Despite a season to forget from the farm system, both Damon Oppenheimer and Mark Newman will retain their jobs in scouting and player development for 2014. It seemed that heads were ready to roll after the season ended stemming from disappointment that the minor leagues had no players to step in when the injury bug called and called again at the big league level in 2013. Oppenheimer's job seemed more secure than Newman's by virtue of being in charge of who the Yankees should draft instead of getting those draftees to the majors. Both men will be back with the team next season, regardless.
Hal Steinbrenner says that changes have been made internally on the player development side, but those changes will be procedural instead of switching up the personnel. Not sure what direction they have decided to go instead of the direction they've been heading, but whatever it was seemed to save the jobs of Oppenheimer and Newman. Should the farm system experience another disappointing season in 2014, procedural changes may not be enough going forward.
A strong 2013 draft class, on paper, might have gone a long way to salvaging recent disappointments like Dante Bichette Jr. and Cito Culver. The question remains whether or not Eric Jagielo, Aaron Judge, and Ian Clarkin can turn draft excitement into actual results. Prospects already moving through the system, however, seemed to make little progress. Mason Williams isn't far removed from being considered one of the top prospects in the Yankees system, but he has yet to prove he's capable of hitting High-A or higher pitching. The system needs to produce major league talent if the team hopes to stay competitive under tighter payroll spending limits, which is something the farm hasn't been able to accomplish recently.
Hopefully whatever procedural changes the Steinbrenners have in mind is enough to see real change in developmental success next season. Another disaster like 2013 and it seems like they will have no choice but to make real personnel changes in hopes of figuring out where the biggest problem lies in getting players from the draft, through the levels of the minor league system, and eventually to the majors in a timely and successful fashion.
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