Wednesday, September 28, 2011

SAL League Top Prospects Released

Baseball America released their top prospects for the Sally (South Atlantic League) League.  This is Low A ball, and the Yankees affiliate at this league is the Charleston RiverDogs.  They had a tough season and the only Yankees listed in the top 20 by Baseball America was Gary Sanchez at #14.

If you look at my compiled lists of top prospects Gary Sanchez is a top 5 prospect in all lists and as high as number 2.  This just goes to show how good Sanchez is project to be.  From the scouting reports that I have heard he is supposed to have the bat of Montero and the defense of Romine.  If that is true Sanchez could be the catcher of the future while Montero is the DH.  But as Sanchez is still in Low A ball and was hurt for much of the season he has a way to go before he is catching in the majors.

Sanchez is out of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  He was signed in July of 2009 as a 16 year old for $3 million dollars, which is the 4th biggest signing bonus in Yankee history.

Last year was his first in professional ball and he split the season between the GCL and Staten Island.  Combined he hit .329 with 8 HRs, 13 doubles, 33 runs, and 43 RBIs in 47 games.

Going into this season he was ranked #30 by Baseball America and #32 by MLB.com.  He played the entire season at Charleston and hit .256 with 17 HRs, 16 doubles, 49 runs, and 52 RBIs in 82 games.  Even though his average wasn't very good he showed some very good power numbers which is good to see.

I could see Sanchez playing next season at AA, although he may start off the season at Tampa (High A) since he had some injury concerns.  But I predict he will end the season at AA and hopefully show that he can hit for a better average while continuing to hit for power.  Since he is still only 19 years old he is very young and has time to improve and get ready for the majors.  I would predict him being in the majors in 2-3 years and could definitely challenge for the Yankees starting catching role with Montero and Romine as long as all three are sill in the system which may not be the case.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mason Williams named top NYPL Prospect

Just like the GCL rankings that Baseball American came out with the other day, yesterday they released the ones for the New York-Penn League.  The Yankees had five on the list of the top 20 with Mason Williams being ranked number one.

Williams had an amazing year for the SI Yankees.  He hit .349 with 3 HRs, 6 triples, 11 doubles, 42 runs, 31 RBIs, and 28 stolen bases in 68 games. Williams was the 4th round pick in last years draft and after this season is looking like one of the top outfield prospects in the Yankees system.

Then the next Yankee on the list was Cito Culver at #6.  He did not have quite as good of a season as Williams. He only hit .250 with 2 HRs, 14 doubles, 40 runs, 33 RBIs, and 10 Stolen Bases without being caught once in 69 games.  He was the first round draft pick last year and is the top SS prospect in the Yankees system behind Eduardo Nunez who is already in the majors.  He is touted potentially as the heir apparent to Derek Jeter although being the Yankees they could always sign someone.

Tyler Austin is the next on the list at number eight. He was the 13th round pick in last years draft and spent all of last year in the GCL.  He then started this season in the GCL and played 20 games there but after hitting .390 he was called up to Staten Island.   Their he continued his hot hitting.  He hit .323 with 3 HRs, 10 doubles, 16 runs, and 14 RBIs in 27 games.  He also went 6-6 in a game in Staten Island.  He was called up mid season so didn't get a huge amount of attention but look for him at 3B next year and for years to come.

The next Yankee in the top 20 was Angelo Gumbs at #14.  He is the second baseman for Staten Island.  Gumbs was the second round pick in last years draft and spent last season in the GCL.  He had a pretty bad season but improved this season at Staten Island.  This season he hit .264 with 3 HRs, 11 doubles, 32 runs, and 29 RBIs in 51 games.  After the poor season last year and at a position of no need for the Yankees with Cano, Gumbs future may be elsewhere but its always good to have young infielders so he could see the major as a utility infielder at some point in the future.

Finally, Branden Pinder was ranked #19.  Pinder was in this years draft, 16th round.  He was the closer for SI this season.  His stats this season were a 1-1 record with a 1.16 ERA, 14 saves, 38 strikeouts, and 5 walks in 31 innings.  This is a very impressive year for a rookie pitcher in professional baseball.  Hopefully he can continue this as he progresses up through the minors.  The only problem I see is the fact that he is a minor league reliever.  Usually pitchers are relievers because they aren't as good as starters.  Therefore the fact that he is a reliever at this level doesn't look great for him major league prospects.  But hopefully he can buck this trend and make it to the Yankees bullpen in a few season.  Every team can always use young cheap relief pitchers to come into their bullpen.

These five prospects all look to have bright future but are still quite a distance from the majors.  Hopefully at least one of them will be up in the next 2-4 seasons.  My guess is that Williams would be the first to make the majors but at this point it is very hard to tell.

It looks like Baseball America is doing each league so as each one that the Yankees have an affiliate I will update you with the Yankees that are listed.  The next should be the Yankee prospects who played for the Charleston RiverDogs since they are working their way up from rookie ball to AAA.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Claudio Custodio

The third Yankee prospect on the top 10 for the GCL was Claudio Custodio who was ranked #9.

Custodio is out of Sabana Grande de Boya, Dominican Republic.  He was signed on April 24th, 2010 at age 19.

His first year was played for the Domincan Summer League Yankees 1 team.  There he struggled in his transition to professional baseball.  He hit .217 with 5 HRs, 9 doubles, 46 runs, 36 RBIs, and 14 Stolen Bases in 61 games.  After that season he was sent up to the GCL.

This season in the GCL he came into his own.  He hit .325 with a HR, 9 doubles, 46 runs, 19 RBIs, and 26 Stolen Bases in 39 games.  He was 7th in average, 1st in Stolen Bases, 1st in runs, 4th in OBP and 16th in hits in the GCL.  That is a very promising season.

Custodio is only 20 so still has a lot of time to develop.  One of his biggest assets looks to be his speed, with his high number of SBs and runs.  This is something that the Yankees are always looking for as speed is a very good asset to have.  To combine that with a high OBP is something that is very valuable and is perfect for the leadoff spot.  That is a spot that the Yankees have had trouble filling and if he has the skills to make it to the big leagues he could be a great asset for the Yankees.