Michael Salfino, over at SNY.tv, talks to Baseball America editor John Manuel and a Major League scout who specializes in scouting American League prospects about the “gems” in the Yankees farm system. Click here to see Salfino’s feature. Here’s a few snips:
But first let’s address Manuel’s suggestion that [Austin] Jackson could possibly propel himself into the Yankees lineup as the starting center fielder as early as this upcoming season. Our scout disagrees.
“He’s not close enough. Jackson is like the Mets’ Fernando Martinez. He has to do something. Let’s see some numbers, not just scouting reports. He’s going to fall somewhere between Melky Cabrera and Bobby Abreu. Is that too big a range? Yes. But he’s all projection now. While he passes the eyeball test, the numbers haven’t been there.”
This exchange on Jackson set me up to mock those who compare [Jesus] Montero to Mike Piazza. Our scout quickly chastened me. “He does have Piazza-type bat speed. The bat projects even at first base, and [that's] even in New York, which doesn’t settle for anything less than top shelf at a corner spot given their payroll. He’s very impressive in the cage. Behind the plate, he’s much less so and my sense is that he probably can’t play there.”
Our scout sees [Zach McAllister] as a taller Brad Radke in that he’s a control specialist with no real out pitch. “But he can be a ground-ball guy,” our scout said, unlike Radke, who allowed a relatively high number of fly balls. Our scout would have McAllister ranked slightly lower and thinks he’s in the Tyler Clippard category — not stylistically, but insofar as he’s a No. 4 or No. 5 guy at best and thus someone who will be shipped off in the near future.
Manuel suggested that [Alfredo] Aceves is comparable to Ian Kennedy but better in many key areas. That’s how far Kennedy’s stock has fallen in a year — being unfavorably compared to a No. 7 system prospect. Our scout says he’s a lot like McAllister. “Good ground-ball ratio. He can touch the low 90s with his fastball but works best in the high 80s. He’s durable and doesn’t waste pitches. But he’s out of my system top 10 because I think he projects only as a big-league long reliever.”
Reading all this brings me back to the early ’70′s when Scott McGregor and Otto Velez were the “family jewels” in the Yankees farm system…and that ol’ line about counting chickens before they are hatched.