With a full week of baseball under their belts, the New York Yankees have gotten off to a slow start.
The weaknesses are already evident in the New York lineup that is marred with old age and injuries. Even the rotation saw a scare this week when Hiroki Kuroda took a line drive off a finger on his throwing hand.
Although it’s early, one thing is becoming clearer than it has been since the mid-1990s: The Yankees need to get younger, talented players.
As we see players like Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Steven Strasburg all making big impacts under the age of 25, you can’t help but wonder where New York’s future stars are.
Well the answer is that they are stuck in a minor league system that has struggled to produce top talent since Robinson Cano came through.
But how the Yankees are mismanaging their young players and farm system is an entirely different can of worms. Right now, let’s just check out how the top talent in New York’s farm system is doing after Week 1 of 2013.
Stats: 4 G, .154 BA, 2 R, 7 BB, .450 OBP, .604 OPS
Before looking anywhere else on Zoilo Almonte’s stat line for 2013, the on-base percentage will pop out. In his first week with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders, Almonte has amounted seven walks with a .450 OBP.
Almonte does only have one hit so far, but those will come.
He is an aggressive hitter who finished third in the organization in home runs and slugging percentage in 2012.
The hits will come, but if Almonte can start getting on base more often, this will add to his stock.
Stats: 4 G, .125 BA, 7 K, .222 OBP
In Charleston to start the season, Dante Bichette Jr. hasn’t come out strong at the plate. Bichette has struggled in New York’s system after being named the Gulf Coast League’s MVP in 2011.
In three games this season, Bichette is batting .125 with seven strikeouts—yikes.
Again, it’s very early, but the six Ks really show you that Bichette isn’t even making contact, which is not good.
Bichette is a hard worker and his father played in the big leagues.
With Alex Rodriguez on his way out and Kevin Youkilis serving as a temporary replacement, Bichette has a small window of time to get his act together and contend for a spot in the Bronx.
Stats: 2 G, 3.0 IP, 2 H, 4 K, 0 BB
The heir to Mariano Rivera’s throne may be in the making right now in Scranton.
Too soon? Maybe.
But Mark Montgomery is already doing work this season.
In three innings he has given up only two hits while striking out four and surrendering zero runs. Montgomery is within reach of the Bronx and may very well be called up if needed this season. This guy has closed for multiple teams through the Yankee farm system, jumping to Triple-A after being drafted in 2011.
If Montgomery continues his usual dominance, don’t be surprised if he is the first to be called up.
Stats: 4 G, .158 BA, 3 H, 2 R, .158 OBP
Being a second baseman in the New York minor league system right now can’t exactly be exciting, seeing as Robinson Cano is the man for the Yankees right now.
But that hasn’t stopped young Angelo Gumbs, who is slowly rising through the system.
Currently playing for the Tampa Yankees, Gumbs is hitting .158 with a triple and three runs batted in.
Gumbs is a more typical second baseman than Cano, with less power but above average speed.
Gumbs has gotten off to a slow start and needs to improve.
If Cano can’t work out a deal for next season, the name Angelo Gumbs may become more and more relevant.
Bad news for the Yankees’ 2012 top draft pick Ty Hensley. Hensley will miss two to three months due to a hip surgery.
Obviously injuries have been the top story in New York since last October, but now it has spread. Tough break for the 19-year-old who only pitched in five games in the Gulf Coast League last year.
The injury isn’t season-ending, but it will definitely set Hensley back in his development.
Manny Banuelos will not pitch this year while he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
The lefty was highly touted going into the 2011 season, but he wasn’t able to perform in the Triple-A level. In 2012, Banuelos made only six starts before being put on the disabled list and eventually needing surgery.
Banuelos’ stock has been steadily dropping, and missing all of 2013 won’t help.
Although he is still young, Banuelos is beginning to run out of time.
Stats: 3 G, .188 BA, 3 H, 2 R, 7 K
Since watching him in spring training this year, Slade Heathcott has won me over.
Heathcott has tremendous tools both at the plate and in the outfield. He has the potential to be a Brett Gardner type fielder while bringing power at the plate. Heathcott’s daily tweet, “#attacktheday,” pretty much sums up how the 22-year-old plays.
This season, Trenton Heathcott only had one hit in his first 10 at-bats, which isn’t exactly good. But Heathcott has faced personal struggles off the field and problems with injuries. He is no stranger to adversity, and this year may be his breaking-out party.
Stats: 3 G, .308 BA, 4 R, 2 2B, .819 OPS
The future Yankee outfield may be in Trenton right now with Heathcott and Tyler Austin.
Austin has a little less speed and arm than Heathcott, but he is a much more developed player. In eight at-bats this season, Austin has a double and two runs scored along with one batted in.
A former 13th-round pick, Austin has grown into a solid player, and at only 21 years old, he can become a regular in the Bronx—maybe next season.
In his first week, Austin isn’t sprinting out of the gates per se, but he has shown he can and will be consistent.
Stats: 4 G, .375 BA, 3 R, 1 SB, .911 OPS
As the top-rated outfielder in New York’s organization, Mason Williams will need to back up that ranking this year. So far he has, with a .375 average and a stolen base in four games with the Tampa Yankees.
Williams has elite speed and he is a very good center fielder, but he is more of a slap hitter and needs to improve at the plate to keep climbing towards the Bronx.
Last year, Williams began to come into his own, but a shoulder injury cut that development short. Still, this year Williams may be able to jump into Trenton.
His current .474 OBP is a very good sign, especially with his wheels on the basepaths.
A strong start may lead to a big year for this kid.
Stats: 4 G, .412 BA, 4 RBI, 3 R, 1 SB, .915 OPS
To say Gary Sanchez’s stock is up after the first week is an understatement.
With the Tampa Yankees, Sanchez is hitting .412 with four runs batted in and even a stolen base. He also has a .444 OBP, a .471 slugging percentage and a .915 OPS.
The Yankees are high on Sanchez and this is exactly why—the kid can rake at the plate and has a very strong arm.
Sanchez isn’t known as a very strong defensive catcher, but taking the Bryce Harper route may not hurt. Sanchez jumps off the page with these stats and has the tools to prove his ceiling is much higher than advertised.
As New York's top prospect for the 2013 season, Sanchez hasn’t disappointed in his first week.