Courtesy of Baseball America -
The Gulf Coast League Yankees have three players represented in Baseball America’s Top-20 GCL Prospects list, including the #1 overall prospect. The honored Yankees — along with BA’s remarks — are after the jump.
1. Gary Sanchez, C, Yankees
Signed: Dominican Republic ’09
2010 Stats: 119 AB, 42 H, 17 XBH, 11 BB, 28 SO, .353/.419/.597
After signing for $3 million, Sanchez didn’t disappoint in his pro debut. Despite missing three weeks with a wrist injury, he hit .353/.423/.597 and earned a late promotion to the short-season New York-Penn League. As a Latin American catcher in the Yankees system, he draws comparisons with slugger Jesus Montero.
Sanchez may have a better chance to stay behind the plate, and some observers think he might be better than Montero was as a 17-year-old in the GCL, though Montero has proven much more with the bat at higher levels. Sanchez is very strong and has above-average power to all fields, and with a good approach for a young player, he projects to hit for average as well.
He has a plus arm that consistently generates 1.8-second pop times and has the tools to be a solid receiver, but he’s still a work in progress defensively. Sanchez threw out just 19 percent of basestealers and tied for the league lead in passed balls (14) and errors by a catcher (seven) in just 18 games. He needs to stay on top of his conditioning and work on his mobility.
10. Cito Culver, SS, Yankees
Drafted: Yankees ’10 (1st Round/30th 0verall)
2010 Stats: 160 AB, 43 H, 10 XBH, 13 BB, 41 SO, .269/.320/.363
Most teams considered Culver a fourth- to sixth-round talent, but the Yankees took him with the last pick in 2010′s first round. Not many high school shortstops project to reach the majors at that position, but he’s an exception. He has good instincts, plus range to both sides and an above-average arm.
Culver didn’t see much quality pitching as a high school player from the Northeast, so his bat will need to catch up. He did strike out 41 times in as many games, but he does have a knack for squaring up balls from both sides of the plate. He has good speed and could have a little pop once he gets stronger.
13. Ramon Flores, OF/1B, Yankees
Signed: Venezuela ’08
2010 Stats: 158 AB, 52 H, 16 XBH, 28 BB, 22 SO, .329/.436/.481
Flores batted just .196/.303/.241 as a 17-year-old in the GCL a year ago, then returned and led the league in on-base percentage. He owns a classic lefthanded swing, does a good job of driving balls into the gaps and should develop some home run power as he gets stronger.
Flores played all four corner positions for the Yankees and projects best as a right fielder. He has average speed and range to go with a strong, accurate arm.
Yes, it’s just rookie ball and, yes, there’s a lot of development still to be done by these three guys. But, again, it’s never a bad thing for Yankee farmhands to be recognized. It beats the alternative, right? Better to have prospects recognized for a job well done than none at all.
Finally, BA will release similar top prospect lists for the other minor leagues according to the following schedule (I’m only listing those dates which include Yankee minor league affiliates):
September 28th: New York-Penn League (Short-Season Rookie, Staten Island Yankees)
September 30th: South Atlantic League (Low-A, Charleston Riverdogs)
October 6th: Florida State League (High-A, Tampa Yankees)
October 8th: Eastern League (Double-A, Trenton Thunder)
October 12th: International League (Triple-A, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees)
To the extent that a Yankee minor leaguer on one of these teams makes a BA top-20 list, I will provide the information.