Over at Baseball Prospectus, Kevin Goldstein runs down the Yanks’ Top 11 prospects. Here’s some tidbits on the big names:
1. Jesus Montero, C
The Good: . . . plus-plus power and hitting ability. . . . excellent bat speed, fantastic hands, quick wrists, and immense strength . . . drive balls out of any part of the park while maintaining a high batting average. . . . continued improvement in his approach . . .
The Bad: . . . remains a well below-average catcher . . . just isn’t designed to play to position. . . . poor receiver who handcuffs balls. . . trouble blocking pitches in the dirt, . . . arm strength mitigated by the amount of time it takes his immense frame to get out of a crouch and release the ball. . . .
2. Manny Banuelos, LHP
The Good: . . . added significant velocity in 2010, with a fastball that suddenly was sitting at 92-94 mph while touching 96. His changeup is a true plus offering with excellent fade and deception . . . consistency with it rarely found in a pitcher so young. . . . a good curve, . . . extremely easy mechanics and clean arm action that combine to provide above-average command and control.
The Bad: . . . curveball can be inconsistent, and he clearly loses feel for the pitch at times. . . . small frame is cause for some concern, and he has yet to throw more than 109 innings in a season, so his ability to handle a big-league workload is unproven.
4. Dellin Betances, RHP
The Good: . . . fastball sits in the low to mid-90s, consistently touches 97 mph, features some natural tailing action, and that’s not even his best pitch, power curveball . . . comes in hard and then falls off the table. . . . made some progress with a changeup, . . . delivery is much cleaner than the one from his pre-surgery days.
The Bad: . . . only pitched 85 1/3 innings last year, has thrown less than 300 in his five years as a pro, and he needs to prove that he can maintain his stuff over a full season. His changeup is still highly inconsistent, as he can lose feel on it and overthrow. He has put significant bulk on his frame over the past three years, and conditioning could be an issue down the road.
7. Andrew Brackman, RHP
The Good: . . . fastball generally sits in the low 90s, touches 96 mph, and his height adds considerable downward plane to the pitch, leading to plenty of ground balls. His curve was once a fringy offering, but he’s refined it into an easy plus offering by focusing more on spin than velocity. . . scouts noted a much more consistent delivery.
The Bad: . . . had starts where his heat sat at 90-92, and others where he rarely went below 94, and still had some occasional struggles with finding the strike zone. His changeup remains a below-average pitch, as he telegraphs it with notably different arm action.