Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Keith Law Top 100 Prospects

Keith Law released  his top 100 prospects on ESPN insider.  The Yankees landed three players on this list.

The first was Gary Sanchez at #68.  He had this to say about Sanchez.
Sanchez shows flashes of star potential but has yet to put any of it together for an extended stretch of time -- although in his defense, he played all of 2013 at age 20 and has already reached Double-A, where he'll probably spend most or all of this season.
He has huge upside as a hitter, with plus-plus raw power and very hard contact, even with a slightly noisy approach, thanks to huge hip rotation and great strength in his wrists and forearms. His recognition of secondary stuff needs work, but his hand-eye coordination is so good that he's always had good contact rates, even striking out less often in the Florida State League than fellow young'uns Miguel Sano, Javier Baez and Byron Buxton.
Sanchez is often compared, unfairly, to former Yankees prospect Jesus Montero, but Sanchez has always been a better catcher across the board -- catching, throwing, agility -- and just needed to show the commitment and a better work ethic, which he did in 2013. He has a cannon, at least a 70-grade arm, and has improved his release over the past few years, but the finer points of catching like game-calling are still a ways off, and he may never be a good framer.
Even a grade-45 defender back there with Sanchez's potential offensive upside will be an MVP candidate, and if he continues to work at receiving and on his plate discipline he'll be ready to take over and make a real impact for the Yankees by 2016.
The next was Tyler Austin at #85.  He had this to say about Austin

Austin's all about the bat -- he can play right field but is nothing special there, and two seasons removed from any time at third base means he has no real chance to return to the dirt. 
Unfortunately, he suffered a bone bruise in his wrist in late April, which he tried to play through it into July, that wrecked his first season in Double-A. He returned briefly in August and went to the Arizona Fall League but left there after two weeks with further discomfort in the joint. When healthy, Austin has a very sound swing that is geared both toward contact and power and is short to contact with good extension. He rotates his hips well to generate power, all with enough patience to keep his OBP in the .350 range. The wrist injury left his bat speed slower -- you see he was late on fastballs he'd have squared up a season before -- and it sapped most of his power as well. 
He'll be only about average in right field -- making the necessary plays but not much more -- so he needs to hit and hit for power to be a regular. Like Hak-Ju Lee, he's still on this list as I wait to see if he's back to full strength in 2014, because I do believe in his potential with the bat. 

The final ranked player was Mason Williams at #87.  Law had this to say about him.
Williams was one of several top Yankee prospects to get hurt and have a disappointing 2013 season; the biggest knock of all on Williams was that he was out of shape to start the season and seemed to be playing and moving without energy. He did look more like his old self in the Arizona Fall League, having dropped some weight and running sub-4.2 seconds down the line again while playing better in center field. 
He is a potential Gold Glove defender in center, a future 70 on the 20-80 scale with good reads off the bat and bursting speed to chase down balls in the gaps. He's not a hacker at the plate, but he's not as selective as he should be; he can make contact so easily that he often chases pitches he should let go by and needs to be willing to work the count more to his advantage. Williams also had some mechanical issues at the plate in 2013, finishing too closed after stridin and sometimes getting his front hip out too early, all of which need to be reined in to maximize his production. 
His ultimate outcome should be a high-average, doubles-power guy who might hit 15 homers in his best season, but even .290-plus with 50-60 walks and 10 homers with great defense is an above-average regular. 

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