Thursday, October 20, 2011

Road to Yankee Stadium 2011 Minor League All-Star Team is going through each organization and I thought I would do my own before they get to the Yankees.  I picked All-Stars on a combination of future potential and 2011 production.  Some of these players aren't big time prospects and some didn't have an amazing season but are big time prospects.

Catcher: Jesus Montero (Most of Season Spent at: Scranton/Wilkes Barre)
Montero hit .288 with 18 HRs, 52 runs and 67 RBIs in 109 games.  He is the top player in the Yankees system and earned the All-Star spot at catcher with another very good season.  He was named an International League midseason All-Star team.
Honorary Mention: Austin Romine (Trenton), Gary Sanchez (Tampa)
Catcher is by far the deepest position in the Yankees system.  Both of these two players have big time potential and the Yankee also have JR Murphy who is another MLB catching prospect.  The Yankees are pretty set at this position for a long time.  

First BaseRobert Lyerly (Trenton)
Lyerly split the season between Tampa and Trenton.  He tore up Tampa, hitting .315 with 4 HRs, 32 runs and 46 RBIs.  He then got called up to Trenton where he hit .246 with 4 HRs, 36 run and 34 RBIs.  As it shows he did much better in Tampa but hopefully will adjust next season.  
Honorable Mention: Jorge Vazquez (Scranton/Wilkes Barre), Ramon Flores (Charleston)
First base isn't a great position in the Yankees system.  Vazquez has a very good season but is also 29, this makes him not much of a prospect.  If he was under 25 he would have been the All-Star at this position but due to his lack of future potential I picked Lyerly over him.  Flores is a fringe prospect who had a decent season but is only 19 so unlike Vazquez has time to develop.

Second BaseDavid Adams (Tampa)
Adams season was cut short by injuries so he didn't play many games, but in the games he did play was very productive.  He started the season on a rehab stint in the GCL.  He played 17 games there and hit .429 with a HR, 13 run, and 11 RBIs.  He was then promoted to Tampa where he played the final 12 games of his season.  There he hit .308 with 6 runs and 4 RBIs.  Second base is another position that the Yankee system is short on.  However, with Cano still being young this is not a big issue.

Third BaseDante Bichette Jr. (Gulf Coast League)
Bichette was the Yankees top draft pick in this years draft.  He was sent straight to the GCL where he had a very good season.  Good enough to be named the the GCL MVP.  In 52 games he hit .342 with 3 HRs, 33 runs, and 47 RBIs.  He lead his team to the GCL Championship and looks to have a lot of potential going forward.   
Honorary Mention: Brandon Laird (Scranton/Wilkes Barre)
With Alex Rodriguez signed for what seems like forever, this position won't be needed on the big league club for a while.  However, Bichette looks like he could take over once A-Rod needs to be switched to DH.  Laird on the other hand could be a backup a soon as next season.  He is never going to be a star in MLB but can play all the corners and that is very valuable.  I could see him being a key bench player on the Yankees for a while.

ShortstopCito Culver (Staten Island)
Culver was the Yankees first round pick in 2010.  This season he played at Staten Island.  There he hit .250 with 2 HRs, 40 runs, 33 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 69 games.  Although his average wasn't great he did show a lot of potential.  This is another position that isn't very deep and this could be a problem.  With Derek Jeter getting older, this is a position of need for the Yankees.  Hopefully Culver will grow into the player the Yankees want him to be and be the replacement for Jeter.    

