Austin Romine Headlines Yankees Heading To The Arizona Fall League

GregCorrespondent IAugust 31, 2009

The New York Yankees prospects playing in the Arizona Fall League will be playing for the Surprise Rafters. You can see the entire Rafters roster here. The Yankees have four players on the roster.

Ian Kennedy, SP:
You should all know his story. In line to be one of the first starters called up in case of injury or need, Kennedy had an aneurysm in his right arm that caused him to miss the entire season. He has been feeling great recently and will get back into professional action when the Arizona Fall League begins. If he has a strong showing, he will be back in the mix for that sixth or seventh starter position in 2010.

Austin Romine, C: Plays second-fiddle to Jesus Montero in the Yankees organization, but Romine himself is quite a prospect as well. He is looked at as a more likely bet to stick at catcher, but there are other concerns. He has maintained a wOBA of .347 this season despite a weak walk rate. He has walked only 29 times in 465 PAs while striking out 72 times. Hopefully the Yankees have him work on this in Arizona.

Brandon Laird, 3B/DH: In his first two professional seasons, Laird posted ISOs of .238 and .225 while swatting 31 HRs in 684 plate appearances. This season, his ISO has dipped to .154. However, he has picked up the pace as of late. In July, he hit four home runs and had an OPS of .853. In August, he has mashed five home runs with an OPS of .954. I expect to see more power out of him in the Arizona Fall League, which is a hitters league.

Colin Curtis, OF: The main thing I hear about Curtis is that there is nothing he does that stands out at you, but is decent everything. He has split this season between AA and AAA but has really struggled in Scranton.

His wOBA there has been a terrible .292. Furthermore, he has struck out in 18.9 percent of his at-bats and walked in only 8.1 percent. He will be rule five eligible after the season, so my guess is that the Yankees are sending him there to see if he will be worth protecting. Personally, I'd leave him unprotected regardless because I don't see another team picking him up.

While all four of these players are considered prospects, their regard and status differs. Ian Kennedy is never going to be a star, but if he can get back to where he was before the aneurysm, he'll be a very useful piece.

Austin Romine has a ton of upside as a catcher and is the best prospect of the bunch. Laird's power will get him somewhere if he can fix other aspects of the game. As for Curtis, he just isn't that much of a prospect to me, so he isn't worth watching as much as the other guys.

Stats from Follow me on Twitter @GregFertel.