Using mostly reader questions, Frank Piliere was kind enough to answer questions about the prospect world.
Pinstripe Alley: How much has Jesus Montero really improved at catcher since last year? Once and for all, can/will he be an adequate everyday major league catcher? Why do analysts criticize Montero's size (6'4", 225) as being too big for a catcher, yet fail to mention the likes of Mauer (6'5", 230) and Wieters (6'5", 225), who are above-average ML catchers?
Frankie Piliere: Montero has improved a lot. I've said it over and over again that there is a huge difference between not being a good defender and being incapable of playing the position. Montero will never be more than an adequate defensive player. But, I've been lucky enough to see him at several different points in time in the last couple years. And, there's definite improvement. Will he frustrate your readers at times as an everyday catcher? I bet he will. He's a bit stiff at times, and given his size he's a little slow. But there is more than enough arm and receiving skills to play the position. In time he can be adequate.
PA: If you were to invest in one of Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances or Andrew Brackman to head your rotation for the next 8-10 years, who would it be and why?
FP: I get this question a lot, and the more I answer it the more confident I am. I'd invest in Banuelos. I think ultimately Betances' ceiling is a bit higher because of his size and a little better velocity. But Banuelos is the best mix of present stuff, command, polish, and of course he's left-handed. I was smitten with Banuelos in 2009, when he was lived around 90-91, touching 92-93 with the fastball. Now that the velocity has spiked it's just the icing on the cake. Aside from being over six-feet tall, I'm really not sure what else you could want in a pitcher. I think Betances could very easily be a frontline starter as well, but [with] just a little more risk than Banuelos.
PA: What type of player do you think Gary Sanchez will be, how far away from the majors is he, and how do you see Sanchez and Montero being on the same team?
FP: I saw Sanchez for the first time this year and he looks pretty special at the plate. He's ahead of Montero defensively at that same stage and he's pretty darn close with the bat. I don't know if I want to say he matches him with the bat quite yet, but I think we'll find that out this spring. He's at least 2-3 years away I think given the typical pace of Yankee prospects. But, it's too hard to predict right now how the Yankees would handle him and Montero being on the same roster.
PA: Is David Adams for real or was that short-lived breakout a fluke? What can we expect from Adams going forward?
FP: I don't think Adams was a fluke. I loved him as a college player and thought it was an excellent draft pick. I think he can hit for solid-average power and hit for average. That said, I really don't know [how] he fits in with the Yankees. I could see him eventually being in a deal.
Much thanks to Frank from Brandon and I for the insight. Look for parts two and three in the coming days.