2011 Top 10 prospects: New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox

New York Yankees: Top 10 Prospects

1. Jesus Montero / C/OF/1B / If anyone places the Yankees system a full notch above Boston’s, it’s Montero. He can make it defensively as an outfielder, which is where I’m guessing he will end up, considering the amount of young catching talent in the organization and Mark Teixeira‘s firm grasp on first base.
2. Manuel Banuelos / SP / Banuelos had a tremendous second half of the season, successfully taking his slick three-pitch mix all the way to Double-A Trenton.
3. Dellin Betances / SP/RP / I question whether Betances’ arm will hold up as a starter, but he did produce a great bounce back year, as he didn’t make my top-10 last year. He still has so much to prove.
4. Gary Sanchez / C / It’s hard to debut any better than Sanchez did in 2010 at age 17. He even got a taste of the New York-Penn League. A big time bat might be in the works.
5. Andrew Brackman / SP/RP / Unranked on this list last year, Brackman appears to be fully back from Tommy John surgery, with his mechanics cleaned up, his fastball back to form, and his curveball not far behind.
6. Austin Romine / C / Romine had another solid season, this time proving himself at Double-A Trenton. His upside is certainly limited, but Romine could be an average big league regular at catcher in the next couple of years.
7. Cito Culver / SS / Culver has the ability to play a respectable shortstop. His offensive game doesn’t have the kind of upside I like in a first round high schooler, but he has above average bat speed and contact skills for his age.
8. Brandon Laird / OF/3B / While there isn’t much upside, Laird has some intriguing natural pop in his bat that could become his big league calling card. Improved plate discipline would do him wonders.
9. Adam Warren / SP / Warren is proof that a well-commanded fastball can take a pitcher far. Whether the Yankees trust him enough to join their rotation one day will be dependent on the development of his change-up and slider.
10. Slade Heathcott / OF / I have a soft spot for Jairo Heredia, and almost put him here, but his injury history kept him away. Ivan Nova had a breakout campaign and deserves some love. But I decided on Heathcott. He certainly did not deliver in 2010, but I like his tools and time is on his side.

New York Yankees: Top 10 Players Under Age 26 (as of 4/1/11)

1. Jesus Montero / C/OF/1B
2. Phil Hughes / SP
3. Joba Chamberlain / RP/SP
4. Manuel Banuelos / SP
5. Dellin Betances / SP/RP
6. Gary Sanchez / C
7. Andrew Brackman / SP/RP
8. Austin Romine / C
9. Cito Culver / SS
10. Brandon Laird / OF/3B

Boston Red Sox: Top 10 Prospects

1. Casey Kelly / SP / Kelly had a down year in attempting to adjust to Double-A. His change-up is effective at times, but his curveball was unreliable and needs work. Yet I still like him as he has good movement and command on his fastball, is young, and there is room for improvement.
2. Kolbrin Vitek / 3B/2B/OF / I am a big believer in Vitek’s bat speed being able to carry him a long way. I think he will stay at third base, but his power may not be adequate at that position for fantasy purposes.
3. Lars Anderson / 1B / Anderson is still coming up short on home run power. Even more disheartening is the direction that his walk rate is going. He is pressing at the plate, putting too much pressure on himself. The potential for greatness is still there but looking increasingly unlikely.
4. Jose Iglesias / SS / Iglesias has a strong future defensively, which will carry him to the majors, but doesn’t have much going for himself offensively. He could hit for a good average, but doesn’t have home run power or enough raw speed to become a big time base stealer.
5. Bryce Brentz / OF / Brentz is another member of Boston’s stout 2010 draft class. He has a solid set of skills across the board, making him a classic corner outfield prospect. His power is the most exciting, and with further development could rocket him up prospect boards everywhere.
6. Anthony Ranaudo / SP/RP / Ranaudo’s health is a concern and the reason he slipped in the draft. When healthy he is known for his lively fastball and occasionally dominant curveball. Boston gave him a huge signing bonus, a risk they feel is worth taking.
7. Reymond Fuentes / OF / Fuentes sported a nice Sally League batting average in 2010, and perhaps predictably, but importantly, Fuentes put his elite speed on display too. He did all that could be expected of him at this point.
8. Oscar Tejeda / 2B / Tejeda’s power and batting average took a giant leap forward this year, although his plate approach is a long way off. He is a young man to watch at a position of scarcity.
9. Anthony Rizzo / 1B / Rizzo put up impressive power numbers in 2010, but his batting average and strikeout total is concerning. His power could carry him, but I’m still skeptical that it will continue at the current rate. To put this New York vs. Boston match-up into perspective, Rizzo would rank No. 6 on New York’s list. Boston has better depth in their farm system.
10. Stolmy Pimentel / SP / Ryan Westmoreland is a wildcard who deserves recognition, but his playing status is up in the air. Many still like Josh Reddick, but I’m comfortable keeping him off this list. Pimentel is my guy at No. 10. He came in at No. 5 on last year’s list, but drops due to a sideways season. While he didn’t show any development, he did have a solid season while moving up a rung, and has room for improvement.

