New York Yankees' Best Prospect at Every Position
Contrary to what many detractors of the New York Yankees might believe, this organization has plenty of young stars in their minor league system that will likely have a serious impact on the big league club for years to come.
As the Yankees begin to usher-in a new era in the history of the team and also begin to scale back some of their spending habits, young players will be more and more crucial to keeping the payroll low, while not losing any competitive edge in doing so.
Let's take a look at the top prospect at each position for the Yanks.
Gary Sanchez: C
DOB: 12/2/1992 (Age: 20)
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 220 lbs
Sanchez has long been touted as the future backstop of the Yanks, but like Jesus Montero before him, there are doubts about his defense behind the plate. While his arm isn't being questioned and seems to be his best skill, Sanchez does need work on his game-calling abilities.
In 2012, Sanchez led all minor league catchers with 18 homers and his patience at the plate is something that is getting better each and every year. As a hitter, Sanchez has a nice balance of power and the ability to make contact, so he isn't an all-or-nothing hitter.
On top of that, Sanchez has shown he has enough speed to steal some bases, so he won't clog up the basepaths once he gets on.
Don't expect to see the 20-year-old in the majors anytime soon as he is still at least a few years away. Until then, it'll be September call-up or bust for one of the brightest young stars in the Yanks' farm system.
Kyle Roller: 1B
Height/Weight: 6'1'', 235 lbs.
Roller has begun to quietly make a name for himself in the Yanks' minor league system as solid first basemen are few and far between.
Displaying impressive power in 2012, Roller hit 18 home runs and drove in 85 RBI with a .265 average in Single-A. While he does have some work to do in the contact department after whiffing 115 times in 121 games, Roller no doubt has the type of power desired of most first basemen.
On the defensive end, Roller might not be the next Mark Teixeira, but who is, really? Still, Roller is a solid defender with good range and should have no problem playing the position at the big league level.
Angelo Gumbs: 2B
DOB: 10/13/1992 (Age: 20)
Height/Weight: 6’, 175 lbs
As the franchise's top infield prospect, Gumbs has the best mix of power and speed of any infielder in the system. Gumbs hit seven homers with 36 RBI and a .272 average, while swiping 26 bases in 29 attempts.
Gumb's power extends to all fields, but he does need some work on his bat control in order to make more consistent contact. His swing can be described as too busy to garner major success as a contact hitter.
While his glove is still improving and moving in the right direction, Gumbs has the range and arm that is more than sufficient to play the position. The only problem for his future with the team is that the Yanks already have some guy named Robinson Cano.
But Cano could be in a different uniform after 2013.
Cito Culver: SS
Height/Weight: 6'0'', 185 lbs.
Once considered a potential heir-apparent to Hall of Famer Derek Jeter, Culver's potential has seemingly waned after a dreadful 2012 campaign. While it isn't too late for Culver to turn it around, it certainly isn't looking good at this moment.
Culver doesn't supply a lot of power at the plate as he hit two homers and 40 RBI, while showing above average speed on the basepaths with 22 swipes. However, Culver is not consistent enough in making contact, as evidenced by his .215 average and 104 strikeouts in 122 games played.
Defensively is where Culver shines the most. He is often considered the best defensive infielder in the Yanks' farm system and his stellar arm strength gives him the ability to make all the throws from the shortstop position.
Dante Bichette Jr.: 3B
DOB: 09/26/92 (age 20)
Height/Weight: 6'1'', 215 lbs.
Bichette was once highly touted as one of the best players in the Yanks' system, period. However, the 2012 season might have shown Bichette isn't as advertised.
After hitting three homers and driving in 46 runs while sporting a .244 average, it's clear where Bichette's problems lie. He has immense trouble making consistent contact with the ball and he needs a lot of work on his plate discipline.
Whatever you want to chalk it up to, Bichette is better than what he put out there in 2012. Work ethic is something that can't be questioned in Bichette's case and that is certainly a positive sign for his potential resurgence in the minors.
In the field, Bichette has a solid arm and enough range to get the job done at the hot corner. Offense is and continues to be the overall concern for Bichette Jr.'s future in the MLB.
Tyler Austin: OF
DOB: 9/6/1991 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 200 lbs
Austin was a breakout performer in 2012, hitting 17 homers and driving in 80 runs, all the while proving to be a good hitter with a .322 average.
The 21-year-old is seen as a hitter with very good power and an ability to make contact, driving the ball to all fields. On top of that, Austin is a patient and intelligent hitter who has no problem making adjustments on the fly.
To go with his power, Austin can also swipe some bases as he notched 23 in 25 attempts last season.
In the outfield, Austin projects to be a corner outfielder who possesses an above-average arm with great range for the position.
Mason Williams: OF
DOB: 8/21/1991 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’, 150 lbs.
There have been many great names to roam centerfield for the Yankees over their history and it's quite possible Williams is the next one to hold that honor. In Single-A last season, Williams hit 11 homers and 35 RBI while sporting a .298 average.
On the defensive side, Williams has great speed to cover plenty of ground in the outfield with a solid arm as well.
Offensively, Williams has more power than his small frame would suggest and he has the ability to make contact each and every time at the plate. Patience in the batter's box is still something he needs to work on, but Williams can hit the ball to all fields when he does get a good swing on it.
As a basestealer, Williams certainly has the speed to swipe a ton of bags each season but he must become a better decision-maker in that department.
Slade Heathcott: OF
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 190 lbs
If everlasting effort is what you're looking for, Heathcott has that quality.
A pair of shoulder surgeries has certainly hurt Heathcott's arm in the outfield, but he does make up for that with his speed and great range.
Projected to be a leadoff hitter at the big league level after 19 stolen bases last season, Heathcott has a lot to work on as far as plate discipline is concerned. While making contact continues to be a concern, Heathcott can be an extra-base machine if his abilities improve.
In 2012, Heathcott finished with five homers and 29 RBI, sporting a .302 average.
Jose Campos: SP
Height/Weight: 6'4'', 195 lbs.
Campos was involved in the deal that sent Montero to the Seattle Mariners and brought Michael Pineda back in return. Highly touted in the minor league system, Campos is thought to be a potential star in the MLB.
However, injuries were a problem for the 20-year-old last season and could be the only thing stopping him from making his way to the majors. In Single-A, Campos was 3-0 with a 4.01 ERA in just five starts.
Campos has a lively fastball that can clock in the upper 90s, but he also has incredible control for such a young power arm. As long as Campos can continue to improve his slider and curveball in the upcoming years, there's no reason to believe Campos can't be a frontline starter in a few more years.
Mark Montgomery: RP/Closer
DOB: 8/30/1990 (Age: 22)
Height/Weight: 5’11”, 205 lbs
The future of the Yanks bullpen isn't too far away as Montgomery displayed some impressive and dominating numbers during his time in the minors in 2012.
Out of the 'pen between Single- and Double-A, Montgomery was 7-2 with 15 saves and an ERA of 1.54, giving hope to New York that there is life after Mariano Rivera at the closer position. Even if David Robertson turns out to be the next closer, Montgomery could certainly help further pad the team's 'pen.
Montgomery isn't a big, overpowering pitcher by any means, but he has the type of stuff that still leads to strikeouts. With a fastball clocked in the low 90s and one of the best sliders in the minor league system today, there's no question Montgomery has the stuff to be a major leaguer real soon.
And what is one of the more important qualities for any reliever, Montgomery can get out both left- and right-handed hitters.
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