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Scouting the Yankee Farm System: Trenton & Tampa

Zoilo has done a lot of hitting this season, but is he a future major leaguer?
Zoilo has done a lot of hitting this season, but is he a future major leaguer?

Figuring out prospects is a strange business, because everyone has an individual opinion on who has the potential to become what, and what each player's projected ceiling is. You could speak to 50 different "experts" and probably come out with 50 slightly different to extremely different opinions on the same players. Still, it's interesting to see what people who are paid to scout prospects for a living think about the players who could become the future of the Yankees.

Josh Norris, beat writer for the Trenton Thunder, recently spoke with a scout who had been to see the High A Tampa Yankees (once) and the Trenton Thunder (multiple times). Some of his conclusions were pretty unexpected, but interesting to hear, either way.

When asked whether he saw Slade Heathcott or Mason Williams as the Yankees' future center fielder, the scout went with the often-injured Heathcott. Slade has hit extremely well recently after coming back from surgery that cost him a good chunk of the season, while Mason Williams' season ended on a diving play in the outfield that dislocated his shoulder. The scout gave Heathcott the nod over Williams for being "more disciplined at the plate", and saying that he believed he'd move quicker through the system, but believed both players to be future major leaguers.

One of my favorite prospects to follow this season has been LHP Nik Turley for the Tampa Yankees. In 98.2 innings this season, Turley has a 2.83 ERA with 104 strikeouts. The scout that Norris spoke to praised the progress Turley has made, as well as his breaking ball. He doesn't see Turley as a top of the rotation starter, but thinks he will be able to make a big league rotation.

Gary Sanchez's opposite field power and David Adams' defense also drew praise, but the scout wanted to see more offensive consistency from Adams. Not everyone was lucky enough to receive a positive report, with Tyler Austin being the most surprising among them. His consistency and ability as an every day major leaguer were called into question, which seems hard to believe after the season he's had. Zoilo Almonte was also profiled as more of a backup than every day player because of his poor plate discipline.

You can read the entire piece on Josh Norris' blog, Minor Matters.