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Sunday, January 01, 2012

Sickels: New York Yankees Top 20 Prospects for 2012

As we used to say back in the 80’s…Hurry up Todd, Demeter is running.

1) Jesus Montero, C-DH, Grade A: What he did in the majors last year was not a fluke. It was at the high end of expectation, yes, and I wouldn’t expect him to hit like that over 500 plate appearances at age 22. He may need some adjustment time, but his bat is truly outstanding and he wasn’t just getting lucky. His glove isn’t very good and while he’s not a complete player in terms of contributing speed or defense, his hitting is so strong he still gets a Grade A from me.

2) Gary Sanchez, C, Grade B+: Excellent power production in full-season ball at age 18; that is rare. His glove needs work and he needs to take his career more seriously, but he has time to outgrow emotional immaturity.

3) Manny Banuelos, LHP, Grade B: Borderline B+. He got a B last year and I can’t bump his grade up a notch given the command difficulties he had in Double-A. He’s still a fine prospect, however, projecting as a number three starter if all goes well.

4) Dellin Betances, RHP, Grade B: Borderline B+. He’s got plenty of stuff but command wobbles prevent the B+ at this time. Ceiling is a tad higher than Banuelos, but I’m less confident that he’ll reach it. Depending on what happens with his command, he could develop into anything from a number two starter to a disappointing mop-up man.

5) Mason Williams, OF, Grade B: We need to see him higher than the New York-Penn League, but he showed progress with both the bat and the glove. Main question is how much power he’ll develop. Grade may be a bit aggressive.

...Banuelos, Betances, and Andrew Brackman were the Three Bs this time last year. Brackman washed out in Triple-A and is now in Cincinnati, while both Banuelos and Betances had command struggles in Double-A. They are both impressive prospects still, but they didn’t progress as hoped and they might not be ready as soon as anticipated last spring. The Yankees also seem to have a knack for finding solid pitching from the college ranks and pitchers who can contribute from the middle and later rounds of the draft, particularly in the bullpen.

Repoz Posted: January 01, 2012 at 09:31 AM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, minor leagues, prospect reports, scouting, yankees

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Bruce Markusen Posted: January 01, 2012 at 03:54 PM (#4026603)
Yes, I'm old enough to remember Todd Demeter. The son of the great Don Demeter.
   2. ray james Posted: January 01, 2012 at 04:07 PM (#4026610)
Maybe it's just me but if a guy is destined to be a DH, even if he's an outstanding hitter, then doesn't that kind of preclude the straight A? I think of A prospects as being good all-around players.

And it's not like Montero has blazing speed either.
   3. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 01, 2012 at 04:17 PM (#4026614)
Maybe it's just me...

No, it's not just you. It's just that Montero is a Yankee prospect. A hitter like that coming up in another organization would have people on this site drooling, defense be damned. If the Mariners had taken the Yankees' offer for Lee instead of the Rangers', Montero would have been a perfectly cromulent starting 1Bman in MLB at the age of 21.
   4. Dock Ellis Posted: January 01, 2012 at 04:41 PM (#4026625)
Yeah, I understand that Sickels' grading does not necessarily mean that Montero is Bryce Harper's equal, but I still find it a bit strange that they both received the same grade.
   5. . . . . . . Posted: January 01, 2012 at 07:06 PM (#4026668)
In the comments on MinorLeagueBall, you can predict what people will post simply by reading their user name. Shockingly, the Red Sox fans are outraged by overrating and the Yankees fans are outraged that more guys didn't get Bs and B+s.

Anyways, if you're going to rank Montero as if he's a DH, then you need to give his a bat a boost to adjust for the negative effect on offensive performance from playing C. IIRC from the Tom Tango study, it's a pretty big boost. Agreed that Montero is no Trout or Bryce Harper, but it sure looks like he'll be able to 380/490 in his sleep for about 15 years, which is worth a heck of a lot in this era.
   6. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 01, 2012 at 07:15 PM (#4026672)
I don't see what's wrong with the A for Montero if Sickels believes he currently has a plus MLB bat. That's a top prospect. If there are 10 or so As, there's going to be significant variation between the As.
   7. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: January 01, 2012 at 07:20 PM (#4026680)
And Sickels might think he is at least playable at 1B.
   8. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 01, 2012 at 07:37 PM (#4026688)
If there are 10 or so As, there's going to be significant variation between the As.

