Saturday, January 7, 2012

Road to Yankee Stadium Top 10: #6 Dante Bichette Jr.

Dante Bichette Jr., 3B, GCL/LoA (SS)

Dante Bichette Jr. was the first round draft pick in last years MLB amateur draft.  Now for many players getting picked in the first round is enough for you to be listed as one of the top prospects in your system even if you did not have a great season.  That is not the case for Bichette.  After being taken with the #51 pick he signed quickly and was sent to the GCL.

Once in the GCL he got off to a slow start.  However, once he got comfortable he exploded.  In 52 games he hit .342 (2nd in the GCL) with 3 HRs, 17 doubles, 33 runs, and 47 RBIs (1st if GCL).  By the end of the season he was named the GCL MVP as well as a Topps and Baseball American All-Star.  Once he was finished leading the GCL Yankees to the GCL Championship he was sent up to Staten Island (LoA (SS)).  He played only 2 games there he went 1 for 7, with his only hit being a HR.  He was also on the Staten Island team that won the New York-Penn League title.  He is getting the taste of success very early in his career winning two league championships in his first professional season.

Going forward Bichette is the top non-catching infield prospect in the Yankees system and the only one in the top 10.  That is OK for the Yankees though as they have many long-term contracts in their infield.  However, once Alex Rodriguez gets old enough where he can only play 3rd base occasionally this might be the perfect time for Bichette to come up and take his place at 3rd.  As a first year player being drafted out of high school he is still a ways from the majors.  But if he keeps playing at the level he did this season in the GCL he could shoot through the minors.  If he keeps hitting he could be through the minors in 2-3 season.  That might be perfect timing to take over the full time 3rd base from A-Rod.  However, with him still being 19, and with only one professional season under his belt, a lot could happen between now and making the majors.  This kid has loads of potential and you should continue to hear his name the next few seasons as a top Yankees prospect.  

Friday, January 6, 2012

Road to Yankee Stadium Top 10: #8 Ravel Santana

Ravel Santana, OF, GCL

I already did a write up of Ravel Santana after the end of the season which can be read here.

Santana has really climbed up many lists as a top prospect this season.  He is still young but definitely has a lot of potential going forward.  If he keeps to develop at this level he will probably be ready for the bigs in 3-4 seasons.  Don't expect to see him in the majors any time soon but keep an eye on his development as a player down the road.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Road to Yankee Stadium Top 10: #9 Slade Heathcott

Slade Heathcott, OF, HiA

This past season Slade Heathcott spent most of his playing time at Charleston (LoA).  There he hit .271 with 4 HRs, 4 triples, 11 doubles, 16 RBIs, and 36 runs in 52 games.  He was then called up to Tampa (HiA) but was hurt after the first game that he played.  In that game he did however, have three hits including a HR.

Up to this point Slade's stats have not lived up to his first round selection in the 2009 MLB draft.  However, he is still a very toolsy outfielder who is still pretty raw, since he was drafted out of high school.  The biggest concern right now with Slade has been injuries.  He has had three shoulder surgeries on his left shoulder since he was a senior in high school.  That is the most troubling aspect going forward and may end up being his demise, hopefully not.

His minor league career so far has been less then stellar.  His rookie season he only played three games in the GCL, and got 1 hit in 10 at bats.  Last season, he played his most games as a professional up to this point, playing in 78 games at Charleston.  There he hit .258 with 2 HRs, 16 doubles, 48 runs, and 30 RBIs.

Next season will be very important in showing what Slade has to offer.  If he can come back strong from his third shoulder surgery, then he has a very bright future going forward.  If not, this could be the beginning of the end for Slade.  If everything goes right for Slade, he is still a few years away from the bigs.  I would say that at the earliest he would be called to the bigs by the 2014 season.  But again it all depends on how that shoulder heals.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Road to Yankee Stadium Top 10: #10 David Phelps

David Phelps, RHP, AAA

This past season in Scranton/Wilkes Barre, David Phelps, went 6-6 with a 3.19 ERA in 18 starts.  He struck out 90 hitter and walked 26.  He was tied for second in wins and fourth in strikeouts on a very solid AAA rotation.  It was a tough decision between him and Adam Warren for this final spot on my top 10, however his ERA and strikeout to walk ratio sealed it for Phelps.

In terms of numbers this was the worst season in the minors for Phelps.  In 2008, he went 8-2 with a 2.72 ERA for Staten Island (LoA SS).  Then in 2009 he went between Charleston (LoA) and Tampa (HiA) and had a total season of 13-4 with a 2.38 ERA.  The 2010 season was spent between Trenton (AA) and Scranton/Wilkes Barre (AAA) and he went 10-2 with a 2.50 ERA.  This lead up to this season which he was a staple in the AAA rotation.

Going forward Phelps has a chance to make the majors this upcoming season.  He has proved that he can pitch at AAA and just needs an injury at the major league level to deserve a call up.  It almost happened last season and look him to make some kind of contribution at the MLB level this season.

Baseball America Released 2012 Top Yankees

They released their 2012 Yankees page

There top ten are:
1. Jesus Montero, c
2. Manny Banuelos, lhp
3. Dellin Betances, rhp
4. Gary Sanchez, c
5. Mason Williams, of
6. Dante Bichette, 3b
7. Ravel Santana, of
8. Austin Romine, c
9. J.R. Murphy, c/3b
10. Slade Heathcott, of

Here is a list of other top lists.

BA also lists a 2015 projected lineup with players in the organization:
Catcher:                 Austin Romine
First Base:              Mark Teixeira
Second Base:         Robinson Cano
Third Base:            Alex Rodriguez
Shortstop:              Eduardo Nunez
Left Field:              Brett Gardner
Center Field:          Mason Williams
Right Field:            Curtis Granderson
Designated Hitter:  Jesus Montero
No. 1 Starter:        CC Sabathia
No. 2 Starter:        Manny Banuelos
No. 3 Starter:        Ivan Nova
No. 4 Starter:        Dellin Betances
No. 5 Starter:        Phil Hughes
Closer:                  David Robertson

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Yankees Minor League Links Jan. 3rd

A few minor leauge notes from today.

Lohud Yankees blog goes over some winter league players

Minor League Ball Blog released their Top 20 Yankees prospects

YankeesFansUnite released their Top 40 Yankees prospects

I updated the top prospect lists and will continue to do that as they are released