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Thread: Keith Law: Yankees' once-barren farm system now the "hottest"

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    Keith Law: Yankees' once-barren farm system now the "hottest"

    Yankees' farm system packed with punch
    By Keith Law
    Scouts Inc.
    Archive

    The Yankees have long had the game's biggest payroll, but their farm system has lain fallow for several years, the result of some uninspired draft picks and trades that rid the system of the few prospects who remained. Over the last 18 months, however, the Yanks' system has made a stunning turnaround, going from one of the five worst systems in the game to one of the 10 best.

    What sets the Yankees' system apart from most others is the presence of two of the 10 best prospects in baseball, something no other organization can claim. The first of these two is right-handed pitcher Philip Hughes, who should show up in the Bronx in the first half of this season. The Yanks' first-round pick in 2004 has rocketed through the system, and would likely have reached Triple-A this year had the Yanks not been keeping their best prospects away from the Columbus clubhouse. Hughes has two consistent plus-plus pitches in a 93-95 mph fastball with fair sink, and a 12-to-6 curveball, and he has a promising changeup as well. Hughes pounds the strike zone and his command made some strides late in the 2006 season, although he still relies a bit too much on his secondary stuff. A year ago, Hughes had promise, but had missed time with minor shoulder injuries and had command issues. Now he's one of the top two pitching prospects in the game.

    Hughes' hitting counterpart on the Yanks' prospect depth chart is teenaged center fielder Jose Tabata, who spent all of 2006 in the full-season Sally League; only the Mets' Fernando Martinez and the Braves' Elvis Andrus were younger among such players. Tabata has an outstanding package of tools, but also has a degree of baseball acumen not often seen in players so young. He has a quick bat with developing power and good command of the strike zone. He has good instincts in center, with a plus arm that will allow him to move to right if he outgrows center. His season ended in early August due to a thumb injury, but he's playing in the Venezuelan winter league and swinging the bat with no trouble.

    They had the first overall pick in the 2004 draft and went for signability, taking shortstop Matt Bush in a first round that also included Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver, Homer Bailey, Stephen Drew, Josh Fields and Philip Hughes. Their first pick in 2003, Tim Stauffer, hid a shoulder injury until after he was taken and looks like a four-A player at best. And in 2006, they went conservative again in the first round, taking Wake Forest infielder Matt Antonelli, who projects as a utility player in the majors.

    The Yanks' system also now boasts depth that it hasn't had in years. Trading Gary Sheffield netted the Yankees another top pitching prospect in Humberto Sanchez as well as two live arms in Kevin Whelan and Anthony Claggett. Randy Johnson didn't bring as much back, but the Yanks did grab another live arm in Ross Ohlendorf. Meanwhile, Tyler Clippard passed the Double-A test and looks like at least a fifth starter in the majors, while 2006 sandwich pick Joba Chamberlain, who fell out of the top 10 picks due to serious concerns about the state of his shoulder, threw extremely well in the Hawaiian Winter League.

    The Yanks also added two more tough signs in Mark Melancon and sashimi-raw flamethrower Dellin Betances. It's a significant improvement for such a short period of time, and it's very bad news for the other four teams in the AL East.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/hotsto...ith&id=2742549


    Yankees Rule

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    The TOAST of the town.

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    He has us rated as the 5th best farm system and BA has us rated as #7, although that was before the RJ trade and with those 3 prospects, we probably move up to #6. Cash has done a fantastic job of improving the farm. Now he has to work on getting more positional prospects, especially a good catching prospect.

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    I gotta hand it to the Yanks, they did a great job rebuilding that farm system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffWeaverFan
    He has us rated as the 5th best farm system and BA has us rated as #7, although that was before the RJ trade and with those 3 prospects, we probably move up to #6. Cash has done a fantastic job of improving the farm. Now he has to work on getting more positional prospects, especially a good catching prospect.
    Also a 1st basemen. Eric Duncan is not cutting it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Ryan
    Also a 1st basemen. Eric Duncan is not cutting it.
    There's no way I'm giving up on Eric Duncan yet. We all have to remember that he was only 21 years old last year. Yes, he struggled, but that had a lot to do with his back injury.

    I'm not saying he's going to make it by any means, but I think it would be a mistake to give up on the kid just yet. This year will be a very important year for him and I, personally, think he will come through. This year is also the equivalent of him playing after a college career, so lets see what he has.

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