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Farm Far From Empty

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Pending Pinstripes took a look at southpaw outfielder-turned-pitcher Wilkins De La Rosa.  At a time when the top ranks of the Yanks' minor league system is thinner than it has been in years (thanks to trades and graduations), we'll be following the lower levels a little more closely.

The Yankees clearly like De La Rosa and will give him every shot to stay in the rotation, which is something that they're rightfully committed to with most of their pitching prospects. The idea of a lefty pitcher who has a scouting report that says he can reach 97 with his fastball and can use his changeup as an out pitch is a tantalizing one. It's important to remember how new to pitching De La Rosa is. Even at 25-years-old, it's quite possible that he can improve his slider enough to make it a solid third pitch. If not, as Newman says, a lefty with De La Rosa's velocity will always have a spot in the bullpen.

I doubt De La Rosa will ever get much more than a spot start in the big league rotation- CC and AJ are already signed long term, the expectation of a big free agent signing looms in 2010, and Hughes, Joba, Nova, McAllister are all ahead of Wilkins on the depth charts.

John Sickles gave the lefty a C+ and ranked him 11th in the system.  Sickles wrote, "Live-armed lefty needs sharper command. Great trade bait."

But this is a lefty who has averaged better than a K per inning for his career, even though that figure is likely to drop as he faces more advanced competition repeating AA and eventually moving up to AAA.  After trading Phil Coke and Mike Dunn (in my opinion selling high on both), I think De La Rosa is going to get his chance with the Yankees.