Thanks to Frankie Piliere we already got a look at some of the Yankee minor leaguers today through his scouting reports. Now, we’ll get more of a journalist's take on the Yankees farm system instead of a scout’s thanks to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com.
First, Mayo takes a look at players near the top of the system that should make the Majors the earliest. These players do not represent the best of the organization, but instead are the players who are going to make an impact the earliest. According to Mayo the top three are (the descriptions are mine):
- Francisco Cervelli , C —It’s hard to argue here. Cervelli got a taste of the big leagues last season and is set to be the everyday backup to Jorge Posada in 2010.
- Mark Melancon , RHP —Personally I thought 2009 was going to be a big year for Melancon. Unfortunately, he struggled with consistency in his few brief appearances in the Bronx and he never got a real shot last year. He’s still on track though and should play a bigger role in the Yankees bullpen in 2010.
- Kevin Russo , IF —Russo made big strides playing a full year with Triple-A Scranton in 2009. His line of .326/.397/.431 got plenty of attention and if Ramiro Pena’s bat is especially underwhelming it is likely the Yankees could call Russo up to the Bronx. Until then he’s going to get a chance to improve his versatility in the minors while waiting for the call.
Mayo then runs down three players in the Yankees system who might be a bit under the radar:
- DJ Mitchell, RHP —Mitchell was drafted in 2008 and got his first taste of pro action last season and was pretty impressive. If he puts up another year in 2010 that was similar to last season he won’t be under the radar for long.
- Jose A. Ramirez, RHP —Ramirez was impressive enough last season that the Yankees felt Arodys Vizcaino , who was included in the Javier Vazquez deal, was dispensable. He’ll jump up the charts with another big year in 2010.
- Pat Venditte, RHP —Venditte has been putting up big numbers ever since the Yankees drafted him in 2008, but many have been skeptical because his stuff doesn’t jump out to you. If Venditte can make the jump to Double-A Trenton then people will start taking him more seriously.
Mayo runs down the highlights of the 2009 draft. It is too early to really project a lot of these players, but he mentions Slade Heathcott, OF; J.R. Murphy, C; Adam Warren, RHP Gavin Brooks, LHP; Neil Medchill, OF; and DeAngelo Mack, OF, as highlights in the system.
And finally Mayo predicts the hitters and pitchers of the year. Guess what? They’re probably the same two who were hitters and pitchers of the year last year—Jesus Montero and Manny Banuelos . There is no surprise here because at 20 years old and 19 years old respectively, these two are far ahead of most of their peers developmentally.