The New York Yankees' six players among Baseball America's top 100 prospects serve as a reminder that the Yankees place importance on developing their farm system.
Instead of neglecting to develop players as in the past, the Yanks now place great emphasis on scouting and player development.
The Royals lead the list with seven players total, but if you include a prospect the Yankees traded to the Braves, Arodys Vizcaino, New York would be tied for the top spot.
Let’s take a look at the six prospects who made this highly touted list:
3. C Jesus Montero
Jesus Montero moved up from No. 4 on the list a year ago.
He is considered one of the best minor-league hitters around; he hits for average and power, both of which should translate to the big leagues. He is just 21 and will only develop even more power.
Montero’s got great pitch recognition and understands the strike zone very well. The question with Montero, though, has always been defense. Can he stick at catcher?
If he can develop his defensive skills, he would probably be the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball.
30. C Gary Sanchez
Gary Sanchez, at age 19, makes an appearance on this list.
The catcher is considered to have a bat comparable to Montero, but with much better defensive skills. There are some who think Sanchez could eventually push Montero to another position, such as designated hitter.
Although he does not have the raw power Montero does, Sanchez still has very impressive pop.
41. LHP Manny Banuelos
Manny Banuelos, a left-handed starting pitcher, is only 5'10" and 155 pounds, but reportedly reaches about 94-95 miles per hour with his fastball.
Banuelos has above-average command on all his pitches. The changeup has long been Banuelos' best pitch, as he throws it at 78-82 MPH with big two-seam action and a subsequent drop, very much like CC Sabathia's.
The Yankees are expecting that the 19-year-old (20 in a couple of weeks) will reach their rotation by 2012.
43. RHP Dellin Betances
The 6'8" Betances is another player the Yankees are targeting for the 2012 rotation.
The flame-throwing 23-year-old has been known to dial his fastball up to 98, but he more typically sits in the 94-96 range.
Betances throws a curveball with 12-to-six movement that generates a ton of swings, and a ton of misses. He does not tend to throw his changeup much, but it is effective when he does.
If Betances can work on his command, he could be a top-of-the-line starter.
78. RHP Andrew Brackman
Though it took awhile, 2007 first-round pick Andrew Brackman finally looks to also become a top-of-the-line starter.
The 6'10" Brackman consistently throws a 92-97 MPH fastball, and has reached 99.
Complementing his fastball is his knuckle-curve at 78-81 MPH, and a changeup at 82-84 that has plus pitch potential.
Brackman throws two different curves: a harder one with more bite he uses as an out pitch, and a slower one used to get ahead of batters.
98. C Austin Romine
Austin Romine is one of the better catching prospects in the Yankees’ system.
Even though he doesn't walk much, he’s a patient hitter with good strike zone judgment. He won’t hit for a lot of power at the next level, but has a free and easy swing that will generate a lot of doubles.
Defensively, Romine is very solid with a strong and accurate arm.
Obviously, New York's farm system is heading in the right direction.
Now let's hope the Yankees don't make any rash decisions and trade any of these highly touted players.