John Sickles at our sister blog, Minor League Ball, has graded the Yankees Top 20 minor-league prospects for 2007.
I find it informative since the vast majority of us have never seen most of these guys ever pick up a baseball.
2007 New York Yankees Prospects
- Phil Hughes, RHP, Grade A (best pitching prospect in baseball)
- Jose Tabata, OF, Grade A- (still just 18 years old)
- Joba Chamberlain, RHP, Grade B (B+ if he proves he's healthy)
- Tyler Clippard, RHP, Grade B (adjusted well to Double-A)
- Dellin Betances, RHP, Grade B (Potential B+/A- but I want to see full-season numbers)
- J. Brent Cox, RHP, Grade B (Personally, I think he can close)
- George Kontos, RHP, Grade B- (Underrated, deserves more attention)
- Christian Garcia, RHP, Grade B- (potential B+ if healthy)
- Ian Kennedy, RHP, Grade B- (potential B/B+ if he can regain '05 form)
- Tim Norton, RHP, Grade B- (Underrated, deserves more attention)
- Brett Gardner, OF, Grade C+ (lack of power keeps him out of my top 10)
- Darrell Rasner, RHP, Grade C+ (Should be decent but not terrific)
- Mark Melancon, RHP, C+ (would be Grade B if healthy)
- Jeff Marquez, RHP, C+ (high-ceiling sinkerball guy, possibly underrated in this spot)
- Zach McAllister, RHP, C+ (promising young arm)
- Chase Wright, LHP, C+ (sleeper just added to 40-man roster)
- Mitch Hilligoss, SS, C+ (interesting contact hitter)
- Francisco Cervelli, C, C+ (good glove, hit well in the NY-P)
- T.J. Beam, RHP, C (serviceable relief arm)
- Eric Duncan, 1B, C (fading but still young enough to rebound)
Others: Tim Battle, OF; Josue Calzado, OF; Reegie Corona, SS; Colin Curtis, OF; Shelly Duncan, OF: Cody Ehlers, 1B; Austin Jackson, OF; Jeff Karstens, RHP; Wilmer Pino, 2B; Bronson Sardina, OF; Brett Smith, RHP; Steven White, RHP.
Note that this list does NOT include Humberto Sanchez and Kevin Whelan. I haven't written their comments or graded them yet. Both would rank in the Top 20 and probably the Top 10 but until I actually grade them I'm not sure where.
The Yankees in One Sentence: They are short of hitters, but have collected a strong group of young pitchers over the last couple of seasons.
As you can see from the comments above, several of these guys would end up with higher grades under the right circumstances in '07, proving health in most cases. Chamberlain/Clippard/Betances are all very close and it all depends on what you want to emphasize. . .Chamberlain's power stuff? Clippard's polish and Double-A experience? Betances' long-term potential? I also like B- sleepers Kontos and Norton, enough that I might have overrated them a tad, but I'm going to be aggressive about them for now.
Note: Remember that ALL GRADES ARE PRELIMINARY. There is a lot of slack in the B-/C+ range and players may move up and down depending on how my thinking progresses. Feel free to make comments, point out sleepers I may have missed, etc. Note that there is only a limited amount of space in the book, and the max I can do is 35-36 players per team.