Boston Red Sox: Top 10 Players Under Age 26 (as of 4/1/11)

1. Casey Kelly / SP
2. Kolbrin Vitek / 3B/2B/OF
3. Lars Anderson / 1B
4. Jose Iglesias / SS
5. Ryan Kalish / OF
6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia / C/1B
7. Bryce Brentz / OF
8. Anthony Ranaudo / SP/RP
9. Daniel Bard / RP
10. Reymond Fuentes / OF

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  1. Paul Singman said...

    Matt made a list for every organization last offseason so I believe he will do the same thing this year… this isn’t ESPN folks.

  2. Michael said...

    I would think that Robertson, Nunez, Cervelli, Nova, and Noesi would be better choices on the back end of the under 26 NYY list than Culver or Laird. Where would they rank for you?

  3. Brad Johnson said...

    God, Salty’s still under 26…It feels like 10 years ago when I was worried he’d be another annoying Brave that plagued the Phillies.

  4. wallin said...

    i cant believe you have kalish so low.  he was a 20/20 guy in the minors with an OBP around .370 and held himself pretty well for a late callup.  Especially considering Iglesias doesn’t even carry a bat pretty much.

  5. Bryan said...

    Wait… there are other teams in baseball outside of the Yankees and Red Sox?  Wow! 

    Keep the Yankee information coming, its always great to hear about them and the minor league system.  They always seem to get dissed for their minors and yet they seem to produce capable stars year in and year out.  GO YANKEES!!!

  6. Brett said...

    Lars Anderson 3rd? That’s not a very deep system if he is 3rd on the Sox list.

    As for the Yankees, I don’t see how you can rate Cito Culver that high. Sanchez maybe in top 10.  It’s amazing that guys like Hector Noesi, Graham Stoneburner, David Phelps are not on the list.  The Yankees are loaded with pitching in the minors.

  7. Disco said...

    I agree with Michael and Brett. They pretty much stated what I was going to post.

    Sure RP are a dime a dozen, but D-Rob is a nice little, cheap reliever who provides some value to the ML club, whereas someone like Cito is years away and doesn’t even have trade value yet since he has less than half a season of pro ball under his belt.

  8. Judy Kachelmeyer said...

    I have followed Jose Iglesias since he defected. I have seen him play for this, Oct. 2010, the second year in Az Fall Ball.  I’m telling you this kid is phenomenal-it’s like watching a ballet at SS.  I heard the Red Sox are trying to quell his flair- I hope they don’t break his spirit in the process.  I can’t wait to see him Jose play at Fenway-you are all in for a real treat!

  9. Bernard said...

    I saw Montero in two games when Trenton played the New Hampshire Fisher Cats last summer. He sure can hit but lumbered around the bases. He simply doesn’t run well enough to play in the outfield. He could play first base and do quite well at 6-feet 4-inches tall, but the Yankees don’t need any one at that position. I’m afraid that Montero will have to be a DH if he sticks with the Yankees. And a back-up first baseman.