Mason Williams (Staten Island)
Williams played this entire season in Staten Island.  He was the best hitter on the Yankees Short A Short Season team.  He hit .349 with 11 doubles, 42 runs, 32 RBIs, and 18 Stolen Bases.  Williams seems like the best outfield prospect the Yankees have and this season definitely helps his case.  He is still low in the system but in a few years he could be a mainstay in the Yankees outfield.  
Slade Heathcott (Charleston)
Heathcott was the Yankees first round pick in the 2009 draft.  This season he missed most of the season with injuries but he has five tool upside which is the main reason he makes this list.  This season in 52 games at Charleston he hit .271 with 4 HRs, 36 runs, and 16 RBIs.  
Zoilo Almonte (Trenton)
He split the season between Tampa and Trenton.  He started the season in Tampa, where he played 70 games.  There he hit .293 with 12 HRs, 38 runs, and 54 RBIs.  He then got promoted to Trenton where he played the final 46 games of the season where he hit .251 with 3 HRs, 23 runs, and 23 RBIs.  He was not as good once promoted to Trenton but the potential is there.
Honorable Mention: Raymond Kruml (Trenton)
The Yankees aren't exceptionally deep in the outfield.  They have two top prospects in Williams and Heathcott but not much after that.  However, with Granderson and Gardner still pretty young and the Yankees wallet this may never end up being an issue.

Lefty StarterManny Banuelos (Trenton)
Banuelos is the Yankees top rated pitching prospect.  And as a left hander this makes him even more valuable.  This season he spent most of the season at Trenton.  He went 4-5 with a 3.59 ERA, 94 strikeouts and 52 walks in 20 starts.  He was then promoted to Scranton/Wilkes Barre where he went 2-2 with a 4.19 ERA, 31 strikeouts, and 19 walks.  With a strikeout to walk ration only around 2:1 he will need to work on his control to make it to the majors.  Hopefully a full season at Scranton/Wilkes Barre next season will help him work on this issue.  
Honorary Mention: Shaeffer Hall (Trenton)
The Yankees don't have a huge stable of lefty starters but with Banuelos at the top it has a bright future.  With Hall looking to spend next season at Scranton with Banuelos that pitching staff should be very solid.

Righty StarterDellin Betances (Trenton)
Behind Banuelos, Betances is the next top pitching propect in the Yankees system.  This season him and 
Banuelos had very similar schedule, both started at Trenton and were promoted to Scranton/Wilkes Barre toward the end of the season.  At Trenton he went 4-6 with a 3.42 ERA, 115 strikeouts, and 55 walks in 21 starts.  He was then promoted to Scranton and went 0-3 with a 5.14 ERA, 27 strikeouts, and 15 walks in 4 starts.  His control issues are similar to Banuelos with around a 2:1 strikeout to walk ratio.  He should also spend next season at Scranton which will make that a very strong rotation.
Honorable Mention: DJ Mitchell (Scranton/Wilkes Barre)
Behind Betances there aren't any top right handed pitchers.  However, there were a few decent prospects in Scranton and DJ Mitchell had the best 2011 season of all of them.

RelieverMark Montgomery (Charleston)
Montgomery was the Yankees 11th round pick this season.  He pitched most of the season at Charleston and had a very good season.  He recorded 14 saves with a 1.85 ERA with 41 strikeouts and 11 walks.  The one problem with relievers in the low minors is that they will most likely not make the majors.  This is because relievers are usually not as good as starters.  Therefore if you are already a reliever this early you probably won't make the majors.  However, this is not the case for all and if Montgomery continues to pitch the way he has he has a shot.   
Honorable Mention: Branden Pinder (Staten Island), Andrew Brackman (Scranton/Wilkes Barre), Kevin Whalen (Scranton/Wilkes Barre)
The Yankees are pretty deep at reliever.  But again most good relievers came up as starters.  This is a good sign for Brackman because he started as a top starter but then failed and was converted to a reliever at the AAA level.  He could be in the Yankees bullpen as soon as next year.  Whalen could also make the majors next year, as he got a cup of coffee last season.  Whalen has always been a reliever but seems to be like he may be able pitch in the majors.


  1. mitchell over Phelps and Warren?

  2. While I agree that Phelps and Warren most likely have more future potential. Mitchell had a better year at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He had more wins, a better ERA, more strikeouts and even pitched 2 shutouts.