May 14, 2010

Yankees minor league prospects update

While the Yankees are battling for tops in the AL East, prospects in Double-A and Triple-A are looking to show they are ready to compete at the big league level.

With Juan Miranda called up yesterday, the Yankees have now promoted seven players five weeks into the season. The farm system always makes an impact on the parent club because every team has to battle injuries and cold streaks.

Here’s an update on some of the top hitting and pitching prospects in the top levels of the organization.

Triple-A: Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees 
Jesus Montero C: Montero is far and away the Yankees top prospect, as some scouts ranked him the best hitter in the entire minor leagues heading into the year. Sadly for him, he hasn’t quite lived up to the high bill. He currently owns a .233/.295/.359 hitting line with just two homers and 13 RBIs in 103 at-bats. He also was benched last weekend for not running out a groundball. I don’t think it could get any worse for the 20-year-old catcher, who is yet to prove he can play the field at a high enough level.

Mark Melancon RHP: Melancon was called up in the beginning of May, but only for one less-than-spectacular performance. But he has continued to thrive in Scranton, posting a 4-1 record, a 3.00 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP in 21 innings. Jon Albaladejo is having a great year so far, better than Melancon’s, but Melancon is still the much better prospect.
Full Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Triple-A stats here.

Double-A: Trenton Thunder 
Austin Romine C: Romine, another good catching prospect, came out to a roaring start for the Thunder in 2010. At one point he rode a 16-game hitting streak to a .337 BA, but has slowed down a little bit to a .304/.377/.480 line. He’s known more for his defense, but it’s great to see his production and percentages improve. If Montero gets promoted at some point this season, Romine will surely be his replacement at Triple-A.

David Phelps RHP: Despite not being ranked in the top 10 of any well-known Yankee prospect lists, Phelps has been the Thunder’s top starter by a long shot. In the Eastern League, known for its quality pitching prospects, Phelps currently ranks second in ERA at a miniscule 1.60 tagged with a 0.98 WHIP. Since you probably haven’t heard of him, his arsenal features a low 90s fastball and a curveball. Here’s a link to a video of his windup.
Full Double-A stats here.

High-A: Tampa Yankees stats here.
Low-A: Charleston RiverDogs stats here.
(All of the used stats are prior to action on 5/14.)

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