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Five players to watch

Joel Sherman has a great article up. It seems that the Yankee farm system is a lot better than what we keep hearing from every Yankee hater/Peter Gammons type out there. The Yanks tried to give Robinson Cano away a year earlier in a proposed mid-season deal for Randy Johnson that Arizona passed on. We know what he and Wang did were incredible-as both players helped save our season last year. Yhency Brazoban was a throw in to the Dodgers in the Kevin Brown deal and had 21 saves for the Dodgers while Dioner Navarro is on their roster and  well liked by the organization.

MOST PROMISING

Philip Hughes - Finally a Yankee pitching prospect other teams project as a top-of-the-rotation starter. Yankee minor league head Mark Newman calls Hughes the Yanks' "best pitching prospect since Andy Pettitte." The excitement is about his ability to pinpoint 92-94 mph fastballs and his poise at age 19.

MOST INTRIGUING

Jose Tabata - He was born Aug. 12, 1988, displayed five tools plus strike-zone discretion last year in the Gulf Coast League and now will likely be the youngest player in the Sally League. The righty-hitting center fielder has Yankee officials ga-ga. One compared his bat potential to Manny Ramirez. Along with Eduardo Nunez, C.J. Henry and Austin Jackson, Tabata defines the Yanks' quest to get more athletic in their system

MOST INTERESTING

Matt DeSalvo - One scout called DeSalvo a "poor man's David Cone," citing the righty's small stature and heightened competitiveness. With a good moving fastball, fine changeup and deception in his motion, DeSalvo will start in Columbus and has a chance to pitch in the back of an MLB rotation

MOST PRESSURE

Eric Duncan - Followed a poor Double-A season with an MVP effort in the Arizona Fall League. Still just 21, yet this is a vital season because he is moving from being an error-prone third baseman to first base

MOST LIKELY TO BE PROMOTED THIS YEAR

Matt Smith - Some folks in the organization wanted him up late last year, claiming he was a better lefty relief option than Alan Embree or Wayne Franklin. He is initially blocked this year after the acquisitions of Mike Myers and Ron Villone, and the lurking presence of Al Leiter. The Yanks believe his combo of low-90s fastball and very strong slider makes him capable of retiring more than lefties, who were just 15-for-92 with no homers off him last year.

We aren't even talking about Sean Henn, J. Brent Cox or Melky Cabrera, so I think the Yanks are a lot deeper in the minors than they will ever get credit for.