Tuesday, January 28, 2014

In the first part of the series we looked at players who were on the verge of making the majors. Those players played most of the 2013 season in AA. But there are obviously much more prospects in the system and now we will look at best prospects below AA and the systems best sleepers.

Depth Below AA:

Nick Goody is easily the best pitcher in this category. Like most good Yankee prospects Goody is coming off of an injury. Goody had Tommy John Surgery at the beginning of the season.

Goody should remind Yankee fans of David Robertson, because they both have deceptive deliveries. Goody is mostly a two pitch pitcher (fastball and slider), but he is also working on a changeup. Goody has good command and control of his pitches. In his only full season he had a 52-9 k-BB ratio.

Once he proves that he is healthy he should continue to move through the system at an accelerated pace. He should start the year at High A, and may even be a long shot to contribute to the 2014 Yankees.

In many ways Nick Rumbelow is the next Nick Goody. For one thing it was Rumbelow that replaced Goody as the LSU closer in 2013. But more importantly, Rumbelow should be able to move through the Yankees system rather quickly, with good command and control of his fastball.

Rumbelow's fastball is a bit harder than Goody's and sits in the 93-95 range. Rumbelow also throws a good but inconsistent curveball and a change up. Rumbelow should begin the 2013 season in A+ with Goody and may be able to show that he he deserves the same recognition as his former teammate.

Branden Pinder has as much upside as either of the above pitchers, but there is a bit more risk involved. Pinder began the year at AA, but for whatever reason really struggled at the level. In 24 innings he had ERA of 6.29 and was walking almost 6 guys per 9 innings. This performance resulted in a quick demotion to A+.

He quickly got himself together in A+, and even got back to AA to end the 2013 season. The biggest cause of concern for Pinder is that he doesn't really have a consistent secondary pitch. Pinder mainly throws a great fastball, but not much else.

While Pinder hasn't perfected a secondary pitch just yet, he does have the ability to throw a slider, a curveball, and a changeup.Before 2013 his slider was thought to have plus potential.

Pinder should begin the season in AA and he has a good chance of redeeming himself. His fastball has become such a good pitch that if he just figures out one more pitch he should be able to reach his potential as a closer.

Sleepers :

The biggest sleeper in the system may be left handed reliever James Pazos. Pazos a 13th round pick in the 2012 draft, really emerged as an interesting prospect late last season.

Pazos began the season on the disabled list, after undergoing a minor surgery. After recovering it took him some time to really get into a groove, but once he did he really well. Well enough that the Yankees allowed him to pitch in the hitters friendly Arizona Fall League, despite not advancing past A ball.

It was there that Pazos started impressing outside evaluators. Pazos shocked many by putting up an ERA of 1.74 in the league. Many pundits were also surprised that he was capable of throwing in the upper 90's, and some noted his improved slider. In addition to these pitches Pazos also has a show me changeup.

While Pazos still has to perform at higher levels, it seems that at the very least he can become a great lefty specialist. The best outcome would be a good lefty setup arm.

If he keeps improving, and his walk rate stays low he should move quickly next season. However, he has almost no chance to make the big league team next season.

Manny Barreda, the next player in this category is proof of just how much can go wrong with  prospects.A few years ago Barreda seemed to have been progressing nicely, but in 2009 he had Tommy John surgery and it took him several years to recover.Now entering his 8th season in the Yankees system, the 25 year old must move quickly. Or else he will become a  forgotten prospect.

What makes Barreda a good sleeper is his great strikeout rates, and his well developed pitching repertoire. Barreda has three good pitches: a slider, a changeup, and a fastball. However he often struggles with his location and control, resulting in high walk rates.

If he could improve that aspect of his game he would be sure-fire closer. As it stands now Barreda may either became a great bullpen option or never advance to the majors. There truly is no middle ground with a pitcher like Barreda.

The last player in this category may end up being more than a reliever, but with the amount of starting options in the lower levels of the Yankees system it seems probable that Phil Walby is moved to the pen. Such a move wouldn't be surprising as Baseball America felt he was better suited for the pen anyway.

Like Rumbelow Walby was a 2013 draft pick. However Walby's stock was much higher coming into the draft. Walby was ranked as the 282nd best draft prospect last year. As a reliever Walby should be able to sit at 94-97 with his fastball. His other pitches include a slurvy slider and inconsistent changeup, that he has no feel for.

Essentially Walby is a one pitch pitcher who is starting to improve his breaking ball. As a recent pick few have truly scouted Walby, but those who have seem to be impressed. Matt Filippi from pennleaguereport.net called said he's the type of guy fans should keep an eye on.


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