• Farm Tools

    Posted by on August 17th, 2009 · Comments (11)

    In the current print edition of Baseball America, they list the “Best Tools” for players in the majors, Triple-A, Double-A and A-ball. Here’s the Yankees “minor league” players who made the cut:

    International League (AAA) Best Batting Prospect: Austin Jackson

    Eastern League (AA) Best Control: Zach McAllister
    Eastern League (AA) Best Defensive 2B: Reegie Corona

    South Atlantic League (Low A) Best Outfield Arm: Melky Mesa

    Seeing this, I have to ask the same question as last year

    For pitchers on these lists, players are listed for “best” fastball, breaking ball, change-up, and control – as well as best reliever and best overall pitching prospect. So, there are six different ways for a pitcher to make the cut in each minor league classification.

    But, only one Yankees pitching prospect managed to crack the charts: McAllister.

    Isn’t the Yankees minor league system supposed to be filled with pitching prospects?

    Comments on Farm Tools

    1. MJ
      August 17th, 2009 | 11:00 pm

      Isn’t the Yankees minor league system supposed to be filled with pitching prospects?
      ——–
      A lot has changed in a year. I would argue that the Yanks farm system has actually taken a bit of a hit over the past year. It’s deeper than it was a few years ago and that is definitely a good thing but it is is still lacking in impact, high-ceiling players (in contrast to Boston’s system). Part of that is related to the fact that Brackman’s first season of pro ball has been pretty rough and the fact that Gerrit Cole picked UCLA over starting his pro career.

      As I learn more about how farm systems are run and as I watch other teams developing their farm strategies, I do have to say that the Yanks are disorganized and dysfunctional in that regard.

      A team can change its fortunes with regards to its farm system nearly overnight, as we saw between 2005 and 2006 when Hughes, Kennedy and Chamberlain all zoomed through the minors but, right now, the Yanks farm system is definitely lacking superstar prospects.

    2. Rich
      August 18th, 2009 | 1:15 am

      Brackman, Sanchez, Betances, Kontos, Marshall, Garcia, and Cox are either recovering or have made incomplete recoveries from TJ surgery, and Kennedy had aneurysm surgery. It is impossible to accumulate talent under the circumstances.

      Are these injuries the primarily result of bad luck, bad decisions, or bad training methods? I have no idea, but it does seem like recovery from TJ surgery isn’t as routine as some people like to pretend.

    3. MJ
      August 18th, 2009 | 8:49 am

      I agree completely that the recovery from TJ isn’t as routine as some people make it out to be. Although the conventional wisdom is that nowadays pitchers come back from it better than ever, the truth is that medicine is an inexact science and that some people don’t, in fact, recover their previous abilities post-TJ surgery.

      I have no way of knowing if the Yanks are victims of bad luck, bad decisions or bad training methods but if I had to guess, I’d probably say that it’s a bit of all three…

    4. Evan3457
      August 18th, 2009 | 3:47 pm

      Best means “best” in that league, Steve.

      Very often, the best pitching prospect in a league will take more than one of those six awards.

      Also, having the best change-up, or the best control, at the A-ball level frequently indicates a NON-prospect; a pitcher who’s getting by using trickery, and who’ll be exposed at the AA and/or AAA level.

    5. August 18th, 2009 | 4:00 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Best means “best” in that league, Steve.

      Think I don’t know that?

      The point being…if the Yankees have so many wonderful pitching prospects, how come none of them, sans Zach, are among the best in their league – in terms of being a prospect or having a particular pitching skill?

    6. MJ
      August 18th, 2009 | 4:17 pm

      The point being…if the Yankees have so many wonderful pitching prospects, how come none of them, sans Zach, are among the best in their league – in terms of being a prospect or having a particular pitching skill?
      ——–
      I’m not so sure anyone thinks the Yanks have “so many wonderful pitching prospects” this year.

      However, for argument’s sake, let’s assume that the Yanks DO have a plethora of high-end pitching prospects. Maybe they’re just 2nd best at every one of these categories? Isn’t it possible that you can be a very good prospect but that someone in your league is better? Isn’t it possible to have more than one great pitcher in a minor league level with one outshining the other but for that other one to be no less special or talented?

    7. Corey
      August 18th, 2009 | 4:25 pm

      one prospect to look for is melky mesa, he can hit

    8. August 18th, 2009 | 4:30 pm

      MJ wrote:

      I’m not so sure anyone thinks the Yanks have “so many wonderful pitching prospects” this year.

      Betcha Mark Newman and Brian Cashman are trying to blow that notion up the Bros. Stein’s poop chutes…no?

    9. MJ
      August 18th, 2009 | 4:34 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Betcha Mark Newman and Brian Cashman are trying to blow that notion up the Bros. Stein’s poop chutes…no?

      First of all, LOL, the way you phrased that cracked me up.

      Second, I have no idea if they’re trying to sell that notion to their bosses or not. To be frank, I’m not so sure that the Steinbrenners spend too much time thinking about the minutiae of the farm system assets (unless they’re thinking about those assets in the context of a trade or someone that is close to ML-ready).

    10. Evan3457
      August 18th, 2009 | 6:34 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Best means “best” in that league, Steve.

      Think I don’t know that?

      The point being…if the Yankees have so many wonderful pitching prospects, how come none of them, sans Zach, are among the best in their league – in terms of being a prospect or having a particular pitching skill?

      It’s not “among the best”. It’s “best”.

      You can be a top pitching prospect and not have the best fastball in a particular minor league; or the best curveball, or the best control. You can be a top pitching prospect, and STILL not be the best prospect in your league at this moment.

      Jeremy Jeffress of the Brewers routinely hits triple-digits with his FB; he’s been commonly cited as having the best fastball in whatever league he was in by BA the last couple of seasons.

      Yet, because of his lack of command, both of his pitches on the mound, and of his self-discipline off it, he’s nowhere close to being a top pitching prospect, at this moment.

      The Yanks, at this moment, probably have 3 or 4 pitchers in their farm system more likely to make the majors, and be effective, than Jeffress. I have no idea who they are, but I bet there are others who post here who do.

    11. August 25th, 2009 | 10:12 am

      [...] best in 21 separate categories, listing the top three for each.  You’ll recall that Steve has already weighed in on the MiLB version of the same report.  So without further ado, here’s how our faves [...]

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