don’t take a safe Ian Kennedy type pick this can happen. When they do they get blasted by fans.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

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