Mason Williams, CF - .306/.362/.471, 16 doubles, four
home runs, 16 stolen bases
A center fielder who can hit,
run, throw and play defense, Williams is arguably the system’s best prospect.
There are questions about whether he’ll hit for power, and he spent nearly the
entire offseason at the Yankees’ minor league complex working to add muscle and
pop to his bat.
He’s hurt himself diving a couple
of times this season, and one scout dinged his makeup a little bit, noting that
he got pulled from more than one game at Staten Island last year for failing to
hustle. A second scout agreed, but didn’t see it as a major issue down the
Another scout compared Williams
to current A’s center fielder Coco Crisp, a guy who can really play the
position but doesn’t necessarily wow with the bat. He saw gap power in
Williams’ future, something on the order of 10 to 15 home runs annually.
“He’s swung the bat real well all year. He can really
run, and he can play center field. He’s kind of a Devon White-looking player.
If I were to do comparisons, that’s kind of who he reminds me of, a true center
fielder who can hit at the top of the lineup. He hasn’t shown power, but I
think he will have power.”
“He’s got some of what I’d call
greediness to him. I think when he gets two or three hits, he’s looking to get
four or five. He doesn’t seem to be satisfied with that. The only negative is
that he probably puts a little bit too much on himself, but I think he’s got
real good makeup.”
Gary Sanchez, C - .298/.345/.507, 18 doubles, nine home
runs, 10 stolen bases
If Williams is one half of the
argument about who the best prospect in the system is, Sanchez is the other
Still just 19 years old, Sanchez
is tearing up the South Atlantic League in his return trip to Charleston. That
was expected. What’s come as a bit of a surprise are the positive reviews he’s
drawn behind the dish, especially for someone who allowed 26 passed balls in
just 60 games behind the plate in 2011.
“He’s an absolute front-line catcher with plus
power. I’d take him in my system,” one scout said, adding that Sanchez is more
advanced defensively than Jesus Montero was when he was 19. Sanchez’s bat,
however, is behind Montero’s.
Where the questions lie, however,
are with Sanchez’s maturity and makeup. There were reports last year that he refused
to call breaking pitches for fear of letting them go to the backstop. He also skipped
a team trip to Yankee Stadium while the RiverDogs were in nearby New Jersey
last April to play the BlueClaws. At one
point, he was sent back to the Yankees minor league complex for disciplinary
“I think with Gary it’s more
maturity. It really doesn’t have to do with makeup. He’s a young guy and away
from home and away from his home country for the first time in his life,” one
scout posited. “He’s out on his own in Charleston, whereas in Tampa they’re
guarded a little bit more, so he’s a little bit out on his own.”
Scout's View: "Oh yeah. I think he'll be a catcher. I don't think there's any question. A lot of people had questions about Montero. I didn't, but there's no question this kid, for me, will be able to catch. He can really throw. He can really get rid of the ball. Although Montero had arm strength, he didn't get rid of the ball as well as this kid gets rid of the ball."
Prospect 3: Bryan Mitchell, SP – 4-5, 3.75 ERA, 57 2/3 IP, 62 SO, 31 BB
Mitchell possesses a hard fastball and a nasty 12-6 curveball that looks similar to the one Phil Hughes throws. The only question right now is his control and command. If he gets that in order, he's going to be an absolute monster.
“He probably has the best stuff in the organization.
The fastball’s 95 to 97 with a real good hook, good change-up. It’s just a
matter of him getting the hang of it. He’s coming off an injury where I think
he was out a year and a half. He probably has the best overall stuff.
Prospect 4: Tyler Austin, RF -- .329/.404/.653, 20 doubles, 14 home runs, 50 RBIs
The scary part is: It could have been better for Austin, who endured a slump at the beginning of May and missed time this month with a bruise on his foot. Still, he's been the unquestioned offensive star in the system over the first half, and should find his way to Florida in a few days.
Scout's View: "I personally think he's going to be an everyday right fielder. He reminds me of Jay Buhner at the same age. To me, he wasn't a sleeper. The moment I saw him, I thought he could have been a first- or second-round pick. He can run, he can throw, he can play defense -- even though he's never played in the outfield, he's picked it up very quickly. He can hit. He's got power. I think he might be their best offensive prospect."
Scout's View: "You're buying the bat with him. For me, he's a backup outfielder, not an everyday guy. He's got raw power, but not as much as Sanchez."
Prospect 5: Dante Bichette, 3B - .261/.340/.321, 9 doubles, 1 home run, 23 RBIs
The Yankees' first-rounder from 2011, Bichette started the season very slowly and hasn't showed much pop over the season's first half. People still believe in the bat, and there's plenty of time for him to develop. The Yankees won't really have a vacancy at the hot corner for quite a while, anyway.
Scout's View: "He's got plus power. I see him hitting 25-plus home runs a year. He's got quickness and plays better than average defense. I would keep him at third long-term."
Scout's View: This is really his first rodeo under the lights, playing in what I'd call a 'real minor league situation,' and not the Gulf Coast League. I anticipate he'll have a much better second half.