Q&A with Frankie Piliere of AOL FanHouse

Frankie Piliere of AOL FanHouse was kind enough to answer 10 questions for us. He will be stopping in periodically to answer any questions you have about his answers, so be kind and comment! Thanks once again to Frankie, who is a great guy.

1. Who are the most overrated and underrated Yankees prospects?

Underrated, to me, is Hector Noesi.  The term underrated is different for everyone.  Here's a guy, though, sitting in the low-90s and cranking it up to 94.  He spots a quality curveball and knows how to think through a game.  He can get through a lineup multiple times and has the mentality of a starter.  This guy should be talked about far more than he is.  I hate saying overrated, but I'll say that some guys are disappointing when I scout them.  I am not quitting on him, and I still think he has a future but Brackman had some huge holes when I saw him in June.  He was far better out of the bullpen in instructs though so I still think he has a future there.

2. It seems the Yanks have drafted far better in the last 5 years than in the ten years prior? what to improve the drafting?

I don't think there's a magic solution to drafting better.  But, the next closest thing to a magic solution is spending and throwing top talent against the wall to see what sticks.  They've used their financial advantages more in recent years and I think it's paid off in terms of depth.

3. Cash clearly seems focused on pitchers and catchers. why so much emphasis on those two? are those positions more valuable, both in terms of value to the ML team, and as trade chips? are other positions getting short-changed, and is it to the detriment of the organization?

Premium positions.  You can usually go out and buy corner infielders and outfielders.  Try going and finding a catcher, and good pitching.  It's not easy.  You have to pay heavily if you do have to go and buy a top flight pitcher.  They have the right idea, and no one right now can match their catching depth in particular.  They've done a fantastic job stacking up talent at a key position.  They're trying to fill other positions too, but it's difficult to get that sort of depth at many positions.

4. Who'll win the 5th starter spot, Joba or Hughes?

Not sure who wins, but I like Hughes in that spot.  He's a guy who thinks through a lineup better and can change his patterns.  I was firmly in the Joba should start camp, but mainly on the belief that you take your most talented arms and see if they can start.  Can Joba start? I think he can, and I can't say off that sample size that he can't.  But if I'm making the call right now, Hughes is my 5th guy and Joba is in the pen.

5. How soon do you think Wilkin De La Rosa can contribute to the MLB club?
I think they are taking it very slow and careful with him given some of the comments by guys like Mark Newman.  I really do believe he can contribute in the bullpen as early as this year though.  I'm not sure they want that though.
6. In your opinion do you think Jesus Montero is a catcher or a different position in the future?

I get this one a lot and my answer is the same.  Jesus Montero has the ability to stick at catcher.  There are worse catchers in the majors right now, like Victor Martinez.  Now, will he be allowed to stick?  I'm not sure if his marginal defense is enough to convince the Yankees to risk his long term durability behind the plate.  But, I really don't agree with those that say he cannot catch.  He is capable, and he wouldn't be looked at as a good defender but he can do it.  But, moving him is very realistic given the depth behind him and how valuable his bat is.
7. I know you did a preview of Pat Venditte on the Lohud Blog but if you had to estimate right now if he will make the MLB eventually, will he?

Playing the odds here.  No, I don't think he does.  But, at the same time, he's a popular guy in the organization and someone I can see getting at least a cup of coffee.  He's well liked and a great guy, so if he shows something as he moves up I think he gets a shot.  But, to be a real big leaguer with more than a cup of coffee, he needs the perfect storm I think.  He's more than a gimmick like I expected though.  I will say that.
8. Out of the Yankees invitees, please order them from best to worst? (Winfree, Golson, Weber, Gorecki)

Golson and Winfree are at least legitimate prospects.  The other two are basically filler.  Good filler but filler I think.  Golson has some unbelievable tools, but he's a really in between at the plate.  If he could figure out anything offensively they'd really have something.  Winfree does some things I really like at the plate too so he intrigues me as well.
9. Can you give us a bit of information about Zach McAllister and Ivan Nova? How about the four utility guys?

What's said about McAllister is mostly true.  He's safe, doesn't have a real high ceiling, and is probably a back end type starter.  Nova has a very big arm with good movement.  What he ends up being I think is still a little up in the air but you have to love the arm and life on the fastball.
10. If you had to pick one "surprise prospect" in the Yankees system, who would it be? (Someone who isn't highly touted but should be)

10.  Well, Noesi would have been my answer, but I'll pick someone else.  People should be talking about Jose Ramirez more, and Jeremy Bleich will bounce back in 2010.  Corban Joseph is really undersold I think.  Keep an eye out for him as well.
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