There is a lot of talk about how Brian Cashman failed this offseason. When he failed to land "the big fish," which is Cliff Lee, the entire 2011 season became a bust. He is preaching "patience;" a very taboo word in this city, with this team.
The question on peoples' minds is this: what are we being patient for? What moves does Cashman have lined up that the Yankee Universe is unaware of? The answer is down on the farm.
Not since the days of Gene "Stick" Michael have the Yankees enjoyed riches in the minor leagues like they have today. Cashman has been able to build a farm system that has the potential to be something special in 2011 and years to come.
Those who follow the Yankees and baseball are aware of blue chip prospects Jesus Montero, Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos. What they may not be aware of are some of the less-heralded prospects that the Yankees have drafted or signed in recent years that are just now starting to show their potential.
Last year the world was introduced to Ivan Nova. Let's meet another of the pitching prospects that are poised to make an impact potentially in 2011 and the reason for "patience."
Hector Noesi, a 6'2", 175 lb right-hander hailing from Esperanza (which translates to “hope” in English), Dominican Republic, was signed by the Yankees on December 3rd, 2004. Born on January 26, 1987, he is only 23 years old and finished the 2010 season with the Yankees AAA affiliate in Scranton Wilkes-Barre. The last two years, he has started to open eyes throughout the baseball community.
After undergoing successful Tommy John surgery, the 2009 season is when he started to shine. He posted a 2.92 ERA over 26 appearances (20 starts). In 117 innings pitched, he surrendered 96 hits, 15 walks, 118 strikeouts, and six HRs allowed with a minuscule .220 average against over two stops in A ball.
In 2010, Noesi started the year with class A Tampa and dominated over 43 innings. He went 5-2 in eight starts compiling a 2.72 ERA with 35 hits, six walks, three HRs allowed and a staggering 53 strikeouts. That performance earned him a call-up to Trenton where he continued to excel.
His next stop in the 2010 season was AA Trenton. There Noesi had a record of 8-4 over 98.2 innings, 90 hits and 86 strikeouts. He issued 18 walks and held opposing hitters to a .243 average. The HR was not a major issue in 2010 as he allowed a mere 11 total in 160.1 innings (.62 HR/9 innings).
Finally, Noesi finished 2010 at Scraton Wilkes-Barre and struggled a little in three starts (18.2 innings, 23 hits, 14 Ks, .311 BAA) but that could certainly be the result of “moving to the next level jitters.” Way too small of a sample size to determine anything for a kid that has been successful at all levels before this.
A stat that jumps off the page are the three complete games Noesi pitched during the 2010 season (two with Trenton and one with Scranton Wilkes-Barre) that show his stamina. Frank Piliere, a scout for the Texas Rangers in 2009, said, "Maybe most impressive of all was his stamina; his stuff would sometimes improve as his pitch count mounted."
Frank Piliere goes on to cast Noesi as "having the stuff of a No. 3 big league pitcher." It was in this season (2009) that he developed a curveball that Piliere says has "good 12-6 action" and at times "flashes as being plus." Piliere also praised Noesi for a "well spotted 90-94 MPH fastball" that "with an occasional change up mixed in, showed tremendous growth in 2009 and became a complete pitcher." Noesi was invited to play in the Futures Game at All-Star weekend in 2010.
It looks as if Noesi will start the year in Scranton Wilkes-Barre this season. If Andy Pettitte decides to retire he may compete for a spot in the 2011 rotation in spring training. All indications are that this is a prospect that could have a major impact in 2011 and beyond.
The Patience Series:
Patience Part 1: Hector Noesi (above)
Patience Part 2: David Phelps
Patience Part 3: Brandon Laird
Patience Part 4: Adam Warren
Patience Part 5: Eduardo Nunez
Patience Part 6: Gary Sanchez