Thursday, April 5, 2012
Happy Not Opening Day! (for me)
Well, since it’s not Opening Day for the Yanks until Friday, I suppose I’ll celebrate Opening Day for their minor league clubs. I love following Yankees prospects and picking up their cards. I don’t hedge my bets on them and stockpile in hopes of flipping them for money, but I do enjoy collecting them. It’s also fun to send them TTM requests in hopes of acquiring their signatures before they make it big – never a sure bet when collecting prospects.
Here are six Yankees prospects – three position players and three pitchers – who I’ll be watching closely this year.
Mason Williams – OF
Mason burst onto the scene last year and skyrocketed up prospect charts this year. He was a 4th round pick in 2010 and is a super athletic CFer. While the power isn’t there yet, many believe he can turn into a Jacoby Ellsbury type player. It’ll be interesting to see if he lives into the hype this year. If he does, he’ll be one of the Top 50 prospects in baseball at this time next year.
Dante Bichette, Jr. – 3B
A somewhat surprising first round pick in 2011, little Dante delivered ins short season ball. He’ll make the jump to full-season ball this year after dominating rookie level competition. His defense has been adequate enough that he is going to stay at 3B for now, although don’t be surprised to see him eventually moved to the OF and follow in his dad’s footsteps.
Tyler Austin – OF
Austin is a corner infielder who will likely spend most of his time in the OF this year. He has a big time bat, something that the Yanks sorely need to develop. He hit some mammoth HRs this spring and I anticipate he’ll do the same in Charleston.
Jose Campos – RHP
Campos was acquired in the Michael Pineda deal, and he may end up being the more valuable pitcher. Just 19, he gears it up into the high 90s with pinpoint control. Scouts are raving about him this spring, saying he could develop into a #1 or #2 starter. It’s too early to tell, but the Yanks may have a future ace in A ball.
Rafael DePaula – RHP
Signed over a year ago but just made it to the US due to Visa issues, DePaula is an exciting international signing. He lost some development time while he waited, but most believe he is a Top 10 prospect in the system despite never having played a game for a Yankee minor league affiliate.
Manny Banuelos – LHP
My favorite player in the Yankees system, the little lefty is on the verge of the major leagues, and I think we’ll see him in the Bronx in 2012. He has a mid-90s fastball and excellent secondary stuff. He had uncharacteristic control issues in 2011, but there’s no denying that he is a future big league starter. With the logjam in the Yanks rotation, we may not see him until September, but once we do I have a feeling he’ll be here to stay.