Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Three Yankees on Eastern League Top 20

The top 20 prospects of the Eastern League (AA) were announced today.  The Yankees affiliate in that league is the Trenton Thunder and three of thier players were recognized by Baseball America.  The three names will come as no suprise to anyone.  They are Manny Banuelos (#6), Dellin Betances (#9), and Austin Romine (#17).

These are three of the top players in the Yankees minor league system.  On Baseball Americas preseason rating of Yankees prospects Betances was #3, Banuelos #4, and Romine #6.  This shows that the have lived up to thier hype.  Two of them (Betances and Romine) even saw time in the big leagues in September.

Manny Banuelos was signed on March 30th, 2008 as an undrafted free agent out of Monterrey, Mexico at the age of 17.  Banuelos has had much success so far in the minor leagues.  His first year, 2008, in the GCL he went 4-1 with a 2.57 ERA.  The next season split between Low A and High A he went 9-5 with a 2.64 ERA.   In 2010, he was in the GCL, High A and AA.  That season he went a combined 0-4 with a 2.51 ERA in 15 starts.  Coming into this season MLB.com ranked him as the #35 overall prospect and Baseball America ranked him #41. Then this season he split time between AA and AAA and posted his first over 3.00 ERA.  Combined he went 6-7 with a 3.75.  This past season was the first that he did not dominate.  He also had control issues this season walking 71 batters in 129.2 innings.  Hopefully he can figure out what is wrong and once he fixes his control issue might be ready to come up to the majors.  His being a lefty helps even more since top flight lefty pitchers are hard to find.  My projection for him is to play most of next season in the minors and then get called up in September and make the big league team out of spring training in 2013.

Dellin Betances was drafted by the Yankees in the 8th round of the 2006 MLB draft at age 18, out of Grand Street Campus High School in Brooklyn, N.Y.  He started his career in the GCL, going 0-1 with a 1.16 ERA in 2006.  Then going into 2007, Baseball America ranked him as the #100 prospect in baseball.  That season he pitched in Low A SS (Staten Island Yankees) and went 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA in 6 starts.  The 2008 season was split between the GCL and Low A.  There he combined to go 9-5 with a 3.92 ERA.  The 2009 season was spent completely at High A ball.  He went 2-5 with a 5.48 ERA in what is his worst minor league season to date.  He had major control issues walking 62 in 121.2 innings.  This is an issue that will show it head again later on in his minor league career.  After this season he saw his prospect status was in jeoperdy.  The next year he reclaimed that status, splitting time between High A and AA.  In 2010, he went 8-1 with a 2.11 ERA.  This put him back in the spotlight and going into this season Baseball America ranked him as the #43 prospect in baseball.  This season he split between AA, AAA, and the majors.  In the minors he combined to go 4-9 with a 3.70 ERA.  However, his control issues again came back into the limelight.  He walked 70 batters in 126.2 innings.  Him, just like Banuelos, will have to figure out thier control issues if they want to last in New York.  His timeline is most likely the same as Banuelos but due to his September call up this season, it is possible that if the Yankees don't sign a pitcher in the off season that he could be tried out as the #5 starter coming out of camp, although I doubt this.

Austin Romine was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2007 MLB draft by the Yankees out of Lake Forest, California at age 18.  He only played 1 game in the 2007, in the GCL, and went 1 for 2 with a double, 2 runs, and a RBI.  His first full season, in 2008, was played at Low A.  That season he hit .300 with 10 HRs, 66 runs, and 49 RBIs.  In 2009, he played at High A and hit .276 with 13 HR, 61 runs, and 72 RBIs.  After the season he was named the Florida State League MVP.  This lead to him going into the 2010 season ranked as the #86 prospect by Baseball America.  He spent the entire 2010 season at AA, hitting .268 with 10 HRs, 61 runs, and 69 RBIs.  That season he was also selected to play in the Futures Game.  Going into this season he was ranked #98 by Baseball America.  He played most of the season at AA due to being stuck behind Jesus Montero.  However, when Montero was called up he played a few games in AAA and then later on a few in the majors.  His minor league stats combined for the season were a .279 average with 6 HRs, 44 runs, and 48 RBIs.  These numbers are lower then previous years because he missed a big chunk of the season with injuries.  The future does look bright for Romine.  He was able to see some major league time at the end of the season and projects well going forward.  Depending on the what the Yankees do with Russell Martin, Romine could start next season in the big leagues.  Romine does not have the bat Montero does but is a significantly better catcher.  This could lead to having Romine be the backup (is Martin is resigned) or starter (if Martin is let go), with Montero being the DH.  However, if Martin is brought back they may not want him to sit the bench in the big leagues and may have him play much of the season at AAA the way they did with Montero this past season. 

All three of these prospects could have major impact on the big league team by as soon as next year.  They all have very high cielings, especially the two pitchers, and look to be a big part of the Yankees future.

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