New York Yankees 2011 Minor League Review
Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America:
2012 (6) | 2011 (5) | 2010 (22) | 2009 (15) | 2008 (5) | 2007 (5)
2011 Affiliate Records
MLB: [97-65] AL East
AAA: [73-69] International League – Scranton
AA: [68-73] Eastern League – Trenton
A+: [74-64] Florida State League – Tampa
A: [55-85] South Atlantic League – Charleston
A(ss): [45-28] New York-Penn League – Staten Island
The Run Down
The Yankees system took a bit of a blow after losing Jesus Montero, but it’s still in good shape. Offensively, there isn’t much exciting going on at the high levels of the minors, but there are some high-upside guys (Sanchez, Heathcott) in A-ball. The pitching side of things is a little more interesting as a number of guys are primed to push through with into the bigs. The Scranton rotation this year will feature a group of arms, each of whom could surely occupy a major league role with a different organization.
Arizona Fall League Players – Phoenix Desert Dogs
Players of Interest
Austin Romine | C:
With Jesus Montero now out of the picture, Romine takes over as the Yankees’ catcher of the future. The 23-year-old is praised primarily for his work behind the dish, but he’s capable at the plate too. Romine will begin 2012 at Triple-A, but he could be in line for a late season call up. The Yankees hope he’ll be ready to take over full-time in 2013. Nothing terribly special here – ceiling somewhere around .275 AVG and 15 homers.
Brandon Laird | 3B/1B/OF:
Laird, who earned some time in the bigs last season, will look to return to New York this year as a bench player. His .878 OPS at Double-A in 2010 was reason for excitement, but that figure regressed to .710 at Triple-A last year. If Laird is ever to make it as a regular in the majors, he’ll need to be more selective at the plate. He walked only 17 times last season in 489 PA at Scranton.
Manny Banuelos | LHP – SP:
Banuelos is the best of a handful of righthanded starters who’re on the verge of breaking through. He’s shown glimpses of frontline-type ability, but he’s yet to put it all together for an extended period. He’ll work on doing just that in Triple-A to begin 2012, but expect to see him pitching at Yankee Stadium at some point this year.
Dellin Betances | RHP – SP:
Betances struck out 142 batters in 126 IP before he was called up to New York in late September. The power thrower works in the mid-90’s with his four-seamer, and counters with a low-80’s curve and a change. He’ll work on command at Triple-A in 2012, but his stuff is certainly mid-rotation-caliber, and perhaps better.
David Phelps | RHP – SP:
Phelps projects as a backend starter and there’s little upside beyond that. With plus control, though, he’s a good bet to reach his potential as a big league starter. He’ll return to Scranton for a third stint in Triple-A, but the Yankees could feel comfortable using him at some point this year if he’s needed.
Adam Warren | RHP – SP:
Like Phelps, Warren projects at the back of the rotation, but he likely won’t have the opportunity to pitch in the majors this year without injury to guys ahead of him. His stuff is probably better than Phelps’, but I’ll put Phelps ahead of him for now based on command. Warren has the potential to be a valuable innings-eater at some point, but he needs to refine his secondary pitches first.
D.J. Mitchell | RHP – SP:
Mitchell has been able to stick as a starter to this point, but he seems bound for the ‘pen, eventually. Good sinking action on his fastball and changeup allow him to keep draw many grounders and keep the ball in the park. He’s probably ready for chance at middle relief should the Yankees have a need.
Gary Sanchez | C:
Sanchez is unlikely to pan out as a receiver, which is damaging to his fantasy outlook. Regardless of that, his power production at just 18 years old in the South Atlantic League was rather impressive: 17 HR, .199 ISO. Sanchez will likely return to Low-A for 2012, where he’ll work on his defense.
Slade Heathcott | OF:
Heathcott’s development has been slowed by a shoulder ailment, as well as some personal baggage, and he’s yet to put up numbers that match his tools. There’s been some concern that two shoulder surgeries have sapped his power. He’ll begin 2012 in High-A, but with all-around plus tools, Heathcott has the potential to climb the ladder quickly.