Down on the Farm: Who's Left?

This off-season has been a busy one for the World Champion New York Yankees. A big part of that off-season has been some major changes to the Yankees minor league system. Some Yankee fans have expressed concerned this off-season that the Yankees have now run out of options.

After all, the Yankees have seen departures from Yankee prospects Shelley Duncan, Arodys Vizcaino, Michael Dunn, Austin Jackson and Ian Kennedy.

The names standing out come in Austin Jackson, the highly touted outfielder, and Arodys Vizcaino who left New York in a trade which the Yankees received former Javier Vazquez.

So who’s left? Anyone to get excited about? Let’s take a look at a few players you may or may not have heard of.

(Note: The following is NOT a top 10 list. As opposed to throwing the top 10 Yankees in the Yankees minor league system at you, I will be discussing some Yankees prospects from around the minors over the course of the next few weeks. This is the first in that series)

Jesus Montero – Catcher

Montero was essentially on a no-trade list for Brian Cashman. The Yankees landed Montero in 2006 when he was one of the top international free agents at 16 years old. Baseball America has Montero listed as Best Hitter for Average and Best Power Hitter in the Yankees minor leagues. After batting .337 in 09’ and 326 in 08’, he’s proven he’s offensively ready for a big league promotion. While his size and defensive ability have been question, he still has a strong arm and still could be a catcher of the future for the Bronx Bombers. With 1st base occupied, it’s the best option and most likely, the only option.

Slade Heathcott – Outfield

I know…he just got drafted. The facts remain; he’s got all the abilities to become a five-tool player. He’s got power. He’s got speed. He’s got a strong arm. He’s not going to break into the majors in 2010, but he’s someone worth watching.

Zach McAllister – Pitcher

McAllister was in Double-A last season and posted a 2.23 era. He’s shown the ability to provide innings for his team and has done a decent job at getting ground ball outs. His command is strong and he should see time in Triple-A this season. He isn’t currently on the 40-man roster, but if he can increase his strikeouts, stands a good chance to be there sooner than later.

Ivan Nova – Pitcher

Nova also pitched in Double-A last season. At 6-4, 210 pounds, he’s armed with good command of his pitches and throws three plus pitches (fastball, change-up, curveball). It’s fair to call his curveball a work in progress. His hits per inning ratio could use some work as he suffers from a lack of deceptive arm motion. He also possesses a spot on the Yankees 40-man roster, so you could very well see him in 2010.

Reegie Corona –Infield

Reegie isn’t a guy who I expect will come up to New York and wow anyone this season. He does, however, provide a valuable ability to play multiple positions, steal a few bases and has a pretty good eye at the plate. The most homeruns he’s ever hit in a season is three, so don’t expect him to pop too many out of the park. His OPS has continued to rise and Corona has provided more extra base hits, but it’s unlikely you’ll see him hit more than 10-15 homeruns anytime soon.

Of course, these are just five players who may or may not make an impact in pinstripes. As with all prospects, it’s possible none of these players will pan out. All of them could end up as trade bait down the road for all we know.

Tune in next week as I’ll highlight another five players next week in the return of “Minor League Monday”, my old column from “Pinstriped Scranton”.

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2 Responses to Down on the Farm: Who's Left?

  1. She-Fan says:

    Rob, congrats on your fill-in gig on LoHud! Your post today was their best one yet. Really well written and thought out.

  2. Jeffrey says:

    I am pretty negative on the state of the farm system at the moment and not because of who they traded away, but as a result of their poor drafting. It speaks volumes when two of the five names discussed above were Rule 5 picks returned last year by such powerhouses as the San Diego Padres (Nova) and the Seattle Mariners (Corona). Believe me, if they were real prospects these lowly teams would have found a way to hold on to them.