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