Everyone is talking about prospects these days and we've been covering them here a lot recently. With spring training just days away, this is the time to start looking to the farm to see what we have for the new season. I've collected a few tidbits of information and evaluation that might have passed through your strainers of attention because they didn't come along with a shiny prospect list.
Sam Dykstra of MiLB.com is not so impressed with Mason Williams. After MLB.com released their top 100 prospect list, with Mason ranked at No. 75, Dykstra wrote about different players who made the list. He believes that the 22-year-old has some off the field issues that might be cutting into his performance on the field. His DUI and lack of speed, which Keith Law blamed on a bulkier body, could all paint a picture of a young player who is going down the wrong path.
Player who could have dropped off list: Mason Williams, OF, Yankees - Perhaps I'm just not as high on Williams (No. 75) as others. The center fielder didn't have a good 2013, beginning with a DUI arrest in April and concluding with a .153/.164/.264 slash line in 72 Double-A at-bats with Trenton. Reports on his hitting abilities talk about a slap hitter, who should be able to benefit from plus speed that just wasn't there last year. (The decrease in speed was a big reason why his BABIP dropped to .189 in Trenton.) Being only 22, time is still on his side obviously, and there is the potential for change there, although it is slipping. Maybe he'll prove me wrong with a turn-around 2014.
On the positive side, Andrew Marchand of ESPN recounted a time a scout told him how good Mason is defensively:
I was told by a scout the other day, Mason Williams could play OF in majors right now.— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) January 29, 2014
Mason Williams is years away. He just could be a superb defender one day.— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) January 29, 2014
Obviously, his offensive game still needs a lot of work, and he hasn't had a full year of Double-A yet, but if he were magically transported to the majors right now he'd still be a great fielder. If he can work his bat up to be at least league-average, he could be a great asset to have in the outfield. We're talking Brett Gardner-levels of talent in center field. Hopefully it works out because it would be a shame for all the talent Mason has to be wasted.
During a mock prospect draft, Chris Crawford of MLB Draft Insider decided to take Gary Sanchez in the fourth round, believing his power potential could make him one of the best catchers in the game. His hitting ability is what has made him the only Yankee prospect to be ranked among the top 100 prospects in baseball by Baseball Prospectus, MLB.com, and ESPN.
He's unlikely to hit for high averages because there's a lot of swing and miss in his game, but he's got legit 70-grade power and has the ability to hit the ball out to every part of the park. 25-homer, 100-RBI seasons are not out of the question for Sanchez, and that would make him one of the best catchers in all of baseball, at least offensively.
It would be amazing to see that kind of production out of Sanchez. If the Yankees had the best offensive catcher in the game I would melt. All he would need to be behind the plate is average, but even then he has a cannon for an arm and is said to have improved drastically. If he has a big season in 2014, Sanchez could propel himself into the top 50.
Ok, yeah, he's not really a prospect, but this could finally be the year that Michael Pineda recovers from his shoulder injury and returns to the majors for the Yankees. If they can even get league-average production out of him the trade would be a victory just based on what Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi have provided the Mariners at the major league level. But how can he reach that mark? Jeff Sullivan from a recent Fangraphs chat knows:
It was said that Pineda was more than just a thrower who could hit 95 mph on the radar gun, that he knew how to pitch and how to work against hitters. If his slider is good enough, and there's enough deception, Pineda could be fine even with some reduction in velocity.
- Regrets from one offseason ago
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- Yankees Prospects: New York signs 17-year-old Australian Brandon Stenhouse
- Yankees Prospects: New York lands three on Keith Law's top 100 list