Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The system doesn't have the strongest upper division depth, but has many intriguing players in the lower levels. This is one reason that pundits feel that this system can quickly rise to the top again.

Major League Ready Depth:

The Yankees don't really have a any players in AA or above that stand out at the position. Their most major league ready player might be Addison Maruszak, who is 27 years old. While the Yankees do seem to like him, he shouldn't really be considered a prospect due to his age.

The next best option is Carmen Angelini. Angelini was once thought of as a promising prospect. He was given a million dollars as a tenth round pick in 2007. That figure was obviously well over-slot, and some think the failures of Angelini, and the overly expensive 2007 class made the Yankees wary of spending big in drafts.

Angelini's failures are related to the fact that from between 2010 to 2012 he was only able to play 9 actual games. This was due to three major injuries. In 2010 he tore his hip,in 2011 he shattered his ankle, and 2012 he broke his wrist.

However, he was finally healthy in 2013 and started the year off strong in A+. At 24 years old he was older than his competition, but when you play as rarely as Angelini that isn't a huge advantage. Angelini ended his season by playing 66 games in AA and only put up a .623 OPS, but considering he was finally healthy I would say he had an okay season.

Depth Below AA:

While most people seem to have given up on Cito Culver, I still have some hope that he becomes a major-league player That's because he is considered an above average defender. As we have seen in recent years defense first shortstops can become major league regulars.

I believe Culver's defense will carry him to the majors, but it's his bat that will determine whether he can become a regular starter for a team like the Yankees.

Culver has shown that he has a good eye at the plate and even has some power for the position. However he was a terrible hitter for most of his minor league career. His biggest problem was attempting to be a switch-hitter.

In 2013, he abandoned switch-hitting and began hitting solely from the right side. It took him a while to adjust but near the end of the 2013 season he looked like a better hitter. This led to a promotion to High-A, where he dominated in a small sample (.878 OPS in 28 games).

Considering that Culver is still just 21 years old there is still time for him to prove he is a real prospect. He will begin the 2014 season in High-A and no one's stopping him from advancing quickly through the system.

After Culver the Yankees have a batch of exciting shortstops that spent to 2013 season in the GCL. Abital Avelino, Thairo Estrada, Tyler Wade, all had good seasons last year. Avelino, and Estrada both made Baseball America GCL top 20 list and Wade is a major sleeper for the 2014 season.

Avelino and Estrada were relatively small Dominican signings. Avelino impressed scouts with his defense and his eye at the plate. The 18 year old had more walks than strikeouts last season, and may grow into more power down the road. He also did well on the bases stealing 28 bases in 32 attempts.

He may never develop plus power but he is had a pretty great set of tools right now and could be a top prospect soon if he does well in A-Ball next year.

Despite signing for less than 50,000 thousand dollars in 2012 Estrada has quickly become one of the Yankees best prospects. Like Avelino, Estrada is an advanced hitter for his age (17), but currently only has line drive power. Estrada is also know for his plus speed and for being a solid defender at SS. In addition to SS, Estrada has shown he can handle playing second base.

The presence of Avelino may mean that Estrada begins the season in the NYPL, but considering he will be only 18 years old that might actually benefit him.


Wade may be the Yankees best sleeper from the 2013 draft. Like Kotah, he skyrocketed up draft boards right before the draft, and that made him a fourth round pick. Tyler Wade truly has the ability to be as good as some of the other shortstops on this list, but has yet to get the same acclaim.

Wade is a good runner, and defender, who needs to add some muscle to be considered a future major league hitter. The 19 year old should begin the 2014 season in Low-A or A-Ball, and should be closely followed by fans.

The next group of players were either injured last year, just signed or were in the DSL. Jorge Mateo, Yancarlos Baez, Yonauris Rodriguez, and Angel Aguilair. While some of these players may come over to the United States next year, they all have some appeal.

Mateo and Aguilar may be the best two from this group, and they have both put up good numbers in the DSL. Rodriguez and Baez on the other hand have yet to play much at all. That is because Rodriguez was only signed last year, and Baez struggled with injuries. Both players got decent bonuses so it will be interesting to see how they do.  Mateo who earned praise from Ben Badler after signing is the best of this group, and may be the next Avelino.


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