The minor league season has been underway for close to two weeks and it is time to start devoting some attention to the guys that could make an impact on the New York Yankees over the next few seasons. Whether that impact comes in the form of on-field production or a blockbuster trade, New York Yankees fans are always excited about the next potential stud. As always, I’m going to spend a lot of time discussing the organization’s top prospects. The focus will be primarily on the top three bats and top three arms in the system, but other guys will have some internet ink spilled on their behalf as well.
The season is still young so instead analyzing a 30 at-bat or a two start sample, I’m just going to talk about what I’m hoping to see from the New York Yankees’ top six prospects in 2012:
1. Manny Banuelos (Triple-A, Scranton-Wilkes/Barre)
2011 – 129.2 IP, 3.75 ERA, 125 K, 71 BB (AA/AAA)
The biggest concern that New York Yankees fans have with Banuelos is his control. ManBan was originally lauded as a guy with great poise and feel for pitching as opposed to a guy that can dominate with stuff. Over the past couple of seasons though the Yanks have seen upgraded stuff from their young lefty. Perhaps the extra hair on Banuelos’ offerings is what is causing the struggles as he continues to adjust. Either way, the walks need to be reduced dramatically in 2012 if Banuelos has any plans on joining the Yanks this season.
2. Gary Sanchez (Low-A, Charleston)
2011 – 301 AB, .256/.335/.485, 17 HR, 16 2B (Low-A)
Fairly or not, Sanchez often finds himself compared to former New York Yankees’ top prospect Jesus Montero. After all, both have prodigious power potential and both play the same position – albeit poorly. Despite some of the bumps – suspensions and injuries – Sanchez has impressed scouts with his offensive potential. In 2012 I want to see Sanchez get more playing time. That means he needs to stay healthy and keep his head on straight. I’m excited to see what type of offensive impact he can deliver, but you can’t produce runs riding the pine.
3. Dellin Betances (Triple-A, Scranton-Wilkes/Barre)
2011 – 126.1 IP, 3.70 ERA, 142 K, 70 BB (AA/AAA)
There is no need to dig deep here. Betances has been awfully inconsistent with his control and he will need to find a way to throw more strikes before he gets a real shot in the Bronx. Luckily he has a power repertoire that induces a high volume of swings and misses, but the hitters that he’s going to face from now on are going to be more patient than the young pups he was eating up in the lower minors.
4. Jose Campos (Low-A Charleston)
2011 – 81 IP, 2.32 ERA, 85 K, 13 BB (Short Season)
Campos has been the recipient of some significant internet buzz among New York Yankees fans and rightfully so. The scouting reports have been glowing for the 19-year old fireballer and the results have matched. Campos receives praise for his ability to pound the strike zone and overpower his peers. It might be too early for Campos’ flaws to start showing, but I’m looking forward to seeing him produce as a New York Yankees prospect.
5. Dante Bichette, Jr. (Low-A Charleston)
2011 – 203 AB, .335/.440/.507, 4 HR, 17 2B (GCL/Short Season)
Bichette is another guy who has not played against competition stiff enough to expose his flaws. The competition will provide a much tougher challenge in 2012 and I’m looking forward to seeing Bichette hold his own as a 19-year old.
6. Mason Williams (Low-A Charleston)
2011 – 269 AB, .349/.395/.468, 3 HR, 11 2B (Short Season)
My concerns with Williams’ game can be summed up in one word: power. He’s not going to be a 30 HR guy. He probably won’t be a 20 HR guy either. Can he be more Shane Victorino and less Juan Pierre though? If he can settle into the 15-homer range with a lot of doubles and a few triples he can be a terror on opposing defenses.
Starting next week I will give weekly updates on these six guys with a few other nuggets tossed in here and there.
For more New York Yankees prospect updates, follow me on Twitter @craigmwilliams.