I spoke with a scout yesterday afternoon (not the same one who I spoke with about Betances, Banuelos, Montero, etc.) about some of the kids in the lower levels, mainly with Staten Island. And when you're talking about Staten Island, at least last year, you're talking about Mason Williams.
The only Yankees pick who earned a seven-figure bonus in 2010, Williams has more than proved his worth so far. Baseball America named him their top player in the New York-Penn League last year, and went so far as to rank him fifth among the the Bombers' top prospects.
Here's what one evaluator had to say about one of the many candidates for the Yankees' Center Fielder of the Future:
Overall: To me, he's probably the best player on the team. The consensus was he was one of the best players in the league this year. I think really where you find the rub is, is this guy going to hit, is he going to develop power, is he going to get bigger? Or is he going to be the kind of guy who slaps the ball and gets on base, a typical leadoff hitter?
Appearance: I don't think he's going to get much bigger. I think he's kind of a wiry guy. Although it looks like there's room for him to fill out, I think he's just a naturally skinny guy. He is young enough to have some physical potential to grow.
Offense: This guy is a guy who's surprising with the power a little bit -- he did end up with three or four home runs. When he can pull the ball down the line he can have that sleeper pop, so to speak. He's a guy who's going to hit the ball all over the place and use his legs a little bit.
Defense: The best part about his game was his defense in center field. This guy has an above-average major league center field profile.
Comparisons to current speedy, slap-hitting Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner: For me, I think it's an interesting comparison. Obviously, Gardner is a guy who has a fantastic approach at the plate. I don't think Gardner has the same hit potential (as Williams).
I think this guy has a chance to be a .300 hitter. Gardner remains to be seen, but I think he's more of a .280 hitter, a grade 5 hit tool. Mason's got a chance to be a tick better, maybe a 6-upside guy as far as that hit tool. Maybe a .300 hitter, maybe even better than that, considering what he did at the age he was last year.
Defensively, I think Mason's probably a little more dynamic. ... I know Gardner's an athletic guy who does a lot of things, but for me, I see a little more upside.