Former big league scout Frankie Pilliere has a new post up, focused entirely on the Yanks' Training Camp. To make sure you want to go read the whole thing, here are a few highlights:
On Slade Heathcott:
Without a lot of moving parts and with good hands, he's going to be able to make adjustments against better pitching as he moves up. Take those skills at the plate with his plus speed and outstanding range in the outfield, and Heathcott profiles a a plus defender in center field that could bat anywhere in the top three in the lineup depending on the development of his power.
On Andrew Brackman:
Pitching at 88-90 mph with the fastball, and reaching 92 once in his most recent outing, Brackman's often suspect command was vastly improved. He was dealing with three pitches, locating his curveball consistently and staying aggressive down in the zone with the fastball.
On Jesus Montero:
Footwork, however, is definitely still an issue. He tends to open up on his throws to second, and he needs to improve on shifting to his backhand side to block pitches. Overall, though, his hands have looked soft, and the arm is strong enough to indicate he has the core skills to stick as a big-league catcher.
On Abraham Almonte:
The switch-hitting Almonte drives the ball with authority to the opposite field as well as any player at his level in Yankees camp. With his good range in center field, he can absolutely stick at the position, so with his developing skills at the plate and speed, he is, if nothing else, someone worth monitoring.
The Yankee farm system isn't as stocked as it has been in recent years, largely because Joba, Hughes, IPK, , Brett Gardner, AJax, Ross Ohlendorf, Dan McCutchen, Zach Kroenke, Phil Coke, Dave Robertson, Al Aceves, Frankie Cervelli and Ramiro Pena have all graduated to the big leagues. (And those are just the guys who either are on the Yankees, or who joined a 25 man roster after being traded from the Yankees).
The Yanks are admittedly thin after their top 5 (Montero, Romine, Slade, McAllister, ManBan). But there are still several players who could at least be role players, just as Melky was a valuable role player until he got too expensive, and just as GGBG, Ramiro Pena and Cervelli are role players now. And there are a few who could be All-Star quality starters.