But should there be? Assuming the letter grades are the end product of numerical grades, all of the players with any specific letter grade — i.e., any of the nine letter grades Sickels uses (A+, A, A-, etc.) — should fall within no more than about a 5-point range.
   9. JJ1986 Posted: January 01, 2012 at 07:44 PM (#4026695)
Sickels doesn't give A+'s, so Harper could be a 99 and Montero a 93 or so.
   10. Mayor Blomberg Posted: January 01, 2012 at 07:52 PM (#4026701)
He doesn't give A+ and I don't recall him giving minus, so that's five total grades (A, B+, B, C+, C). How much of an air of science do you want for this highly speculative exercise.

I teach and find myself giving a wide range of A grades, they vary from the textbook version of what an A paper is at my institution to the occasional paper that leaves me asking, "why don't you teach the course net time?"
   11. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 01, 2012 at 08:06 PM (#4026710)
He doesn't give A+ and I don't recall him giving minus, so that's five total grades (A, B+, B, C+, C). How much of an air of science do you want for this highly speculative exercise.

I forgot about the "no A+" policy, but he definitely uses minuses, so it's an eight-variant system.
   12. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 02, 2012 at 01:59 AM (#4026927)
Is Montero at 1B not practical? I thought it was only due to Teixeira that he wouldn't play there for the Yankees. Also I think Sickels should give A+ grades to people like Bryce Harper and even Matt Moore to differentiate them from others like Montero.
   13. CraigK Posted: January 02, 2012 at 02:20 AM (#4026937)
He's pretty much said that an A+ prospect would have to be Bryce Harper with plus-plus speed and a perfect personality with gold-glove defense at shortstop.
   14. RollingWave Posted: January 02, 2012 at 02:40 AM (#4026950)
Unless I remembered wrong, Billy Butler was an A or B+ prospect?. Though I guess Butler would be the lower end of Montero's outcome bat wise. a good but not spetacular hitter. (though it's hard to compare in earnest, the park effect between the two in the minors is about as extreme as it can get.)
   15. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 02, 2012 at 03:09 AM (#4026974)
He's pretty much said that an A+ prospect would have to be Bryce Harper with plus-plus speed and a perfect personality with gold-glove defense at shortstop.

So Alex Rodriguez wouldn't have qualified and gotten the same A as Ruben Rivera? Amazing.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: January 02, 2012 at 09:00 AM (#4027104)
1. Let's not get too carried away on Betances. He'll be 24 and ZiPS projects him to a 79 OPS+ with an 85/72 K/BB ratio. 24 is not that young and he's in Ollie Perez territory. Banuelos projects much the same but he'll be just 21.

2. Let's not get too carried away on Montero. He'll be 22 and is projected to a 112 OPS+ ... which is awfully good for a 22-year old but nothing historic. Heyward will also be 22 and is projected to about the same ... and his career projection end up at about the same place. It would be better than Butler at 22 but Butler has progressed to a 128 OPS+ from 23-25 ... nothing great but a pretty reasonable expectation for Montero, not a downside. This is not to deny that Montero could be the next Thome, Delgado or Prince or something.

ZiPS is big on position and comps him to Zeile, Mike Sweeney (both still Cs at the time I think) and somebody named Mike Bishop. Sweeney and Butler are pretty much the same guy and Zeile never hit as well as either of them.

Bishop looks an odd case -- excellent minor-league numbers (at least I assume given the era but maybe the park effects are huge). Got his cup of coffee at age 24 and never played again majors or minor. And I happened to notice he died at age 46. I assume something really crappy happened.
   17. Swedish Chef Posted: January 02, 2012 at 07:44 PM (#4027163)
Let's not get too carried away on

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