Saturday, September 14, 2014
by: Ben Embry
Well, a little embarrassed to say its been a while since I've posted! It's been tough to scrounge up the motivation to write for some reason. For me, it comes and goes. Who knows, I may start burning through posts like a madman, (I certainly have enough ideas).
It wasn't that long ago that I was doing a mid-season rankings (about 6 weeks basically). I think next year I'll do one right after the draft, whereas this year I waited about 6 weeks later.
I've continued to refine the process and basically my opinion of what makes some prospects better than others. For one thing, I've moved further and further away from stats based ranking and am going more and more with what I'm hearing and reading from scouts and journalists close to the action. With that, I want to make this disclaimer: I'm not a scout. I am merely a compiler of opinions and information. Take my rankings not as a professional opinion, but rather a fan's opinion based on what he's hearing.
With that in mind, here's the updated list:
Before I talk about specific players, let me touch on the farm system in general. For the second straight year, I think it has failed to live up to expectations. Last year was plagued by injuries, (Banuelos, Campos, etc) but this year has been plagued by "wheel spinning". The top 4 guys from the pre-season list, (Austin, Sanchez, Williams, Heathcott), all failed to take steps forward. Austin and Heathcott dealt with injuries. Sanchez just kinda failed to improve offensively and fewer people believe he can be a major league catcher. Williams apparently regressed at the plate, though defensively he may actually be ready for the majors RIGHT NOW. If you could combine Sanchez's bat with Williams's glove/speed, (Masonry Saniams?), you'd have one hell of a player!
Certainly there were some guys take steps forward. Rafael de Paula and Greg Bird dominated low A, meriting big jumps. I think RDP is a top 100 overall talent and Bird, with his outstanding combination of HR power and plate discipline, will get consideration. I think the problem Greg will face going forward is his position...the offensive bar for 1B is very high, so regression from what he did this year will cause him to fall quicker than he climbed.
The biggest positive that can be taken away for this year's farm system is that a lot of depth was added through the draft and international signings. Jagielo, Judge, Clarkin, Smith, and O'Neill were all drafted from this past June and Abi Avelino was signed just last year amazingly. Unfortunately, all of these guys are still a ways away, (maybe with the exception of Smith who could be a fast riser). There's also guys like Gosuke Katoh, Tyler Wade, Luis Torrens, Alexander Palma, and Miguel Andujar who are all knocking on the top 25 door already in rookie ball.
I do think the Yankees will take some flack for their overall regression this year. Some may speculate that they don't know how to develop players well. I can't say for certain, although I continue to hope NY moves away from throwing money at big league free agents to fill holes and instead develops talent that can be called up.
On a somewhat different note, I'm already compiling info for my 2014 draft compilation board. The first edition should be ready by the end of October. This seems like an interesting class, and I hope NY will have some early picks to play with.