This has been a down
year for the Yankees’ farm system. There’s no way around it. Injuries,
inconsistency and flat-out terrible performances have marred the seasons of
Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Jose Campos, Slade Heathcott and a host of other,
There have, however, been bright
spots. Charleston teammates Tyler Austin and Gary Sanchez have torn through the
South Atlantic League. Tampa closer Mark Montgomery has been lights-out.
Trenton righty Brett Marshall has used his low-90s heat and dynamite change-up
to limit the Eastern League to a .241 batting average. And Scranton has already
sent D.J. Mitchell to New York for his first look at the sport’s pinnacle.
With the organization’s two
lower-level teams heading to their All-Star breaks, a time when the Yankees
typically reward their best producers with promotions, it’s a prime time to
assess the system.
Instead of pontificating for 1,000 words, however, I’ll let
scouts from around the league – some from inside the Yankees system, some from
outside – tell you if the prospects you’ve heard so much about are the real
deal or a lot of smoke and mirrors.
In the case of a player who’s
been with two levels this year, I’m going to group him with his current team,
which is why Ronnier Mustelier and Chase Whitley are with
Scranton and not Trenton.
Adam Warren, SP – 4-4, 4.12 ERA, 74 1/3 IP, 53 SO, 24
Warren’s always had an excellent
fastball and excellent fastball command. The question has been what comes after
the heat. He has a curveball, slider and a change-up, the best of which is the
slider. If he can refine and harness his offspeed offerings, his future is bright.
“Warren threw good. I feel that he’s got to pitch more off of his secondary
stuff. … He has a good enough fastball. He’s got to pitch more off his change-up
and slider and not be afraid to throw those pitches earlier in the count and
then be more selective with his fastball use. He’s got a chance to be a back of
the rotation starter, maybe in the next three to four months.
Scout’s View 2:
“I think Adam Warren could fit in the rotation as a
No. 5 starter-type guy. He’s disappointed a little, I think, in terms of his
numbers, but every time I see him he throws well for me. He’s aggressive, he’s
got four pitches – on some nights you see him and he’s got four average to
solid-average major league pitches. … I think he’s got a legitimate chance to
be a No. 5 starter in the big leagues.
Chase Whitley – 5-2, 3.57 ERA, 40 1/3 IP, 41 SO, 17 BB
On merit, he's probably the fastest mover Trenton's ever had. He lasted just two appearances this season before getting bumped to Scranton, where he's been ever since. He features a low-90s fastball, but it's plus slider and change-up that do the most damage. He's one of a ton of college relievers the Yankees have plucked in recent drafts.
“I like him. I personally think he can
help the Yankees in the big leagues. For me, he’d be the first one called up to
pitch in the bullpen in New York. He’s got a good change-up, and it took me
three days to figure out that it was a change-up and not a split-finger. It’s a
change-up, but it acts like a split-finger. It’s an electric pitch; it’s really
Ronnier Mustelier, UT
– .331/.376/.532, 16 doubles, 11 home runs, 44 RBIs
Yes, he's older, but he's in his first full season in professional baseball, so his developmental curve is going to be different. So far, his bat and ability to work the count have stood out. He feasts on fastballs, and is a little more susceptible on offspeed stuff. He's most comfortable at third base, but his defense as a whole is nothing special.
“He’s a guy that, if he gets to the big leagues, he could play some kind of
utility role. He can swing the bat. I won’t say he’s a sleeper guy, but he’s
somebody who should be on your radar. He might be able to do some things in the
Prospect 4: Dellin Betances, SP -- 3-5, 5.91 ERA, 67 IP, 61 SO, 58 BB
This year has been an almost unmitigated disaster for Betances. He's shown absolutely no control or command, and has significantly lowered his stock as a prospect. Most people I've spoken to around baseball believe he's a reliever in the long run. If he doesn't start finding the zone, however, his only taste of the big leagues might have already come and gone.
Scout's View: "Here's what I think about Betances: I think he's a seventh-inning or eighth-inning type of setup arm. I just, in the final analysis, think that's where he's going to end up. I just don't think that the command and his his big body are going to be able to throw allow him to throw enough quality strikes as a starter. He's got starter stuff. He's got the change, he's got the breaking ball, he throws hard, but I think in the final analysis he's a setup guy."
Scout's View: (talking about Betances and Banuelos): "Neither one of them performed particularly well for me. The stuff was good, but the command and control was not good. They really didn't pitch that well. That was disappointing. They're going to need a lot more time there. Maybe they need another year, but they're going to have to throw the ball over the plate in a more consistent manner than what they were doing. The stuff was still there, which is good, but the command and control was not there."