  10. Bryan said...

    Boston’s top prospect is a player with so many significant holes in his game. Boston has 3 players that were drafted this year with little minor league time.

    Yeah…I’m picking the Yankees’ farm system this year.

  11. Brian said...

    “Boston’s top prospect is a player with so many significant holes in his game. Boston has 3 players that were drafted this year with little minor league time.”

    Umm Montero doesn’t have significant holes in his games…like, say, he doesn’t have a position?

    What holes does Kelly have exactly?  He didn’t have a good ERA this year, but his peripherals were good.  The guy is one of the youngest pitchers in the league and it was his first full year pitching.  He’s a very polished pitcher with three plus pitches and is a better pitching prospect than anyone the Yankees have.

    That said I don’t really agree with the Red Sox list at all. What is the criteria exactly?  It seems like this is all based on potential and projection at times, but then in some cases it values performance and promixity to being MLB ready.  Brentz is way too raw to have any business being top 20 on the Red Sox.  Guy has plus power potential, but cmon he struggled mightily at Lowell and shouldn’t be this high.  I like Vitek, but #2?  Based on what?  He has very little professional experience, so this is based solely on potential.  If we’re going on potential, how is Cecchini or Coyle not higher?  They are clearly more talented.  Kalish definitely should be on this list, and Rizzo is a better prospect at this point than Lars.  Rizzo is playing at an age advanced level, being one of the youngest guys in the league, and his K’s should go down naturally.  I don’t see any reason why is power will go down, I’d love an explanation for that.  Unless he makes drastic improvements, Lars ceiling is Lars Overbay and he is probably closer to Casey Kotchman.

  12. Brent said...

    Im sorry but your rankings are a joke. Culver shouldnt be in the top ten for Yanks. Hector Noesi should be in the top tean and Eduardo Nunez is another guy who should make the list. Warren is good but not top ten to me.

    My Redsox have traded Kelly and Rizzo and another one of our good former prospects Fuentes. But lets assume they were still on the Redsox for a sec, This list is way off its bad. You dont even have our top offensive prospect at the moment on the list. Ryan Kalish. Lars could make it at around 9 or 10 but deff not 3 Rizzio should be way ahead of him. Brentz shouldnt be on it he has top 15 but not top ten yet. Drake Britton needs to be on it, Doubront should be on it. Tejada isnt a top ten prospect for us right now but deff very close.

    Now theres people saying the Yankees farm is better then the Redsox. I dont think so. The Redsox have more talent and are very deep with it. The Yanks might edge us with SP at the moment. But theres no dought we edge them with postion player depth and we have alot of it. Overall we edge them slightly.

    I suspect the Sox to really load up again in this years draft and as we stand right now we have 6 picks between the first rd and compensation rd B.
    It is less likely we lose one of those with Downs signing with LA. So we probally will keep all 6 picks and at worst have 5 between rd 1 and comp rd b when the draft starts in june.

  13. Tom said...

    Really can’t speak for the yankees as I have not followed them closely but I acknowledge they have several excellent pitching prospects.  The Red Sox on the other hand have been entirely misrepresented by your ratings as several folks have previously stated.  Brentz, Tejada, Anderson, are clearly not in the top ten even with the departure of Kelly, Rizzo and Fuentes.  For someone who writes a column and has, I presume, done research, the analysis is extremely flawed. Kalish and Iglesias are at the top of the list with several 2010 draftees rounding out the top ten.  Doubront, Britton, Pimental and Ranaudo are their top pitching prospects at present and the most egregious rating placed Daniel Bard as the 9th best under 26 yr old.  Argueably, Dan Bard may be the best under 26th yr old in the system. Call Theo, he and Iglesias were probably the only untouchables when they began courting Gonzo. After reading your column I began to toy with the notion I should start one…I couldn’t do any worse.

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